By: Vanessa Tam
2017 is shaping up to be a monumental year for Jackson Stell’s electronic music project, Big Wild. Having just started creating music under the moniker four or five years ago, Stell is already landing prime slots at major music festivals and touring with artists like Odesza and GRiZ.
“Putting out my EP and doing my tour is a really big step for me [this year],” Stell shares. “And then on top of that I’m working on new music and just finding ways to continue to make things grow. I think if I can nail it this year, I’ll just be in a really good spot. But then again, I’m somebody who’s always looking into the future and trying to make things bigger and better.”
Armed with his multi-instrumentalist background and influenced by the wide-open spaces of Big Sur (which also inspired the creation of his artist name), Stell managed to carve out a one-of-a-kind space for himself in the increasingly crowded world of EDM. Like many other electronic music producers, one of his earliest inspirations for making beats was through listening to rap and hip hop from an early age. Some of the most popular tracks on his Soundcloud are still the bootleg remixes of popular tracks like Ludacris’s “Stand Up” and Rich Boy’s “Throw Some D’s.”
“I think [electronic music artists are inspired by hip hop] mostly because most of the production is done on a computer or with software, and a lot of people use [that same] software in electronic music. So it’s kinda like a natural crossover,” he explains. “I also feel like rap is definitely more of a youth-centric genre so when you’re in middle school or high school, you’re more likely to listen to [and be inspired by] rap than you are to maybe rock or other things.”
With the launch of his first EP, titled Invincible, officially behind him, Stell feels like he’s ready to take on a full LP next. “I kind of re-thought a lot about how I produce and approach music and I think that now I’m ready for an album whereas before I don’t know if I was ready to really commit and create a fully cohesive project of, you know, 10 to 15 songs,” he says reflectively. “Where I’m at now, I think I’ve matured more and I know what it takes to put it all together.”
Regarding his work with Odesza’s Foreign Family collective, Stell feels completely at home collaborating with his friends and colleagues. “The basis of [my] friendship [with Odesza] and the way this all started was because we liked each other’s music,” he states confidently. “But also, like, they have really good knowledge of how the music industry works and they’re really willing to help me. To meet another artist, especially one at the scale of Odesza, that’s really into supporting your music, that’s really important to me. That’s kind of what I always wanted — to have relationships in the music industry based on music and not just based on trying to gain popularity among fans; stuff like that drives [me] away from why I’m actually doing this.”
Big Wild performs at Venue March 16Big Wild, Venue