A CHAT WITH: BIG DEAL
aaamusic | On 28, Oct 2014
Big Deal specialise in spectral pop that clashes the gloomy fuzz of shoegaze with the delicate intimacy of folktronica to create music that is truly hypnotic. Before the duo took to the stage at a London show earlier this year, Kacey Underwood (guitar/vocals) and Alice Costelloe (vocals/guitar) sat down with AAA’s Lois Browne to chat about their inspirations, electronic music and what their third album might sound like…
Where do you think Big Deal’s music fits in the electronic spectrum of music?
Kacey Underwood: What I like about electronic music is that it’s about embracing new instruments to push forward music. I think it’s really cool as we are on a label (Mute Records) which is mostly electronic, but I think the people who listen to us do so because we make guitar music and are not throwing computers at it. But we both listen to really lots of modern electronic music and I really like incorporating different things in. Even if it is just a sound, a kick drum or a wash of guitars, there are a lot of things which are similar in our music to listen for. But aside from that we are pretty afraid of technology. Listening to the music, neither of us will be bringing a computer of synthesiser on stage it’s just asking for trouble. We can barely make our stone-age guitar amps work.
Have you experimented with synths and other effects?
Alice Costelloe: Kacey’s good at the electronic drum, I have to say.
Kacey: Yeah, I do all our demos with electronic equipment, rather than just going straight to the computers. But when it comes to doing it live, that is a whole another story. I really like experimenting on the creative side, but I hate seeing people…
Alice: On a laptop…
Kacey: Or like play station, but that’s just me: I’m old fashioned.
What inspires the music you produce and your lyrics?
Alice: Oh God. Well, um, what inspires us…we are affected by the weather
Alice: When it’s really nice out we don’t get anything done…
Kacey: Well thankfully we live in England, where the weather is not typically the best so we generally get all our stuff done. That’s not what inspires us; that is sort of the opposite and relates to what keeps us busy. But I think we just take inspiration from mostly other art that really moves us. The only reason I tried to learn how to play guitar and play the right songs was because I was moved by other people’s music other people’s art and I think we still are. But it gets harder in some ways to get inspired by people I guess.
What artists would you say inspire you?
Kacey: Lots of just the old classic bands like the Beatles, Led Zeppelin and Madonna and punk music as well. But I guess that’s what ends up inspiring us; it’s just people making art and the things that happen in our lives. Personal things that happen but that always kind of always worked its way into the music. Usually what sparks the fuse is hearing something or reading something or seeing a really great movie for me personally.
Alice: When we went to see this exhibition at the Tate – a view of the artists’ retrospective – we both had our minds blown. It just made us want to create things because they had created stuff for the world for everyone to see.
How would you describe your music in three words?
Kacey: Well she said ‘Oh God’…so I only get one word: Yes.
Alice: Oh God yes.
In comparison to Lights Out, June Gloom strays away from the lo-fi acoustic sound you guys were associated with originally – where do you see yourselves going with the third album?
Kacey: That’s a good question. I guess it’s changing still but more in an aesthetic way where the instrumentation is changing. We’ve gotten more comfortable at least…
Alice: Yeah more comfortable…
Kacey: …More comfortable around each other. More comfortable playing; more confident and we are a lot clearer about what we are trying to achieve. Because we really didn’t have any time to think about anything on our first record, as we were thrust into that situation extremely quickly. The show we played at Reading in 2010 was maybe like our tenth gig and we were still working out how we would be able to do to everything live. But thought just by going in and being really mean, we’ll play good and hope that it will be enough-except sometimes it is and sometimes it’s not.
Nevertheless, we still like to incorporate the fragile bits, to keep that vibe of what was nice and what was fun for us and I’d always like to be able to do that. We like to have a certain part of our set extremely stripped down and we love playing those songs.
What separates you from other artists? What makes you unique?
Kacey: I guess we do exactly what we want to do and no one tells us. We are not on a label where they tell us you have to do this or you have to reach out to these people. We make exactly what we want to make. If that doesn’t allow us to be unique in some way then I don’t know what could.
Why should audiences make an appearance at a Big Deal show?
Kacey: Why should people come? Because we are a lot better at playing than we are at answering questions. We are always going to do our best, we work so hard to be here and feel so lucky to be able to be here that not giving it your all would be pointless. Nothing upsets us more when going to see a band that look like they don’t want to be on stage. We are not really out going on stage but we love doing it, love being able to play. You know we kind of look at things as maybe it’s our last, so we just do our best.
You guys have quite good stage chemistry, where do you think it stems from?
Alice: Probably that we are best friends who have been in a band together for four years now. It would be kind of weird if we were like awkward and didn’t know each other and I think we really care about that.
Kacey: I mean, again, we really want to be there and trying to be as aware and alive as possible on stage is vital.
Alice: We have a psychic connection as well most of the time, sometimes I miss it, but most of the time we have the bond. And I can tell exactly what Kacey is thinking. He’s thinking right now that he’s really thirsty.