David A Clark
Big Sky has been making its presence known around Central Florida lately, and the crowds are definitely paying attention. The band’s music really fills a room, and the recent addition of a saxophonist/flutist has added a new range of sounds to the already eclectic repertoire. Everything from country to funk is fair game for this high-energy Gainesville group. An interview over the course of two recent shows gave us some intimate insights into the more private side of the band.
Tell us about your music.
Our sound has developed remarkably over the past few years, especially the last three. Our music is a sort of energetic, melodic pop, some times bluesy and sometimes upbeat, with plenty of texture. Our shows are a real roller coaster ride of emotions.
Where do your songs come from?
Most of our material is based on our own lives. Everyone has experiences and anyone can write a song, but no matter how bad life is, we’re still in control. There’s always a song in there somewhere, happy or miserable. We don’t shoot for a specific style; we just write music. We like our music and we like each other. We believe music should be visual as well as aural. That’s why we like live shows. We want our fans to be as happy to be there as we are. After all, we are our fans’ band.
Tell us a little about your beginnings.
Big Sky started in April of 1993 in Gainesville. We did the garage thing for a couple of years, then started playing out. We’ve had a few years to germinate now and we’re ready for anything.
Have you done any recording?
We have two CDs, which were released on Last Resort Records in Saint Augustine. We used the same studio that Stevie Ray Stiletto used.
How would you describe CD sales?
We’ve sold ten thousand CDs so far. Every one was sold one-on-one at shows
You sell your own CDs? T-shirts, too?
We take care of everything ourselves. If we’re marketed wrong, it could be the end of us as a band. The shows are the easy part; the business end enables us to have longevity.
Any interest from major labels?
We’ve had a few nibbles, but we’re not in a rush. Our immediate goal is to play every show as if it were our last. We owe our fans our very best, and that’s what we’re concentrating on for now.
Do you guys share a collective vision as a band?
No, we don’t have a collective vision. We do share some ideals and goals, which makes for less stress, but what we really want to do is make music all day long.
What are your strengths?
Our greatest strength is being aware of our weaknesses. We’re like a stew, a combination of a lot of different things that all go together very well.
Is that your secret to success?
Our success comes from the fact that we love what we do and we work at it very hard. That’s really all it takes. Our music conveys a certain positivity and our fans connect with it.
Has Big Sky progressed beyond a part-time thing?
Oh, yes. We’re doing this full time now, twenty-plus shows a month.
Do you like performing in front of large or small crowds better?
Whether it’s fifteen or fifteen thousand, it’s basically the same. Every minute off-stage is down time. On stage we can be as real as we want to be. We’ve been fortunate to have performed before large crowds.
What’s it like to walk onstage in front of fifteen thousand people?
It’s the biggest rush you can imagine. We are mentally prepared, but we’re still glad we remembered to use the bathroom first.
If you were writing an advertisement for Big Sky, what snappy adjectives would you use to describe the band?
Super colorful, high energy, layered, melodic, blissful, emotional.
Has your fan base spread beyond the Southeast?
We had a young girl come up to us after a show a little while ago and say, “My friend in Tulsa loves you guys.” We’ve never been to Oklahoma. We understand we’re being played in Indiana now. We’ve never been to Indiana, either. We recently played the EATM festival in Las Vegas. There were 4,000 applications and only 110 bands selected. We’re very proud to have been chosen. We met a few people in the music business and swapped a few names. There was a great turnout and we got a strong crowd reaction, which made us feel wonderful. The people who worked there took time off to watch our show. We also did a short tour of the East Coast, including a headlining show at the House of Blues in Boston. We had a great time with that.
Any parting comments?
We want to thank everyone everywhere who have ever seen us, heard us, or bought our stuff. Like we always say, we are our fans’ band.