The entertainment business has a reputation as a fickle beast—a hostile environment where selflessness is an albatross from success. Gigantic NGHTMRE are a splash of cold water to that fever dream.
NGHTMRE and Big Gigantic have never shied from playing nice. Their new, self-titled collaborative EP is an example of strength in numbers. It’s also a reminder that the musical mines of the world bear too much precious ore for any one act to excavate.
Big Gigantic, whose previous collaborations include Big Grizmatik (with GRiZ and Gramatik) and Gigantic Underground Conspiracy (with the Disco Biscuits and Underground Orchestra)—are keenly aware of how much creativity can be pooled from multiple wells.
“It’s something that Dom and I have done from the beginning,” Big Gigantic’s Jeremy Salken tells EDM.com. “I think it traces to our backgrounds in music and growing up playing jazz and being in a wedding band or a funk band.”
“Having all these different experiences, appreciating different kinds of music and having lots of friends in different bands pre-Big Gigantic, we came to the table loving what we were doing,” he continues. “But then we’re like, ‘Oh man, let’s try to throw this in the mix. What if we do a live band version of Big G? Or what if we team up with Tyler who we are big fans of and get outside of our comfort zone and try to take that to a different level?’ It’s just fun, man.”
NGHTMRE has produced a wide range of sounds despite the dark and imposing presence of his stage name. His diversity is made possible due to his proactiveness in crossing the electronic music pond. Frequent collaborations are a strategy that has allowed NGHTMRE to avoid typecasting and proactively evolve as an artist.
“Every single time, it gives me an opportunity to do something outside what I generally would do or make something that I love that maybe doesn’t sound like just a NGHTMRE song,” NGHTMRE tells us. “I learn something new every time production-wise. No matter how skilled, new or veteran the person I’m working with is, I always end up learning something… Little bits and pieces that help my production along the way and I can apply them to NGHTMRE stuff too.”
“It’s a testament to what you can do when you have a community around everything,” Salken adds. “When people are collaborating it reinforces that community even more. That’s what we’re all about. It’s just fun.”
The Gigantic NGHTMRE experience is a tad surreal for the latter half. NGHTMRE always had self-belief in what he had to offer to the industry, but the idea of working closely with Big Gigantic—who NGHTMRE watched for the first time in 2012 as a festival-goer at Camp Bisco—is certainly a “pinch me I must be dreaming” moment.
“When I think back to those days and first moving to L.A. before NGHTMRE started and all that stuff, I definitely felt like I could do it,” NGHTMRE says. “I knew I had the idea to write this music. If I could teach myself the technical aspects of everything, I’d be able to kill it. I think I’ve always had that in the back of my mind. It’s definitely a trip to think about sharing the stage with someone that you’re at a concert for.”
NGHTMRE and Big Gigantic first collaborated on “Like That.” Their first dual release and live performance made it abundantly clear that they had to come “Back For More.”
“We did the first performance [and] it was so smooth,” NGHTMRE says. “It went over so well with the crowd. I got to play some music I feel I don’t always get to play. They got to play some heavier stuff that maybe they don’t always get to play. It just felt really natural.”
“Having Dom writing crazy sax lines over house music, bass music, and all this type of stuff just really intrigued me,” Salken says of their self-titled EP. “I’ve been really trying to incorporate more live instruments and also really love Big Gigantic’s sound.”
The Gigantic NGHTMRE EP is an exercise in tinkering with how the puzzle pieces fit instead of wedging them by force. It’s a tight, refined five-track EP that combines the best of both worlds while also venturing into uncharted regions.
“It’s a little bit of everything between what you hear with Big G and what you hear with NGHTMRE and then some stuff that I think that you wouldn’t expect either,” Salken says.
“It’s not just like we took this part of this and this part of that and put it together. It’s like both things combined turned into a new thing. Between Don’s writing and Tyler’s writing and them coming together and taking bits and pieces of each other’s work and having vocalists on top, it’s a super dope album.”
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