Brogan Galceran, aka Big Dumb Kid, makes music that is a far cry from what you might expect. Describing it as hip hop/electronica/pop which might suggest something along the lines of the manufactured and polished musical products of artists like Justin Beiber or Chris Brown, Big Dumb Kid sits a lot closer to artists like The Streets when it comes to lyrical content, his confessional and honest songwriting then contrasted fittingly against his highly digital and dance influenced production style.
His debut single Dumb Luck getting picked up for rotation on FBi and finding general critical acclaim amongst the local press, he’s just released his Vanilla EP for free today to coincide with his headlining the upstairs stage of Chocolate Jesus takes over Mum tonight at World Bar (click here to add yourself to the discount list).
Music Feeds: What are you working on at the moment?
Brogan Galceran: I’ll be releasing my first EP ‘Vanilla’ for free this Friday the 15th of July at Chocolate Jesus takes over Mum at the World Bar in Kings Cross, so I’ve been focusing a lot on that. But I am currently writing for an album too and it is coming together really well.
MF: How does it compare to what we’ve already heard?
BG: The music is a lot darker but still relies on the same structures, I’ve been writing about things I think about rather than actual events which obviously enables me to fantasise a bit more. It’s a lot more personal too.
MF: Is consistency important to you, or is following your intuition in regards to each song more of a focus?
BG: I think there definitely has to be something constant in the sound and feel of each song, but in saying that I’m not planning ahead when I’m in that head space, I just go with it. So a little from column A and a little from column B.
MF: Your music has been described by some as hip hop, would you say that suits or do you see it as something different?
BG: I listen to a lot of hip hop, so it is a big influence on my music. Lately I have embraced it and it’s allowed me to be more versatile both lyrically and in how I perform.
MF: Whether the music is hip hop or not, it seems to have been labeled as such, and therefore you have to deal with the whole Aussie hip hop issue, and how you relate to that. Where do you see yourself fitting in with that tradition and your wider contemporaries, if at all?
BG: I can’t really relate to hip hop in Australia, granted there are plenty of great artists but it almost feels like aussie hip hop is a genre of music in itself and although I am heavily influenced by hip hop and I call Australia home, I’d like to think I’m not limited to where I live when it comes to defining my music.
MF: How do you view genre classifications in general? I feel like music these days exists more in terms of influences than genres, particular artists often drawing influence from various different genres to find their own style rather than working within the rules of any one style. Would you agree with that statement in regards to your own music?
BG: I think genre classifications are necessary, otherwise we would all be listening to that band that sounds like the Beatles meets Frank Zappa but their drummer loves NWA. It’s weird, music is a really personal thing for most people and because there is so much music available and it’s always progressing it’s becoming more and more difficult to capture an image, a sound and a feeling in a couple of words. True, I do take something from a lot of different styles, but the end product is Electronic/Hip Hop/Pop and when people type that in a search engine I want Big Dumb Kid to come up at the top of the list.
MF: There seems to me to be in your music a marked lack of any sense of trying to look cool, no offense, and that you don’t mind highlighting the more awkward side of yourself. Would you agree and if so why?
BG: I don’t think anybody should try and look cool, I’ve come to terms with the fact that I can be kind of awkward in some situations. I’m not the “cool” guy at parties, I’m quiet and reserved and in my own head but some weekends I get to step on a stage and sing and act like a big dumb kid and that’s kind of cool… isn’t it?
MF: Your music also has a strong confessional sort of honest air to it, is that important to you, to be honest, or is that more an effect you’re going for?
BG: Music is personal, it can remind you of a time in your life, a person or an emotion. I think honesty is easier to relate to rather than a song about being “cool”.
MF: Image has always carried great importance in the music world, particular in promoting music to wider audiences, is that something you’re conscious of or do you not bother with that sort of thing?
BG: There is a visual image I’m conscious of, but isn’t everybody conscious of how they are perceived? But if someone told me the key to success is to dress like Lady Gaga, I probably wouldn’t do it.
MF: Your music strikes me as something that had it come out twenty years ago, there wouldn’t be much of a market for it beyond a very narrow niche, again no offense. Would you agree that yours is a music that is very much modern, both in the sense that it is contemporary and the way in which it draws from that which came before to express the world of today much in the same way modernist writers did during the early 1900s?
BG: I guess my music is pretty modern in terms of sound, but the technology available to the average bedroom producer is way more advanced than anything they had in studios 20 years ago. I don’t use auto-tune or anything dumb like that, I keep it simple and let the lyrics tell the story. Which is what all the great singer/song writers have done.
MF: Working as part of an industry that is very much in the process of reassembly, do you have any plans or strategies as to how you plan to survive artistically and financially or are those sort of concerns not important to you?
BG: I put a lot of energy into my music so I’m definitely shooting for the stars. I have a great team behind me; they have my best interests in mind and enjoy my music. Artistically I’m pretty open minded, so I have no qualms with how I do and will express myself in the future.
MF: Speaking locally, where do you see music going in Sydney in the next few years?
BG: Sydney is very clique-y, I think unless people start experimenting with where they go to see live music it will be very much the same.
MF: How do you approach performing on stage?
BG: I try and have a good day before a show, get in a good head space, treat it like any other day. Then I’m nervous 3 minutes before I start and then I just lose myself. It’s a strange fun feeling that I often try and define, but can never quite grasp.
MF: What makes you want to write music and get on stage in the first place?
BG: It’s just something I’ve always done, at first it’s like learning a new language then when you’ve got the basics you can start making up words and sounds to describe anything you can imagine. And when you find something where the only thing limiting you from expressing yourself is your imagination, it’s hard to find fulfillment in working 9-5.
MF: Do you ever feel strange on stage? Do you ever question to inherent idolatry and egotism of live performance and the music industry in general?
BG: I only ever think about it after a show, the transition from being on stage to packing everything you used into the corner and trying to enjoy the rest of the night is pretty strange. Yeah, I was just singing into a microphone in front of a room full of people… can I get a cider?
MF: Do you think if the audience wasn’t there that you’d still be doing it?
BG: Yes, Kyle (drums) and I have fun with every show, we don’t take ourselves too seriously and at the end of the day we are just making some noise.
MF: If you could change anything about the way the music industry operates what would it be and why?
BG: The music industry has already changed so much over the past 5 years; the fat cat is no longer in control. The power is in the hands of the people making the music, the product, which is where it belongs. I’d like to see it continue down the path it’s on.
MF: What should we be keeping an eye out for in the future?
BG: A BDK film clip, some fun collaborations, more shows and the number 5… it’s everywhere.
Big Dumb Kid is playing at Chocolate Jesus Takes Over Mum tonight, Friday July 15th. His Vanilla Ep is available here.