The Big Sweet Talks "Ultraviolet Rain"
Mon, 17 Oct 2011 18:01:49
There's a soothing sense of psychedelica at the heart of The Big Sweet's Ultraviolet Rain.
The Ohio quartet creates sonic dreamscapes that are as easy to fall into as anything from The Pixies or Pavement. Songs like "Cyanide Room" cruise on heavenly hooks and ethereal guitars punctuated by succinct grooves. The tunes come from a mature emotional place that belies the fact the members are still in high school so throw expectations out the window and let them take you on a ride. There's a good chance these lads could change the course of indie rock as they know it.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor and Dolor author Rick Florino, The Big Sweet frontman Sam Regas tells us all about Ultraviolet Rain and so much more.
Was it important for you to have an overarching vision for Ultraviolet Rain?
That was one of the key things when we recorded the album. In terms of the actual song content, there are a lot of recurring themes like light, color, and seasonal references. Those are reflected in the title, Ultraviolet Rain. As far as the music goes, we were very specific about bridging the gap between songs with certain transitions to help support the theme of it all being one unified piece.
What inspired the theme of light?
A lot of the lyrics were stream of consciousness. I think there's something about color and light, without sounding too pretentious [Laughs]. People can see through light and certain types of colors. There's something about that idea which interested me. More than anything, it's an interesting philosophical thing to think about. It also makes for some good rhyming schemes. I don't know exactly where it came from, but once it got rolling, I jumped on board with it. We were definitely going for more of a psychedelic approach. That seemed to lend itself well to the theme of light and color and the spaciness.
What's the story behind "Cyanide Room"?
That song definitely goes more into that stream-of-consciousness style of writing. It literally came about from cousin and I sitting in a room in our beach house which we go to ever year for an extended family vacation. We sat around the room, literally looked at objects, and tried to tie them into this word salad type song. If you try to read the lyrics just as prose, they won't make any sense. It's really not intended to. That was one of the best cases of something sounding phonetically good and purposefully strange to the ear. At the chord structure, it's almost folkier. There's a country sort of riff in there. We put all of these weird lyrics on top of it, and there's this contrast.
Where else do you draw inspiration outside of music?
I like a lot of the Beat writing such as Jack Kerouac and Charles Bukowski. I don't if that's necessarily reflected in the lyrics. I do watch a lot of movies too. Of course, I listen to a lot of music too. I go for the approach of trying to tell a story or paint a landscape but make it definitely abstracted. Stephen Malkmus of Pavement is probably my biggest inspiration as well as Jeff Mangin of Neutral Milk Hotel. The songs are lyrically with a lot of concrete words, but they don't have a lot of concrete meaning all the time.
If Ultraviolet Rain were a movie or a combination of movies, what would it be?
I would say Pulp Fiction, but that would be way too cool [Laughs]. I'd say possibly Dazed and Confused. It's an early '90s classic. That may seem weird. However, in terms of the feeling I get when I watch that movie and the feeling I get when I listen to my favorite albums and hopefully when people hear our album, there's that bittersweet vibe. It's like at the end of the movie where they all realize that they've run out of that tap of beer at 5 in the morning. The sun is on the rise. It strikes a chord. Plus, the fact that we're teenagers and the movie is centered around teenagers.
Have you heard The Big Sweet yet?