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INTERVIEW: Big Bliss

Hi guys, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

Doing well! We’re stoked to get this thing out and get cooking on the next one.

Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Constants”?

I have a lot of affection for this song – it’s the first song we wrote together as a band from scratch, and lyrically it deals with a painful but ultimately enlightening period of my life. It’s set a few years ago towards the end of a long term relationship, while I was trying to transition into a career in New York and still feed myself and a cat.

Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?

It wasn’t one particular event, but rather a slowly developing circumstance. I had lost sight of what was most important to me, being my close relationships with my friends and family. Over a period of about two years my only concern was to advance my career goals, so I sunk in and, as sung in the chorus, furthered the “gap that I designed.”

Any plans to release a video for the single?

We’re always open to it if we find an idea we really like, but we have no plans as of now.

The single comes off your new album At Middle Distance – what’s the story behind the title?

The phrase “middle distance” comes from the visual art world. For example, the middle distance of a painting is the perspective between what would be the clearly delineated foreground and background; it’s a point that is neither entirely in focus or entirely blurred out. I felt that described my approach to the record’s lyrics well as they are both introspective and outward looking, somewhere in between. I also like the duality of the idea, which lends itself to the messages behind songs like “Duplicate” and “RTK.”

How was the recording and writing process?

The writing process was thrilling – writing is our favorite aspect of being in a band. Landing on a new tune or riff or lyric we’re excited about is lifeblood for us. The recording process is trickier, it requires a lot of patience, know-how, and organization. Thankfully we had Jeff to guide us, and a very supportive label and manager to see things through. I’m so happy with how it developed as a release. My partner Ana Becker (of Brooklyn band Fruit & Flowers) has been a huge part of fostering the record, from simply encouraging me that it was “still good,” to designing the gorgeous album art, to playing both guitar and bass with us at SXSW and NYC shows. We couldn’t have done this without a lot of peoples’ help, but hers was singularly crucial.

What was it like to work with Jeff Berner and how did that relationship develop?

Jeff is a talented producer in two very important ways: he knows his stuff and puts his artists at ease. Recording is very difficult for me, I find it overwhelming because it can be so delicate, we’re trying to communicate specific emotions after all. Jeff did a really nice job of hearing my concerns, parsing between what was important and what wasn’t, and seeing things through. He also appreciates memes as much as I do, and that might be requirement #1.

How much did he get to influence the album?

He was there with us as we finished up writing the last couple tunes, and helped us organize a bunch of loose ends in the songs in pre-production. He was truly excited about the sounds he had in mind, and that was contagious. It’s so encouraging to be around someone that is amped about what you’re creating, and I think that confidence made the most impact versus any knobs he (expertly) turned.

What role does Brooklyn play in your music?

Your surroundings play a huge part in your art. Brooklyn is an expensive, overblown, uber-gentrified (by people like me) metropolis of its own. Many of the record’s themes deal with being a millenial in a place like this, and the absorption of this environment is largely responsible for the more anxiety ridden aspects of our music. We’re constantly inspired, challenged, and motivated by seeing what our friends’ bands are working on, and I appreciate how much passion still exists in what sometimes feels like one of those new guitars you buy that somebody scratched the paint off of so that it looks “older.”

And here’s where I list some of the Brooklyn bands that I think those reading should be listening to: Fruit & Flowers, Parrot Dream, Veda Rays, Gustaf, Grim Streaker, Bodega, Language, The Royal They, Gorgeous, Sharkmuffin, Public Practice, Eaters, Future Punx, A Deer A Horse, Monograms, No Ice…the list goes on, I’m definitely leaving some off here, but that’s a good point to start.

What aspect of euphoria and other feelings did you get to explore on this record?

That’s an interesting question. I’m assuming this is in relation to our band name, but I think it can apply to the music as well. We mostly identify as a post punk band, which is often signaled by a dark mood ala Joy Division, The Cure etc, but that definitely doesn’t cover the whole for us. We try to find moments of release in the dissonance and tension which I think is crucial to communicate the emotional developments of the songs. I just don’t think it can be all brood, all the time. Attempting to tackle darker recesses, or speak to deeply emotional subjects doesn’t mean you have to bemoan your life, sometimes figuring out what’s going on and what you struggle with can be a positive thing. In music you’re sort of forced to communicate these things abstractly, and I’d hope that nuance between light and dark comes across in how we try to format our songs to be both big and exciting while retaining an intimate personal connection.

What else is happening next in Big Bliss’s world? 

I’m glad you asked! Aside from preparing to release this LP and tour, we’re working hard on writing the new batch of tunes. I feel it’s very important to stay on task and keep moving forward with whatever art you choose to produce. I can’t say exactly what form it will take yet, whether it’s singles, an EP, or another LP, but we’ll have more output very soon either way. I find it super motivating to be working on new material, and can’t wait to see what direction things take after a few years as a unit.

LISTEN Big Bliss – “Constants”

Soundcloud / Spotify / Bandcamp / Apple Music

LISTEN Big Bliss – “Surface”

Soundcloud / Spotify / Bandcamp / Apple Music

Facebook  / Twitter / Instagram / Bandcamp

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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