If you’re not familiar with Big Ups! then shame on you for not being in the know when it comes to Nerdcore, Post-Punk music. During this year’s SXSW festival, we had a chance to chat with Amar Lal from Big Ups! to talk a bit about the creative process and what makes their sound so unique.
SeagateCreative: What’s your process in the studio? Walk us through the steps you took to record a favorite track.
Big Ups!: One of our biggest goals in the studio so far has been to capture the energy of our live shows, so we’ve recorded most of the instruments live, playing together in a room. This can often be exhausting, playing the songs over and over until everyone is satisfied with the take, but we feel it captures the best energy in the performance.
We’re all also audio engineers who love manipulating sound, so new ideas come about constantly when we’re in a studio environment. “What if we tried ___” is a sentence we try to say often; sometimes the ideas work, and sometimes they don’t, but it’s important to try them and potentially capture something interesting.
SeagateCreative: When you look for a collaborator to help on a project, what kind of person do you look for, and how do you hope they help in the creative process?
Big Ups!: When we look for engineers to work with, we generally look for someone who is relaxed, laid-back, and understands our creative direction. We often have a clear idea of the sounds we want to capture, so we want someone who first and foremost facilitates that, instead of imposing or asserting their own ideas. That said, we’re also open to new ideas, so there’s always room for constructive suggestions that help shape the output.
SeagateCreative: Which piece of gear is your favorite for sparking creativity?
Big Ups!: Any new piece of gear is always a nice spark for creativity, opening up new ways to shape or distort your sounds. I try to use new gear in unconventional ways when possible, to push it to the limits of what sounds can be produced. Lately, though, I’ve been trying not to rely too heavily on gear to generate ideas, tending to focus more instead on simply picking up an instrument and trying out ideas as often as possible.
SeagateCreative: How do you use hard drives in your creative work?
Big Ups!: I tend to be a bit obsessive about archiving and organization, so hard drives play an important role in storing my creative output in its various stages. I also back up my files regularly on external hard drives, which gives me a peace of mind that the ideas won’t be lost. Whether or not they’re shaped into final products, it’s important to me to have ideas captured in some way that can easily be revisited.
SeagateCreative: How has your choice of gear evolved since you first started in music?
Big Ups!: I think my choice of gear has become increasingly pragmatic the longer I’ve been involved in music. There are so many options available to anyone trying to generate any kind of sound imaginable – computer synthesis programs, weird guitar pedals, samplers, drum pads, live vocal effects – that it sometimes becomes overwhelming to even start making music. I try to push each piece of gear to make as many sounds as possible before moving on to another piece of gear; sometimes limiting yourself can yield more creative results.