The Recording Academy Chicago Chapter played host for GRAMMYs On The Road at Lollapalooza on Aug. 3–5 in Grant Park in Chicago. The Chapter conducted exclusive backstage interviews with artists performing at the festival, including electronic duo Big Gigantic and teen blues guitarist Quinn Sullivan.
Big Gigantic's Dominic Lalli and Jeremy Salken discussed performing live with musicians and turntables, the music scene in Boulder, Colo., and the current rise in popularity for electronic music, among other topics.
"We're musicians first," said Salken. "I've been playing drums since I was a kid and [Dominic] has been playing sax since he was a kid. … Playing instruments is what we do naturally…and we just wanted to figure out a way to add electronic music to that."
Boulder, Colo.-based Big Gigantic combines electronic beats with live instrumentation. The duo consists of Lalli, who plays saxophone live and acts as producer in the studio, and Salken, who plays drums. They have released four albums to date, including their most recent album, 2012's Nocturnal. Big Gigantic have concert dates scheduled in the United States through December.
Sullivan and his GRAMMY-winning producer/songwriting partner Tom Hambridge discussed how they met. Sullivan discussed meeting blues legend Buddy Guy, and the experience of recording music at such a young age, among other topics.
"Buddy discovered Quinn and Buddy called me… and said, 'You gotta hear this kid play guitar, '" said Hambridge.
"[When I met Buddy Guy,] I had him sign my guitar and then he said, 'Play a few licks,'" said Sullivan. "So I played a few licks and he said, 'Be ready when I call you.'"
At 13 years old, Sullivan has already played guitar alongside blues legends Guy and B.B. King. Soon after meeting Guy, Sullivan was asked to play on Guy's 2008 album Skin Deep, which received a GRAMMY nomination for Best Traditional Blues Album. Through this association, Sullivan met his future producer and songwriting partner Hambridge. Sullivan released his debut album, Cyclone, in 2011. He is currently working on his sophomore album.
As a producer/songwriter, Hambridge has collaborated with artists such as Guy, Steve Cropper, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Susan Tedeschi, and George Thorogood, among others. In 2010 he won his first career GRAMMY for Best Contemporary Blues Album for his roles as producer and engineer/mixer on Guy's Living Proof.
(GRAMMYs On The Road at Lollapalooza: Interviews and news contributions by Ramon Alvarez-Smikle, Christina Castillo, Max O'Kane, and Emily Ornberg.)
Come back tomorrow for more GRAMMYs On The Road at Lollapalooza coverage.