Thursday, October 13, 2011

Big Big Buildings- Be Not Aglow - Review + Interview

Big Big Buildings, the solo project of Adam McElreath, has been active in the Boston music & art scene for about six years now. Adam has been recording and self releasing his own EPs since he was 16 years old as Big Big Buildings. The music is extremely talented, and his artwork is beautiful. His first full length is being released today! He's having an awesome release party tonight at The Bear's Place, playing with the Okay Win and Butterknife. Check it out!
I'm happy to say that Be Not Aglow is one of the best album's I've heard in quite a long time. The music is very catchy and pretty, and I'm in love with Adam's voice. There are songs like "Fishing for Wires" and "Landscape" that are almost acoustic guitar and vocals. There are also songs like "Slinking Down A Mountain" and "Crickets" that are pure instrumental tracks, but with a lot more going on in them. Be Not Aglow is an extremely diverse album with lots of different sounds and it's great. Easily one of the best folk/indie albums I've heard in a very long time. "Tasteful Abandon" and "Last Weekend" are my favorite tracks, hands down. You've gotta get yourself this album... And maybe even go out to see him play it live tonight!

Here are some words from Adam about his music:

Did you grow up in a musical family? Have you always been a musician, or is it something you picked up in your teen years?
My mom has always been really into music. She had me when she was 18, so I was exposed to heavy doses of MTV at a very early age. When I was 2, I was singing Aerosmith and Taylor Dayne. The radio was always on and I'd often ask my mom what certain lyrics meant. I always has a romantic fantasy that I'd get to write my own songs and play them for folks, and it's always occurring to me how fortunate I am to be doing that. As a whole, my family isn't particularly artistic or musical, so they've always encouraged me to keep making my stuff and I'm certainly thankful for that.

How has your music evolved since you were 16?
 I was way more outwardly mellow-dramatic and heartbroken at 16. My music was so bittersweet, I can barely listen to it now. It was all heart. It's taken me a long time to start using my brain, too. I've become much more aware of social issues. Not so much political issues, but the complexity of human interaction and what people do with their given power. I like to think of my songs now as a bit more light-hearted, but I'm probably wrong . Other than that, since 16, I learned how to sing, kind of.

We've spoken about your self-made illustrations for the cover art. Do you make the cover art to reflect the songs?

 I think any connection between my art and music will be in the eye of the beholder. Both mediums have the same emotional push, but the illustrations play more on the psychedelic aspect of life. I'm also a blossoming absurdist, so I often enjoy illustrating something that has nothing to do with the content of the music, simply because I can. For "Be Not Aglow", though, I had a definite mental image of what i wanted to cover to look like. Something compact, with a lot of detail, like the eye of a microscope.

About how long did it take you to record Be Not Aglow?

Be Not Aglow took me about a year to record. All of it was recorded in my room, which, up until a couple months ago, was a tiny walk-in closet with no windows. It was like an endurance test, but it gave me means to be closer to the process. Within the year, my goal was to sit down and get the best possible take of each song. That's always the time-consuming part, just playing the song over and over, until it develops it's traits and quirks. I tend to take my time, but I'm glad a year was all it took.

Who are your biggest influences?

My influences change day-to-day, but there's certain music that keeps following me throughout life. In a song called "Consolation" on Be Not Aglow, I reference two of my favorite song writers, Chris McCaughan and Mark Kozelek. Those are two guys I can listen to and think, "Yeah, these dudes get it." There's a band from Kansas called The Appleseed cast that I've been listening to since high school and have evolved beautifully since. As far as reliable classic stuff, I love Bob Dylan, Van Morrison, Pink Floyd, Michael Jackson, but I also love seeing what folks are doing right now. I'm inspired by anyone who reminds you how amazing it is that music even exists.

Any big tour plans coming up?

 I desperately want to tour. I suppose it's just hard to will yourself to do it as a solo musician. I don't have a manager or anything, so for me, tour would mean hopping in a car and driving for a long time, by myself. Hopefully, some people will listen to the record and dig it, and I'll find means to get around. I have no car and no money, though. I'm down for a national tour, but somebody's gotta pick me up.


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