Big Wild knows how to keep a level head in a crazy situation. The DJ told us all about a time when the police had to break up a fight between two girls in the front row — but he didn’t miss a beat!
We caught up with Big Wild, AKA Jackson Stell, at the 2017 Firefly Music Festival. He told us all about his latest EP Invincible, being initiated into the Odesza family and who he wants to work with next! Our conversation has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Your Invincible EP came out in February. How have fans been responding to hearing the songs live?
I’ve loved how it’s been received. It’s interesting to listen to it now, because lately I’ve been getting more into songwriting, lyrics and actually singing. I sing on the last track, so it’s a big shift.
What made you decide to do your own vocals?
Music’s always been a self-discovery for me. I’m always trying to figure out new ways to express myself, and I feel like on this EP, I hit this wall when making it, and I was thinking of what I could do to get past it. It was such a struggle for a lot of it, and I came to the conclusion that I needed to find new ways to make music.
As for your collaborations, what do you look for in a featured vocalist?
Somebody who’s unique and has their own style. Not something generic or hopping on a trend. And I have to make sure they’re not an asshole or anything!
Who do you want to work with next?
I’d like to collaborate with this artist Rationale. He’s got a unique voice. Anderson Paak, too. He’s awesome.
You’re a member of Odesza’s Foreign Family Collective. How did that relationship come about?
They first found me on Soundcloud a few years ago, then I did an official remix for “Say My Name.” I went on tour with them and we hit it off. They’re really cool guys. The three of us are music-centric people, so that’s where we connected.
How do you put together a setlist?
It depends on the crowd I’m playing to, but it’s about making sure my music flows together. If the set has ebb and flow, it doesn’t matter where you are, people will enjoy it. I’ll make little changes for a big festival but the flow of the set is the most important thing.
What’s something crazy you’ve seen happen at a show?
The cops came to one of my shows! They had to restrain a girl in the front row. There was a fight, because this girl was in the front and another girl was pushing to the front…she was being rude, pushing her way up front. She pushed this girl a little too hard and got punched, then the police came and I was just playing on my drum pad, like, “I’m cool guys, I’m cool! Everything’s fine.”
That’s so wild. If someone hasn’t heard you before, what track should they listen to first?
“When I Get There.”
Festivals and shows this summer, and I’m working on new music. I’m adding more of myself in it, with songwriting and singing.
Stream Invincible EP: