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Tune-In Tuesdays #53: Big Smile on What it Means to Be a Band

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By: burgundy bug

A group shot of Big Smile on the “Oscillate” music video set

Source: Big Smile

Ohio-based band Big Smile has been leaving everyone with a big smile on their face through the power of their signature “angry, sad boy, pop-punk” sound.

Earlier this month, we spoke to Big Smile bassist John Morris via email to learn more about the band, their latest music video, and their upcoming shows.

How did the five of you meet and become part of the band?

Scooter, Cam, and Ethan have all known each other for years from past projects. I (John) joined from a Craigslist ad they put out a few years ago, and Noah joined after he and Scooter had been involved in another project together.

How long have each of you been playing music?

We’ve all been playing for years, ever since we were really young.

Personally, I’ve been playing guitar and bass since I was 12, and I’m 25 now so it’s been over half my life.

What bands or artists do you draw the most inspiration from?

“Green Day’s American Idiot is the reason I picked up a guitar.”

John Morris – Big Smile Bassist

Creatively, I’ve been inspired by some of the bigger bands in our scene right now. Knuckle Puck, The Story So Far, Sleep On It and other bands like that have really inspired a lot of the music I’ve written lately.

How have you grown from playing together in a band, opposed to going solo?

By working together on this band we’ve learned a lot about each other and how to work off of each other’s ideas to build songs out piece by piece.

It also helps having a strong support system within the band and being able to feed off of each other’s energy to get through our personal tough times.

What have been your favorite moments recording or playing together?

Getting to explore the country together on tour has been an incredible experience. Going to the studio is always great, as well.

While one of us is working with our producer Seth on their parts, the rest of us are hanging out in the living room playing PS4 or we’re outside playing basketball or playing with Seth’s dogs.

We’ll be going there again pretty soon and I can’t wait to see his dogs again!

How would you describe your songwriting and producing process?

The songwriting process begins with one of us bringing an idea to rehearsal. If we all feel inspired by it we’ll build out the instrumental and Scooter will come up with a melody to go along with it.

Then, we head up to Seth’s studio and work with him on nailing the arrangements down and laying down all the tracks.

In December, you released the music video for your single “Oscillate.” Could you tell us a little about the song?

The song is about being stuck in a rut and finding our own ways to deal with it.

John Morris – Big Smile Bassist

It’s also the fastest we’ve ever written a song. Noah brought the riff to practice one day and we had everything finished in three practices.

We usually take months of fine-tuning songs, but we’re really happy with how “Oscillate” turned out in such a short time.

What was it like shooting the music video for “Oscillate?”

“Oscillate” by Big Smile music video

Source: Big Smile – “Oscillate” (Official Music Video) | Big Smile

It was a lot of fun. We started by driving around with our instruments in the back of Scooter’s van, then we moved everything to his RV and jammed out there.

We thought it fit with the theme of driving in the lyrics, and it kind of represents our progression as a band with us transitioning from the van to the RV.

You have a few shows coming up in January. Are you excited, nervous?

I’m very excited for the shows. We’re going places we haven’t been to before and I hear the places we’re visiting have awesome music scenes.

I can’t wait to meet everyone and play in new cities.

What can listeners look forward to at your upcoming shows?

We’re bringing our brand of angry, sad boy, pop-punk to the stage and putting on a memorable exciting show.

What’s your favorite part of performing live?

The connection with fans while we’re on stage is amazing.

I’ve never felt anything like what I feel when people are screaming the songs we’ve poured our heart into back to us.

John Morris – Big Smile Bassist

What are some of your favorite venues to perform at?

There’s a venue in our hometown of Cincinnati called “Legends.” It has a great atmosphere and sound so it’s always fun to play there.

We’ve also gotten to play at the Mercury Ballroom in Louisville, the Hoosier Dome in Indianapolis, and Subterranean in Chicago.

Off the top of my head, those are some of the coolest places we’ve played.

How do you hope to connect with your listeners through your work?

We kinda just go about it by making our songs a reflection of ourselves personally, and if that resonates with people who listen to us then that’s awesome.

What’s next for you guys? Are you currently working on any music?

We’re writing songs for our next EP at the moment. Hoping to have it ready to come out this summer!

Do you have any additional comments or final thoughts to share?

2020 is going to be an exciting year for us and I can’t wait to see what this year holds for us.

Watch Big Smile’s music video for “Oscillate” on YouTube or give the track a listen on Spotify.
Be sure to follow Big Smile on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to keep up with their latest releases and tour dates!

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burgundy bug


A cynical optimist and mad scientist undercover, burgundy bug is the editor, graphic designer, webmaster, social media manager, and primary photographer for The Burgundy Zine. Entangled in a web of curiosity, burgundy bug’s work embodies a wide variety of topics including: neuroscience, psychology, ecology, biology, cannabis, reviews, fashion, entertainment, and politics. You can learn more about working with burgundy bug by visiting her portfolio website: burgundybug.com

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