Interview & Show Preview
Big Business, Andy the Doorbum, Sir Dander
June 26, 2016 @ The Crocodile
By Graham Isaac
Its garbage day in Los Angeles and Coady Willis, the rhythm half of Big Business, apologizes over the phone for shoddy reception, the fault of which he says is living in a “black hole for service.”
Fortunately, our conversation was interrupted only minimally by either technology or garbage trucks. We chatted mostly about their upcoming record Command Your Weather, out July 8 on Joyful Noise Recordings.
“We wrote this record with the idea that it’d be just the two of us, and that we’d want to be able to recreate the songs live,” Willis said. “We toured with Mastodon as a two piece for the first time in a while and everything gelled.”
The first time I saw Big Business was at Bellingham’s legendary (now defunct) 3B Tavern. I’d seen two-piece bands before, but never one so committed to the efficiency of their attack; Coady Willis’ drumming filling every sonic crevice in Jared Warren’s thick, rolling basslines.
Their first two records, Head For the Shallow and Here Come the Waterworks, were critically praised sludge-metal/stoner thrash/doom punk masterpieces that combined pummeling rhythms with off-kilter hooks and a sly sense of humor. This pedigree led to them being asked to join the Melvins on tour and in the studio for Nude With Boots. For BB’s own The Drift, they added Toshi Kasai on guitar, giving the record a more textured, melodic take, without losing any of their punch. On 2014’s Battlefields Forever they added Scott Martin and expanded their sound further into melodic heavy rock.
Now, for the first time in years, they’re back to a two-piece. New tracks like “Father’s Day” have a pointed attack reminiscent of the early albums, while retaining the melodic sophistication of their later work.
“We’re writing better songs now. We’ve been writing songs together for thirteen years, so we’ve know how we want things to sound—for Command Your Weather we recorded everything in our practice space so we could work out any problems before going into the studio.”
Command Your Weather’s title is taken from a lyric in the song “Om Throat,” and while the record contains recurring lyrical themes of endurance in the midst of a chaotic world, Willis said the band prefers not to be too prescriptive with the meanings of their songs.
“There are definitely common themes that come through, but we don’t want to write the record, record the record and then tell you what it means. We’re more interested in what it means to you. It’s out of our hands now.”
Confident in the new work, the band is set to take their attack on a nationwide tour starting this week in Bellingham, Washington at The Shakedown. Opening the dates will be Andy The Doorbum, whom Willis described as an “awesome performance art—visuals with music sort of thing. Folks should show up early.” Once finished in the states, Big Business have a European tour tentatively scheduled for fall.
“We like to leave room for improvisation,” Willis said dryly, of European tour plans. “Leave lots of room for acts of God and whatnot. But all said and done, we wrote the songs, we’ve practiced, we can’t wait to play them for people and to have a good time.”