Electronic house DJ Big Wild graced Vancity on May 7 with a performance at Fortune Sound club. Has my life changed since then? No. Do I have a new perspective? YES. Just as I thought I knew what to expect, I was blindsided. I’ve never been so pleased about being blindsided!
Big Wild’s riveting performance catapulted me into a mini-identity crisis. I arrived at the show knowing comfortably that I am a hip-hop enthusiast with a slight fetish for EDM. I left with a newfound love in EDM, and a resistance towards other genres of music. Okay, I exaggerate. But allow me to let the beat drop on what made the night particularly captivating.
Wild’s entrance was emphatic. His silhouette appeared before he did, casually bobbing to the incessant thud of a futuristic, gentle beat whose intensity raised with every second. He emerged shouting “Hello everyone! I’m BIG WILD!” and the energy of the room trembled as people cheered to the sound of an evolving melody that, throughout the evening, bridged the gap between pop, hip-hop, and electronic sounds. I admired that he would introduce himself, even though we obviously already knew who he was. Brownie points for crowd engagement.
The first minutes of his set made me feel as though my heart was running determinedly to a sanctuary somewhere between here and heaven, if such a place exists. The feeling was transcendental. At this point, I decided to take a step back and almost remove myself as a member of the audience so that I could play “the observer.” I meandered through the sea of bodies in the club to assess the atmosphere and reaction of people in different parts of the club. The vibe was ubiquitous. Everyone was on the same wavelength — energy and happiness.
I managed to find him afterwards, as he helped to load equipment into the van that his crew came in. This is part of the conversation that ensued:
Me: Are you religious? A lot of people use their faith as motivation.
Big Wild: I do believe in something bigger than myself spiritually but it’s hard to define. Something just drives me to want to create music and make people happy.
M: You did that! Typically, artists get big and then their relationships change. Would you say you’ve encountered fake friends along the journey?
BW: Yes, you can tell certain people are being more friendly than usual. I try not to let it get to me but some people are so obvious about it, it’s blatantly evident that they have an ulterior motive.
M: A lot of negativity is cast upon people who chase their creative dreams. On your side, is that something that was really pressing? Did any family members feel shaky about you choosing to go this route?
BW: My family were really supportive. A lot of people don’t like my music, but I have to be willing to accept that. If I stick to what I enjoy, at least they’ll respect it.
M: Agreed. If you’re not being true to yourself, then you are playing yourself. Have you been to Africa?
BW: Not yet.
M: Where would you go?
BW: Ghana. I actually have an adopted brother from there!!
M: What?! Are you serious?!
BW: Yeah he is super cool, he’s actually a guitarist and helped me explore music.
M: Oh wow. He’s black, right? I hate to go with the stereotype but did he teach you how to dance?
BW: [Laughs] If anything, I taught him how to dance.
M: Beautiful. Who would you say inspires you, outside of music?
BW: Anybody who has the desire to succeed and who I can tell just has a mindset of wanting to do what they are passionate about, despite the obstacles.
At this point, we were hounded by a group of audience members who wanted to take pictures with Big Wild. One of them poured his heart out about how Wild’s performance at Shambala had inspired him to pursue music and quit his day job. This guy looked emotional! Honestly, that almost brought tears to my eyes, too.
Just kidding — I wasn’t about to cry on the night I learned to love EDM.