Big Something + Jimkata

Sun. Oct 23, 2022 at 08:00 PM Door Time: 07:00 PM
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Jimkata

Jimkata

Take note: Jimkata is not a cool electronic rock band.

I mean, they are. The band’s new album, In Motion, is a triumph of swirling analog synths and breezy pop hooks. It’ll make your body groove.

But dig deeper. You’ll be rewarded with something more...personal.

“There’s a lot of great music out there that makes you move, but you don’t remember it afterwards,” says Jimkata frontman Evan Friedell. “We’re OK with embracing our emotional side. I think we have a little bit of soul. We’re embracing all the things that make classic songs.”

This added emotional gravitas is borne partially out of trust. Friends since middle school, Friedell, Aaron Gorsch and Packy Lunn infuse Jimkata — which, yes, is named after the so-bad-it’s-good 1985 gym-fu caper Gymkata—with both an adventurous musical streak and an emotional core.

“I was drawn to music in two ways,” says Friedell. “One was through the backbeat—I grew up with Michael Jackson and Paul Simon’s Graceland. Everything was rhythmically accentuated. But the second avenue is good songwriting. Something that hits the body and the heart.”

Which means, mixed in with the modern synth sensibilities (you’ll certainly hear echoes of LCD Soundsystem on album closer “Synapses”) and progressive rock tropes are influences drawn from the likes of Motown, singer-songwriters like James Taylor and even old country songs, where storytelling and a quick turn of phrase share priorities with melody and the beat.

It’s an unusually rich and rewarding mix, and one that’s evolved naturally. Over the past half-decade, the Ithaca-based band has operated without a record label, publicist or support system of any kind. “We just road dogged it,” says Friedell. “It’s all DIY. Doing 150 shows a year, sleeping on floors, recording songs along the way. We built everything organically, all word of mouth. The advice we got when we started was ‘Just go out and play. It’ll pay off.’”

In Motion marks the band’s second fan-funded record through PledgeMusic. Gorsch’s love of unusual rhythms and vintage synths fuel the album’s first half, highlighted by the pop earworm “Wild Ride” and the melancholia of “Jumping Out of Airplanes.” Halfway through, the album shifts to a more progressive, guitar-based affair, led by the percussive funk of “Innocence.” It’s an adventurous album, one that could find a home equally amongst fans of Yeasayer, LCD Soundsystem or Tom Petty.

Besides a musical shift, In Motion marks some other important changes. The group recently transitioned to three members from four. As well, the trio was forced off the road for an extended period of time, which ended up—unexpectedly—helping evolve their music.

“This is the first time we’ve been off from touring for a while,” says Friedell. “We were sort of living like gypsies or nomads, living the road life. We’ve never had this much time to work on an album and just live with the songs. It’s been a creative, reflective time for us.”

Lyrically, In Motion doesn’t center on any one theme. “I sort of discover what I’m writing about later,” says the singer. “And I don’t always know where the inspiration comes from. But overall, these are songs about processing adversity.”

(Themes that certainly resonate with the band’s fans. “We’ve had people tattoo our lyrics on their arms. That was a revelation to me—we’re doing something right.”)

Fortunately for long-time fans, the band plans to hit the road again early next year. “We’re pretty high-energy on stage,” says Friedell. “We tour with a light show and improvise a lot. We’ve toured so much, and experienced every scenario, good or bad. So we know how to play live and create some energy.”

And for Jimkata, it’s about finding the right energy—that balance between heart and mind.

Says Friedell: “Ideally, we’re writing songs where someone says, ‘I know that feeling. That song picks me up. It has real meaning to me.’”

BIG Something

BIG Something

A 6 piece powerhouse with a sound that is both unique and timeless, Big Something fuses elements of rock, pop, funk, and improvisation to take listeners on a journey through a myriad of musical styles. It's no secret why this group has quickly become one of the most exciting new bands to emerge from the Southeast. Soaring guitars, E.W.I. (electronic wind instrument), synths, horns and alluring vocal hooks rise to the top of their infectious collection of songs and represent a sound that has caught the ears of such revered stalwarts as Umphrey's McGee, Moon Taxi, Galactic, moe., Robert Randolph, and even The B52s, who have all tapped Big Something as direct support.
Big Something is thrilled to announce that they will be releasing their new album The Otherside on April 20th, 2018. The Otherside, the band’s 5th full-length studio album, is a follow up to 2017’sTumbleweed, which is Big Something’s most critically acclaimed release to date. Fans can check out the first single, “Sundown Nomad,” here. For more information, please visit: www.bigsomething.com.
The Otherside was recorded at Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, NC with the help of Grammy-nominated producer and Carolina Music Awards Lifetime Achievement recipient - John Custer (Corrosion of Conformity) who has produced all 5 of the bands albums.
On The Otherside, Big Something continues to build upon the post-apocalyptic peyote trip imagery from Tumbleweed, concluding the story of a nomad who has made it to the other side of his journey wandering through the night towards a desert sunrise. The album also showcases a different musical side of the band with a heavier, more focused and soulful collection of 8 songs including “Smoke Signal” - a track that was written for the studio and has never been performed live.
The project is dedicated to the memory of the bands late lyricist and friend Paul Interdonato who tragically passed away on Dec 3, 2017 - the same day the band was setting up in the studio to record. Now each song carries a certain weight as the album features several of the last lyrical compositions that Paul ever wrote for Big Something. It is a thoughtful and poignant musical journey paying tribute to a lifelong friend with a brilliant imagination.
Big Something is Nick MacDaniels (vocals, guitar), Casey Cranford (sax, EWI), Jesse Hensley (lead guitar), Ben Vinograd (drums), Doug Marshall (bass), Josh Kagel (keys, trumpet), and Rhett Huffman (keys).

Venue Information:
524 Westcott Street
Syracuse, NY, 13210