Big History
Gig Seeker Pro

Big History

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF

New Orleans, Louisiana, United States | SELF
Band EDM Soul




"Big History"

Graphic Designer & SynthPop producer Japayork has given us the heads up about a new project he’s managing, Big History, and the track he sent over is storming.

This New Orleans based six piece create live sounding ElectroPop with an emphasis on song. Vocalist Meg Roussel croons her way through a deeply personal and intimate song, all husky and intense while the other five (six peice? I don’t even want to imagine what the band arguments are like!) craft a melodic and muli-layered ElectroPop sound which is, well, as intricate as you’d expect with six people involved. ‘Wardrum’ is a seriously impressive début with the potential to excite both dancefloors and headphones alike, whether you like your ElectroPop with your hands in the air at 3am or lying on your bed with the curtains drawn, Big History fits the bill.
- Electronic Rumors

"Stream: Big History - "Wardrum""

Electro pop from New Orleans led by the smoky and sultry voice of one Meg Roussel, Big History are pretty amazing in context of how much Adele is really soaring these days, and while one opts for big pop productions and more soul than anything, one certainly makes her way toward the disco ball instead. Roussel's band is one to watch in the coming days, and "Wardrum" is a nice entry point for them and for all listeners. Great work seems to have come easy, right off the bat for them. - The Culture of Me

"Free song from Big History"

Big History is a six piece group from New Orleans ready to burst on to the scene. The song they gave us to pass on, "Wardrum", is a beautiful piece of electro-pop. Very infectious.

from the press release:
Big History is a six-piece soul/pop/electro act roaring out of New Orleans. Anchored by the smoky vocals of Meg Roussel, the group's catchy hooks pour from laptops and violins alike. The band has crafted a bedroom pop debut flashing with the pulse and shimmer of a 3 A.M. dance party, but smooth and hazy enough to be revisited the morning after. Having caught the eyes and ears of eager listeners both at home and abroad, Big History is ready to show the world what else is up their sleeves. - Dancefloor Mayhem

"Big History - Wardrum - Free Download!"

New Orleans based 6 piece group Big History sent us the .mp3 to Wardrum a while back and was a nice surprise hearing Meg Roussel's husky, distinctive vocals paired with the shimmers of the crisp electro production. (Rad artwork too by Japayork'!) Now they're offering it as a free download and sent us a sweet message to go with. Thank you! Have a listen beloooow and if ya like grab the download too!
- Gangster Says Relax

"[FRESH NEW] Big History "War Drum" (Free MP3)"

The first thing that immediately struck me about Big History's "War Drum" are the confident, smoky vocals of lead vocalist Meg Roussel that are carefully wrapped in pulsing, pop-savvy beats. It's that unlikely and unusual combination of gentle and grit that has me curious about more from this fresh new talent.

Big History's kicky production stylings are courtesy of British prog pop producer Japayork who I covered back in 2010 with his own artist material. After moving from London to Los Angeles, Japayork started working with the very talented Big History, a six-member pop outfit from New Orleans. By combining the sounds of violins and laptops alike, the group's music is a potent brew of alternative pop that flashes with the pulse and shimmer of a 3 A.M. dance party, but is smooth and hazy enough to be revisited the morning after.

Download the totally-guilt free MP3 Big History's "War Drum" to get a taste of this emerging group. Innovative combining sparkly, euphoric synths with Roussel's gritty delivery, the song tells the story about staying on guard when love drifts off course.

Roussel sings, "There's nothing left, there's no one home. An empty castle (. . .) When all of your armor, all of your shields are gone, a heart is an army and all of the guns are drawn and the war goes on like an ocean churning." (On a related note, the cover art for Big History's "War Drum" was designed by the same folks that produced the art for Foster The People's "Torches.") - Arjan Writes

"art/official presents: Big History"

For New Orleans, Big History is big. They take elements from some of today’s most prominent bands, but they do it in a way that is uniquely their own. Comparisons to The XX and Beach House are accurate, but not encompassing. Within Big History is manifested a fantastic medium between old New Orleans soul and contemporary indie power. They are great people who write great songs in a great city.

Those of us at art/official have seen Big History live more times than we can count, and it still hasn’t gotten old. With each show the band’s sound has gotten tighter and more polished. New tracks interlaced with “classics” keep the dance floor moving the entire time. The energy stays at a ten while the electronic dance beats mix with live music and the airiness of Meg Roussel‘s voice. The front of the crowd is the place to be at these shows, and you’ll probably see us up there with you.

Followed by interview - art/official

"Big History"

Meg Roussel has something to confess. "I'm a history nerd," she says over coffee at Rue de la Course on Magazine Street. It's lunchtime on a late August Tuesday, and Roussel has sneaked away from her day job as a curator at the National World War II Museum, where she's currently planning her first major exhibition. Clad in neatly pressed khakis and a polo shirt, Roussel, 24, looks like your everyday academic. Concertgoers in New Orleans may know her as another kind of exhibitionist: the sultry, smoky-voiced electro lounge singer at the center of the pop band Big History, cradling a microphone and moaning seductions like "The heart is an army and all of its guns are drawn" from behind mirrored shades.
Don't be fooled, Roussel says. It's a disguise. "I'm so not a performer," she says. "It's why I wear those glasses — my eyes are closed under there. People are like, 'You need to look at people.' I'm like, 'I don't want to look. I don't want to see how many people are there.'"

Big History formed in early 2010, unveiling its live set to a packed house at Carrollton Station in September. A melange of veterans from other Crescent City rock outfits (Silent Cinema, Antenna Inn, Rotary Downs), the incipient six-piece had one rookie: its frontwoman, staring out at almost everyone she knew. "I was terrified," Roussel says with a shiver.

It didn't show. Where most bands wobble through their debut like a toddler learning to walk, Big History didn't miss a click. Singer/songwriter Matt Glynn fingered synthesizers and triggered samples from a deck of electronics at stage left, while guitarist Blandon Helgason and bassist Cory Schultz injected organic countermelody and thrummed steady rhythms from stage right. But Roussel was the eye magnet. Halfway through the short set — the band only had four songs — she was jumping up and down, feeding off the crowd, a natural performer born onstage.

She still isn't buying it. "I hate that feeling," Roussel says with a laugh. "I had always been writing (music). It was, for me, my little therapy. I never intended to play in front of people." Her initial opportunity actually came earlier in 2010, with Empress Hotel, another pop group that rose from the ashes of Silent Cinema and Antenna Inn. After a solo show at the inaugural Foburg Music Festival in March, Roussel says, Helgason approached her with an unexpected offer. "This was right when I had been kicked out of Empress Hotel — but I didn't know that yet. 'So, now that you're not in Empress Hotel anymore ...' I went, 'What?' 'Just wondering if you'd like to be in our band.' I was like, 'Well, hell yeah. Hell yeah, I'll be in your band.'"

Any hard feelings dissolved with the success of both bands. Roussel and Schultz hit the road this month with Empress Hotel to play the Hopscotch Music Festival in Raleigh, N.C., and Big History closes out September with a gig at Eiffel Society (Friday Sept. 23) before going into brief hibernation in advance of its debut EP release party, scheduled for Nov. 19 at One Eyed Jacks. The record has five tracks, all familiar to Big History fans: leadoff charge "Wardrum," the slick, love-is-a-battlefield first single, all percolating synths and urgent yearns; live staples "Every Bone," "All at Once" and "Wolf Blood," inflated and rerecorded from their spare MySpace demo versions; and "Baby," a Roussel ballad fleshed out in shiny metallics by Glynn and Helgason.

Amid a flurry of whirring computer effects and precise metronomic beats, her voice is the most striking instrument, husky and deprived, Kathleen Turner as a dance-pop Fembot. "I keep getting compared to Adele," Roussel says. "I don't see it. When I first recorded 'Every Bone,' whenever we went to play it live, it sounded totally different. I think I went into it using my little folk voice. ... I haven't found all that I can do. We haven't pushed it yet."

The band takes inspiration from self-made Internet sensation The Weekend, whose single "Wicked Games" was the skeleton for a recent Big History video shoot at Eiffel. "Like, how on earth did this dude do this?" Roussel starts, and then stops. "I'm a little scared to tell you about it because there's a lot of cursing in it, and I'm really worried my job's going to hate me."

It might be time to add a fake mustache to those shades. - Gambit Magazine

"Big History's Big Balance"

“Blandon and I were originally going for a folky sound,” says Matt Glynn. “Then we started using recording software that had synthesizers, samplers, and drum machines, and the sound quickly evolved into the polar opposite of what we had initially set out to do.” In these formative stages, the local indie/electro pop band Big History faced a choice: pursue a rootsy, “natural” sound, or engage the machines. Keyboard player Glynn and his band mates allowed digital technology to lead them to abandon their acoustic guitars, but they were still unsure where the journey would take them.

“We didn’t know what our sound was going to be until we recorded the first song,” adds guitarist Blandon Helgason.

It was not until the band’s digital transformation was in full swing that Big History realized what must be added to the mix to remain a step above most electronic-based pop—humanity. “When I was in White Bitch, we played to a drum machine, which was very confining,” says drummer Bret Bohnet. “The drum machine was more of the leader than the drummer. It was robotic.” While such a problem is not exactly the makings of a Matrix-like struggle between man and machine, it does make establishing the imprecise human qualities that define an infectious groove difficult, especially in a rhythm-oriented city like New Orleans. “Being a drummer in New Orleans, it’s easy to get caught up in traditional styles,” says Bohnet, “but I have always wanted to take the funkier side of all this New Orleans-influenced drumming and integrate it with electronic sounds.” In a city with such a rich culture of groove, Big History made an immediate impression on the local indie scene. “People love to dance in this town, but we’re not just someone in a DJ booth pushing a button,” says vocalist Meg Roussel. “So people are connecting with it.”

Finding humanity in electronic sounds defines Big History’s loose but propulsive club-oriented grooves. While the band’s instrumentation appears to be relatively straightforward—Glynn on keyboards, Amanda Wuerstlin on keyboards and violin, Helgason on guitar, Cory Schultz on bass, and Bohnet on drums—the application of those instruments proves to be anything but, utilizing digital technology to mold sounds. “We use computers and drum triggers to get these synthesized sounds,” says Bohnet. “My drum set is basically a sampler.” The appeal of digital sounds with human inflections led to Bohnet’s drum-based “sampler”—a unique acoustic/digital percussion hybrid that utilizes traditional drums and digital samples to give the impression of a drum machine with an actual human controlling the rhythm. “If we just had a drum machine, it would be very hard for us to exist in New Orleans,” Glynn says.

However, the band’s folk background helps it maintain a human center through the songs’ lyrics. “Meg and I cut our teeth writing folk songs, where the lyrics are the meat of the song,” says Glynn. “Now that we’re writing this beat-driven stuff, the lyrics come easily.” Big History facilitates human connection by allowing listeners to construct their own meaning from the lyrics. “I want people to find meaning in the lyrics that I don’t even know about,” adds Glynn. Ultimately, Big History realizes that the lyrics, while emotionally charged and heartfelt, are not meant to bring the party down. “It’s fun, danceable music,” says Roussel. “But when you look at it, it’s more poignant than most club music.” This notion is made possible by vocalist Meg Roussel’s sultry singing, which eschews electro pop conventions and bears a torch singer influence. “Once we started doing the pop-heavy stuff, we really wanted Meg,” says Glynn. “Her voice was fitted for this whole other style.”

Their open-ended approach to lyrics can be heard on the band’s latest single, “Wardrum”. “It’s an old-fashioned, medieval notion of war,” says Glynn. “But people think it’s about a relationship or not knowing yourself. Listeners are interpreting it their own way.” The track’s driving dance groove provides a foundation for a synthesizer symphony. “I’ve been listening to a lot of ’80s synth-revival stuff lately,” says Glynn. “The song took that route with a lot of bleeps and bloops.” Now that the band has tamed the digital beast, it is hitting its stride in writing. “Once we hit the sound we wanted, the songs started coming a lot quicker,” explains Glynn. “They are more full and fluid than before.”

“Wardrum” is from Big History’s forthcoming EP All At Once, due out at the band’s release show on November 19 at One Eyed Jacks. The EP is the culmination of the band’s efforts to show the give and take between human and machine and displays Big History’s unique voice in the local indie scene. Still, the band’s aware of the door it has opened by exploring technology. “Meg can get a laptop and fire all of us whenever she wants,” jokes Glynn. - Off Beat Magazine


"WARDRUM" - Single

"Wicked Games" (The Weeknd Cover) - Single

"All At Once EP" - Due out Nov. 19th



Big History is a six-piece soul/pop/electro act roaring out of New Orleans. Anchored by the smoky vocals of Meg Roussel, the group's catchy hooks pour from laptops and violins alike. The band has crafted a bedroom pop debut flashing with the pulse and shimmer of a 3 A.M. dance party, but smooth and hazy enough to be revisited the morning after. Having caught the eyes and ears of eager listeners both at home and abroad, Big History is ready to show the world what now sounds like.