Interview: Fred Torphy of Big Light | Buzz Blog
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Interview: Fred Torphy of Big Light


Big Light bandleader Fred Torphy took a minute to answer a few City Weekly questions before the band's appearance at the 20th High Sierra Music Festival, July 1-4.--- Since forming in 2007, the San Francisco, Calif.-based garage-rock band has steadily gained recognition due to persistant touring, including several head-turning sets at South by Southwest earlier this year. Then, with the release of their LP Animals in Bloom in March 2010, their brand of guitar-heavy, in-your-face tunes with catchy hooks has continuously had even skeptics lending an ear. Guitar crescendos and colossal finishes abound in summery music befitting backyard BBQs, roadtrip driving or casual listening. Never pretentious, the music's generally satisfying and those listeners that dig acts like Wilco, The Slip and Nathan Moore will appreciate Big Light. Check out "Monster," "Panther" and "Triceratops" for a proper introduction into the band. At High Sierra, they're slated to play Thurs. @ 5:30 p.m., Vaudeville Tent and Sunday @ 12 p.m., Big Meadow Stage.

Why should people check out High Sierra Music Festival?
High Sierra has so many things going for it ... It's intimate, well-organized and very fun in every sense of the word. It's also held in a really gorgeous part of California. The people who go to High Sierra are there to really cut loose and have a good time. If we weren't playing, I would be there with my friends. It's something that I very much look forward to every year.

What bands are you excited to see?
Dr. Dog, The Mother Hips, Surprise Me Mr. Davis, The New Mastersounds

Does Big Light prepare differently for festival performances versus small venue gigs in your hometown, San Francisco?
We like to debut new material at High Sierra. We have a few new tunes that will get unveiled at the festival. As far as preparing, I like to make sure we are coming in with fresh ideas. When you play multiple times in front of the High Sierra audience, you had better have a few tricks up your sleeve.

Any chance of catching an impromptu Big Light's set on an RV or lawn somewhere?
Yes! We'll be playing a late-night set at Camp Harry on Friday.


How has Big Light's live performance matured over the past three years?
With touring, we've become more focused, more determined to entertain and engage. We're more comfortable in our skin and we probably take bigger risks as a result. The last thing we want is for our egos to get in the way of the music being as good as it can be. In the best -case scenario, we walk on stage completely relaxed and ready to go. So sometimes taking that shot of whiskey before we hit the stage can help you leave your baggage in the dressing room.

How has the band's sound evolved?
Hopefully our sound is always evolving. I think evolution or change or whatever comes naturally when you put in the time. We try to be lean and mean, play to the room, be aware of our surroundings, but without sacrificing our love of playing at loud volumes. In general, we aim to move together with ease right to the edge of the cliff.

The Big Light buzz is often focused on their fuzzed-out, guitar-laden garage-rock feel. How about the songwriting and your approach to writing lyrics.
Lyrics are just hazy memories to me.

Tell us about meeting Perry Ferrell at the Salt Lake City Airport.
Oh man.. Nothing too exciting here. I was in the SLC airport after Desert Rocks '09 and saw Perry and introduced myself. I an a HUGE Jane's Addiction fan. "Nothing's Shocking" made a huge and lasting impression on me.

Big Light will kick off The Canyons Summer Concert Series in Park City on July 17. What can Utahns expect?
Lot's Fuzzed-out, guitar-laden rock n' roll.

What does Big Light have going on for the rest of the summer?
A hometown show in San Francisco at The Independent on August 4th with our good friends Apollo Sunshine. We're also heading to the east coast again in late August for a short tour.