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Big Wild’s stock only continues to rise

Big WildBy Laura Tsu //

Big Wild with Electric Mantis, Split //
The Independent – San Francisco
May 21st, 2016 //

Big Wild, otherwise known as Jackson Stell, is on the brink of a career outbreak. Having just performed with ODESZA during their “In Return” tour and selling out over half of the shows on his own headlining tour, the 25-year-old producer from Santa Cruz, Calif., has begun 2016 with plenty of promise.

Stell can point to his Soundcloud account for a lot of his early success. He first started honing his production skills in the eighth grade while recreating the hip-hop beats he loved. Once he discovered Soundcloud and uploaded his work under the Big Wild moniker, he amassed quite a large following and eventually caught the attention of ODESZA’s Harrison Mills and Clayton Knight, who invited him to remix their track “Say My Name” and play some shows with them. Since then, Big Wild has garnered increasing interest from fans, and his release of the popular hit “Aftergold” only added fuel to the fire.

Big Wild’s show at The Independent last Saturday was sold out, and an additional show that was added the next day had the same outcome. Opening things up was local DJ Sean Little, aka Split, a Showbams contributor at one time who played a dark, moody set as attendees trickled into the venue.

Electric Mantis followed, taking the stage with the intention of getting people moving. The Alaska native, though, spare in words, performed with infectious enthusiasm and vigor as he grooved to his own music through the entire performance. His remixes of “Hear the Bells” by Porter Robinson, “Trap Queen” by Fetty Wap, “My Hood” by Young Jeezy and “Hotline Bling” by Drake ignited the dance floor. Serving as Electric Mantis’ first official tour, he expressed lucid appreciation for the opportunity to perform.

Big Wild

Subsequently, Big Wild arrived onstage to a palpably excited audience. In the back of him stood a two-projector setup creating a widescreen video. Following the theme of his name “Big Wild,” the video featured whimsical line animations in bold colors of almost all things nature-related. Stell himself has a visually low-key presence with only rare glimpses of stage lights ever pointed toward him.

However, the main event was the true highlight of the night as Stell jumped from side to side to re-create his tracks live. To his right stood a MacBook, which played vocal samplings and electronic rhythms. And to his left stood a keyboard, which added harmonies to his music. Of course, Stell’s drumming on his Roland Octapad also added robust rhythms to his pieces. He played fan favorites “Aftergold”, “Venice Venture”, and “Jubilee”, as well as an unreleased track and Snakehips’ “All My Friends” during his encore.

Today with more and more electronic music producers on the rise, translating dance tracks into a live performance can be no simple feat. However, Big Wild delivers his music live with an impact. His success in both production and performance has brought about unrelenting attention to his music.

What will Stell’s next move be in 2016 and beyond? We can likely expect more production and collaborations with more live performances, both of which seem to be his expertise.

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