Planetary Group took some time to get to know Le Big Zero. Hear what they had to say below!
Planetary Group: Tell us about your latest release. How did you come to create it?
Michael: Horror Movie Pie Fight is one of those songs that came together in the room. I remember playing this chord progression, and Tim and Ben chimed in, and it sounded really fun. It was a contest of how many chords could we fit in this progression without it becoming too much?
I recorded it onto my phone. I didn’t know what to call it, so I just labeled it “H M P F”. It really wouldn’t go anywhere, so it stayed in my phone again as “H M P F” and I guess looking for inspiration to sort of propel us to whatever the next logical part of the song would be.
At the time I was listening to a lot of that Better Oblivion Community Center album. And I liked the way that Phoebe Bridgers and Conor Oberst didn’t really harmonize in the album. The vocal approach was just two voices singing in parallel. So we tried it and we liked it. I think it’s the only song in the album that does that. And that’s kind of how that one came together.
PG: Share a bit about your musical journey, from when you first started making music until now.
Michael: Classical piano lessons followed by bass lessons – I think I’m one of the 20 rock musicians who actually took lessons on bass. Jam band in high school, acoustic covers in college. After college, slow core band out of Hoboken, followed by an aggressive math rock band out of Seattle, Afrobeat dance music back in Brooklyn, onto Le Big Zero now.
Carolina: I think I went to my first concert when I was about five, when I was still living in Costa Rica. My dad played drums a lot when I was growing up. And any time we were in the car, we were just blasting a very eclectic mix of all sorts of music through the decades. Unlike my extremely talented bandmates, I’m not properly trained. I sort of fell into singing in New York, in my late twenties.
Katie: My musical journey started at a pretty young age. I started playing piano and taking lessons when I was about six. I started taking guitar lessons at about nine. I do play left-handed even though I’m right-handed. In some later years, I started studying guitar theory with Richard Lloyd from Television. So the dissonance in the sound that Le Big Zero has, it actually is quite appealing to me.
Ben: I’ve been playing drums since I was really young. And that’s been my main instrument the whole time. Eventually, I picked up bass. I played in a punk band about 10 years ago in New Jersey called Sir Dove. I really loved how you could be rhythmic on bass, just like drums, but with all of the harmonic and melodic intensity that I was also really interested in. Long story short, [it all] led me to Le Big Zero, and that’s pretty cool.
Lukas: I started playing piano and guitar eventually moved into drums, and just started playing with bands.
PG: Let’s talk about the music that you love. What is an album that inspires you as an artist (I’m sure there are many, but pick one of your choosing)?
Michael: Built To Spill – Perfect From Now On.
Carolina: A lot of Pixies.
Katie: Pavement’s Wowee Zowee.
Ben: Control by Pedro The Lion.
Lukas: Cheval De Frise.
PG: What do you want people to take away from your music?
Michael: I think what we want people to take away from our music is to enjoy the songs on their own merits, the pop sensibility, and hopefully catchiness of the songs. And then also if maybe you’re a musician, or you know theory, or you appreciate musicality on a deeper level that you understand that there’s something maybe a little bit more complex going on underneath.
Carolina: For takeaways, I want people to feel energized, caught by surprise in a good way when one of our songs changes direction, which many of them do. And to want to play our music on long drives.
Katie: I think what we want people to take away from the music is, you know, that attention grabbing kind of catchy vibe. And it’s also definitely more relatable for people who are a little more advanced musically and play, or are avid music listeners. I think there’s a little bit of something in it for everybody.
Ben: I hope that it rewards repeat listens. I hope that people will come back to it because [our songs have] an intricacy to them – they’ve got stuff going on underneath the surface.
Lukas: It offers just a lot of different stuff: from crazy instrumental parts to almost baroque, increasing instrumental parts to just hooky fun choruses.
PG: What’s next up for you?
Carolina: As far as what’s up next, we’re releasing our second album on April 8th, which we can’t wait for and hope you check it out!
Ben: I am very, very excited to be playing live music again. I can’t wait to play and tour to support this Le Big Zero album.
I don’t think I have to tell anyone that the pandemic has been a huge bummer. I’m really looking forward to when people are safe, when people feel safe to come out to go to a club, a bar, a venue, a basement, what have you, and just experience some live music again, in a big sweaty group. That’s going to be a lot of fun.