New York post-punkers Big Ups are at a pivotal moment: after releasing their first album Eighteen Hours of Static this January, Brendan Finn, Joe Galarraga, Amar Lal, and Carlos Salguero Jr. have big decisions to make.
Thanks to a well received LP and solid respect earned from putting in years of hard work on the NY underground circuit, their situation now looks less like a fork in the road and more the entrance to a vast labyrinth of offers, opportunities and possibilities. So how do they choose what’s right for them?
“When opportunities present themselves, I’m interested in what people’s intentions are,” says drummer, Brendan. “Do these people want to help us? Is it something we want to do that will help us in a way we want to be helped?”
Big Ups are in the middle of trying to figure it all out, but it’s clear for them the most important factor isn’t “what” but “who.”
“We’ve been very lucky with everybody we’ve worked with so far,” bassist Carlos says.
“It’s nice to have people who have our backs, people we trust,” adds guitarist, Amar.
But luck has very little to do with it. People are the key for Big Ups. They’re part of tight knit constellation of local NY bands who support one another, and are nourished by DIY venues like Shea Stadium. When they play elsewhere, they’re eager to expand their community and build connections with bands from other cities, who Big Ups can support when the other bands come to the Big Apple. Big Ups don’t ask what you can do for them, it’s all about what Big Ups can do for you.
“It’s a more enjoyable way to be a musician,” says Brendan. “You want to have people who like you and you like them and you want to help each other out and that’s just how it is.”
“We want to work with good people and be surrounded by good people,” agrees vocalist, Joe. “Because that’s what makes us happy.”
For a band who place so much value in cultivating friendships, it’s not surprising that they see the band itself as one big relationship.
“We have three boyfriends,” Brendan says, laughing.
“Yeah exactly, that’s exactly what it’s like,” Joe confirms.
The band descends into fits of giggles when Brendan adds, jokingly, “Sometimes I get real pissed at my boyfriend.”
According to Big Ups, the secret to maintaining a healthy band relationship — just like any relationship — is communication. Giving each other space and time is important too, or just being able to say, “Don’t talk to me right now because I’m having a mental breakdown.”
Since meeting on NYU’s music programme, the band have had their fair share of low moments during four years together. But in the absence of makeup sex, what lets them heal the rifts that appear in their relationship?
“Seeing your friends kill it,” Brendan says, without much thought.
“You’re like fuck I wish I played today,” agrees Carlos. “I want to do it now. Let’s do this!”
Hit up Big Ups at Bandcamp.
Huck is hosting a showcase at The Great Escape tonight, May 10, 2014 at Komedia Studio Bar. Come join us.