Issue 80 of Clash magazine hits the shelves on November 1st and to celebrate we’re throwing a party at The Lexington. With support provided by Binary and Magic Arm, headliners on the night are Big Deal.
Having shot to prominence with the release of their 2011 album ‘Lights Out’, Big Deal have expanded, adding bass and drums to the fuzz laden twin-guitar sound that was the hallmark of their debut. Alice Costelloe, Kacey Underwood and the new members of the band have spent the last few months holed up on Rory Atwell’s Thames-moored floating music studio the Lightship95, but are taking time out from putting the finishing touches to their forthcoming sophomore album to play this exclusive show for Clash.
We caught up with Alice and Kacey to get the lowdown on how things have been progressing for Big Deal since we last heard from them...
Tell us about the changes in Big Deal, you've added a couple of extra members to the band...
KC: Yes! Sometimes you just want to rock out. You know? It was getting harder and harder to rock out without drums. So now we are sort of a typical rock band. At the moment Mel Rigby is kindly lending her talents on the drums and Huw Webb is slappin’ da bass.
You're about to release a new album, how's that progressing?
KC: We have just started mixing and it's all sounding pretty good. Hopefully by the time people are reading this, they may even hear a little bit of it. We are excited to share it with the world.
What's it like working aboard the good ship Rory Atwell? How did you first hook up with him?
AC: Our friends Paws just made their record 'Cokefloat' with him and I sang on one of the album tracks. I got to see the studio and thought it seemed like a much better place to record than the studios we'd looked at on land. Paws' record sounds amazing, so we knew Rory was the guy for us. He made the usually daunting process of recording so much fun and was worryingly good at making up on the spot x-rated versions of all our songs’ lyrics.
KC: Yeah, he is a great guy and works extremely hard. He runs a tight ship... tumbleweed. I've known him for a few years and I guess it was just time for us to get on a boat together for a couple weeks and make sweet, sweet music.
What would you say are the main differences between your approach to this album and your first?
AC: When we made the first record we only had about a week to record it. We didn't really know what we were doing or if it even made sense to make a record of just guitars and vocals. It was all about capturing what we'd created that summer and hoping someone might get it, whereas with this record we spent about a year writing the songs and had time to think about how we wanted it to sound.
KC: We didn't want too much time to think about it though. We aren't pulling any punches. It was great to work with the limitations that we imposed on ourselves the first time, but this record was in many ways much easier to make, and at the same time so much more draining and rewarding. Having other people in the studio was nice as well.
Is the Big Deal sound a result of the two of you having similar musical tastes or do you both bring different ideas to the table?
AC: We do have very similar taste which is lucky because it means we rarely disagree when we write because we usually both want the same direction for the song.
KC: That's totally a lie. We fight constantly and ferociously about every note. We usually let Abba settle it. What would Abba do?
What can we expect thematically from the new album?
AC: The themes of the new record definitely cover a wider spectrum compared to the first. Lots of hard things happened in the past year that made us see the world differently and actually resulted in a hopefully more uplifting record.
KC: To rock. That's a theme right?
For those not in the know how did the Big Deal project first get started?
KC: We were both in bands and became friends through Alice’s mom actually. We shared demos with each other and then one day just started playing covers together and liked singing together. Now we sort of get nervous when we sing on our own.
How do you think the line up changes will affect your live performances? What can Clash readers expect at The Lexington on Thursday?
AC: It will definitely be noisier.
KC: YEAH! And louder. We used to be able to hear what people in the audience were saying, not even between songs, like as we were playing. I'm not going to miss that.
Words by Paddy Hughes
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Big Deal are set to play the Clash Magazine Issue 80 launch party tonight (November 1st) at the Lexington. Facebook event page.