Big Words take us through their impressively eclectic mixtape, ‘Cherry’
Melbourne group BIG WORDS (Will Scullin and Kieren Lee) first made their arrival back in 2016 when they were discovered busking by none other than Ghostface Killah who was in the country at the time for Wu-Tang Clan‘s tour. Since then, they’ve gone onto support Hobo Johnson and Tash Sultana, release an EP which has amassed over 9 million streams and perform at festivals across the country including Beyond The Valley, Grapevine Gathering and Wildlands. Melding indie rock, pop, RnB and hip hop, in 2020, they’re set to further cement their rep as one of the country’s most exciting and sonically diverse duos with the release of their mixtape, Cherry.
Made in quarantine, the Cherry mixtape is comprised of offcuts originally meant for their debut album, it was only by chance Big Words decided to revisit these discarded tracks one night in quarantine after a few drinks. Two weeks later, the whole mixtape was done and dusted, resulting in an eclectic, genuine, and intimate body of work that shows just how far they’ve come and how far they still can go.
Of the mixtape, the group said, “We played with the idea of making a record at home, even though we didn’t have a set up. Eventually the idea gauged some more elaborate thinking and it became very possible that we could start the next morning.”
As for what’s on the mixtape, frontman Will Scullin said, “It’s heavily inspired by insecurity, solitude, sexuality and friendship. There isn’t much essence of heartbreak here, but maybe more so what happens before and after.”
For fans of Rex Orange County, Frank Ocean, Hobo Johnson or Clairo, Big Words include something for everyone on their latest efforts. To get to know them a little better and the stories behind these songs, they’ve taken us through the record track by track. Check it all out below!
It’s really a lonely cry for help, it was formed in an early morning solo session at our old studio in Collingwood. I was listening to a lot of 80s prince so I got straight into the drum machine pattern, then could hear a distant acoustic guitar. I recorded that and the rest happening really quickly all in one take. Then the song sat on my computer for 6 months, didn’t show it to anyone until Kieren and I started pondering old song for Cherry.
Serpent came out of Kieren’s one bedroom apartment he lived in before we moved in here. He wrote most of the song ideas for Cherry and all the interludes in there. Like many ideas we share back and forth, they’re usually short unfinished ideas that we then incubate together and turn into bigger songs. This one never really got that far, though we have played it live as an interlude into older songs for maybe two years now. My part at the end was recorded into my phone in my bedroom, it’s a song that kind of aligns things, it sets the tone for the record to come.
Pretty On The Inside
Was written about a very pretty girl paying attention to you knowing well that she isn’t talking to you for your looks. An empty and common problem for musicians that don’t look like models (you’re out there and we’re with you) The demo was made entirely by Kieren in his old apartment, we merely revamped it and I added a few instruments, layers and harmonies. The melody and vocal tone is catchy and seamless, it blew me away and continues to.
An eloquent and beautiful description of a day in the life of Kieren Lee. He wrote this while I was on a trip to Japan a few years ago, he sent it to me as a voice memo, the exact same that it is now. We tried to re record it maybe over 30 times, it never worked out so we just used the voice memo.
Sink Or Swim
The idea was formulated while having a conversation with a beautiful woman with blue eyes. I pictured myself swimming in them like a pool, I wrote the melody out loud while driving to the studio, the rest happened pretty quickly after. It’s only really two chords except for the bridge, but once I applied a few more layers it felt like much more than that to me. It’s kind of a pathetic song, a dreamers song, for the boys out there that are too scared to ask for a number and wallow in their own doubt.
This tiny and short interlude is about being around someone who you know things are about to kick off and maybe they shouldn’t. It’s about self control and intimacy.
It was a 10 minute beat that was at the depths of my hard drive that never had any intention of being used. When we brought it up, we both tried to write to it eventually getting nowhere. Kieren then freestyle’d for 40 minutes and I cut it all up to make verses, a pre chorus and then the hook. It’s close to our favourite song on there and it was made and finished in about an hour. Once this was done we really felt like we’d finished the project, it was a big moment and a nice beer on the balcony.
Miso was written in the same week as Mandarin when I was in Japan. Originally another voice memo but this one we managed to re do, it played on all my train rides in and out of Tokyo and stuck with me the whole time. It was the first thing we recorded for Cherry in my room and really set the tone for the mixtape. The strings I added almost instantly, played on my Nord Stage 2 I layered them in different parts to maybe them feel as big as possible.
Girls And Rings
Girls and Rings is really a love song about friendship. It was written for me by Kieren and is a testament to our long standing friendship and creative partnership. “We can be what ever we like” is a notion to us making the music we do, creating with no boundary or tight grip on our process.
Beautiful was a hard song to record, it’s pretty self explanatory. It was formed in a cathartic moment on a beach in Victoria, which brought up past love memories and a never ending journey of self love.
Cherry is out now. Buy/stream here.
Introduction by Emma Jones
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