As Big Wild, producer & composer Jackson Stell crafts lush soundscapes and sweeping melodies that challenge the status quo of electronic music. A former hip-hop producer, previously going by J Beatz in his native Massachusetts, Stell launched the Big Wild project in 2012 following a life-altering trip to Big Sur, California. His musical muse and spiritual home at the time of its inception, California was the ultimate inspiration that fueled the Big Wild sound: atmosphe...
As Big Wild, producer & composer Jackson Stell crafts lush soundscapes and sweeping melodies that challenge the status quo of electronic music. A former hip-hop producer, previously going by J Beatz in his native Massachusetts, Stell launched the Big Wild project in 2012 following a life-altering trip to Big Sur, California. His musical muse and spiritual home at the time of its inception, California was the ultimate inspiration that fueled the Big Wild sound: atmospheric electronic music powered by a wide-spanning emotional range. The Big Wild moniker itself is a direct reflection of the state’s natural glory and open spaces. Stell now takes his journey to the next chapter via Superdream, his debut album as Big Wild, scheduled for release on February 1st, 2019 on Counter Records.
Written and recorded while living in the Bay Area, as well as in Portland, the 12-track album sees Stell expanding his skills as a producer and artist. Transcending genres, for the first time ever, Stell serves as the primary lyricist, singer and songwriter throughout Superdream. Personal in scope yet wholly universal in its message and reach, Superdream is inspired by the real-life moments, feelings and memories that have come to define Stell’s existence. Each song is diverse in sound and scope and represents the full spectrum of emotions and experiences that are central to the essence of being: In one moment, you’re dancing out of your seat, only to find yourself in joyful tears seconds later. The album title, thus, reflects this amalgamation: a super dream combining all of life’s curious, inspiring occasions.
“The album was inspired by a need to create music that was a greater reflection of who I am now,” Stell says of Superdream. “This led me to feature my voice and songwriting as the main focus for the first time ever. I wanted to create a personal record that people could relate to using my own life experiences. When I listen to Superdream, it feels more like me than any of my other music.”
Stell’s newfound production dynamics are immediately evident throughout Superdream. Lead single “Joypunks” is a straightforward feel-good dance song that delivers a punch of energy to the gut right from the get-go. An ethereal introduction to Big Wild as a vocalist anchored by a funky drop and bouncy bass, “Maker” is a celebration of life that was inspired by a real-life medical scare Stell endured. “That song is a reflection during a point in life when you stop and contemplate that you might actually die and you think to yourself, ‘This might be it,’” Stell says. “But instead, the near-death experience amplifies the good things going on in your life and makes you appreciate your time here even more.”
Superdream is the next progression in the growing Big Wild discography, which also includes the Invincible EP, released in February 2017 on ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective, and the breakout track, “Aftergold.” Released in April 2015 on Foreign Family Collective, the song topped the Spotify Global Viral Chart and was featured in a national ad for Apple Watch. Additionally, Big Wild has remixed indie and electronic artists like GRiZ, featuring Talib Kweli, Gallant, CHVRCHES and ZHU, among others, in addition to collaborations with Tove Styrke, Hundred Waters, TroyBoi, Khary Durgans and more. Collectively, Big Wild has garnered hundreds of millions of streams across all platforms: +129 million on Spotify, +28 million on SoundCloud, +10.3 million on Apple Music and +22.6 million on Pandora.
As a performer, Big Wild is one of the freshest & most innovative live acts on the electronic circuit today. His live show sees Stell switching between multiple instruments—including drum pads, synths and keyboards, in addition to live vocals—throughout his sets for an energetic performance that’s as infectious as his music. Big Wild opened for ODESZA on their 2015 In Return Tour, after joining the group’s renowned Foreign Family Collective roster. As a solo artist, Stell launched his debut headlining North America tour in 2016, which included multiple sold-out shows. Stell also sold out the legendary Red Rocks Amphitheatre in Denver in May 2018, as part of a co-headlining bill with Louis the Child. Additionally, Big Wild has performed at world-renowned festivals, including Coachella, Bonnaroo, EDC Las Vegas, Electric Forest, Austin City Limits and many more. This December, Big Wild will co-headline Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco and WaMu Theater in Seattle alongside Louis the Child.
As his most personal work to date, Superdream is the culmination of Stell’s life on the road, in the studio and on the stage. It brings forth a new dimension to the Big Wild sound that’s been many years in the making.
“Superdream is a record about moving forward, progressing and challenging negativity,” Stell discerns. “These songs stem from my own experiences, but I wanted to write them in a way that connects me with the experiences of other people and allows listeners to reflect on themselves. With Superdream, I created a surreal music environment that challenges & pushes not only my own personal boundaries, but also those of my contribution to electronic music.”
—John Ochoa, October 2018