Power packed rock-metal duo Big Business are on the road and proving why the the two of them are more than enough to create the best music they’ve ever written.
By Veronica Lee
Larimer Lounge is not traditionally a place synonymous with peace; hosting live concerts of touring and local bands alike, things get fun and rowdy on most nights of the week. With lights strung along the front and back patios, there is a hustle and bustle of bartenders amongst patrons who are ordering another round. Door persons dutifully check credentials upon admittance into the dimly lit dive and a small mob around a merchandise table is the typical scene. However, before the sun sets and the lights come up to a hue slightly brighter than pitch black, a different vibe exists inside Larimer. Drum kits setting up, vocalists “checking” their levels and gear constantly being rearranged to accommodate the array of amplifiers, this is an extremely casual space. And today, a couple of touring musicians are chilling on an empty back patio while in town for one-night-only. These guys are the duo, Big Business, and patiently playing the usual waiting game of the day before the night’s performance.
Originating as a two-piece, this metal band is currently comprised of Jared Warren on bass and vocals and Coady Willis on drums and backing vocals. Big Business, @BigBigBiz, made their way out of Seattle in the mid-2000’s with the vision of making music and doing whatever the hell they wanted. Over the span of five albums, the journey of the band has been a self-finding circle and now they are back to their roots. Big Business relocated to Los Angeles as a duo and were introduced and asked to join the band The Melvins for the recording of two albums and a couple years of touring. Jared and Coady came back to Big Business, adding guitarist Toshi Kasai to make the power trio and entered a brief stint of a fierce foursome with guitarist Scott Martin. Now, Big Business find themselves together again as a two-piece and are completely content. “We just realized that a two-piece is easier,” Coady candidly shares. And, you can’t deny, as Jared points out, “It’s a great gimmick.”
After playing together for the better part of 10 years, the two have found a comfortable place in their stride. When it comes to writing, they rely on each other for their strengths and what they bring to the band individually, as well as collectively. Jared is the primary vocalist and lyric writer while often times Coady jumps in with a melody they can build from. Big Business is truly a collaboration between the two of them and it’s clear how and why it works so well. And, Jared reveals, every song’s process is different. “Sometimes we may have nothing, and just jam on something… and then sometimes there’s a beat or a melody,” and Coady adds, “Sometimes you just beat a dead horse for months and then we finally decide it’s not good and get rid of it completely.” There was one song in particular, “Send Help” off the latest album Command Your Weather, that Coady remembers as one of those tracks he didn’t think would actually make the album. “I came up with the melody on bells that I have, and we had that riff for a long time. Once we finally put his (Jared’s) vocals on top of it, I thought it was one of the best songs we’ve ever done. I thought it came out as something really different than what we normally do, really strong and beautiful.”
Command Your Weather was approached a bit differently than their albums in the past. “It had been a while since we’ve done that, make a record as a two-piece, intentionally,” they explain. “When we first started we weren’t necessarily committed to it remaining a two-piece. It just so happened that we couldn’t find anybody who was right.” And though they have had various members come and go, they decided to approach this record with the purpose of making it sound full and the expectation and intention of only two people playing the songs live.
There is a big difference between how they write to record for the album versus playing those songs live. “Anytime we record something in the studio we always add some bells and whistles, just to make up for what you don’t get.” In Command Your Weather, the band approached this album differently than they had in the past. “With the last record, we were definitely focused on being a two-piece,” Jared explains. These guys put on a hell of live a show as the duo, with endless amounts of energy exploding from each and every song. The live set is packed with intention and depth; fans get an experience that includes visual excitement and extra loud audio along with the intensity of being in a crowded space with other head-banging and fist-pumping metal enthusiasts.
The two have quite the catalog of original music to choose from when it comes to creating the tour set-list. They have, in the past and extremely recently, covered songs by other artists in the studio, it’s not something they often play live. “I don’t think we have played a cover since we’ve been a two piece again,” Jared shares. Coady sums it up in that it’s simply because they are still excited to play the new music that they don’t need to fall back on cover songs, yet. “Since our last record came out, I guess we haven’t toured enough on it to be sick of the songs to start doing cover songs.” There simply isn’t enough space to play all the songs they already have, much less add covers. “If we find something that flows really well, we stick with that program,” Coady explains. “And then we find our spots to goof around,” and he goes on to explain it’s important for them to carve out time to allow impromptu improvisation during the show, in order to keep each performance unique and fresh.
The stop here in Denver is the fourth on this particular tour, the third leg of playing this record after releasing Command Your Weather in 2016. Immediately after the release of the album, Jared and Coady hit the road in a national tour that started in October of 2016, they hit 23 cities in 30 days. They then hopped on a jet to Europe in March and saw an even more grueling schedule. “We had a pretty unrelenting tour,” Coady explains, “We did 19 shows in a row. Then we had a few days off and then did 12 more shows after that so it was pretty brutal.” With most of those days spent in a van or bus, driving from one venue to the next, not a lot time can be spent visiting and exploring the cities they hit. So, what do the guys to do to kill all that time and keep from going stir crazy? “Look at your phone! Duh,” Jared jokes. But seriously. “I read some books in Europe, but only because my phone didn’t work in the van. But now, my phone works in van on this tour, so I haven’t been reading my books,” he laughs. “The President doesn’t do it, so why should I?” Jared, is unfortunately, not joking anymore.
The band finds that Twitter, unlike the President, isn’t the place that Big Business goes to in order to get in touch with fans. While the website is outdated, Facebook and Instagram are where you can find out what’s going on with @BigBigBiz. And, when it comes to representation, the guys are putting out the content they want in the way they want. They utilize a booking agent as well as the team that’s already a part of their record label, and what you see is what they got. Gold Metal Records is their own label in partnership with Joyful Noise Recordings, and Jared and Coady are in complete control of their own music. “It’s nice to have our own thing where we can do it how we want, when we want, in whatever format we want,” Coady explains.
While the guys love creating and playing music, and are known for crafting heavy and robust songs, that’s not the only thing they are experts at crafting. “I’m a big fan of weird food projects,” Jared shares, “fermenting foods and curing meats.” Coady has jumped in the cooking realm as well, and has even acquired some tips and recipes from Jared that he’s enjoying crafting in LA. They enjoy living in LA, and find solace in the way that one can blend in and disappear just as easily as one can be surrounded by people and friends. They get out to see live shows to support other artists and performers and Coady speaks highly of one in particular; the one-man-show performance artist by name of Andy the Door Bum.
At the end of the night, after exiting the stage of another show well done, the guys hang out to meet and take photos with fans. Some have traveled as far away as Grand Junction to catch the show, and were not disappointed. It’s easy to see why Big Business has not only been invited to perform with other artists but also has a fan following that supports their ability to tour and continue to make music that allows them to explore their creativity and speak their voices. Not only are they extremely talented song writers, they perform with maximum effort every time and are relatable and down to Earth good guys. Ultimately, BigBigBiz is the real deal.
Check out the Slideshow of Big Business at Larimer Lounge with Native Daughters and Bronze HERE!