If you’re a fan of Steely Dan or Jerry Paper, then you will love Big Soda. The brainchild of multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter Josh Jacobs, Big Soda is quirky, groovy, catchy and enthralling. Jacobs’ latest release his his “art-rock meets bossa nova” EP Songs for Rich People! We spoke with Big Soda about his new EP, inspirations and deepest, darkest fears.
OSR: Let’s jump straight in. What is the backstory to your EP Songs for Rich People!?
Big Soda: This project came from a place of fun and experimentation. At the beginning of this year, I was going through a seriously obsessive Steely Dan phase. All I wanted to do was make fun of society and produce the crap out of everything.
OSR: Did you face any challenges when writing and recording the EP?
Big Soda: This EP was honestly harder to make than any of my other albums. A lot of the instrumentation is really unconventional, for better or worse, and that makes it tough to know how to layer and mix things in a pleasing way. For example, the kick drum in ‘Smoke Weed Every Day’ is actually the sound of me tapping my finger against the microphone. I liked the sound, but getting that tiny little thump to sound big and convincing is tough! Lots of production on the project is made up of found sounds like that; pencils scraping against desks, tapping guitar pics on random things, salt-shakers as shakers. How do you make a rock record out of that? Who knows!
OSR: A few years ago you moved from being in bands to a solo career as Big Soda. Why did you choose to “go solo” and was the transition difficult?
Big Soda: I love collaborating with my friends, but I’ve always felt hungry to write and produce music by myself. I’ll definitely still participate in bands in the future, but for now I want to be able to air out my own weird ideas uninterrupted. It’s honestly a mental health thing – Big Soda gives me an outlet to dump my control-freakdom and neuroticism so it doesn’t pollute my collaborative projects.
OSR: How would you describe your music to a person who has never heard of Big Soda before?
Big Soda: It’s tough to do, but I’d say it’s something like bossa nova/folk/rock/jazz. Is sophisto-pop still a thing? Honestly, you kind of have to hear it and define it for yourself. I go to lengths not to sound too familiar!
OSR: What inspires you to make music?
Big Soda: I’m inspired by content of all different kinds; music, movies, podcasts, radio, etc. Something about entertaining material that can be enjoyed over and over again forever is addictive and romantic to me. Music is just the form I happened to pick for myself.
OSR: If you had a genie and had three wishes, what would the wishes be? No wishing for more wishes!
Big Soda: I wish for more upward mobility in quality of life for all human beings, especially disenfranchised and discouraged ones. Second wish: I want to live in a world where creativity, originality and honesty are valued over marketability and accessibility. Plus a Tesla.
OSR: What is your greatest accomplishment as a musician?
Big Soda: I think the discography itself is my biggest accomplishment. A few people listen and a few more like it, but the content itself will be around forever. I’m immortal!
OSR: What is your deepest, darkest fear?
Big Soda: Drowning. Like, think about it. Yikes.
OSR: What are your thoughts regarding people returning to live shows, sporting events, etc. during this pandemic?
Big Soda: I all seriousness, we have to take it really slowly. I wish we were taking the “getting back to normal” process way slower than it’s happening. The thing with people suffering and dying is you have to be more careful than you think you do. I’m kind of a studio hermit anyway so I’m ready for a few more months of bunkering.
OSR: What is your favourite review of your music to date?
Big Soda: Hard to pick, but KMS Reviews said my track ‘Telephone’ off my last album sounded like a “vacation”. I’ll take it!
OSR: Do you have any future plans?
Big Soda: This project is a sort of conclusion to some musical ideas for me, so it will probably be the last Big Soda one for a while. That being said, I’m doing tons of collaboration, production work and features- so stay tuned! I’m a busy guy and workaholic… lots and lots of music coming soon!