Indie folk band Magic for Giant to play free concert at Canyons Village
Magic Giant will play at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 18, at Canyons Village. The concert is free and open to the public. For information, visit www.magicgiant.com.
Zambricki Li, violinist and banjoist for indie folk band Magic Giant, likens recording an album to painting a picture.
“We all like to have these different instruments in our palette,” Li said, “and when we go on tour it’s like we’re taking an art exhibit to the people.”
Magic Giant will bring its musical display to town with a 6 p.m. gig on Saturday, Aug. 18, at Canyons Village. The show is free and open to the public.
The band — Li, vocalist and keyboardist Austin Bisnow and guitarist and cellist Zang — is currently touring in support of two releases, the full-length album “In the Wind” and a five-song extended play “In the Wind (Acoustic).”
The band recorded “In the Wind” during the band’s two-month festival tour last year.
“We outfitted our bus with solar panels and turned it into a recording studio,” Li said. “In between the festivals, we would book a time in nature to record. We would look at the schedule and see we were headed to Wanderlust Tahoe and decide to record in the Redwoods.”
Other tracks were recorded in a mountain pass in the Pacific Northwest and a Colorado daisy field, the violinist said.
“It was like an adventure,” Li said. “It was like one-third camping, one-third recording and one-third festival tour.”
Earlier this year, the band decided to record the EP, which was inspired by its live acoustic sets.
“People have responded to those sets, so we decided to record some songs that way,” Li said. “We recorded the EP in five days. It was fast, but also minimal and sparse.”
Magic Giant, according to the violinist, is collaborative in every sense of the word.
“The way we decide on what songs to put on an album, to where to play, to what songs we play, is really just a running conversation,” Li said. “What draws us closer together is all about making something together and becoming our best creative selves. There are no mistakes, and that spirit makes the shows fun for us.”
Playing live also proves to be an enjoyable challenge because each musician plays a variety of instruments, Li said.
“Zang, our guitarist, plays cello and drums in certain parts of the songs,” he said. “Austin also plays synthesizer, and I play a bunch of other acoustic instruments. So when we play a song live, we have to do the opposite of how we recorded it in the studio. We have to reverse-engineer it.”
The trick is not to try playing the song to sound exactly like the recorded track.
“We want the audiences to have meaningful experiences, so we want the live show to be different,” Li said. “We want to connect with people through the live show, which is different than what we do with our records. In fact, with the music we’re recording now, we’re asking ourselves how we’re going to play the songs live.”
While inspirations for the songs come from various sources, most of them come from people and fans the band meets while on tour.
“They will come to us after a show and tell us a small story about something that happened in their lives,” Li said. “In many cases the germs and seeds of those stories will stay with us, collide and inspire us to write.”
The songs will go through some changes, even when the band is recording them for an album.
“As we go along we will make some changes, because we like to keep things fluid,” Li said. “And each of us will find the instrument or instruments that are right for each song. A lot of time there will be one strong acoustic element in our songs. That element can be banjo, guitar or violin.”
Li wanted to play the violin because of the emotion it can express.
“People have told me the violin is the instrument that is closest to the human voice, because when you play it, you can express yourself almost as effectively as if you were singing,” he said. “And I was always drawn to the warm sound of acoustic instruments and how the music could fill a space.”
Magic Giant is currently working on recording new material that Li said will be released in a few months.
“There are two different ways to share the art,” he said. “When we play live, we can share the music with people face-to-face. When we make a record, we can share the music with people around the world. And that’s something we will continue to do.”
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