Big Scary Bio 2013
Tom Iansek and Jo Syme emerged on Melbourne’s music scene as Big Scary in 2006 with a recognizable chemistry, genre-defying spirit, and a less-is-more approach to songwriting.
Between Iansek’s evocative falsetto, Syme’s economic drumming, and their commitment to self-sustained production, Big Scary’s music is the product of two minds in unison. Tom and Jo approach songwriting with understated ambition, drawing inspiration from the living rooms of suburbia to the elements of Mother Nature herself. The result a rich, diverse catalogue of songs and style. Fuzzy garage rock sits effortlessly beside pocket-orchestrated ballads, idyllic melodies maneuver through piano-led landscapes as unfussy textures are unseated by good old-fashioned rock.
Following a series of early self-released singles and EPs, Big Scary released the intimately crafted debut album Vacation via the band’s own label Pieater (pronounced pie-eater) in Australia (2011) and America (2012).
Recorded with close friend and producer Sean Cook (former bass player of Yves Klein Blue), and mixed by Gareth Parton (The Go! Team, Foals, The Breeders), Vacation is a beautifully subtle, focused set. The album brought the pair widespread acclaim, feted by fans and critics alike, and earned the duo Triple J nominations for ‘Album Of The Year’ and ‘Breakthrough Artist Of The Year’ at home in Australia in 2011.
2012 saw Big Scary emerge on a worldwide stage – earning critical acclaim overseas with a North American tour that saw Tom and Jo play SXSW, CMW, CMJ, impressing hard-to-impress audiences in Los Angeles, New York City, Austin, and more with their trademark versatility, lovable magnetism, intelligent songwriting and dynamic live performances. After America, the band traveled to India, flying the flag for Australia at the Music Connects India Music Forum in Mumbai.
Following their travels, a homecoming beckoned, and Tom and Jo holed up in a house-turned-recording-studio-tuned-headquarters in the Australian countryside. Nine months later Big Scary gave birth to their second album - the boldly titled Not Art.
Two words, two syllables – but one very big idea; Not Art draws its name from the contradictory nature of creation, attempting to undermine the expectations of the artist’s responsibility, the pretension that everything must have meaning.
Recorded and produced by Big Scary’s own Tom Iansek, and mixed by the Grammy Award winning Tom Elmhirst at Electric Lady Studios in New York, Not Art transports with a towering guitar that blows tremolo chords like dust balls across a stark yet expansive rhythmic landscape; Syme’s reverberating tom hits rumbling like warm clouds overhead, as cooing synths gild Iansek’s distinguished vocals.
At its core, Not Art contemplates the artist's journey, their search for meaning and their interpretation of and reaction to others’ art in the process of making sense of their own. The album distills influences of indie rock song structure, pop and hip-hop production, and experimental ambient music and sees Big Scary pushing further towards their next creative destination.
Not Art is preceded by the lead single Luck Now and will see a stateside release via Barsuk Records September 17th 2013.