Introducing: Big Troubles

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Published June 30, 2010

Big Troubles is Alex Craig and Ian Drennan, two Jersey boys with preferences for synth pop from the 1980s, shoegaze from the ’90s, and deep-fried hot dogs from Ruttâ??s Hut in Clifton, New Jersey. Despite having formed the band less than a year ago, Big Troublesâ??whose debut full-length LP, Worry, comes out this summerâ??has already created a significant buzz in the blogosphere and garnered an enthusiastic, albeit troubled following. Alex and Ian attribute their rapid rise to a current fascination with the Garden State, but their loud, fuzzy and infectious music might also have something to do with it. Before their show at Shea Stadium in Bushwick, part of last weekendâ??s Northside Festival, we talked about the bandâ??s influences, and the allure of the â??jerz.

HOW DID YOU GET YOUR START? DRENNAN: We started this in July, beginning of August, last year. We went to high school together, and then Alex went to college in New York, and Iâ??m still in college in Boston, so we kind of lost touch for a while. Last summer, we just decided to record. HOW WAS THE FIRST SHOW? DRENNAN: The first show was in late August, in New York, at the Market Hotel. It was the Underwater Peoples showcase, their first showcaseâ??actually, their only showcase. CRAIG: It was cool. We played with a lot of bands we really liked; the first show was good. It was with Real Estate, Ducktails, Beach Fossilsâ?¦ THE NEW JERSEY SOUND: DRENNAN: For whatever reason, thereâ??s been a lot of interest focused on Bergen County, where weâ??re from. I think because we attribute a lot of this fast progression of our project to being from New Jersey, we sort of try to counter that by maybe not playing into whatâ??s understood to be the â??New Jersey sound.â? CRAIG: A lot of the bands from our town people associate a sort of laid back, breezy, easy kind of thing. And we love all of our hometown friendsâ?? bands, but itâ??s just funny that people sort of lump us in with that, because we donâ??t really sound like that at all. BIGGEST MUSICAL INFLUENCES: DRENNAN: A lot of early to mid-90s sort of noise garage rock. CRAIG: We sort of got into that music together at the same time when we were in high school and stuff, so it was almost sort a of a bonding thing for us that we got into a lot of shoegaze bands when we were like 15 or 16 together. DRENNAN: We also listen to a lot of funky â??80s synth pop. CRAIG Because we really love pop music more than anything. NON-MUSICAL INFLUENCES: CRAIG: Iâ??d say Larry David is the biggest non-musical influence on Big Troubles. DRENNAN: I guess you could say Guy Debord for me. FAVORITE RECORDING FUEL: DRENNAN: When Alex and I first started recording together, when were kind of unsure of whether we wanted to combine our separate projects, I think we would end most of the recording sessions by going to Ruttâ??s Hut, kind of like a period on the day. They serve deep-fried hotdogs called Rippers, because they rip when you deep-fry them. CRAIG: And they have the most amazing homemade relish, which falls into the ripped crack in the dog. DRENNAN: Actually, Ruttâ??s Hut might be our biggest non-musical influence.

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