STORY WRITTEN BY GARY GRAFF
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Alan Wilkis started Big Data a few years back as a solo concern, a chance for him to make electropop flavored music with an assortment of singers.
But in the wake of its first full album, this year’s guest-laden “2.0,” Big Data has become a touring entity, which has created a new dynamic that Wilkis is coming to terms with.
“I guess I like the feeling of having options,” Wilkis, 33, explains by phone while getting a take-out salad in Brooklyn, where he lives and works. “When I started the project it was really just me in my basement. But as I’ve figured out what the live experience was, it’s really kind of become a band. It really feels like a unit, the camaraderie and everything.
“It’s really me at the heart of it, but the live show is a band, and I think going forward I’ll still sort of walk the line between sometimes its more of a producer thing and sometimes it’s a band thing.”
That said, Wilkis — who had a No. 1 Alternative hit with “Dangerous” from “2.0” and has recently remixed songs for X Ambassadors and Lights — acknowledges that having a touring band has had a definite and tangible impact on the way he approaches music since Big Data began going on the road.
“I’m starting to write new stuff and I definitely think more about how the songs will work as a performance as I’m writing them, which was never really part of the process for me before. I always came at things from more of an electronic music angle, and now I think about, ‘How would this feel with a live drummer or live harmonizing or guitar parts?’
“It’s definitely an added layer I didn’t used to think about, so that’s really cool. It gives me something new to think about and pushes me in a good way. I never really want to feel like I’m doing the same thing again, so it’s good to have different things and new things to look at.”