BIG SCARY’s Tom Iansek didn’t grow up around a lot of music. This is a curious shift from the norm, where musicians confidently express that their parents were creative impresarios, nurturing them to become the next Patti Smith or Mick Jagger. Iansek modestly shares, “I remember a patch of Enya and a bit of Mozart and Beethoven here or there but it was pretty sparse, musically. Because of that I’ve never been a big music listener and I’m only really just discovering artists now. Sometimes I just turn the radio off in the car because I prefer silence.” This is an unusual admission from someone so musically creative and with such an emotive style. When listening to songs like Autumn or Deep Freeze though, it’s permissible to observe that Big Scary may draw inspiration from moments of silence. After all, orchestral pieces or folk songs are usually more about the quiet.
This is perhaps best illustrated with their instrumental piece, Deep Freeze, which has been used as a soundtrack for a CARE Australia advertisement. Iansek says, “it’s interesting how much the context of a song can change. A filmmaker friend of ours used the same song and it works really well with that, but it’s a very different feel.”
Big Scary are not just known for their acoustic piano-driven tracks, they also rock out every once in a while. “We don’t really think a lot about what we release,” Iansek says, openly. “I’ve always felt that thinking about these things too much can destroy the magic of what you’re making. It’s worked for and against us, playing rock and folk. It’s hard to portray all of our music live; in most cases we end up only performing the rocky stuff.”
When comparing Deep Freeze with the new single Hamilton, it’s easy to see a unique and diverse sound emerging. Throughout the year Big Scary have released an EP for each season and the ‘final’ season, summer, is just around the corner. “We wanted the Summer EP to be a bit of a slap in the face after the other three seasons,” Iansek offers.
It has been a successful year for the band and they have recently been recognised by triple j with a J Award Unearthed nomination. Iansek must appreciate this as he hasn’t been so fortunate with his former project, Detective Social. “There are so many bands in Australia and not all that many people to listen to them. So it’s very difficult to get noticed,” he languishes. That being said, he is clearly excited to be nominated alongside bands like The Jezabels as he says that their song Hurt Me “is an incredible song! It’s one of those rare songs where from the first moment you hear it, you know it’s special.” Just as with The Jezabels, 2011 is likely to be another successful year for Big Scary.
Big Scary are playing the summer festival circuit, with stops at the Peats Ridge Festival on Wednesday December 29 (tickets through Oztix) and the Falls Festival at the end of December (check the website for dates and ticket details, depending on whether you’re interested in Lorne or Marion Bay).