SATURDAY & SUNDAY
“The L.A. band Magic Giant captures the energy and spirit of the past few waves of upbeat, passionate indie-folk.” – NPR
“Magic Giant represents the glory of “chill music.” This indie-folk band hails from California and exudes the state’s lax, welcoming energy. Going to see them feels like you are entering a friend’s home. All that friend wants to do is play music and hang out with you, to which you find the ease a nice change of pace.” – NY Theatre Review
Sounds Like: A boot-stomping, banjo-toting collective delivering boho-chic pop hooks somewhere between the Avett Brothers and the Chemical Brothers.
For Fans of: Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros, Imagine Dragons
Why You Should Pay Attention: The Los Angeles trio recently performed single “Set on Fire” live on the Today show, and the song has spent multiple weeks in the Top 40 of the Billboard Alternative Songs charts. Prior to founding Magic Giant, frontman Austin Bisnow notched credits writing for David Guetta, Steve Aoki and Nickelodeon boy band Big Time Rush. His ear for creating upbeat infectiousness and four-on-the-floor rhythms is still present, but now a wealth of folk instrumentation sets the tone.
Bisnow, banjo player Zambricki Li, and guitarist/cellist Brian “Zang” Zaghi’s mirthful debut full-length In the Wind features field recordings captured by their solar-powered mobile recording studio. Co-produced with Ben Allen (Walk the Moon, Animal Collective), the album binds together the three collaborators’ disparate tastes and emotions. So far, Magic Giant’s touring has teamed them with the Revivalists, Mike Posner and Eric Hutchinson, and festival appearances include Electric Forest and Wanderlust. “We have all these different backgrounds and we butt heads at every moment of diversion,” says Zaghi. “There’s three of us, so there’s never a tie.”
They Say: “The most common thing we do is play in front of a ton of people, but [performing on Today] was in front of no people – except Hoda, Kathie Lee, Elvis Duran and a crew of people behind cameras,” Zaghi says. “With no people to bounce energy off of, we found it within each other. They’re either really good at faking how much they loved us, or they really loved the performance. It all went over so smoothly. We were like, ‘Wow, this is what paradise feels like.'”
Hear for Yourself: The propulsive, folk-flavored “Set on Fire” is perfect music festival fare.
Austin Bisnow (lead vocals), Zambricki Li (banjo, violin, harmonica), and Zang (acoustic guitar, cello) welcomed nature into the fold as their unofficial fourth member.
In 2016 MAGIC GIANT moved bodies and souls in over thirty cities across North America, touring with bands such as Mike Posner and Beats Antique and playing festivals ranging from Electric Forest to Lightning in a Bottle.
The LA indie band has built a reputation for its infectious sing-alongs and communal live experiences, blending folk instruments (banjo, fiddle, harmonica) with big drums and dance rhythms. They recorded their debut album from their solar-powered mobile recording studio and are set to release on May 19, 2017.
Inside a Redwood tree off the coast of California; within a tunnel by Snoqualmie Pass; on an airstrip in Marble, Colorado; in a wild daisy field near Crested Butte—these are just a few of the places Los Angeles trio, Magic Giant, recorded its debut album, aptly titled, In the Wind.
MAGIC GIANT represents the union of three distinct, dynamic, and diverse artistic voices. Since his childhood in Washington, D.C., Austin obsessively pursued his love of songwriting. He studied classical composition and then went on to write songs with artists ranging from John Legend to David Guetta. New Jersey native Zambricki got hit by a car in junior high, fell into a coma, and once he woke, miraculously learned violin in 4 days through a rare brain trauma reorganization now known as Acquired Savant Syndrome: “If I could go back, I’d throw myself in front of the car,” Zambricki chuckles. Later on he began writing and one of his first songs was featured in the Sundance-awarded film Paper Heart. Born and raised in Los Angeles to Persian immigrants, Zang learned upright bass in grade school before picking up guitar and studying dance. He caught the attention of Austin and Zambricki when they came across online videos of him salsa dancing and were instantly hooked.
The three are an unlikely match, but their magnetic chemistry can get any crowd moving, from a sold out show at the legendary Troubadour to a sunset music or yoga festival audience. The group has recently toured with bands such as Beats Antique, The Revivalists, and Mike Posner.
“It was fate,” recalls Zambricki. “We were scheduled to play all these festivals—Electric Forest, Wanderlust, Lightning in a Bottle—that just so happened to be in really beautiful parts of the country.” During Spring 2016, the boys bought a shuttle bus, converted it into a solar-powered mobile recording studio, added a California King on hydraulics, and fondly named her Queen Elizabeth. “There were spaces of time between shows where we could get creative,” explains Zang. “Using the bus to power microphones, we recorded outside—literally In The Wind—across North America.”
“Living in the city, it’s easy to forget how enchanting the road can be,” Zang adds. “We recorded anywhere and everywhere. There were no ceilings or limits to what we could capture.”
Just before Magic Giant hit the road, their single “Set on Fire” began heating up. Independently released, it went from their studio to #4 on Spotify’s US Viral 50, eventually amassing nearly 4 million streams in less than a year. It became a favorite on Los Angeles radio, hitting #1 on KROQ’s Locals Only. It was after this success that the three-piece landed a deal with Washington Square. Billboard claimed, “With a joyful live show the band is inspiring mass dance-alongs,” while NPR wrote, “Magic Giant captures the energy and spirit of the past few waves of upbeat, passionate indie-folk.”
In The Wind threads together a musical cartography of alternative, pop, and folk. The instrumentation includes (get ready…) orchestral drums, banjo, trumpet, saxophone, harmonica, synthesizers, electric bass, cello, viola, violin, dobro, lap steel, mandolin, and more as the musical and lyrical palettes prove equally vibrant.
“We use whatever instruments are best for the song,” says Austin. “Lyrically, when we get together to write,” adds Zang, “it’s different from what we would have imagined individually. That’s the beauty of co-writing—we become one unique voice we may never have found on our own.”
The road eventually took the band to Atlanta, where they met up with producer Ben Allen to help glue the body of work together. Returning home to their converted 1940’s bomb-shelter studio, The Bunker, Magic Giant put the finishing touches on their debut record. Austin leaves us with, “When people hear our music or experience a show, we want to bring out the most uninhibited version of themselves.”