When Coachella released this year's lineup, I scoured it, crossing my fingers that a certain band would be playing the festival. Sure enough, I saw Magic Giant's name listed on the second row from the bottom. I was ecstatic!
You see when I had a phone call a few weeks prior with the band's lead singer, Austin Bisnow, he had told me to keep an eye out for tour dates that were going to be announced after the new year. I had my speculations because they have been rising in popularity, selling out some of their own headlining shows, and playing major festivals such as Firefly Music Festival, but I didn't want to get my hopes up. But sure enough, I was not disappointed.
The creation of Magic Giant, comprised of Austin Bisnow, Zambricki Li, and Zang, started about six years ago, "We both coincidentally had this New Year’s resolution of starting a band," Bisnow said, "So I reached out to as many people as I could, probably 60 or 70 people and tried to get musicians that played instruments like banjo, harmonica, mandolin, violin, cello. Those are kind of the sounds I was really attracted to and one friend said 'Well I know someone who plays all of them' and introduced me to Zambricki". Austin Bisnow and Zambricki Li, hit it off as a songwriting pair from the start, but there was still something missing.
Zang was introduced to the band after Austin saw him playing bass at a show. While he seemed,"...very unassuming...", at first, a Youtube search that uncovered videos of Zang salsa dancing, showed that his spark was exactly what the band needed, "...in every way Zang balanced Zambricki and I whose personalities are very different. When he joined everything clicked. That’s when we became Magic Giant."
Upon first hearing their music, back in June, the name "Magic Giant" seemed to fit their overall vibe so well. When I asked Austin how they came up with it he referenced a Ted Talk by Peter Tunney, in which he talks about his mentor Jonas Salk, "...he described his mentor as a giant in every sense of the word. When he showed photos of him he wasn’t physically tall or big at all...we thought that was so cool that you don't have to be big to be a giant". Thus, Magic Giant was formed.
The sound of this band is unlike any other that I've heard before. While it's most definitely indie pop, there are so many instruments that allude to folk, that don't make up a standard pop song, such as electric violin, harmonica, and banjo. It seemed as though it would take a while to find that sound, but that doesn't appear to be the case, "I think in the grand scheme of things we knew we wanted a blend of acoustic and synthetic, and we knew we wanted it to be dancy. I forget who gave me this advice, but if you just be fully yourself, it’ll automatically be unique because every person is unique".
Not only is their sound unique, but their recording process was as well. Their debut album In the Wind, that came out in May, was recorded in the most bizarrely amazing places ranging from an airstrip to the inside of a tree, "..."Jade” we were recording banjo on… that was probably the coolest spot, inside this Redwood tree in Northern California, in Humboldt. Actually, the place is called Avenue of the Giants. We were like ok c’mon." This is unlike any recording process I've ever heard of, but it sounds like an opportunity of a lifetime.
Their shows reflect their album, in the way that they are quirky, fun dance parties. With the album only coming out in May and the band now being listed on Coachella's lineup, Magic Giant is climbing in popularity. I asked Austin what he thought of how successful the band has become in what seems to the fans as a short amount of time and his words were ones of inspiration, "We like to say, well I actually got this from my football coach in college, but 'You’re never there. You’re never not there. You're always on the way'”.
The band is currently touring the US all throughout February and into March, as well as playing Coachella, BottleRock and Bunbury Music Festival in the spring. For tour dates and tickets to the Magic Misfits Tour click here. Their latest single "Window" is a bop and the video is even better! Magic Giant is truly one of a kind. Not only is their music insanely amazing, but they are also some of the nicest people. If this is the direction music is headed we'll all be in for a treat.
This article can also be found on The Odyssey.