The Five Question Challenge with Magic Giant

Magic Giant might be the most talked about band of the summer. (Photo credit & property of Brantley Gutierrez)

By: Jacob Elyachar,

It is a privilege to welcome Magic Giant to Jake’s Take.

Magic Giant is composed of singer-songwriter Austin Bisnow and instrumentalists Zambricki Li (banjo, violin, and harmonica) and Zang (acoustic guitar and cello). Since their formation in 2014, the Los Angeles-based trio Magic Giant has captured the imaginations of music fans around the country with their feel good music that put smiles on their fans’ faces.

Magic Giant’s single, “Set on Fire,” went to number four on Spotify’s US Viral 50 and amassed nearly 4,000,000 streams in less than a year.  Magic Giant’s music also caught the attention of numerous media outlets such as Billboard, who stated that “with a joyful live show, the band is inspiring mass dance-alongs.” NPR also added: “Magic Giant captures the energy and spirit of the past few waves of upbeat, passionate indie-folk.”

On May 12, Magic Giant will kick off its tour at San Francisco’s Popscene at the Rickshaw Shop before dropping their debut album, In the Wind, on May 19.  The In the Wind Tour will have stops in San Diego, Los Angeles, Denver, Wichita, Kansas City, Columbus, New York City, and Washington D.C. before concluding June 28 at Boston’s Red Room at Café 939.  Magic Giant is also expected to perform at the 2017 Emerge Festival, California Worldfest, and Seattle’s Capitol Hill Block Party.

The group took time out of their busy schedule to take The Five Question Challenge. In this edition, the band shared their origin story and their favorite parts of touring.

Jacob Elyachar: Could you please share Magic Giant’s origin story with my readers?

Austin Bisnow: Zambricki and I (Austin) were already friends when we found Zang. I saw him playing electric bass with a mutual friend, went home, looked him up and found videos of him salsa dancing. I showed Zambricki, and we were completely in awe! So we snatched him up, and we’ve all been best friends ever since.

JE: Let’s talk about the recording process. How long did it take the band to create your upcoming album, In the Wind, from concept to release?

Zambricki Li: When we started writing the songs initially, we had no vision for an album or anything – we were just creating them for fun and to see what would come of them when we performed them live. That was even before we started MAGIC GIANT. So that was probably in 2013. Once we met Zang at the beginning of 2014, everything clicked into place. It is cool looking back at that and how critical a turning point it was in all of our lives. “Let It Burn” was the first song the three of us wrote together. Then, after releasing an EP in 2015, we toured a bunch, wrote songs, toured some more, and hashed them out on the road. We ended up recording most of the actual album from May through September of 2016. The concept came because we were writing and recording on the road during that whole summer tour, from our solar-powered mobile recording studio in such beautiful parts of the country and Canada – literally recording parts of the album: In The Wind.

JE: On May 12, Magic Giant will launch its summer tour with a performance in San Francisco. What are some of your favorite parts of going on tour? Your least favorites?

Zang: Our favorite parts are the number one: the show itself – it’s so energizing, we could be tired from travel, and then the second we get on stage it’s a huge rush of energy, and we’re on top of the world. Second, seeing friends, fans, family, and familiar faces – such a bonus of going on the road and traveling to other people’s cities. Third, there’s so much work that leads up to releasing music and going on tour but when you’re out there, time sort of stands still.

JE: If the group had the chance to collaborate with several singer-songwriters or producers, who would be on the top of the list?

AB: Rick Rubin is one of our favorites, we love to write in the studio and from what we heard he is super inspiring to be around.

ZL: Mark Ronson is our kind of producer, in the way that he seems super technical and also very creative. When we heard Bruno Mars played the bass on ‘Uptown Funk’ we were sold, a lot of producers would use a session guy over the singer.

Zang: Benny Blanco is a big inspiration as well. His approach to finding sounds is unique, and everything he does sounds fresh.

JE: If you had the chance to meet with aspiring bands who want to work in the music industry, what advice would you share with them?

AB:  Songs are your biggest promoter, if people connect with them, they’ll want to be on the ground floor of what you are doing and share. We always say that great songs are not written, they are re-written. Make sure you have done the work and got some good ones in your pocket. Enjoy it!

For more information about In the Wind and Magic Giant’s upcoming tour, visit their website.

You can connect with the band on social media. Visit the Magic Giant’s Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, & YouTube channels.

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Copyright 2020 Jacob Elyachar