Sometimes you just have to keep going to make the magic happen.
When Austin Bisnow met Zambricki after recently moving to L.A., neither knew that the other had made the same New Year’s resolution to put a band together. United on dreams, the duo played a handful of shows, reveled in the California music scene, and then—as often what happens with artistic dreams—fizzled out. Little did they know that the wheels were already in motion, that a scout from Sweetlife Music Festival was already onto them, and that fate would come knocking on their studio door a mere six months later.
After a couple of encouraging performances, Austin and Zambricki realized their dreamy, harmonic bluegrass-inspired stylings were missing something, and began to weave in mandolins, live horns, and drum machines. They soon found the missing link: Brian Zaghi, on upright bass and guitar. Magic Giant was born.
You can find the band NPR has said “captures the energy and spirit of the past few waves of upbeat, passionate indie-folk” at three Wanderlust Festivals this summer. We checked in with Magic Giant as they were preparing for Wanderlust Stratton.
You had a roundabout way of gaining notoriety—and almost broke up before it happened. How important is persistence to success?
We definitely have an optimism to our music. So many things have had to happen the way they have for us to come together and be where we are today. We definitely embrace synchronicity and serendipity and try to capitalize on luck when it strikes.
NPR said your 2015 hit, “Let it Burn” would “sound equally at home at Burning Man or the Bowery Ballroom.” Is making feel-good music that appeals to diverse audiences part of your mission?
We love to dance, and when you’re music is groovy and makes you move, it tends to feel good. Our lyrics can be heavier and hold deeper meaning and our hope is that the listener can experience it on any level.
The festivals you’re playing on this tour are largely geared toward alternative or mindful living. Do you practice mindfulness in your everyday lives? What are some of your routines or practices?
The festivals have been rubbing off on us! Our goal is to absorb practices and teachings from all the wise people we try to surround ourselves with. When we get flustered, we try to remember to take a deep breath; treat each other kindly and with compassion. We try to be grateful for every moment because we never know which could be our last. We try to speak in the affirmative. We try to laugh and smile often. We recently played a festival that was right next to a creek and we jumped in after sound-check. And we definitely try to eat healthy and organic whenever possible.
Why are communal live performance experiences important?
When people come together it changes everything. That’s why we are a band rather than a solo act. The literal vibration with each other is stimulating in a different way. When people come together to celebrate life, to dance, to sing, to share an experience together, everyone’s experience is magnified, and people leave more fulfilled and full of live than when they arrived. And they are as much a part of it as we are—give and take—push and pull. That’s what we feed off of.
What’s special or unique about the Wanderlust experience?
To generalize, everyone who goes to Wanderlust is going for joy and for self-improvement of some sort, even if that’s to get in better shape. There is a palpable energy there: People are pumped up and high on life—lots of smiles, laughs, hugs, and free spirits. We really connect with the values of the community, healthy living and mindfulness. Unlike some other festivals, where people go to get wasted, people come here to learn, to practice, to get clear, to engage, to be present. They are open-hearted and ready to give and receive. They come to our shows ready to love us, which for a band, is the most gratifying thing to be welcomed with.
Lisette Cheresson is a writer, yoga teacher, filmmaker, and adventuress who is an avid composter, traveler, and dirt-collector. When she’s not attempting to create pretty sentences or reading pretty sentences other people have created, it’s a safe bet that she’s either hopping a plane, dancing, practicing yoga, or baking a pie. She is currently the Managing Editor of Wanderlust Media.