This summer, Boss the Big Bit switches to adventure mode to release their debut album. In the fall, it’s game over.
“8-bit Potion,” the video-game-inspired anthem by Sacramento party-geek trio Boss the Big Bit, is one sweet jam. Teddy Briggs’ authoritative voice chases after a fleet of Goombas (or some other 8-bit enemies) seemingly generated by the band’s frenetic music. Guitarist Gonzalo Eyzaguirre fuses his rapid-fire pogo-stick tones with the square waves coming from Andrew Bell’s Korg MS2000BR. “Never work a nine-to-five,” Briggs chants. The Goombas reappear before Briggs’ voice renders them a pixilated dust cloud. “I’ve figured out the special moves,” he brags. In closing, Briggs sings about beating the game and starting over to play it again. “I can’t accept the end,” he concludes.
“8-bit Potion” is a typical Big Bit tune for a few reasons. Its lyrics hint at post-college routines and social expectations, bemusement at one’s own mental state and, of course, a passion for video games. Its intertwined synth-and-guitar sounds tickle the listener with their playfulness. Its straight-ahead rock drumming can turn on a dime to drop kick new beats and induce mania. Eyzaguirre describes his music this way: “When I’m playing, the main thing that I want is for people to be able to freak out. I basically want to see mayhem in front of us.”
Check. At a Delta of Venus show in Davis a while back, musician Justin Mahoney got bit by the Big Bit and was left writhing on the dance floor. “There is something about them where they have this totally fun party vibe that is not fake at all,” Mahoney said. “It makes you feel good inside.” Then he went home inspired to write more songs with his own band, Spider Friends.
Briggs says that when he first heard Hello Nasty by the Beastie Boys in high school, it opened his eyes to what can be done by embracing different genres. Accordingly, Boss the Big Bit’s repertoire shows some variety. One moment the music might evoke the fuzzy aural blankets of Mates of State, and the next, say, in songs like “The Eagle Has Landed,” a tongue-in-cheek homage to keg stands and confrontations with the Davis po-po, it becomes a lo-fi rap/rock landscape á la Ice-T’s Body Count. Briggs says strong rhythm is the main priority. “When you hear our music, you have to bob your head or move to it somehow.”
Big Bit’s self-titled album drops this month on KDVS Recordings, the nonprofit label run out of Davis radio station KDVS 90.3 FM, where all three members of the band have roots. (As UC Davis undergrads, they each hosted radio shows there until graduating last year.) After a CD release show Saturday, June 2, at the fifth Operation Restore Maximum Freedom festival (see “Corporate-drone bro-dawgs need not apply,” right), the band sets off for a Northwest tour, returning to Sacramento on June 15 for a show at Javalounge.
But despite newfound success, Big Bit soon will be reaching for the reset button. Bell recently informed his bandmates that instead of taking next year off to play shows with them, he’s off to architecture school in Texas. At first, the announcement tempered the group’s enthusiasm for touring, but now Eyzaguirre says he’s more at peace with the change. “I’m proud of the album and excited to go out and play for people. If they like it, they can take the music home with them,” he says. “After that, it will be time for a new project.”
Briggs adds that he will continue to play with Eyzaguirre after Big Bit’s demise. Both say they’re committed to making music a priority, at the expense of other career prospects. “At this point, I have to do music as much as I can,” Briggs says. “It is just so satisfying to make sweet jams.”
Both Briggs and Eyzaguirre see music as a long-term process, something that can’t be thwarted when any particular project comes to an end. It’s like video games: After winning, you start over and play again.