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Chatting with A Great Big World
MUSIC Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2013-06-18

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There's a great new pop band that's making a big splash called A Great Big World. Chad Vaccarino and Ian Axel formed the group in New York after attending NYU in 2012.

Thanks to the track "This Is the New Year" the duo is making waves and the TV show Glee picked up the song for the act's version of it on the episode "Naked." They even opened for Mr. Schuester himself, Matthew Morrison on tour. The song was also used in the title sequence of the Garry Marshall film New Year's Eve. Their positive message is quickly catching on in a big way.

Before their recent show in Evanston at Space we talked about new music and how they came together in the first place.

Windy City Times: Hey, guys. Have you been to Chicago before?

Ian Axel: Yes, we have but not for an extended time.

Chad Vaccarino: We always have a great time when we are there.

WCT: Space in Evanston has really good acoustics.

Ian Axel: We love it and have been there before. The people that come are music listeners who are quiet. I love the fact that they have a grand piano.

WCT: It is a great place to meet fans after the show.

Ian Axel: Yeah, and we are bringing our full band.

WCT: Where did the name of the band originate?

Chad Vaccarino: Specifically, it came from a lyric to one our songs. The song is called "Cheer Up!" The lyric is "there a great big world and there's no need to cry."

It iis not a kid's song but it is from a kid's perspective to the adults. It is larger than life and is under an umbrella from which you can do anything. A Great Big World is a great big name.

WCT: So it is not based on the Judy Garland song?

Chad Vaccarino: No, but it is funny—when you type it in on Google that is what you get. Choosing a band name was the hardest thing we ever had to do. If you want the biggest challenge of your life then think of a band name for yourself.

Ian Axel: It can't be anything that has ever happened before. It is like naming your child so we like the one we picked.

WCT: You two met in New York as students?

Ian Axel: We met in NYU when we were seniors in college.

WCT: You were studying music?

Ian Axel: Music business.

Chad Vaccarino: Ian was a transfer student from CU and we found each other in the practice rooms. I was looking for someone to make music with. I wasn't singing at the time. I was writing musicals and those types of melodies. When I met Chad I forced my friendship on him.

Ian Axel: When he found me in the practice room he was just humming all of his music. I told him he should be singing and needed to write and we should be friends.

Chad Vaccarino: We became brothers when we met. Ian got behind what I was doing. He helped me believe in myself. He started singing on the songs we were writing. That is when A Great Big World came together.

WCT: How long ago was this?

Chad Vaccarino: Seven years ago.

WCT: How did your song get on Glee?

Ian Axel: We specifically wanted it on Glee. Someone at Universal Publishing is a huge fan of ours. PJ Bloom is the music supervisor for the show and passed it along to Ryan Murphy. The timing was so freaking perfect because they were working on the episode and Ryan was actually familiar with the song. It all happened super fast.

WCT: How do you think it turned out?

Chad Vaccarino: We were blown away. The energy was spot on. It was an honor.

WCT: Some people may have not known it was your song and thought it was an original Glee song.

Chad Vaccarino: Totally. It was the same thing with the group fun. because they had a track on Glee before anyone knew who they were. There are some similarities with us and that band, which is cool.

WCT: They are big gay supporters.

Ian Axel: We saw them on a commercial about it one time.

Chad Vaccarino: It was the Human Rights campaign.

WCT: What inspired the song "This Is a New Year?"

Chad Vaccarino: We were young and it was a couple years back. We were living in New York.

Ian Axel: I feel like a New Year's party was the biggest influence in the song and the inspiration.

Chad Vaccarino: We had come from a very insane New Years party in the middle of Pennsylvania. On the drive back to NYC and we felt this energy to live life. We can say the things we want to say in song and people are connecting with us. We are so lucky.

Ian Axel: With the holiday we could start over and make resolutions. That can be applied to every moment of your life.

WCT: You are working on new music right now, correct?

Chad Vaccarino: We are working all week in the studio. We go back today to finish the new album. There is one song in particular that we are excited about. It is called "Everyone Is Gay." Our friends run an advice column for kids that are frustrated about their sexuality called everyoneisgay.com . They asked us to write the gayest song ever written to raise money because they were traveling around giving advice to colleges.

A few years back we wrote the song and have been playing it at shows.

Ian Axel: The response has been amazing. People are really connecting to it. We like spreading the message and people need to hear it.

Chad Vaccarino: You will hear it soon because we are coming out with a video for it. It will be a stop motion video like Schoolhouse Rock.

WCT: I read one of the you into Tim Burton so there is the stop motion style he uses in it.

Ian Axel: I feel like that is me more than Chad. I am definitely inspired by the collaboration of Tim Burton and Danny Elfman. This video was made from stuff you can find at the party store. It is quite comical.

WCT: Are you performing your cover of Imagine Dragons at the show?

Chad Vaccarino: We have covered it in the past but probably not on this tour. We are going to pull out another song.

Ian Axel: We don't want to say in case we fail miserably at it. We are in the process of trying to figure it out.

WCT: What is something that people don't about the group?

Chad Vaccarino: If you want to know more about our relationship, we did 30 videos in 30 days. Our friend was going to make three videos for us but I hit a zero at the end. He asked us about it and we said no but that's a great idea.

Ian Axel: We did it ourselves with our computers and a webcam. Everyday is something completely different. If you go on the website you can see where we posted them.

WCT: That sounds exhausting.

Chad Vaccarino: They are all one to two minutes. We are also working on a musical right now.

WCT: Will be an old-school musical or a newer type of one?

Ian Axel: It is definitely new school. We don't want to say too much yet since it is early but it is like a pop musical.

Chad Vaccarino: It is young and heartfelt. It is definitely pop music.

More on A Great Big World can be found at www.agreatbigworld.com .


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