After much anticipation (from us, at least) Big Wreck got to join us in the AMS Tone Labs!
The interview itself wasn’t a big wreck. But we did get to talk to two members of Big Wreck in the AMS Studio. That’s right; Ian Thornley and Dave McMillan graced us with their presence and tolerated our silly questions about their longevity, songwriting process, guitar tone, and learning how to play with a guitar pick — which came surprisingly late for Thornley.
They also made sure to mention Big Wreck’s newest EP entitled Pages (opens in new tab) that’s now available wherever you like to listen to music. You won’t want to miss this one!
Big Wreck releases new EP: Pages
Big Wreck’s latest EP, Pages, was released on November 24th, much to the excitement of their fans. The EP features six newly recorded songs that are sure to get your head boppin’:
- In Fair Light
- Bail Out
- White Lies
- Bird of Paradise
This EP brings all the “cinematic” sound that fans love about Big Wreck. According to Thornley, the songs are written with a specific feel in mind. The band always tries to “capture a mood” down to every little aspect of the song — even the sound of the hi-hat.
It’s easy to see that Big Wreck took the time to develop all their “building blocks” in the latest EP. Pages features some serious solos, unique instrumental voicings, and plenty of Thornley’s powerful vocals.
Despite playing together for so long, Thornley and McMillan both say that the band doesn’t feel stale. They’re actually grateful that they’ve never had that “one big hit” that locks them into a specific style. They’re still under-the-radar enough that they can experiment and make the kind of music they enjoy.
This freedom to create really shines through in their latest project, Pages. If you want to check out the latest Big Wreck EP (and you definitely should!), it’s easy to find on all your favorite platforms:
The Big Wreck songwriting process
Anyone who listens to Big Wreck knows that there’s a lot of variety in their songs. Whether it’s the instrumentation, melodic playing style, creative song structure, interesting lyrics, or any number of aspects that makes Big Wreck music unique, we just had to ask where they come up with this stuff!
Ian Thornley said that he’s first and foremost a guitar player. He grew up playing fingerstyle acoustic and blues and ended up loving it so much he decided to go to Berklee College of Music in Boston, Massachusetts.
He loved playing guitar and would always come up with fun little riffs or solos. If one hit just right, he’d quickly record it on his phone and add it to the undoubtedly massive library of ideas. When it came time to write a new song or put out a new album, he’d browse past ideas, find one he liked best, and expand upon the idea.
According to Thornley, lyrics come last 90% of the time. He’s a guitarist first and singer second. He’ll have an idea of the kind of lyrics he wants to write, but they’re not usually dialed in until the music is ready. In fact, when he first co-founded Big Wreck, he didn’t initially want to be the singer! He only wound up in the lead singer position after they couldn’t find a suitable singer for the band’s style.
Fun fact: Ian Thornley didn’t officially learn to play with a pick until way later! He started as a fingerpicker, but during college he discovered pick-burning players like Eric Johnson and Steve Morse. He quickly grabbed a pick and started to hone his skills.
But now that he does enjoy pickin’ on a guitar, he’s very particular about his picks. He likes his picks to be “the just right amount of worn out,” so he’ll use the same pick for the warmup and the show to really wear it in. Because he works so hard to get his picks just right, he can’t stand losing picks mid-show — but who among us really does…?
Stream the new Big Wreck EP Pages now
If you love Big Wreck’s sound, enjoyed the interview and want to know what the heck they’re talking about, or just like rock music in general, you have to check out their new EP Pages. It’s packed with six incredible songs that’ll really get your head nodding. (I’m listening to it right now as I write this piece, and it’s awesome!)
You can now stream the new Big Wreck EP on Spotify (opens in new tab) or wherever you like to listen to music. And don’t forget to watch the AMS Big Wreck interview and subscribe to the AMS YouTube channel (opens in new tab) for all sorts of amazing artist and gear-related content.
A big thanks to Ian Thornley and Dave McMillan of Big Wreck for coming out to New Jersey to see us. We had a blast talking, and we hope to catch you again down the road. Keep on rocking!