As the mastermind behind the pop group Big Data, Alan Wilkis admits he’s a little creepy.
Take, for example, this lyric from Big Data’s breakthrough single, “Dangerous.”
“How could you know, how could you know?/That those were my eyes/Peepin’ through the floor, it’s like they know/It’s like they know I’m looking from the outside/And creeping to the door it’s like they know.”
“It is creepy,” Wilkis says with a laugh during a phone interview from his Brooklyn home. “It definitely is creepy. A lot of my music is on the creepy side. I’m probably a little creepy. Everybody’s a little creepy.”
The Big Data project envisions a character of the same name, who is the “bad guy” behind the daily use of technology. “Dangerous,” as well as the follow up track, “This Business of Emotion,” are set to be included on Wilkis’ album 2.0.
“Every song started with some kind of issue with technology—something,” he says. “I keep a running list on my phone about something odd I read about Facebook, for example. I keep track of strange technology things and I write about it.
“The idea behind ‘Dangerous’ was about watching while being watched. We can use social media to watch what other people do, but then all the companies behind these websites are watching what we do and selling that information to advertisers and the government and everything it’s this weird cycle of being watched. It’s a slippery slope. We felt ‘dangerous’ was the right word to sum it all up. That’s generally how it works. It’s a big concept and we boil it down to one word almost and it works from there.”
His tour includes a stop at the Pot of Gold Festival at Tempe Town Lake. Big Data will perform Sunday, March 15, along with Fall Out Boy, Milky Chance, Rebelution, Echosmith, New Politics, Knox Hamilton and Grizfolk. Wilkis’ guest singer on “Dangerous,” Joywave, hits the stage the first night, Friday, March 13.
Joywave is one of a handful of vocalists who appear on 2.0. Wilkis has recruited friends and those he admires to join him on the album. That list is stellar—White Sea, English soul singer Jamie Lidell, Kimbra, Rivers Cuomo of Weezer, Jenn Wasner, Dragonette, Bear Hands and Twin Shadow. The 2.0 album has been a “dream come true” for Wilkis.
“I’m a big fan of Bear Hands,” he says. “We played a lot of the same concerts during the summer. I put Rivers Cuomo on my wish list early on as a sort of pipe dream. They wound up playing some of the same festivals, too. I got to meet him that way. Management set up other (collaborations).”
At Pot of Gold Festival, of course all of those folks can’t join Wilkis. Instead he’s recruited a drummer, bassist and guitarist, as well as a female vocalist, who will join Wilkis at the mike.
“The whole band does singing and harmony, actually,” he says. “The girl and I are the two lead singers. Everyone else comes in on the chorus.”
BIG DATA AT POT OF GOLD FESTIVAL, Tempe Beach Park, Mill Avenue and Rio Salado Parkway, Tempe, potofgolfaz.com, Sunday, March 15, all day, $49