Dropping everything to move to California to surf after being frustrated with their job is every twenty-something’s dream; however, for 27-year-old Jackson Stell, this is what set his career on fire. The fast rising voice in electronic and dance music recently released his new EP Invincible under the name Big Wild, and is set to perform at Canopy Club this Saturday, February 17th.
Originally producing hip-hop instrumentals and rap music in middle school, Stell jumped head first into the music industry at only 14 years old. Producing under the name JBeatz in high school, Stell wasn’t always set on producing remixes featuring the business’ biggest names. The east-coast born prodigy primarily focused on rap and idolized legendary producers like Dr. Dre, Timbaland, and The Neptunes to inspire his own instrumentals. While studying music business, Stell realized the direction he wanted his career to take off in.
“When I got into college I decided to go in a more electronic direction which led me to come up with the project idea for the Big Wild,” Stell explained in an interview with WRBB Radio. “ I was just like trying to make a more adventurous and unique electronic sound than what I had previously been doing which was more just straight hip hop.”
Between classes of music business studies at Northeastern University, Stell picked up gigs composing for ad agencies, but always felt that this lifestyle was too mainstream for him. It wasn’t until the Massachusetts native expanded his horizons post-graduation by relocating to Southern California to start his producing career in the field of electronic music.
Paving his own non traditional pathway, the long-hared amateur DJ left the East Coast to start up his career as a producer in Los Angeles. Here, he’d stack shelves of produce at Whole Foods during the day and pursue his dream at night. His simple studio structure of just two monitors, a keyboard, and a laptop was the machine behind producing hit remixes, and later on, his originals.
Feeling inspired by the nature of Southern California, Stell decided to create a name for himself that encompasses his groove-oriented tracks. It wasn’t until his girlfriend showed him Big Sur California when Stell left JBeatz behind to move on to something more fresh.
“I never really had witnessed a landscape like that before being from Massachusetts,” said Stell in an interview with 303 Magazine. “It made me want to do a music project where I could be adventurous, unique and big with my sound. The trip was definitely a big influence on me and a point where my music style changed.” Updating his name gave Stell a clearer picture of what kind of content he wanted to produce.
While living paycheck-to-paycheck, Stell continued to hone his craft by producing remixes of big names like Sylvan Esso, Hundred Waters, CHVRCHES, and Ludacris. The up-and-comer gained massive recognition while signing with the American electronic music group ODESZA’s record label Foreign Family Collective.
The popular music duo scouted Stell by searching him on Soundcloud, an online audio distribution platform, and hearing his remix of their hit song “Say My Name” in February 2014. After their discovery, ODESZA saw potential in Stell, and invited the unknown DJ to perform the remix in San Francisco and LA, which opened a whole world of opportunities Stell didn’t know possible. After huge success, Stell was invited to travel and perform with the group for the rest of their American tour.
Showing vast improvement in his music, Stell continued to produce on platforms such as YouTube and Soundcloud to get his music out there. He scored tours with big industry names like Gramatik, Kodak to Graph, GRiZ, and Bassnectar thanks to his hit song “Aftergold” that was released through ODESZA’s Foreign Family Collective. After years of building a reputation based on remixing music other than his own, Stell finally delivered his own debut EP, or extended play.
Through this record label, the up and coming DJ released the powerful Invincible EP that featured five original songs, ranking #2 on the dance charts in early 2017. Stell’s adventurous style is reflected through the tracks and is only a sneak peak into what is to come for the artist.
Stell is currently on his own tour with other aspiring DJs Daktyl and White Cliffs to debut the hard work he’s put into his music which includes 27 United States dates. Aside from his solo tour this year, Big Wild will be featured in music festivals performing alongside the industry’s biggest names. Stell has secured a spot on the lineups for Okeechobee Music and Arts Festival, Snowbombing Canada, Red Rocks, and Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival.
Big Wild performs this Saturday, February 17th at the Canopy Club with Daktyl and White Cliffs. Tickets are $18 in advance and $20 at the door, and doors open at 7 p.m.