“When most bands describe their sound, ‘eclectic’ is a typical knee-jerk description, but when you mix a rock guitarist, a jazz pianist, a classical electric violinist, a funk bass and three hip-hop emcees, the mix is truly unlike other bands you would hear on the radio,” Cary Kanno, guitarist for Abstract Giants, told The Badger Herald in a recent interview.
With musical influences ranging from hip-hop to rock, from Common to Radiohead, the Abstract Giants prove their diversity on more than one level. Any Abstract Giants track can be appreciated for its layering. Whenever classical instruments are combined with rapping emcees, people’s ears perk up. Abstract Giants, though, demonstrate a true ability to blend these sounds together successfully.
The group recently signed a record deal with Pull ‘Em Up Records in Chicago. Abstract Giants also recently played at the Chicago House of Blues, setting this as a milestone in the band’s overall achievements.
But, the true achievement, Kanno said, was playing at The Metro in Chicago. Because Kanno and other group members went to see many shows there growing up, he called it an “epiphany” to be standing up on stage rather than in the audience.
The group also opened for Fareed Haque — “one of the greatest guitarists in the world,” Kanno claimed, making this a true accomplishment in his eyes. The group also opened for Bernie Worrell, a founding member of Parliament.
As the band continues to play large venues, it gains fans. It counted over 700 at its last show, and Kanno hopes to gain more as the group begins to tour around the Midwest. Late fall will bring the production of the group’s first studio album, which will be the central focus of its tour.
Obviously coming from a diverse musical background, the Abstract Giants miraculously collaborated after graduating college. Based out of Chicago, seven out of the eight band members grew up together in Oak Park, and four of them went to UW-Madison.
Throughout college, the guys had separate projects and different interests (you may know violinist Jason Vinluan from a band called Lotus). Upon graduating college, the group fell into place.
A true salad bowl, Kanno explained, the band mixes talents from a musical and ethnic vegetable garden. Avoiding the proverbial melting-pot cliché, Kanno emphasized the diversity of musical talents and interests stemming from the ethnic backgrounds of the band members.
Representing Japanese, Filipino, Irish, African-American, Puerto Rican and French backgrounds, the Abstract Giants span the globe. The group members proclaim that all their musical influences and tastes comes from their parents. Now, mixing it all up in one big bowl, the Abstract Giants truly dress the stage with an array of flavors and spice.
The group hopes to continue its salad mixing and come to Madison as much as possible along its Midwest tour.
The Abstract Giants play at the Memorial Union this Friday. Check out the group’s website, www.abstractgiants.com, for more information about the band.