Calling from Stankonia studio in Atlanta earlier this week, Big Boi talked about what fans can expect at the Big Night Out, the return of Big Grams and the 20th anniversary of Outkast’s “Stankonia.”
Big Boi fronted the Dungeon Family Reunion Tour at the Fox Theatre on Saturday, April 20, 2019. Photo: Robb Cohen Photography & Video /RobbsPhotos.com
Q: When we talked back in April, you were adjusting pretty well to pandemic life, hanging with your family and in the sauna. What did you wind up doing during the summer?
A: I was recording and working out and taking care of my body and hanging out with the kids. I recorded a lot of music. We finished “Big Sleepover” (his collaboration with Sleepy Brown) and we’re about to start the new Big Grams album this week. We finished the Goodie Mob album and I did a few features. I just have a head full of beats and I’m sitting at the house hearing my beat playlist on shuffle.
Q: How do you feel about getting back on stage?
A: I think it’s going to be fun, but it’s going to be weird for me. I’m used to people being right there (near the stage), but I think the music and energy from the speakers will do the job. I think the 808s are gonna shake the place. You can’t stop the vibrations.
Q: With Big Grams added to the lineup, will this be the first time you’ve performed with Phantogram since the dates you did in 2016?
A: Yep, it’s a reunion of sorts. It came about last week. We were trying to make it special and at the same time we were talking about since I just finished the Sleepy album, let’s start on a Big Grams album and let’s rock together in Atlanta.
Q: Have you seen Phantogram much since 2016?
A: Oh yeah. I’ll go to L.A. and hang out. We’re friends. We’re really close.
Q: What can you tell us about plans for the new album?
A: You gotta expect the unexpected. There will be some real weirdo, jamming...intergalactic songs.
Q: For your set on Sunday, you’ve also got KP The Great and The Fam — the Dungeon Family — on board. Might we see some other surprises?
A: (Laughs) Some. Maybe. Whatever we can fit inside 90 minutes! KP is great and we’ll have Kneel 'N Rey, a new group from the Dungeon Family. It’s really tripped out, like electro-bass, rock, funk. They opened for the Dungeon Family on the (reunion) tour last year. We’re gonna have a crazy rehearsal. There’s so much material and I want to give the people a little bit of everything.
Q: Will you have a band with you as well as a DJ?
A: I gotta bring my bassist and guitarist with me. I can’t see it no other way.
Q: The 20th anniversary of “Stankonia” is in a couple of weeks (Oct. 30) and is getting a big reissue. How involved were you and Andre (3000) in putting together the expanded version and singles bundles?
A: Very involved. We had a 50-page packet, an Outkast team Zoom call. When Sony came to us, it was like, “OK, cool.” I’m excited that one of my favorite songs they’re releasing is the “So Fresh, So Clean” remix with Snoop Dogg. It’s been in the vault, which I’m sitting right next to now.
Q: What goes through your mind when you think of that album?
A: Time goes by fast. Life is for the living and to create memories and bring positive energy to this world and that’s what we’ve been doing since (“Southernplayalisticadillacmuzik”). I feel blessed and honored to still be doing it.
Q: What do you think when you look back at that album cover?
A: I want my hair back! I shoulda never cut my hair. My son is walking around here with the hair I used to have.
“Big Night Out”
5:30 p.m. (gates), 7 p.m. (show). Moon Taxi and Pigeons Playing Ping-Pong (Oct. 23); Futurebirds and Marcus King Trio (Oct. 24); Big Boi and Friends (Oct. 25). Tickets start at $50 per person for four and six-person pods (no single tickets). https://bignightoutatl.com/.