In all its grimy glory, Big Business has rebounded after a three-year silence—smaller in size but larger in confidence. Command Your Weather, the band's first release since 2013, comes after a split from longtime guitar player Scott Martin, reducing the group back to a duo. It's a separation that has only proven positive.
"He was in the band for five years, and it just got to a point where everybody was just kind of unhappy with the situation," drummer Coady Willis says of Martin. "Everybody's happier now, so that's a good thing.
"This'll be the first time since our very first record we've played as a two-piece. I feel like we've been working on the songs really hard and that our songwriting is in a place where it's better than it's ever been."
Marked by singer-bassist Jared Warren's distinct vocals and Willis' deft drumming, the two have reworked the metal equation in the past decade. Built on a foundation laid by the post-hardcore intensity of Karp and the horror-punk legacy of the Murder City Devils, Big Business has cultivated its sludgy doom since leaving Seattle for L.A. a decade ago. After that relocation, both Warren and Willis were picked up as rotating members by the Melvins, and the union boosted their creativity.
"I feel that when we started playing with the Melvins, they let us know right away that they were confident in us and our abilities to do the job," Willis says. "They let us know they weren't looking for an exactly faithful representation of the songs we were playing. They encouraged us to play them how we wanted to play them and to add our own style to things."
Working with the Melvins while still developing Big Business allowed Willis to prime his drumming for a new style. "I had to step it up a little bit and learn how to just play in a way that complements what Jared is doing, too," he says, "Which is a little more complicated and a different style than what was going on in Murder City Devils. It's just a different style, a new vocabulary than what happens with Big Business."
The proof is in the new record. "Father's Day," the first track released from Command Your Weather, teases Big Business' current state, with barreling drums and sweeping bass infused with small details almost too quick to catch.
"It seemed like a good, rocking thing to lead off with," Willis says. "There are some other songs on the record that are some curveballs stylistically, but I think this one is a good representation of the album as a whole—spiritually, as they say."
Big Business will share its new material as one of the headliners of East Burnside dive B-Side Tavern's 10-year anniversary show. Warren and Willis have been to B-Side numerous times during West Coast tours, stopping in with their friends in Red Fang.
"I'm really stoked about the record," Willis says. "I feel cautiously optimistic. It's one of our best, if not our best, record we've ever done, as far as consistently good songs from beginning to end. I think we accomplished what we were trying to do." CERVANTE POPE.
SEE IT: Big Business plays B-Side Tavern, 632 E Burnside St., with Red Fang, Helms Alee, Rabbits, Gaytheist and more, on Saturday, June 25. Noon. $20. 21+.