Great big things are on tap for A Great Big World. (Annnnnd that’s the last cheesy joke you’ll hear from us, we promise.)
But seriously, the indie pop duo known best for their 2013 mega-hit “Say Something” released their latest single “Hold Each Other” (feat. Futuristic) last month, and their second untitled LP is slated for a November release. “Hold Each Other” breaks new, exciting ground for AGBW. The mid-tempo jam has a distinct R&B flavor and includes particularly raw lyrics from Chad King, who identifies as gay. “Something happens when I hold him,” Chad sings on the track, proudly owning his sexuality—a rarity in top 40 fare. Could this be the most subtle gay anthem known to man? It certainly sounds like it.
“Hold Each Other,” with its experimental sound and confessional lyrics, is a gateway drug to what’s next for AGBW. We sat down with the band and got them to dish on their new music, the first time Chad saw gay people IRL—he was 18!— and “Hold Each Other”’s, erm, diverse responses. Get ready, Chad and his band-mate Ian Axel are about to be your next baes.
On their new album:Ian: “It’s mature. This album is definitely a little bit of an evolution from the last, but it still feels like us. There are some things that we have to write about because they’re our therapy, and we actually need to get them out. It’s why we write songs. There are tears and moments that change our lives. [There’s] a bunch of those songs on this album.”
Chad: “The last album was a bit theatrical, and this album feels a little more beat-driven. What we realized from the last three or four months of writing was that the songs that resonated the most with us were the ones where we were as honest as we could be with ourselves.”
On the polarizing reactions to “Hold Each Other”:
Chad: We actually thought there would be some resistance to it because it’s the first time you’re really hearing a male vocalist sing about another male partner on pop radio. There are a few stations in the South that won’t play the song because they think it’s too progressive.
Ian: It’s just a song that’s true to us. I’m singing about my story and Chad’s singing about his. And that’s all that it is. It ended up being a little bit of a statement because of the pronoun choice, but I feel like a lot of people don’t even notice when they’re listening to the song, which is great because it’s just a song about love.
On the first time Chad saw a gay couple in person:
Chad: I was applying for college. I went to NYU, but I had to visit New York first. I hadn’t seen a gay person in Florida where I grew up. I was 17 years old—18 years old?—and I saw two men kissing in New York City and I was like, ’Whoa!’ What is this? This actually happens in real life. Hopefully we can just add to the exposure of what it means to be human in all forms.”
Are you excited about new AGBW music? Sound off in the comments below.