Local musician James Frolio started Big Yen back in 2014 as a loose collective of jazz musicians and students. At first there wasn’t much structure to the band; just a group of like-minded musicians who shared a desire to bring the funk to house parties in Charleston. Soon, though, James felt the need for a backbone in Big Yen, and so he started writing original songs.
“I think whatever we end up playing I want it to be genuine, I want it to be fun, and I want to make people feel something,” Frolio says of his songwriting process, “Those are the constants in all my musical influences. When someone is up on stage ‘feeling it’, its obvious to everyone and you can ‘feel it’ too, and that’s fun for me. I try not to overthink things and have fun at the end of the day, too. After all, we’re trying to play rock and roll here.”
Big Yen has a semi-rotating cast of musicians who each bring their own unique talents and styles to the stage, but the philosophy of the band always remains the same. According to James, the musicians playing in Big Yen at any given time are constantly trying to lift each other up both as artists and people. Frolio’s right-hand man is Will Hauptle, his longtime friend who helps James foster the sense of chemistry that forms the foundation of Big Yen. Another member of Big Yen’s rotating cast is my old pal Peter Clark, a local degenerate and founding member of Superflow (RIP).
For the first video release from Big Yen, Frolio and Hauptle linked up with local videographer William Wright of Resound Media Group (who has since moved to Denver) to record an acoustic session in Frolio’s backyard. The song featured here is “Mirage”, a bluesy rock song that serves to introduce us to what’s to be expected from Big Yen in the future. The band has plans to release their debut EP in the coming months, and has a show scheduled for February 16th at Burn’s Alley.
Watch an acoustic version of “Mirage” by Big Yen below.