Recording a song from inside a Redwood tree? That's just one quirky to-do the indie-folk trio Magic Giant can check off their list. We were thrilled to interview the trio about the making of their new album, In The Wind, their devotion to yoga, and how their music reflects their practice. Plus, as a special treat for you, they’ve created an exclusive 90-minute yoga playlist for us on Spotify. (Download the free software to listen to all our playlists.) In The Wind will be released on May 19, but you can pre-order the album now.
Q&A with Magic Giant
Yoga Journal: Tell us about your process. What was your favorite part about making In The Wind?
Magic Giant: It was really special. In 2016 we were leaving for festival tour and bought a little bus. We outfitted [it with] solar panels and built it out as a mobile recording studio. So it allowed us to find great outside environments to record in. We were in the redwood forest and we ended up recording banjo inside one of these enormous Redwood trees. Yes, inside the tree! The perfect room for recording a banjo.
YJ: That's amazing! What was your biggest challenge making the album?
MG: Our greatest benefit was also our biggest challenge to overcome: not knowing where we were going to record, getting rained on or kicked out by the rangers, or trying to get a quiet space without too many birds chirping (we weren't always successful, but that ended up being part of the charm).
YJ: How long have each of you been practicing yoga? And what inspired you to start?
MG: Austin has been practicing for 5 years. Yoga and meditation has been a big part of how he stays centered. He [had] been practicing at Modo Yoga in Los Angeles and convinced the rest of the band to start early on in the formation of the band. We had no idea how great it was for our minds—it gives us complete mental clarity. Modo Yoga is opening a new location right by our recording studio in Silver Lake, which we’re very excited about.
YJ: What kind of music do you like practicing to?
MG: Depends what we're in the mood for. With so much noise in our lives, we find some of our favorite classes are silent.
YJ: How does yoga influence the way you make music?
MG: A big turning point for us was playing a live yoga class with Gina Caputo at Arise Festival in 2015. We basically musically "scored" the class live. It forced us to really listen to each other and work with the audience in a completely interactive way, which really affected the way we play live now.
YJ: What is your favorite part about practicing yoga and what is your favorite pose?
MG: Viparita Karani (Legs-Up-The-Wall Pose) is a nice one to drain the blood-flow in our legs. Zang does it on stage sometimes while playing guitar; probably by accident, but we like to think it’s intentional.
YJ: What song of yours do you think is best suited for a yoga practice?
MG: Great Divide, which is about reuniting with someone down the road. It’s like saying goodbye to someone knowing you’ll see them again.
YJ: What's your go-to source for learning new yoga poses and sequences?
MG: Yoga festivals or teachers like Janet Stone or Sianna Sherman, but we do like the consistency of a practice like Modo. Every time you step into a class or a session it’s an opportunity to dig a little deeper. We try and stay open and take it all in.