A Chat with Austin Bisnow, Zambricki Li, and Zang of Magic Giant

Magic Giant

Austin Bisnow, Zambricki Li, and Zang
LaureLive 2017
Russell Township, Ohio
June 2017

Magic Giant is a wildly unique band ingrained with excitement, energy, and pure talent. The guys play tons of instruments, produced their latest record in a mobile, solar powered recording studio, and plant a tree for each CD sold at a concert. Check out the review and interview with Austin Bisnow, Zambricki Li, and Zang below!

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Austin Bisnow, Zambricki Li, and Zang of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

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Austin Bisnow of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

From A to Z
Magic Giant, a Los Angeles-based trio, is an inspiring group of multi-talented guys who are ready to set the world on fire. The band has it all, literally, from A to Z with members Austin Bisnow, Zambricki Li, and Zang, and with each guy’s incredible lyrical, musical, and instrument-playing abilities. What instruments do the guys of Magic Giant play? Intriguingly, some are:

  • Austin Bisnow – Lead singer, as well as cello, synthesizer, and percussion
  • Zambricki Li – Banjo, fiddle, viola, cello, harmonica, mandolin, acoustic guitar, and backing vocals
  • Zang – Acoustic guitar, cello, upright bass, electric bass, percussion, and backing vocals

The band is receiving much-deserved attention, and in May 2017 performed on the TODAY show as the Elvis Duran’s Artist Pick of the Month. To hear Magic Giant’s incredible sound, check out the hit single Set on Fire and the band’s fabulous new album In the Wind.

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Zambricki Li, Austin Bisnow, and Zang of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

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Austin Bisnow of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

Ablaze
When Magic Giant takes the stage, a fire is lit within the band and audience causing total excitement and engagement throughout the set. The songs are absolutely fantastic to hear, as the lyrics, singing, instruments, and sound are enchanting. Visually, the performance is beyond entertaining. The set is gorgeous with the mics and speakers adorned with colorful fabrics. And, the guys are all-smiles throughout the show, playing multiple instruments, with dance moves bordering on acrobatics. When a band like Magic Giant is having a super amount of brilliant fun on stage, the results are magically simple: the amount of enjoyment the audience experiences increases exponentially. (And, when the concert photographers bounce out of the photo pit saying, “Wow! What energy!” and high-fiving each other, the band has clearly won an entire venue of new fans.)

Definitely plan to see Magic Giant on tour, and in the meantime, check out the video of Set on Fire or the TODAY show performance to see a glimpse of the band’s energy on stage.

People Huggers and Tree Planters: The Chat
I was incredibly lucky to catch up with Austin Bisnow, Zambricki Li, and Zang after their thrilling performance at LaureLive 2017 (see LaureLive article), and I instantaneously noticed one thing: each guy hugged me upon our introduction versus shaking my hand. The beautiful energy that Magic Giant creates on stage carries forward into how the guys interact outside of their sets. I learned that the guys are gentle giants… personable, smart, fascinating, fun, and hilarious. Check out the Q & A!

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Austin Bisnow, Zambricki Li, and Zang of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

Thank you for meeting with me! I watched your set and it was beyond amazing. I could tell that the audience was the most energetic during your set than I’ve seen in any performance yet.
All: Really? Wow! And, it was hot out there!

Yes, it was very hot! You’ve been together for three years. How did you get together?
Austin: Zambricki and I were in a pop band…

Zambricki: We played a few local shows and then went our separate ways. Then, Austin got a call from someone at the Sweetlife Festival which was outside of the D.C. area. He wanted to book us and had seen one of our early, club shows. He called me, I was all in, and then we met Zang.

Austin: We saw him playing bass, backing up a friend in L.A. We Googled him and saw some salsa dancing videos of him online, and we were just in awe. We needed some more salsa in our life.

Zambricki: We were looking for a third piece to the puzzle. And, Zang has these perks. He knows all these amazing things about engineering and helped us build our bus, our studio [a solar-powered mobile recording studio, in fact].

So, Zang, you play a lot of instruments, you know engineering, and you’re into dancing and singing.
Zambricki: And, Zanging! [Laughter]

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Austin Bisnow and Zambricki Li of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

I’m very impressed with the number of instruments that you guys play.
Zang: There are many instruments in the world, and I can’t even say that we play 1% of them.

Zambricki: I would like to learn more instruments, like the sitar.

Zang: I picked up the trombone for Halloween. I bought a trombone and started practicing every day. I think we’re just always intrigued by all these different sounds that you can put into music that makes it just a little more interesting. You can always do two guitars, a keyboard player, a bass, and drums. That’s really cool and you can make a lot happen. But, when you just take one of those elements out and then put in a something like a trombone to play one of those parts, it becomes a whole new, weird sound. That’s what we’re really drawn to… finding a different sound.

That just shines through on stage. You have a new fan here, plus tons of other people today. I think that’s the cool thing about festivals, like LaureLive, is gaining a bunch of new fans from people who might not have heard of you yet.
Zang: I think most of them haven’t heard of us yet.

Austin: You can tell by how many are singing the verses. Some people can catch on and start singing the choruses.

Zang: Or some people are really good at faking it. I see them and think, “They know all the lyrics!”

Nici: Maybe they’re doing the “watermelon” thing. Where you just mouth “watermelon” and it just somehow fits into every line of the song… they’re watermelon-ing it.

Zang: You just cracked the puzzle. They were tricking us the whole time! [Laughter]

Zambricki: From the CD release show, there were people that knew the verses and we were like, wow, people really listened to this. But, before the record came out, they were definitely watermelon-ing, guys. 🙂

Zang: I don’t think they were trying to fool us, I think they just wish they could know the words. It’s really cool that they just want to be singing it!

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Austin Bisnow and Zang of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

That’s definitely it!! How do you guys write songs? Is it a collaborative effort?
Austin: Yes, very much.

Zambricki: I want to have the stories come from all of us, but I love coming up with the song ideas. I try to write as many lyrics and as many aspects of it as I can. But, I know I’m just bringing it to the table. There’s a little bit of, “I’m excited to share this song,” but I know that this is the first fly. If we all engage with it and make the song be Magic Giant, then one day we can hear it and say, “That’s amazing.” We think that great songs aren’t written, they’re re-written. Some of these songs for the record, we’ve had for a while. Then, up to the last moment, even when we were doing the finishing touches, we were re-writing parts of the lyrics.

What do you like to do for fun or adventure outside of music?
Zang: If we ever get a break, or even after shows, I’ll go dance salsa. Every night of the week, in every part of the country, or the world actually, there’s a place where they’re dancing salsa. I break away and go to salsa clubs, meet the people, and dance.

Zambricki: I have a dog.

Nici: Dogs take up a lot of time. 🙂

Zambricki: They do!

Austin: I do yoga when I can.

Zambricki: I don’t know if this is lame, but I play the guitar when we’re not on tour.

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Austin Bisnow of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

Definitely not lame! What was your first concert?
Zambricki: On the east coast of New Jersey, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, and Chicago was opening. I didn’t know Chicago, and I remember that they had this 15-minute drum solo. I remember thinking that I needed to get away from the stage. It was so loud for me; I was a kid. But, Crosby, Stills, and Nash… I was way into that. In my early teens, I was into 60s folk music.

Zang: My first concert might be a little different. It was Metallica, and Godsmack was opening. I went with a couple buddies and one buddy’s older brother. I was super young. It was cool and awe-inspiring.

Austin: I got to see the Rolling Stones when I was little with my mom in Washington D.C.

Tell me about your tree planting effort.
Zambricki: We partnered with an organization called One Tree Planted. It was something we started on Earth Day. We had a photo of Austin walking on the beach naked in Hawaii from far away. It was a really cool photo. So, we thought, let’s do a thing where anyone who comments on this photo, we’ll plant a tree with One Tree Planted. Everyone was engaged with it, so, we planted all these trees. We then extended it to pre-sale for our album. Now, we’re doing it on this tour for live shows. Every CD bought today, we’ll plant a tree.

Zang: We’ve already planted thousands of trees from this.

Nici: Where are you planting the trees?

Zambricki: Colorado.

Zang: As of now, yes. The first location, or forest that we’re building, is Colorado.

What a great cause, and what a great group of guys!

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Austin Bisnow of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

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Zambricki Li of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

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Zang of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

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Austin Bisnow of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

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Zang of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

austin bisnow magic giant laurelive 2017 adventure music life nici lucas

Austin Bisnow of Magic Giant at LaureLive 2017

About Nici Lucas

Nici is inspired to find adventure in everyday life as well as share adventures with others in the hopes of inspiring them.

2 comments on “A Chat with Austin Bisnow, Zambricki Li, and Zang of Magic Giant

  1. I really enjoyed this article with it’s colorful photos and warm, interesting guys! I listened to a few of their sounds and particularly liked “Let’s Start Again”. Each band member is so multi-talented and I’m sure they will become really well known and popular. I liked the “watermelon thing”.

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