Spencer Wirth-Davis (AKA Big Cats) is a producer, DJ, composer, and musician from Minneapolis, MN. He makes experimental instrumental music that draws from a wide range of influences including classical, hip hop, and jazz. His work is melancholy, multi-layered, and cinematic. Drawing from his background as a classically trained musician, his compositions are complex juxtapositions of instruments, rhythms, and sonic textures.
He has released several full-length albums, including Pangaea, a collaborative effort with Toki Wright. Okayplayer named the duo “the best, most important hip hop act Minnesota has to offer.” His previous album, For My Mother, was named a top 5 Minnesota album of 2012 by Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, City Pages, and Vita.mn. In 2015, he released The Polar Bear Rug with Homeless. City Pages named the album amongst the best Minnesota albums of 2015. He also co-produced Eric Mayson’s debut album, Detail, prompting the Star Tribune and First Avenue to name Mayson as one of the best new acts of 2015.
His new album, What If It Doesn't Get Better?, was released digitally and on vinyl on March 25, 2016. According to Wirth-Davis, “It’s a weird record. It’s more experimental and ambient than anything I’ve made previously. There’s no rapping on it. Eric Mayson, Lydia Liza, Gen Devine, Nelson Devereaux, and Claire de Lune helped me make it. A few of the songs are about astral projection, being in multiple places at once, time travel, remote viewing, ufos, conspiracy theories, space travel. One of the songs is about the moon possibly being a giant spaceship. Most of the tracks started with me, a piano, and a tape recorder. I’d just let the tape run and play and sing for a while. I then pulled samples from that tape. I recorded all of the primary material for this record on the same cassette tape. I’ve been blurring the line between my producing, songwriting, and DJing lately, and the way these songs are written and arranged definitely reflects that.”
Wirth-Davis is the recipient of a 2012 McKnight Composers Fellowship and a 2015 Jerome Travel and Study Fellowship. He has collaborated with BJ The Chicago Kid, Toki Wright, Eric Mayson, P.O.S., Smoke DZA, Lizzo, Caroline Smith, Haley Bonar, Chastity Brown, Sage Francis, Guante, The Tribe & Big Cats, Sims, K. Raydio, MaLLy, and many others. He has shared stages with Atmosphere, Brother Ali, P.O.S., Dessa, DJ Qbert, Schoolboy Q, DMX, Action Bronson, Riff Raff, and many others.
"Minneapolis is home to a grip of great producers, and Big Cats is quickly rising as the best of them all." - Okayplayer
"The preeminent beatmaker in the Twin Cities." - 893 The Current
"Big Cats takes the Best Producer crown in a city brimming with talent... expanding his own palette and adapting his signature style with each new full-length work he creates." - City Pages