Spafford: The Future of Jam

Spafford Group Photo
Photo Credit: Jay Stevens

On January 24, 2018 Spafford is playing The Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, NJ.

Remember this date, because given this band’s career trajectory, it will be one of the last times the band will be headlining an intimate venue like this. In fact, we ask you to look back on this date a few years from now when Spafford is one of the biggest acts in the scene. This band has all the right ingredients to be on the biggest bands in the land.

And it all boils down to trust.

The band has become renowned for their crazy (good) improvisational work. From their live sets opening for some of the biggest names in the scene to their ground-breaking album, Abaculus (an hour long album done in one take), Spafford is killing it night in and night out.

We recently got the chance to speak with Cameron “Cam” Laforest (with a cameo from Jersey’s own Brian Moss) to talk about the band’s improvisational skills, their record, and more.

Improvisation seems to be a massive part of what Spafford is all about. Can you talk about how you made this decision to implement improvisation into your music?

When each night is made to be different from the last, improvisation is the key to success. Not only improv, but trust. Allowing the jam to breathe and go far out there allows for a unique show each night. Our motto is: be patient, listen to each other and have fun.

In regards to the improv, how do you make it work? Is it based on trust? Is someone acting like a quarterback or point guard on stage and serving it up to the other members of the band?

I would say most of it is based on trust. You could say that if one person is standing out, let them be heard. If it is your turn, listen & make sure you aren’t stepping on anyone to have your voice heard.

Abaculus is a landmark record. Was it your game plan to record something this ambitious, or did it just kinda happen?

It just came together naturally. We recorded our rehearsal and just decided to jam for a bit one day. Everyone was really focused that day and the patience and trust were there. That allowed for us to let the jam breath and take it as far as we wanted to. Honestly, we were just having fun and had no intention of releasing it. An hour passed by in the blink of an eye and we loved the results and couldn’t pass up the chance to share it.

If it was all improvised, can you talk about the feeling you had as musicians laying it down for an hour straight? Was there ever a fear that you’d be overly repetitive?

There was no fear, it was just a day we decided not to go over songs and tried to find other inspiration through improv instead. IF we didn’t have the patience and worried too much about repetition, we wouldn’t have accomplished what we had done. Being open-minded and patient allowed for many sequences that sounded like parts of songs. That’s why it was so special to us, we were creating something brand new without hesitation.

How cool is it that you have your own cult following in the “Spaffnerds?”

OH the nerds…we love them! There are fans and superfans; simply put, we wouldn’t be anywhere without our fans. Keep nerding it up!

If someone’s never listened to you before, but digs the scene you’re in and wants to check out you, what would be a song you recommend they check out to get a full grasp of what the band is all about, and why?

I would recommend “The Postman” because it has a wide range of styles.

This question is for Brian…you were born and raised in New Jersey, how does it feel to be coming to Asbury Park to do a headlining show with your band?

Brian – I am stoked to be back for a show in my home state!

What do you love about being in this band?

Everything. We get to play challenging and fun music in some really cool places and we always share really good laughs and food along the way.

What are you most stoked about for 2018?

There is a lot to look forward to, but for me, I would have to say Red Rocks. I’ve never been there before and to be able to play there on my first visit is an honor.

Spafford performs tonight at Wonder Bar in Asbury Park, click here for tickets.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites

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