Spafford Talks New Album, Road to Summer Camp, and Red Rocks Debut

With summer on the rise, Spafford has been keeping themselves busy.  With the recent release of their second full length studio album For Amusement Only, and by traveling across the country from festival to festival, they hardly have enough time to breathe!  Sound-Fix was lucky enough to have a moment to sit down with them at Summer Camp Music Festival this past Memorial Day Weekend and talk a little bit about what Spafford has been brewing up.


Sound-Fix: So I’m with Spafford in the VIP tent at Summer Camp, talking to Brian [Moss].  How’re you doing?


Brian Moss: I’m good man, how’re you?


SF: I’m doing well; I’m excited to be here!  I wanted to start things off talking about your new album, For Amusement Only, and everything that was put in to make it happen.  I know that a lot of Spafford’s music originates from doing it live so I’m curious how it all boiled down when making the studio album.


BM: We’ve been playing a lot of those songs for a long time and it takes a long time to really develop them when all you’re doing is touring. So when we get an opportunity to get into the studio, we kind of want to take those songs we’ve been extending out and really make them a stripped down version and really spend some time to fine tune some things along the way.  So that’s when you get a particular song that your used to it being 20-minutes long but on the album it’s three and a half, because we want to make it friendly as well to reach other audiences.  We feel like we can be listened by any person, not just jam band you know festival circuit stuff like that.


SF: Right, you’re saying you don’t want to fall under a label?


BM: Well we feel we’re accessible.  We listen to every type of music, so we think our music should be accepted by other people.  We see that, so we try to give the listeners that.  So that’s the idea that kind of went behind all of that.  Trying to take something that we’ve had for a while and really try to fine tune it because those song people have been hearing for a while, but they never got a chance to hear the studio album.  For me growing up, I listened to a lot of bands that you listen to the live stuff and to get the CD is a privilege.  So by offering that to our fans we try to bring the same kind of element into it.  Also, we had a bunch of older songs, and we wanted to throw some new stuff on there as well to add some fuel.  So there’s two new songs on there that people hadn’t heard until the album release, just to keep it exciting for everybody.


SF: How about for you guys, what creative processes went into making the album for you?


Cam Laforest: Yeah, so we’re trying to keep things shorter studio wise so we can fit everything on there obviously, but we’re still trying to capture the essence of how we would play something live.  Not necessarily how long we would play something because we can still get there, we just have a shorter amount of time to get there.  So we still have the same essence of what we would do on stage, it’s just a cleaned up version.


SF: In comparison to your first studio album, what was the difference between making the two albums?  Was there a new path or process you took to make this album?


Red Johnson: I don’t know if it’s necessarily a new path or anything like that, we’ve said it before and I’ll say it again that we are today, we were back then, and we will always be unapologetically Spafford.  We always just kind of get up there and do our thing.  So as far as a new path, I don’t know if it was necessarily a new path for me.  I know that it was a lot of fun and all four of us had a lot of creative input and we put a lot of effort into making this record.  It was a real team effort and I’m excited that people are fired up about it. We’ve been getting a great reaction from it.  It was hard work, but it was fun.


SF: Was there anything that stuck out to any of you about recording the new songs that you really enjoyed?


Jordan Fairless: I think that’s the most exciting part about being in a band is developing new material while also giving credit to the old material, which we were able to do with the album, dig into some songs that we’ve been playing for a while live but never necessarily ever had time to give it a studio version.  So that was the biggest thing, we made time available to get in there and record. It’s a challenge, but it was nice to get everything down that we’ve been working on for the past couple years, isolate it, and clean it up.


SF: So I know it’s not your first time here at Summer Camp so I’m wondering, what is it that you find attractive about the festival?  What draws you back?


BM: Well the cool thing for us is that since we started breaking out into this area, we’re seeing a lot of people from Chicago, Detroit all the fans from the mid-west that we would see at the smaller gigs we get to play through the other touring seasons.  Then during festival season, you’re seeing all those people in one spot.  It’s really nice to see everybody in one spot, and I think that’s the beauty of it.  There’s also a great vibe of seeing my friends that are musicians and other bands. This is a really cool vibe at this festival, we think all the headlining bands and everybody who supports this thing and put this thing on does it right from the top to the bottom.  They treat the artists right and they’re having fun, and they treat the fans right and they’re having fun as well.


SF: What’re some of the acts your excited to stumble upon here?


BM: I mean, any act.  I don’t know who these guys playing here are, but they sound great!  You can stumble across anything, and that’s why people are coming to this festival.  To be honest, being a touring musician, you don’t get the opportunity that our fans have to go and see this and see that, so we finally get to be fans for the weekend and enjoy our friends or stumble across somebody completely new.  We found Eric Prydz one year, and I’m not really into DJs much but, oh my god, I was blown away and now he’s one of my favorite DJs that I listen to, he’s probably the only DJ I listen to!


SF: I noticed a lot of festivals on your upcoming tour. You guys spark in this setting.


BM: Well for the summer you do.


JF: That’s pretty much the name of the game now.


BM:  The thing is, it took us a while to really inch our way into this kind of thing.  It’s new for us, but it’s what we’ve always wanted to do.  You go on your tours at the beginning and end of the year, and then in the summer you go to all these beautiful places that throw beautiful festivals and at the best time of year for all of it and we just get to go out and travel, and we have fun with each other.  It’s so much fun.  Just the drive down here from the airport in Chicago it was so much fun the way here. We’re just so pumped to be here, we really are.  We were screaming on the way over!


SF: Have you guys ever thought about hosting your own festival?


BM: Yeah, absolutely!  Most of the great bands that we’ve followed suit with, they’ve all done it, so why not?  We’re finding the right time and the right place, and when it happens it’ll happen and it’ll be amazing!


SF: So just when the stars align?


BM: Yeah because knowing us, we’re not going to throw something half complete.  We’re really going to go for it, so we want to make sure that the timing is right and to do it right.


SF: I wanted to talk to you guys about your next gig which is your debut at Red Rocks where you’ll be playing alongside the Disco Biscuits, you guys must be pretty excited about that.


BM: For me, I’ve been listening to the Disco Biscuits my entire life.  I stumbled across them when I was a young lad in high school, so it’s really special for me to be there and share the stage with those guys.  Over the past year we got the opportunity to hang out with them and they’re really awesome guys so that’s really special, plus it’s Red Rocks!  I’ve actually never been there before; I’ve never seen a show.


SF: Really?


BM: Yeah!  I was born and raised in New Jersey, so I was spending most of my time at Madison Square Garden or PNC Bank Arts Center.


SF: I was born and raised in Upstate New York, so I get what you mean.  It was always SPAC or Pepsi Arena/Times Union Center.


BM: Oh really?  Yeah, I was like Camden and all that so you know what I mean.  Red Rocks just wasn’t “it” for me, Madison Square Garden was “it” for me.  But then I moved to Arizona in 2003 and really still never went to Colorado much.  But then with the band and with Jordan [Fairless] we started going to Colorado and it was like “dude, Red Rocks” because that was it!


JF: I saw my first show there like 4 years ago or something like that, I went and saw Dispatch.  When they got back together they did a three-night run there, and when I came back it was like it changed my life.  I wanted to go back there and play there.


BM: I’ve never got the chance to catch a show there and here we are now and we get to play there, so it’s special!


JF: I can’t imagine what it’s going to feel like to stand on that stage and look up at the ascending staircase, it’s going to be magical!


SF: That’s going to be an interesting perspective of the venue. Thank you guys so much for your time, I appreciate it and look forward to talking again soon!

About author

Zach Schwartz

Born and raised in Upstate New York, and residing in Southern California for the past 5 years, Zach has a vast taste and passion for live music. In 2018, Zach graduated from San Diego State University with a Bachelors degree in Communication. Aside from music journalism, Zach is working hard at his blossoming career as a Lighting Designer. Feel free to contact Zach with any comments, questions, or concerns regarding anything music related!