With the Sixth Annual Disc Jam Music Festival kicking off next Thursday on June 9th, we’re happy to present the third installment of our “Road to Disc Jam” interview series featuring the one-and-only Space Bacon. In case you missed the two predecessors, follow these links to catch up on Parts 1 and 2: Dopapod, TAUK. As reflected in its title, the “Beyond” aspect of this interview refers to a special performance we’re covering after Disc Jam at the Hall at MP in Brooklyn. On Saturday, June 25th, Space Bacon and Teddy Midnight, both Brooklyn jam bands, are hosting a collaborative concert called “Midnight Bacon” to showcase the blossoming Brooklyn jam scene, which both bands refer to as “The Brooklyn Jam Syndicate.” As residents of Brooklyn, Lucas and I are excited to help cover this event in our community by interviewing both bands ahead of the show. You can purchase your Disc Jam tickets here, and your Midnight Bacon Tickets here. Stay tuned for a ticket giveaway for The Hall at MP in coming weeks, and enjoy the interview!
Sound Fix: Sam, Chris, Kevin & Jack – first, thanks for taking some time to answer a few questions here. To start things off, tell us what you’re up to this week and weekend.
Chris Gironda (keys): We’re off for Memorial Day weekend, so I’m up in Vermont eating cheese and basking in the mountain sun.
Kevin LeGall (bass): Been outside all day in Montauk windsurfing, tending to my oyster farm – the usual.
Jack Willard (guitar): Escaping the city for the weekend in Cape Cod. Just got back from a bike ride to Wood’s Hole, finally had time to check out the new Radiohead album. We had a busy May so it’s nice to be out of the City.
Sam Crespo (drums): I tend to spend what little off time I have fighting crime in some of the rougher neighborhoods as a “masked” vigilante. It’s not much, but it’s my way of giving back to the community. I say “masked” because I don’t actually wear a mask; I just comb my beard upwards!
SF: Where did it all start for you guys? How did did you meet, and what was that moment you decided to go all in as Space Bacon?
KL: Space Bacon started with Jack, Chris, and I simply getting together and writing music for fun in the Fall of 2012. It started with martinis, a clambake, and a lot of noise complaints from my landlord in the Bronx.
CG: By January of 2013, we had brought Sam on drums and Tony on rhythm guitar and the band took shape. We mostly played house parties and eventually worked our way up to bigger venues, with Garcia’s in Westchester being our launch pad. In August of 2015 we parted ways with Tony and started to take the band more seriously, overhauling our catalog and writing all new music.
JW: I think the moment we decided we wanted to “go in” was mid-last year when we realized we aren’t getting any younger. Chris and I just turned 25. It’s frightening. We will be dead soon, so we try to have a sense of urgency about things.
SF: We’re covering a couple Space Bacon shows in June. The first is the upcoming Disc Jam Music Festival in Stephentown, NY, and the other is your Midnight Bacon performance at the Hall at MP with Teddy Midnight. First off, what’s in store for Disc Jam? Will this be your first time performing at the festival?
KL: I want to play in my underwear for Disc Jam, I can’t speak for the other members (nor have I told them).
CG: Yeah this is our first time at Disc Jam! The lineup is stacked so we’re super excited to be on the same bill as Dopapod, Electron, Tauk, amongst others. Every show is different for us. Always lots of improv, so you can expect some music that has never been played before, and probably will never be played again, to happen during our Disc Jam set.
JW: It’s our first open-air set since GJK Fest last year, and I’ve always loved playing outdoors. We are playing in a tent, and we are going to make people feel like they are underwater in that tent. We might go on stage and make a mess, but it will be a beautiful one.
SF: Now, tell us about this interesting collaborative gig on June 25th at the Hall at MP with Teddy Midnight. How did you guys form this relationship with Teddy Midnight?
KL: We first performed with Teddy Midnight at Club Europa back in early 2014. I remember saying to Chris, “we should really play more shows with these guys. They’re on the same level as us, we could really help each other out and grow together.” Next morning I woke up chained to Silva’s (bass, Teddy Midnight) radiator. **laughs**
CG: **laughs** Seriously though – we ended up linking up with them more and more throughout 2014 and into 2015 just both being Brooklyn-based jam bands. Sean hooked us up with a practice space that we shared with them for a while as well, a little spot in Bushwick, which was sort of like an incubator for both bands until it was condemned by the city and ended up flooding. We’ve since relocated.
JW: Sean is a trash bag. So is Teddy Midnight. I’m ending the brotherhood here. This is war.
CG: Expect some beef in the green room at Midnight Bacon.
SF: We spoke with Wiley, lead guitarist of Teddy Midnight, about the Brooklyn jam scene, which he dubbed “The Brooklyn Jam Syndicate.” How would you describe and characterize this music scene, and how has it grown over the years?
KL: Beautiful and organic. If I’m not mistaken, I believe our drummer coined the phrase “Brooklyn Jam Syndicate.” We can’t wait for it to take over the world.
CG: “BJS” has only just begun. I think Sam first used the term in October of 2015 (around the time of the CMJ Music Marathon) since all of our fellow Brooklyn jam bands were playing shows that week.
SC: The idea for calling our musical family the “Brooklyn Jam Syndicate” first came to me after seeing a Turkuaz poster which advertised the band as “Brooklyn power funk.” It made me realize that what we had been cultivating was actually a marketable collective sound; Brooklyn Jam.
The BJS is comprised of four main bands: Chromatropic, Cousin Earth, Teddy Midnight and Space Bacon. While the bands had been actively collaborating for well over a year, we never really had a banner to rally behind until now.
Without any direct intention, this scene of ours has been steadily growing over the last few years, in part out of the ashes of the local scene once built by Mr. Bugsly Presents, which had a lot to do with bringing many of us together going back five years or more.
Each of the four bands has a very distinctive musical identity and very different approaches to what we do, and yet we share so many of the same musical influences. Because of this, it’s easier to describe our common influences (The Grateful Dead, Phish, The Disco Biscuits, Lotus, The New Deal, STS9) than it would be to describe what our scene sounds like.
I couldn’t be more proud of our musical family and I’m excited for our future under the banner “Brooklyn Jam”.
SF: Bringing some focus back to Space Bacon, what new music are you currently working on?
JW: There’s a formula that is working with our lighter tracks like “Parallax” and “Dorsia.” It’s sort of like elevator music on ecstasy; it’s very Lotus inspired. Chris will bring chords to the table and I’ll write a hook for them, Kevin a bassline, and Sam will toy with the rhythm. Headbangers like “Sarcophagus” and “Flamethrower” are like the hangovers of those pretty songs. Right now our plan is to stick with that formula and let it ride.
KL: We’re working on adding vocals. I’ve been practicing in the shower and at karaoke bars.
CG: We’re constantly writing new music. Sometimes we’ll try out riffs or ideas in jams before fleshing them out into full compositions. We just did that with a new song “Jupiter,” which is actually a revamped old song plus some new parts that would float in and out of jams over the last couple months. We’re about to put out a four song EP with some of the new songs we’ve been working on since the beginning of this year, so stay tuned for that.
SF: For someone new to Space Bacon, how would describe your sound, and which groups or musicians have been sources of inspiration?
SC: To me, Space Bacon’s sound is based largely around juxtaposition. Led Zeppelin employed an approach called “Light and Shade,” where pretty, soft, happy music was paired with hard, heavy, abrasive, dark music. Putting the light and the dark next to each other gave greater meaning to each one by relativity to the other. I feel like we’re in the process of really honing in on that juxtaposition.
SF: Apart from Disc Jam & Midnight Bacon at the Hall at MP, what other summer events are you most excited for?
CG: Those are definitely two of the big ones we’re doing this summer. I’m also really stoked to hit Syracuse for the first time with our friends The New Daze. That’s going to be their album release party on June 24th.
KL: I’m not excited for the summer, I’m a winter person. **laughs**
JW: **laughs** We have a special night in the works with my hometown chum Thai Ghai, the premier Laser Designer in the Northeast. Thai recently took the next step and incorporated his LLC, Brainwave Laser & FX. We are throwing a launch party for Brainwave with untz and lasers galore. Stay tuned for details, and expect more Brainwave/Bacon collabs in the future!
SF: We’re from New York, and have been all over the city to catch shows and performances. What is your one favorite music venue in the city (all five boroughs)?
KL: Garcia’s in Westchester County is my number one by far. It’s a second home to me. In the five boroughs, I would say the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn. My first show ever was at the Knitting in Manhattan ten years ago. I have a photo of that show in my studio, I always look at it and think, “damn, I still suck.”
JW: We just played at the Mercury Lounge with Horizon Wireless and Chromatropic. I liked that room a lot.
SC: My personal favorite venue to catch live music is a little-known place called “Joey’s Crab Shack” (not to be confused with the seafood chain of a very similar name). It’s actually just a collection of old wooden crates by the East River. The place doesn’t smell great but the sound quality is pristine.
SF: This question is geared to dig in to each of your individual personalities. If you were stranded on an island, what record, movie and book would you take with you?
KL: Blood Sugar Sex Magik by RHCP, Brazil by Terry Gilliam, and Neuromancer by William Gibson
SC: As far as albums go, it’s a toss up between the Disco Biscuits’ 1998 studio album Uncivilized Area, and the 2005 live album by the same artists titled The Wind at Four to Fly. Movie would have to be Ace Ventura 2: When Nature Calls (that was easy). For books, I’d say Bill Kreutzmann’s, Deal: My Three Decades of Drumming, Dreams, and Drugs with the Grateful Dead
CG: Island in the Sun by Weezer, Castaway with Tom Hanks, and the entire series of Lost on DVD (I don’t know how to read).
JW: I would abandon all three forms of media at shore. I have a long way to swim home. I want to live.
SF: Finally, our last question isn’t a question at all. It’s an open forum. Anything else you’d like to share that wasn’t covered here?
KL: I have diphallia.