by Chris Snyder
When you the band was first getting it’s start, what venues gave the band it’s first “shot”? Did you guys do weekly residences in the Phoenix area?
There were 3 venues in particular which were spread out through the state and kind of represent the cities we spread to. We got our first gig at Coyote Joe’s in Prescott, AZ back in 2009/2010 for New Years, and we did a residence there on Wednesday’s some time after that until the place closed down. We got our first play in Flagstaff, AZ in 2011 at the Flagstaff Brewing Company by handing out physical press kits with really terrible audio recordings. Let’s just say the booking agent was kind enough to look beyond the recordings. Soon after that, we got our first show in Phoenix (Tempe to be specific) at the beloved Sail Inn which sadly is no longer there.
And how did that translate into touring? Did you go with the “weekend warriors” method and slowly build out from there
It definitely translated to touring, we would do runs around the state and try and get 2 nights in a row in one city if we could, and we basically tried to fill our calendar with AZ dates throughout the state. Then we branched out with our first gig in Las Vegas via the Las Vegas Jamband Society, followed shortly by extending to New Mexico courtesy of a group called Jams of Enchantment, and then finally we made it to Colorado. It was a gradual process of “weekend warrioring,” which then built into our first month long tour to the Pacific Northwest. Almost didn’t make it home from that one [laughs].
Hitting the road with Umphrey’s McGee on a coast to coast tour has helped you guys have your music reach a new audience. How did it feel to be on the road with the band and do you think it helped you gain more fans?
It was surreal at first then it all kind of became natural by the second week of the tour. It was an interesting experience, as we were combining our shows with them, as well as supporting headlining dates of our own in between. It was a lot of driving and spanned coast-to-coast twice for us over the 48 shows we had, 18 of which were with them, so it is all still kind of a blur for us. We are hoping to be able to look back on it in a few years and figure out what happened. It was an amazing experience and we gained a whole slew of new fans as well as some new friends in the UM squad.
Spafford live shows are full of energy and can move from genre to genre at a blink of an eye. How do you guys do it? Is it just the amount of time you guys have spent together?
It’s time spent together, time spent alone, and whatever energy is in the room at the moment. Honestly we aren’t even sure some times, it just happens. The genres could change from the songs we are playing or a jam could explore several different genres in a 20 minute span; it changes from night to night. We like to let the music occur as naturally as possible, sometimes too much thought is dangerous.
What’s on the band’s bucket list right now?
Red Rocks, our own festival, and maybe a full night’s sleep at some point
What are the top few records y’all are listening to right now as your travel the US?
I can’t speak for the band personally, most of the time we keep the van quiet and everyone does their thing with headphones to accommodate sleepers. I prefer silence most commonly when I’m not on stage, as it gives more space to the music in my head.
If you could collaborate with any musicians, living or deceased, who would it be and why?
I would love a chance to collaborate with Bach, or at least pick his brain. He was our favorite composer to emulate in college. He was a genius and I love the inventions and other parts of his work. If ever you should find yourself with some time to kill, there are some really cool bass dudes out there on the YouTube who do 2 part Bach inventions which are mind blowing.