NYS Music Interview: Ten Questions with Spafford

Spafford is a four-piece act from Phoenix, Arizona that has been steadily gaining recognition in the southwestern states since 2012. Following a successful “Breakout Tour” this fall in the Midwest, including two sold-out shows in Chicago, these Arizona funk rockers are ready to spread their horizon even further and head East, as they continue to grow on a national scale. NYS Music took this opportunity to make sure that you’re familiar with their name, band and sound by chatting with their drummer Nick Tkachyk.

The group consists of Brian Moss (guitar), Jordan Fairless (bass), Andrew “Red” Johnson (keys) and Nick Tkachyk (drums). Their sound can be described as an electrofunk therapy, which combines deep sonic exploration and jam-heavy improvisation. With jams that stretch anywhere from 10 minutes to 30, their songs expand typical song structure, offering an original take on funk-dance-rock music.

In the past, they’ve shared the stage with prominent acts like Widespread Panic, Particle, EOTO, the Motet, and they’ve performed festivals such as Arizona’s McDowell Mountain Music and Gem and Jam Music Festivals. For the summer of 2017, they have already been announced on the bill for the Electric Forest in Rothbury, MI and Resonance Festival in Thornville, OH.

On New Years Eve, you can catch them on Dec. 30 & 31 for Phish after-parties with the Magic Beans, at the American Beauty Bar in NYC, and see for yourself why this four-piece is gaining momentum.

This spring, the Arizona act will hit the road with Umphrey’s McGee for their 2017 tour. Spafford will be fitting in gigs in between their shows with Umphrey’s, including a date in Philadelphia on Jan. 24 and in New Jersey on Jan. 25. For a full list of tour dates, tickets and information, please visit here.

Karina Verlan: Where did the name Spafford come from?

Nick Tkachyk: The word “Spafford” is the middle name belonging to our Lighting Designer/Social Media Guru/General Awesome Dude, Chuck Spafford Johnson. The original name of our band, or should I say “the” band because myself and Red were not in the band yet, was “Officious Tort Feezer… or Freezer”. Apparently this is a legal term for a general wrong doer. Either way, the tort thing didnt work out, Brian and Jordan decided to name the band Spafford, and the rest is the future!

KV: You’ve toured on the West Coast and central states for a while; how do you anticipate breaking through on the East coast?

NT:We were meant for the East Coast. We were meant for West Coast. We were meant for people… and their ear hearts.

KV:How excited are you to be joining Umphrey’s McGee on their tour this spring?

NT:My scale of excitement for this upcoming occasion can be explained in two words… Cannot. Explain. (mostly due to excess excitement, and the inability to explain myself when excessively excited)

KV:Who writes the music in your band and how do you decide on your setlists?

NT:Music is a collaborative effort. Always. Every song is different. Our song writing process is extremely personal and sacred for me, and “us.” Honestly, as a drummer, I don’t “write” songs per-say, however when coming up with specific parts for a Spafford song, I love contributing to the greater good (for lack of a better word) that is Spafford! Setlists are whatever.

KV:What has been the biggest challenge for you thus far as a band?

NT:THE MUSIC. (and “challenging” in a very inspiring, creative, and GOOD way!)

KV:Where would you like to see your band 5 years from now?

NT:Sharing as much positive, emotional and RAW energy with people through music as possible.

KV: Is there anyone alive or dead that you would do anything to have them sit in with you?

NT:Bernard “Pretty” Purdie. Nuff said.

KV:What was your favorite venue thus far? Favorite set that you’ve done?

NT:The word ‘Favorite’ when it comes to MUSIC, in my opinion, is poppycock. As an artist, I believe I don’t have the luxury of preference. All art IS. And all ART is GOOD. But okay… Favorite venue: Vinyl Las Vegas. Favorite set: First time we played there for a Further afterparty.

KV:If you added an another instrument to your band, what would it be?

NT:Another Brian Moss.

KV: Have you surpassed any of your early goals as a band thus far?

NT: Can I borrow your fingers and toes. Yes.