If you missed Spencer Ludwig on tour with Bebe Rexha, then you’ve got another chance when he takes the Lollapalooza stage this summer. In between, you can expect his debut solo album, some dope remixes, new music videos and everything in between. When does this guy sleep?
Spencer Ludwig stopped by before the last night of Bebe Rexha‘s “All Your Fault” tour in New York City — check out our photo shoot with him in the gallery above.
You’re coming up on your last night with Bebe Rexha. Final thoughts about this tour?
I sound like a green, cliche, excited, first-time tourer, but this is my first solo tour and being able to play in sold-out venues across the country has been a dream come true. Every night was fun. Bebe Rexha’s fans are singers, screamers, jumpers and dancers. The perfect audience.
What was it like when “Diggy” blew up?
The Target commercial helped majorly. It brought national and global awareness of the song, and people discovered my other songs from there.
A lot of people said they found the sound by looking it up on Shazam. But it was hard for them, because a lot of people think the lyric is “Diggy-diggy-diggy-d-dawn,” to dance until the “dawn,” but it’s “Diggy-diggy-diggy-d-do,” which is just an onomatopoeia for the trumpet part that follows. It’s just a rhythm thing, the sound effect.
That’s so interesting! Having seen you in concert, I think the “Diggy” video gives people a great taste of what your live show is like. Is that what you wanted to do with that?
Totally. That’s exactly what I meant to do. It was important that my first video explained what you might expect at a live show — which is dancing and flying! [Laughs]
You should pull a P!nk and bring in the harness.
When I had more space and the freedom to do more climbing and flying, I would! I was a little younger and a little wilder. I’m 26.
Yeah, you’re ancient now.
I’m trying to make sure I don’t break anything! But I still want to put on a good show.
Who inspires your live performances?
It starts with the classics. James Brown, Michael Jackson, Prince. The guys who really took performing seriously. Not just playing their music, but being a little bit extra. Right now, Bruno Mars. I appreciate someone who goes for it all.
Your sets are so much fun, because of the way you switch between singing, dancing and playing your trumpet.
I hope I can shine a light on the trumpet’s versatility, because I’m doing it in a way no one else is. I’m trying to make the right impression as the person who’s taking on this huge responsibility. I want to make sure I’m doing it justice.
Does your jazz background help with that?
I’m not thinking about it too much! I’m just rocking out with the trumpet. I happened to study jazz which allows me to rock out and know what key I’m in. But I’m an artist who just plays the trumpet.
You’ve worked with and played for so many people. How does that impact your solo music?
In every way, playing with other people has influences my sound. Being in the festival circuit and watching other bands perform and see what makes them special helps you find what causes them to connect with people. It was very educational and I took a lot of mental notes. My goal was to combine everything I love and then have it sound like something brand new. The biggest discovery was my voice, because I hadn’t ever recorded that. It was a really fun process figuring that out.
Let’s talk about your time with Capital Cities. Are you sick of “Safe and Sound?”
No, I love it! I do. And it always seems to play when I’m around. It brings back great memories. I only have the best memories traveling around with those guys. It didn’t take much for us to have a good time.
After so many years with Capital Cities, how did you know it was time to go solo?
At the beginning of 2015, tour was wrapping up and I knew that this was going to be time to look for a new gig and a time to create. I started working on a demo in mid-2014 to spread my wings and explore songwriting. I started writing pop songs and then in January 2015, I stuck around in LA to reconnect with people. I unplugged and felt like I needed to reintroduce myself to the “scene,” separate from the “touring trumpet person” that people knew me as.
Who do you want to tour with next?
I’d really like to continue with Bebe. I’m putting out there in the universe! I want to go to Europe with her. I’d also love to tour with DNCE. They’re in the funk world and it would be a great party. I love the idea of a traveling unit who is putting on a great night for people.
Who would you love to collaborate with?
Pharrell and Daft Punk.
If you and Pharrell got in the same room, it would be kind of a hat showdown.
I know his hatmaker! Good guy.
You live near the Warsaw venue in Brooklyn, where the tour wraps up — are you gonna walk home after the concert?
Yes! It’s incredible that a 30-day tour ends around the block from my place. It worked out. Not sure it’ll ever work out that way again.
If someone hasn’t heard you before, what song should they listen to first?
“Diggy” is the intro song. It’s literally saying, I’m going to get you dancing to the sound of my trumpet.
Can we expect your solo record soon?
We’re strategically waiting for the right time, but it will be this summer. A full album of 12-13 songs — they’re all done. I have enough material for album 2 already! I finished two new songs in the studio yesterday.
Anything else on the horizon?
There will also be remixes, which I’m really excited about. My friend RAC did one of them. It’s going to be great. And more video content soon.