Last summer junior James Spaite and four of his friends, Nikolaas Top, Savannah Walters, Megan Geiger and Sergey Koliyayko, formed a band and took to the road to showcase Spaite’s songs from his latest album “A Woman Gave Me Music.”
Deciding to tour came out of a need to get his new music out into the community meant months of preparation for Spaite and a need to get his new music out into the community.
“A lot of times, as an artist, when you put out an album it’s really wise to tour with it and share it,” said Spaite. “So that’s what we did.”
Spaite and his band spent three months traveling to 11 cities and nine houses including San Diego, Laguna Nigel, Los Angeles, Visalia, Palo Alto, Sacramento, Santa Cruz, Eugene and Portland. But before they could started playing music, they needed to raise funds.
As a result, their journey actually began in Visalia, California, where Spaite is originally from. He and his friends opened for a band called Unspoken where they were able to get their music out into the community before the tour. Playing at Unspoken’s show, along with donations and gifts from family and friends allowed them to finance the trip.
Then came the music, which, according to Spaite, was his favorite part.
“The highlight was doing music,” said Spaite. “The tour was my favorite part because everything else in it was just work.”
Band mate and cellist Nikolaas Top agreed saying the high point for him was the music.
“My favorite part of the trip was having no responsibility,” said Top. “[Because of that,] all I did was play music and, in general, got to enjoy all of it.”
Playing music for a whole summer really impacted the way Spaite evolved as a musician, according to Megan Geiger, tour mate and background technical manager. Geiger said that getting that opportunity to watch Spaite come into his own as a musician was the highlight for her.
“I really enjoyed watching James grow musically,” said Geiger. “The performances got better every night as I watched his confidence grow on stage.”
Initially Spaite started out as a solo guitarist, with no formal training who
focused on developing percussive finger style tap guitar. He said that over the summer he was able to add dimension to his music.
“I think that by adding more elements, more people and more instruments, I was able to give my music more sound,” said Spaite.
Spaite also learned to market his music while touring.
“A lot of the progression [this summer] has been in gaining traction in the musical world, sharing music and getting stuff out to people,” said Spaite.
Spaite and his band are currently working on new pieces, some of which were showcased this summer, but the majority of which are still works in progress, according to Spaite. He said that most of his songs focus sharing a story.
“A lot of the songs come out of stories, thoughts and adventures,” said Spaite. “Each song is tied to a story; either one I’ve lived through, a friend has lived through or one I am able to conceptualize.”
Touring provided Spaite with a lot of great experiences and he said he really enjoyed the music, but also the time spent with friends.
“Finally getting to see all of it happen, and getting to spend time with really good friends,” said Spaite. “That was really cool.”