Chances are if you’ve ever ventured west to catch the weekly live music ritual that is Jazz Re:freshed, you may have come across this Sunday’s special guest Richard Spaven. A firm favourite among the Portobello Road massive, Richard has provided drum breaks over the years for many artists who’ve passed through the hallowed Mau Mau doors, and in the process has cemented his rep as one of London’s most talented drummers.
So far, Richard’s CV is impressive. Since holding down the drummer’s seat at Mark de Clive-Lowe’s seminal Freesoul Sessions residency at The Jazz Cafe in the mid 00’s, he has gone on to become a core member of both José James’ band and co-founder of Robert Mitchell’s 3iO, as well as featuring on 4hero’s highly recommended ‘Play With the Changes’ and ‘Extensions’ albums. When he’s not laying down tracks in the studio, he tours endlessly, clocking up air miles with some of the biggest names in the business. In the past he has toured and performed live with (the late) GURU of Gangstarr, Flying Lotus, The Cinematic Orchestra, TY, Kaidi Tatham and LA jazz sensation Nailah Porter to name but a few.
Recently Richard has concentrated on his own band, and after releasing his début EP ‘Spaven’s 5ive’ on the newly minted Jazz Re:Freshed imprint back in 2010, he’s back on the circuit preparing the way for the follow-up. Fronting a trio that also features acclaimed pianist Grant Windsor and bassist Neil Charles, we are very excited to welcome Richard to The Jazz Meet. A versatile drummer that can turn his hand to many genres, we caught up with him briefly this week as he prepared for London dates with Andreya Triana and Flying Lotus. Here’s what he had to say.
Hi Richard, to kick things off can you tell us a little about how you started drumming? Did anyone in particular influence your decision or was it more of a natural thing?
Definitely a natural one. It was pots and pans all the way until a friend of my Dad’s donated a broken old bass drum and a floor Tom. My dad spruced it up… Off and running.
Your journey so far has meant you’ve supplied the drum breaks for some pretty heavy hitters on the music front. What would you say was your ‘big break’ and has there been a particular highlight that stands out in your career so far.
Working with TY opened a lot of doors… he hooked me up with Guru’s people. Playing ‘Full Clip’ for the first time with Guru was definitely a moment. And meeting José James… A great friend and journey. From Brownswood to Blue Note. Imagine that!!!
Back in December 2010, you dropped your debut EP. We certainly dug it and understand you’re now back in the studio recording the follow-up. Can you give us a little heads up on what to expect from the new release? Will it be in a similar vein to your début and are there any other collabs in the offering?
Hmmm. Yes. Well this next record has been an obsession. It’s just an honest record… For me it’s deep. If you like the first one then I think you’d like the next one. I’ve been working with Stuart McCallum from The Cinematic Orchestra on some of it. There are two vocalists on it but I’m saving the surprise 🙂
Aside from your own work, you’ve just come back from hitting up a few European dates as part of Jose James’ band. As you’ve alluded to, he’s now signed to Blue Note which means it looks like you’re going to be joining the slew of legendary drummers that recorded a Blue Note date. When it comes to drummers, is there anyone out there past or present that you draw inspiration from?
Musically the underground seems to be in rude form at the moment, especially here in London where we’re seeing different scenes converging. What’s your take on the current situation? Do you find it’s the same overseas?
I’m proud to be from London when abroad because it’s not the same. So much groundbreaking music originates in the UK. Back in the day, jungle and drum and bass seemed to spread worldwide from some small sweaty parties in East London. Still is!
Listen to Richard Spaven ‘Spaven’s 5ive’
Then come to Floripa and witness the experience live THIS SUNDAY as Spaven’s 5ive Live graces us with their presence at The Jazz Meet. Doors 5pm-12am with DJ support from Jazz Meet residents Nik Weston and Jarred Rice. FREE ENTRY.