Picture of the Week | 8.30.13

Photo Credit: Erika Reinsel

Photo Credit: Erika Reinsel

Up in smoke—Capital Cities continue their rapid growth as a nebulous cloud expands alongside them, absorbing trumpeter Spencer Ludwig. After releasing their debut album, In a Tidal Wave of Mystery, this summer, the band enjoyed a remarkable ascent behind the hit, “Safe and Sound.” We recognize their rise with this Picture of the Week.

A recent free Capital Cities show allowed them to build on their success, as scores of newly minted fans lined up for hours to enter Philadelphia’s Radio 104.5 Summer Block Party. On a rainy and overcast day, the ominous clouds actually seemed to ignite the audience, rather than deter them, and when Capital Cities finally took the stage, their chemistry with the fans was electric.

There’s no denying the raw intensity of seeing a young band live as they enter prominence. They still have the youthful energy and wide-eyed innocence, and they’re still not experienced enough to have that road-weary drag from touring. The crowd recognized this and fed off it. They even battled a passing shower by encouraging fans to take off their shirts and shoes, which, of course, they did (when young rock stars tell you to take off your clothes, you just do it).

The rain picked up as their set concluded, however, creating a delay before indie rock veterans Cold War Kids took the stage. Thankfully, this gave our own Erika Reinsel a chance to sit down with touring member Spencer Ludwig to discuss the band’s success, touring, and his new side project, Duk. Be sure to check out his recently released EP here.


Rukkus: Was the trumpet the first instrument you played?

SL: No, I actually started with the saxophone in the fourth grade. I picked up a guitar in middle school, and did the whole rock band thing while I sang and wrote songs. There was just a lot of music in my life during school, then in high school I started jamming with bands and playing around town in LA. At that time, I got opportunities to play the trumpet. I picked the trumpet because I wanted to go to college to study jazz. So basically, trumpet wasn’t my first choice and I don’t know if it’ll be my last. I’m actually thinking of playing the trombone next – there’s a thing called the pBone (it’s plastic) and I want to get that.

Rukkus: How did you get involved with Capital Cities?

SL: I was actually involved with about 12 other side projects before Capital Cities. But it’s been about 3 years with them now. We were both billed at the Abbot Kinney Festival, which is this street festival in LA. I was with this indie band called Sister Rogers and Capital Cities had the slot after us. This was right after Capital Cities released their first EP, and after the show Sebu [their front-man] came up to me and said he really loved what I did and wanted to jam with me. I contacted him right after because I was really hungry for gigs. When I got to the studio he basically just let me play and improvise. After that rehearsal, he asked me to do a show with them and I haven’t missed one since.

Rukkus: Has it been hard for you to adjust to the tour life?

SL: It’s been a very interesting process. I think I finally now understand how to survive it and make the most of it. I realize I need to get as much sleep as possible because the hours are crazy. I need to eat well because good meals are far and few between. In all the free time I have between shows, I just practice the trumpet. I focus on using my time wisely. The whole experience of touring has been amazing. I’m living my dream, which I never thought would be possible. It’s just such an amazing experience to see the world and do what I love.

Rukkus: You’re involved in another project, can you tell us about it?

SL: I have a punk-gypsy-jazz ensemble and we’re called Duk. It started out with my best friend, Max, who plays the accordion, then some of our friends wanted to join, and it just evolved from there. Besides the trumpet and accordion, we also have the tuba, guitar, viola, violin, saxophone, and drums (which is played by Portugal. The Man’s drummer, Kane Ritchotte). It’s just an energetic form of dance music with all these instruments. Our first EP, The Early Worm Gets the Bird, came out on August 6th. We now want to try and do one or two shows a month. Basically any free night in between Capital Cities I’m going to perform with Duk.

Rukkus: Awesome. Thanks for your time, Spencer.

Article by Nicolas White and Erika Reinsel

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