“The emotion and intention you can put behind the notes of the trumpet say more to me than words can express,” says Spencer Ludwig, a musician who not only plays the trumpet but lives its essence. In a world where the trumpet has found its way into the mainstream, Ludwig emerges as a thoughtful, exploratory artist, continually seeking new musical horizons. His music, like the freshly released single ‘Welcome Party,’ is a blend of power and celebration, akin to the vibrant energy of a bustling city night, filled with a sense of music that is both strong and inviting. It’s a sound that beckons listeners to dance and immerse themselves in the joy of the moment.
Having played as the original trumpeter in the multi-platinum band Capital Cities, his path as a Los Angeles-born, half-Filipino vocalist-instrumentalist speaks to a journey of continuous musical exploration and cultural integration.
In our interview, we delve into the inspirations behind his new single, the creative process of collaborating with other artists, and how his unique heritage influences his music and life philosophy.
photography by Alec Ilstrup
Welcome, Spencer Ludwig! Can you share the story behind the inspiration for your new single, ‘Welcome Party’?
This one was inspired by the parties I used to throw in Brooklyn at the Freehold called “Le Trumpet.”
How did the collaboration with Sean Van Vleet and Ryan Daly come about?
The original version of the song was written with Sean and Sam Farrar of Maroon 5/Phantom Planet. We’re all long-time friends and collaborators. I brought the demo to Ryan Daly as we were piecing together my album, and then Ryan took it from there to where it is now.
Given that ‘Welcome Party’ pays homage to ‘Le Trumpet,’ how have fans from the old parties and new listeners been reacting to the track?
It seems like everyone is digging it! It always seemed to have resonated well with my live audience too, which also inspired the release. I’ve been sitting on this song for a while now, and fans had been asking when/if it was going to be released. It was time!
In a previous interview, you mentioned that the trumpet is an extension of your body. In moments where words might fall short, how does the trumpet step in to communicate what you want to express?
The emotion and intention you can put behind the notes of the trumpet say more to me than words can express. It’s multidimensional expression and communication. It’s passion.
“It’s difficult to compete against the money and influence of the major label system, but I don’t release music to compete.”
Where do you draw inspiration from when experimenting with new sounds and techniques on the trumpet?
I always go back to my favorites: Miles Davis, Chet Baker, Roy Hargrove, all of which can be heard on my Spotify playlist entitled “Trumpetspirations.”
What are some of the challenges and freedoms you experience as an independent artist versus being signed to a label?
It’s difficult to compete against the money and influence of the major label system, but I don’t release music to compete. If one person discovers my music and enjoys it, I’m happy.
How does your half-Filipino heritage influence not just your music but also your philosophy of life?
My Filipino relatives and the Filipino people inspire me to work harder every day, to always put family first, and to embrace each day with gratitude and positivity.
“Artists are the joy bringers and the world’s emotional translators.”
In your opinion, what role does an artist have in shaping societal values and catalyzing change through their music?
Artists are the joy bringers and the world’s emotional translators.
Given the various pressures and the constant need for creativity in your industry, how do you manage your mental health?
I’m happiest when I’m with my family. I’m always trying to make more time for us to be together. My son Ace is almost 2, and he brings me more joy every day than I ever knew was possible.
Which track of yours do you never get tired of performing live?
I never get tired of playing any songs. I always feel extremely grateful for the opportunity to perform.
“I’m happiest when I’m with my family. I’m always trying to make more time for us to be together.”
You often share cherished family moments on Instagram. Can you talk about your decision to let your fans and the public into such personal and intimate aspects of your life?
I have indeed become an insta-dad. I could not be more proud to be the Father to Ace. As I mentioned, he brings me more joy every day than I ever knew was possible, and I hope you can catch a piece of it through the snapshots I share. Right now, there’s a lot of sad news and images being shared. I hope that swiping to find Ace’s smiling face will make you smile too.
What’s a piece of advice you’d give to aspiring musicians?