Spam Allstars Release New Album, Trans-Oceanic, First in a Decade

Spam Allstars
Spam Allstars Courtesy photo
A full decade after the release of their last album, Miami's favorite funk fusion instrumentalists, Spam Allstars, have finally issued their sixth record, Trans-Oceanic.

"Our last album came out in 2007," says the band's mastermind, DJ Le Spam. "I was burnt out, and most of my downtime from gigging was spent recording other people in the studio."

Finally, though, after an introspective look into his childhood, he was ready to release a festive new collection of songs.

Trans-Oceanic got its name from an old radio that Le Spam's grandfather had when he was a boy. "I would take those radios apart. My grandfather was an engineer who built oil rigs around Latin America and the Caribbean, so he had all these shortwave radios."

Though Le Spam's sounds have become synonymous with Miami, he was born in Montreal and lived all over the world, including London and Colombia. He settled in the Magic City in 1990 at the age of 20.

"The theme of the record is radio," he says. "That was the primary way people used to discover music. Radio brings in transmissions from afar, bringing you things you might now expect. Like always, our music is 80 percent instrumental. My heart is in instrumentals, but there's a segment of our audience that connects with words, so we pace in some songs with vocals."
Radio is also where Spam Allstars first found their sound. "I used to do a pirate radio station back in 1998," Le Spam says. "It was called Beach Radio 96.9. I had a show Monday nights at 1 a.m. and would play all these beats and loops. That radio show is where we created our sound."

The band's name, he says, also came indirectly from radio. "The first thing I played for people was a song with a groove looped in with old spam commercials from country radio."

He thought naming his band "Spam Allstars" would sabotage his chances of ever finding mainstream success. But it hasn't stopped the group from finding longevity. The bandmates, who have been together 22 years, will perform at the North Beach Bandshell April 29 to celebrate the new record. "This time, we're going to keep the lineup tight," Le Spam says. "For the 20th-anniversary show a couple years ago, we had 15 people on the stage. It was the loudest thing I'd ever done. I lost my hearing for months, so this will be a more stripped-down lineup."

Spam Allstars Album-Release Party
7 p.m. Saturday, April 29, at the North Beach Bandshell, 7275 Collins Ave., Miami Beach; 305-672-5202; Admission is $5 at the gate.
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David Rolland is a freelance music writer for Miami New Times. His novel, The End of the Century, published by Jitney Books, is available at many fine booksellers.
Contact: David Rolland