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Reflection: An Interview with Spoken
NRT's Ryan Adams talks with lead singer Matt Baird about the band's history, music, and their newest record 'Reflection'

AN NRT EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW, Reflection: An Interview with Spoken
Posted: May 22, 2024 | By: RyanAdams_NRT
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Spoken is an American rock band from Fayetteville, Arkansas. For over 20 years, the band has been committed to releasing hardcore music infused with the hope of Christ. The band's sound has evolved over the years from a post-hardcore sound to metalcore in modern times. Lead singer, Matt Baird, is an original band member and writer, whose high-pitched scream style is a standout in this genre. The current line up consists of JR Bareis (also of Love and Death), Dylan Levernoch, and Jared Wisner.

In 2023, Spoken signed with the newly formed XOVR Records which was started by Brian "Head" Welch and his longtime personal manager David W. Williams. Spoken recently released their 10th studio album, Reflection, on March 15. It was an honor to spend some time talking with Matt about the new album, the band's history, and more. I hope you enjoy this interview and check out their new record, Reflection.


Congratulations on getting signed to a new record company, XOVR with Brian Welch. What led to this signing?
[Signing to XOVR] has been a project in the works for a while. I've been talking with Brian Welch about it, and with JR, the connection was easier to make. Plus, Brian knows and likes Spoken. He knows how important it is to be busy as a band and he appreciates how we spread the Gospel through music. They've been treating us well.
It's been seven years since your previous album, IX. How has this extensive time gap effected the new record and band?
We had about a five year break before the album Illusion was released. [This recent gap] felt shorter than the actual seven years, probably because we have still been very busy. After COVID, I spent a lot of time [doing] acoustic tours. But every time a record is made, a lot goes into it, and though it was longer this time, I think it was well worth it, even with some line up changes and other changes in the band. 
Spoken has been releasing music for over 20 years. What has helped you and the band continue in the music world for all this time?
Honestly, stubbornness for one. We could have called it quits a long time ago, but we just keep going. We are always trying to improve and perform our best, no matter the size of the crowd. We know God hasn't told us to stop yet, and I think it'll be evident when He does, so we'll keep doing this until then.

What advice would you have for new bands hoping to last long in the music industry?
Don't have expectations of what you think should happen. You can't control everything; things could change tomorrow. You should surround yourself with others who want to improve and [who will] provide feedback that you'll listen to. Do it because you love it. And learn how to perform your studio recordings live well, because that can be hard. The studio recording is different than performing live.
You have two prominent guest vocalists on the record: Brian Welch and Ryan Clark. Are there any stories behind how they got involved with the album?

Brian only wanted to add a guitar riff to a song and we thought that was far less than what he could do--I love his voice. So, after some persuasion, eventually he added those vocals. As for Ryan Clark, we toured in 2006 together. He's done artwork for some [of our] albums, and we've always been friends since then. So, the request was easy. One of our band members, Jared, helped choose "Sleeper" to be the song he is on, believing it is a darker song, with heavier stuff like Demon Hunter.
What are some unique elements on this new record that will keep fans listening?
The music itself outperforms other records for sure. It helps that the other three band members are producers (or can be) in their own skillsets. So, for them to all put their skills together and write awesome music helped a ton. They were also able to get to a studio and jam together while writing the music parts, which hasn't happened in a long time, as opposed to sending files back and forth across the web. Additionally, being able to try new things and take criticism to avoid repeating the same old stuff helped shape this record to be unique in its own right, vocally and musically.
With an extensive 14-song track list, I'm sure there are many stories and messages to be told in Reflection. What are some of the main messages you would want listeners to walk away with?
I want them to walk away with hope. It's easy to be discouraged, but we want to reflect on our lives and move forward with what we have experienced and learned in our struggles. Hope in Jesus will get you through the tough times, even if it's a trial by fire. We also injected stories from other people, fans, friends, and family in some songs, rather than mostly songs about my experiences.
What's next for Spoken?
You never know--things could change tomorrow. But it's hard being away from family, so maybe if Spoken doesn't have much of a future, we have a good alternative. But we already have demos in the works for the next record, [so] you can expect new music to come way sooner than last time. We wanna play more tours, festivals, tour with new bands, and meet fans--ultimately end strong. We aren't sure if we'll partner with XOVR again yet, but I'd like to. 
How can we be praying for you?
For safety, both on the road and at home. For our music to reach the right people. And for us to represent Jesus well, whether touring or not. Thank you so much.


Ryan Adams lives in Montana with his family. He works as a professional game master and loves his spoiled rotten dog.

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