Andrew Yeomanson might not be a name you are familiar with, but ask any true South Florida resident about DJ Le Spam and the Spam Allstars and you will probably get a “Fuacata!” in response.
The term, loosely translated to “Wham!” in Cuban slang, is the name of the Thursday night Calle Ocho party that has now made DJ Le Spam famous. Yeomanson made Miami club Hoy Como Ayer come alive with his unique sound.
His music is a rich recipe of tasty sounds. He effortlessly fuses jazz, descarga, Miami bass, hip hop, and Afro- beats. He flavors it some more with a big helping of funk and guaguanco, adds some humorous spoken-word, and serves it up fresh outta the kitchen, with live music on the side. The result? A distinct Miami sound.
Crusing down Washington Avenue and Collins, the South Beach club scene is full of sultry models, celebrities and the exotic mix of locals and foreigners, wanting to do one thing … groove.
“People in Miami like to dance. It’s a dancing thing,” Yeomanson said. “We could play anywhere because we were different.” It’s been a long time coming for him. Born in Montreal to an English father and Venezuelan mother, Yeomanson always had a sense of culture. He has literally lived around the world, from Montreal to London, Tampa to Bogota.
His career in music took off in 1991 with a Haitian group, Lavalas Band. The Spam Allstart were born in 1993 but in 1995 he left them to play guitar with artist Nil Lara for three years. But he couldn’t get Spam off his mind and in 1998, Yeomanson turned back to the Spam Allstars.
Yeoman sais that the group’s name started out as just something funny, then evolved into a cultural revolution. “I did this piece that I never released and it had an excerpt from an old Spam commercial. At that time we were also doing some Internet radio,” he said. “It took on a different meaning, but it all started as a goofy track that stuck.”
The bandleader credits the Miami atmosphere as the reason why “Fuacata!” caught on. “In Miami you have all of it. You have some Jamaican, the Latin stuff, electronic music. It’s a true mix,” he said. Yeomanson’s musical influences are about as diverse as the Miami sound. He became interested in Jamaican music while in London. The Toronto scene fed his appetite for more Jamaican, punk and soul. “But Miami has been the biggest influence. I have been here about 13 years and I can still go out and get vinyls of any type: Latin, bass, Jamaican, hip-hop, whatever,” he enthused. “I am attracted to anything with a strong instrumental groove, and I am a real freak for funk. Miami is the places that can feed all of my interests,”
Part of what makes Yeomanson’s sound so unique is his innovative looping and sampling of everything from salsa favorites to cheesy commercials. A dream project for the DJ would be to collaborate with some of the artists he samples from. “I would love to work with some of the older Cuban artists and funk artists.
Cachao, Larry Harlow and Sammy Figueroa would be a dream. They are the originals,” he smiled.
Many people are suprised to hear him speak Spanish and speak so knowledgeably about Latin music Pioneers, “People don’t always think I am Hispanic because I have light skin and green eyes. But I have always had the Latin culture in my home, though it was never forced on me,” he said. His parents married in South America, and although he wasn’t forced to speak Spanish as a child, he learned to speak it at age 12 when the family moved to Colombia. The Spam Allstars have done so well that they outgrew Hoy Como Ayer and moved to a large club located a little north of downtown Miami. “I think my biggest accomplishment has just been being able to pay my bills. Miami is a tough city for musicians,” Yeomanson Said. “I am grateful for everything.”
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit www.ashleycisneros.com. You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.