Friends form bands all the time, but not all bands are formed with the intention of sending a message. However, a group of Hudson County college-aged kids are forming a band for that exact reason.
SpecktruM is a group of three Stevens Institute of Technology students and their friend from Jersey City who have come together to work alongside famed Stevens professor and musical producer David Musial to create music that’s not only catchy, but is also being played to send encouraging messages to listeners.
“We know there’s a lot of bad things going on in the world, but we can try to lighten things up with some good music.” – Brady Cudmore, vocalist
Meet the band
Ben Clifford plays guitar and sings, and is from Buffalo, N.Y. Clifford is a senior at Stevens who majors in music and technology, and has played in over 250 live shows.
Nick Catania plays the keyboard, sings, and is a junior at Stevens. He is on track to graduate next May with a degree in music and technology as well as engineering physics. Catania is also the president of the school’s student government.
Cliff Hults plays bass, has one more year left at Stevens, and loves to volunteer his time playing music for kids.
Brady Cudmore is an up and coming pop star from Canada who has performed with the other members of the band for years, and has made a name for himself on the pop circuit. Cudmore, who lives in Jersey City, is the lead vocalist, and also plays drums and guitar.
The band’s new song, Humanity, was chosen as the theme for an upcoming charity event for Hopeline and 1-800-SUICIDE, a suicide prevention organization. Bands such as Third Eye Blind and Good Charlotte will also perform at the festival, and SpecktruM has been given a 45-minute set at the concert.
“What struck me about this band when we first started with the humanity angle is that I had just recently lost a buddy of mine in Afghanistan in the Army Rangers,” Hults said. “I heard the direction this group was going in and I said I needed to do this, in his memory.”
Sgt. Ronald Kubik was killed in action last June, and last week the band even discussed the possibility of dedicating a song to his memory.
The band mostly plays shows in the Hudson County area, on campus and in places like Maxwell’s.
Being a student in Hoboken and a band member can be difficult.
“Most of our shows are in Hoboken, and we have to rent cabs as it is to move our stuff around,” Clifford said.
Regardless, he says he very much enjoys his time performing.
“I don’t think of this as work,” Clifford said. “I think of it as my fun time.”
Clifford added that it was Musial, who has done extensive work with music and positive messages, and is also an Emmy recipient, that influenced their positive messages.
“When you’re able to hit someone right at home with a good message, music is extraordinarily powerful,” Hults said last week. “If you have a positive message you can really reach people in a good way.”
Cudmore has performed at the Pentagon, Disney World, and in places where the crowd totals can sometimes exceed 10,000 fans. He said he believes all members of the band have “raw talent.”
“We’re all friends, first and foremost,” Cudmore said. “And we all have the same mission. We know there’s a lot of bad things going on in the world, but we can try to lighten things up with some good music.”
Cudmore has performed with members of the band locally in schools, including in Jersey City.
The band’s long-term goal is, of course, “to make it big.”
“Twenty years from now we still may be seeing shows from SpecktruM,” Musial said.
Cudmore said: “I hope so.”
Even if the band doesn’t make it to the ‘American Top 40’ countdown charts, they’re still focused on their goals.
“I would love to play and make it big, but even if we’re just doing charity work, I just love performing,” Hults said. “There’s nothing better than being on stage.”
The group was recently offered the possibility of a 40-city tour in connection with the Hopeline event.
“We know we can do this,” Catania said. “We’re all anxious to get our message out there because we know we can be successful. We know we can send a strong message because we’re all motivated and driven.”
All proceeds for their song “Humanity” will go to the charities associated with Hopeline, the suicide prevention organization, and is also the theme to a “Woodstock-like event” on Memorial Day weekend in Mountain Creek, “Festival for Humanity.”
Ray Smith may be reached at RSmith@hudsonreporter.com