Interview with Mike Huberty from Sunspot – Performs at The Mad Hatter on 8/25 with Chakras



Sunspot, Chakras, Atlantis Becoming, Albedo Zero
Thursday August 25, 2011
The Mad Hatter
620 Scott Blvd, Covington, KY
All Ages, $5, 7pm
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Interview by Scott Preston

Sunspot’s music and live performance is a communal experience for the audience. Bringing people together is something they do extraordinarily well (there have been plenty of weddings from people that have met at Sunspot shows!) The band is about bridging the gaps in the human condition by making the show as much about the audience as it is about the band.

In 2010, Sunspot designed a unique live experience that was a combination of theater, audience participation, multimedia stage show, and rock concert party. The show, Major Arcana, linked live performances of their songs with a storyline and the band took it on a national tour. In December, Sunspot released the DVD version of their multimedia spectacle as a full 90-minute concert film.

In early 2011, Sunspot licensed their song “Go, Pack!” to FOX Sports for use during the NFC Playoffs and Super Bowl, events seen by tens of millions of people around the world. The band is currently touring with a new show based on the songs from “Deus Ex Machina”.

Cincy Groove: I see you recently played the Wisconsin State Fair, how did that go?

Mike Huberty: We had a great time, it was the first time Sunspot had played the state fair. I hadn’t been to the fair probably since high school. It was fun to eat some fried food on a stick and who can forget the smells of the 4-H building? (laughing). (editors note:check out the band’s video blog from the state fair here)

Cincy Groove: I see you received quite a bit of attention for your song “Go Pack!”, how did that develop?

Mike Huberty: A couple years ago we saw someone that was putting together a Packers cd. I try to go to a few games a year and everyone watches the Packers on tv. The Packers is one thing everyone can agree on here in town. So we decided to write a song for the cd and few years went by before anything happened. Fox Sports licensed the song when the Packers made the playoffs. The song did get a lot of local radio airplay. It was pretty cool when our friends would call us and say they just heard our song.

Cincy Groove: I know you released your 3 song EP “Deus Ex Machina” earlier this year, why just 3 songs? and is Sunspot working a new full length album?

Mike Huberty: We are going to take the songs from the EP and round it out with some new songs for the new cd. We put out the 3 song EP just because we wanted to get some new music out to the fans in advance of the full length album. I was just in the studio last night working on it and it should be out sometime in November. We had a lot of fun with those 3 songs on Deus Ex Machina and we are looking forward to making a complete statement with the new music.

Cincy Groove: I see a lot of bands releasing 3-5 song EP to keep everyone satisfied.

Mike Huberty: Absolutely, we didn’t release a cd last year but a dvd, Major Arcana, which was more of a stage show, with actors, multi-media effects, along with the music. On the last night of the tour here in Madison we had 5 video cameras running to document the experience. I then spent the next 3 months editing everything. It really was biggest project we ever put together. So after Major Arcana was released we wanted to get some new music out as soon as possible. So that’s when we put out Deus Ex Machina in March to keep our fans interested in what we are doing.

Cincy Groove: How do you feel about how the internet has affected the current business model for how bands gain attention for their music?

Mike Huberty: Well, the one thing is that it takes away any mystery about the band. We put out a lot of blog videos with behind the scene footage so our fans know right away what we are about and what we are doing. I think with the internet we are really able to show our fans how our music is progressing and the different elements that we are trying in the show itself, which I think is a good thing. Before the internet was such a big deal, someone might go see a band and a few months later forget about them. Now you can stay connected with fans all across the country and we can make sure they know when we are coming back through their town.

We always like to tell the story about when our first album came out right when Napster was big and Broadband internet came about. I would log into Napster and chat with people offering them our songs to download for free. We were actually getting pretty steady sales of our first record by advertising to people in the chat rooms on Napster. We were actually making money on Napster. We love the internet, we tell people if you want our music, here it is. Chances are if people really like what you are doing, they will but a t-shirt, come see a show, or buy a cd.