Suns: a direct and simplistic band name. Right? Well, in a two year old (virtually ancient!) interview with Betta Promotions, lead singer Mike Russell said the inspiration for the name Suns is long and complex and stems from a philosophical short story he wrote. So, I guess it’s a bit more complicated. But in the same interview they also joke that “it’s just cool” and “fits nicely on a shirt.” So, which one is it? He doesn’t expand much outside of that, but, if I were to guess, the name Suns is most appropriate in the context of something the band mentions only briefly at the bottom of their Myspace page: “[Suns is also] named after the fact that there is not one Sun, but trillions of suns all over the universe.”
You see, Suns is a Chicago-based, 6-piece ensemble whose sound has a distant and distorted feel, but with six top-notch musicians all bombarding the track via their own dose of forceful soul, it slowly starts to take on a larger-than-life aura; grandiose rock that is a product of numerous powerful inputs; like a million stars all burning unimaginably bright, making up our infinitely expansive night sky.
Suns– more specifically, Michael Russell, Andrew Schroeder, Matthew Lemke, Nicholas Enderle, Clinton Weber, and Kody Nixon– have always called Chicago home (Russell proudly declared it the best city in the world), and after two years of producing music together, have made quite an impact on the Windy City. Impressively, they’ve headlined Empty Bottle, Schubas Tavern, and House of Blues. Before forming Suns two years ago, all six members were in other various locals bands, giving them a built-in knowledge of the independent Chicago rock scene. They claim this was very instrumental in starting Suns, as well as knowing the right people to record with.
What separates Suns from the vast majority of local up-and-comers, though, is their feverish desire to hit the road and personally bring their sound to as many listeners as possible. The group is currently knees deep in a nationwide tour, for which they renovated an old school bus, painted the sides, and now use it as a mobile home. It draws quite the crowd, the band admits, and the attention gives them an awesome opportunity– not to mention venue– to hang out with curious fans after a show. Small basement gigs are their preference, but after playing alongside Maps & Atlases, as well as two headlining runs at Austin’s infamous South by Southwest, bigger shows are becoming the norm.
What’s really on Suns’ mind nowadays, and what they’re urging their fans to focus on, is their brand new LP. It’s called When We Were Us and was recorded just a few months ago. The next step is simply finding the right label to handle it. ”We completed the absolute best snapshot of our bands current process with this record. Weather it’s any good or not is up to the listener. We’re just very content with how it came together and really hope everyone likes it as much as we do,” says Russell. “We are very proud of it.”
The story behind this LP is quite inspiring. The quality of the record was the first priority from day one, but Suns lacked the funds to create the album they knew they could. So they turned to Kickstarter.com, a new and innovative website that provides a medium for fans and interested parties to donate money towards a creative project. Believe it or not, their supporters showed up in full force and the band raised over $1,000. With that in hand, they produced their best possible body of work. Russell admitted that without their fan’s support, the album would have simply not been possible.
Although a release date is TBD, Suns gave us all a little tease with a When We Were Us Bandcamp page. There, you can stream 3 tracks off the LP (the best of which is “Strangeland”) and truly hear the spacey yet monumental sound that has come to define Suns. It’s Chicago born-and-bred at its finest.