The ground is shaking with vibrations from the beat of the drums, the lights flooding from the stage onto the floor are blinding, but the alternative rock-reggae sound from Sunspots is the perfect blend to create a memorable Saturday night.
At last year’s One Spark, Sunspots played unofficially, but now will be known as creator No. 22052 this year and the and is more than hyped to be playing again at the world’s largest crowdfunding festival.
The faces behind Sunspots are Brett Yandell on vocals and guitar, Jonathan Dufresne on vocals and percussion, Matthew Potter on bass, and Zach Brasili on rhythm guitar. This group of friends all attend UNF and became a band around two years ago.
“Last time we played eight gigs in a row, we loved and hated it,” Yandell said. “It’s awesome to do, but at the end of it, we don’t know what to do with our hands.”
Sunspots formed over two years ago after they created a bond from attending the University of North Florida. All have been raised in Jacksonville. When asked what their motive was as a band, they said it is breathe fresh air into music.
At the previous One Spark, Sunspots played next to creator “Dabs Cure Cancer,” and said they would like to think they have improved immensely since then.
“Last year we were scrambling for shows,” Brasili said, “Now we get to be picky and choose the ones we want to play.”
Sunspots’ goal is to raise $5,000 to record its debut self-titled album. The band’s official venue is at Underbelly.
The band already has a good idea on what tracks to put on the album, just lack the funds to do it. Sunspots ideally wants to tour around Florida this summer to gain exposure and more fans.
“When we play for different venues, we get to connect with new fans through our music,” Dufresne said. “It is honestly one of the best feelings I have ever felt.”
Sunspots will also be involved in the Warehouse Studios showcase at Burro Bar, which is an artist showcase of bands who play at the studio. They’ll also be playing at 1904, and The Beer Garden throughout the week of One Spark.
While practicing, the band tweaks the placement and melodies, among many other things, in between each of their songs. They always find something new and exciting to change to make their tune sound better.
The most anticipated song Sunspots can’t wait to play at One Spark is “Too Far Away,” composed by Dufresne and Yandell. The members believe it is their strongest at the moment and thinks the Jacksonville crowd is hooked to the reggae vibe and funk of it.
“I feel like that would be the song that would probably get us anywhere if we were to do something big in Jacksonville,” Yandell said.
Sunspots’ inspiration while writing comes from listening to members’ favorite bands such as Arctic Monkeys, 311, Kings of Leon, and The Strokes. Dufresne and Yandell write all of Sunspots’ music together as a team.
The band’s local musical influence is The Dog Apollo for its nonchalant stage presence and entertainment factor. The Fritz, who used to be based in Jacksonville, personally mentored Matthew Potter by teaching him the bass and still inspires him today.
Currently, Sunspots is practicing three times a week at Warehouse Studios to prepare for One Spark. The band rents space there starting at 8 p.m. and said sometimes they stay until 9 a.m. the following day to perfect their sound.
“Good things are to come,” Brasili said of the upcoming week at One Spark.
By: Christian Giles