Smile Politely

Here Comes the Sun Stereo

Sun Stereo might be exactly what you’re searching for this weekend. Solid, upbeat tunes and the stage act to go along with it. These locals combine a mix of electronic elements with vocals reminiscent of the Beatles and a funky horn section. Their band is taking Central Illinois and some of the Midwest by storm.

I was lucky enough to get to interview band member and lead singer Kelly McMorris. He is passionate about music and has a refreshing sense of humor.

Smile Politely: How did the band meet?

Kelly McMorris: Jesse [Greenlee] and I met 14 years ago when we were picking beans in Guatemala. I met Josh [Houchin] when he lived across the street from me when we both lived at the base of Krakatoa. The rest of the dudes were in the U of I Jazz program.

SP: How long have you guys been playing together?

McMorris: Three years. But Jesse and I have played together off and on for 14 years.

SP: How did you come up with the name Sun Stereo?

McMorris: It was a warm summer night. I had just finished watching Murder She Wrote, and scarfed down a TV dinner, when suddenly, there was a rapping on my window. As I reached for the plunger it hit me…

SP: You can’t force a great band name; you just have to let it come to you.

What is your musical background (self-taught, formal education…)

McMorris: I’ve always been a prolific tapper. My mother said it started in the womb. I don’t really remember much from then though.

SP: What serves as your muse for your music?

McMorris: Existence. 

SP: What music was your inspiration?

McMorris: The Goldberg Variations. Bach/Glenn Gould.

SP: If you could go to see anyone in concert, dead or alive, who would it be?

McMorris: Mozart.

SP: That would be a sight to see — Mozart playing his famous symphonies and concertos.

If you could jam out with one musician, dead or alive, who would it be?

McMorris: Richard Nixon. 

SP: Some may think this is a strange answer but low and behold, Nixon played five different instruments which included piano, saxophone, clarinet, accordion, and violin.

What’s your favorite song to play live?

McMorris: Usually whatever the latest tune I’ve written.

SP: What’s your pre-show ritual?

McMorris: Turkey Sandwich — always. 

SP: Nothing beats the satisfaction of a turkey sandwich, especially when the crust has been cut off.

Describe the personality of the band in one or a couple words.

McMorris: Warm static.

SP: What’s your favorite activity to do as a band outside of making/playing music?

McMorris: Eat barbecue and ride the tilt-a-whirl. 

SP: Who is the funniest/most mischievous member of the band?

McMorris: Josh is the funniest. Jesse is the most mischievous. 

SP: It is always good to have a jokester around, unless these jokes are being made at your expense. What’s your favorite movie?

McMorris: The Godfather

SP: Don Corleone is a boss to say the least.

Why do you love making/ playing music?

McMorris: For the same reasons we love to have sex.

SP: How has music changed or shaped your life?

McMorris: I started out kinda like a weird circular blob, but now I’m more of a rhombus. 

SP: It is good to become more well-rounded in life, or develop some edges.


Sun Stereo brings the energy to their show and they will show you a show like you’ve never seen before. Check them out this Friday night at 10 p.m. at Cowboy Monkey, only $5.

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