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Interview with Jon Micah Sumrall of Kutless

(2003)

By

Kutless

Kutless

Courtesy of bec recordings
I caught up to Jon Micah of Kutless on the phone for a few minutes in early September while he was at the studio. Here's what he had to say ...

Kim - So how are you guys doing?

JM - Pretty good.

Kim -I understand that you are getting ready to co-headline Festival Con Dios.

JM - Yes, that's correct.

Kim - I saw you guys on Harvest not too long ago, actually this weekend. You sounded really good.

JM - Thank you. We did day seven.

Kim - I also understand that you spent the better part of last month in the studio.

JM - Yeah, we were in the studio pretty much all month. We're back in here today and were here yesterday as well.

Kim - So how's that coming?

JM - It's going really well. We're working on a song today that we're really excited about. It's been really neat.

Kim - What is the release date for the new CD?

JM - Tentatively, February 24th.

Kim - What will the title be?

JM - Sea of Faces.

Kim - You guys released your first CD last year and it sold well over 100,000 copies. You have spent 52 straight weeks in the Top 50 in sales for Christian retail and you're constantly in the charts. For a relatively young band, formed in 1999, you've come a really long way in a short time. How has it affected you to going from a relatively unknown band to a place where everyone knows who Kutless is?

JM - I would say, for my own life, some of the biggest things that have changed have been mostly just adapting to touring life. We're touring full time. On the road full time, traveling all across the country. I really spend most of my time on a tour bus. That's been the biggest thing to adjust to. And also, stuff like just going out to eat, or going places and having people recognize me. It depends on where we're at. Some places we get more recognized than others. Sometimes it's hard to even go places every once in a while. Really though, we're just having a good time. Traveling around the country and playing music and doing what we love.

Kim - I know that ya'll were all college students, with the exception of James, who is your newest member and that you left school so you could focus on the music. What were you majoring in?

JM - I was a business major.

Kim - How far along did you get?

JM - I have about a year and a half left.

Kim - You know, no matter how much I read about your band, I am not living your life and don't know what is important to you personally. So Jon Micah, what do you want to talk about today?

JM - (laughs) I guess our most important thing is the message we're trying to convey through our music. We really hope to convey how much God loves people. We hope that, through our music, people will understand that. God loves them and cares for them. That love that we have in our own lives, through our relationships with Christ, that we want to share with other people. That's what drives our music. We write about all sorts of things ... from things you go through in daily life to even spiritual battles and things you deal with in a walk with God. I guess there's really two main goals of our band that we try to pursue and go after. The first is to be evangelical and be able to share our faith and share what we believe in with people. The second is to be a positive alternative for a lot of Christians and people looking for more positive music. Because unfortunately, in the genre' of music that we're in, most of the other bands are very negative and have a lot of profanity and things like that. We hope to offer an alternative to that. It's been really neat to see our music impacting people's lives. It's been really cool. I think that the passion that is behind our music, because we believe in it so firmly, and since it's such a big part of our lives, it really gives a lot of meaning to our music. Our music is more than just singing about girls or whatever. It's really deep passion that goes all the way to our souls. I think that really is conveyed a lot of times. I think that's why some of our fans have been drawn to our music.

Kim - I read that you all used to live together and had a lot of parties where you would share the music.

JM - Yeah, when we were back in college. Since we've been on the road, and a couple of us have gotten married now, we mostly just live on our bus! But when we're home, like now, in the studio, my wife and I rented a temporary apartment in Seattle.

Kim - What would you say is the most difficult part of adjusting to life on the road?

JM - Probably being in such a tight space with so many people. There's not a whole lot of privacy and it's like having roommates all of the time, but if you get frustrated with them you can't really leave to get some space. That's definitely been trying. I think we've learned a lot about dealing with each other and things like that. I mean, we get along pretty good, but like any roommates, there's times when we don't get along the best. That's been one of the harder things.

Kim - Do any of you have your wives travel with you?

JM - Yes, all three of us that are married bring our wives with us. With as much touring as we do, we pretty much have to have them with us or we'd never see them.

Kim - I see that ya'll average over 100 shows a year.

JM - Yeah, and this year we're doing over250 shows. Plus a month and a half in the studio. For us, a vacation is staying in one place for a few days and relaxing.

Kim - I can imagine. Well I'm excited to be starting the countdown to Festival Con Dios and the new CD. I appreciate you taking time out of your day to talk with me.

JM - No problem. Look for us on Festival Con Dios and for our new record on February 24th.

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