Audio Up, Lava for Good Podcasts and Republic Records have partnered on a new music podcast called “Sonic Leap” that is described as “a sci-fi, synth-pop musical, with comedy twist” that involves Lava-Republic recording artists Hero the Band. The “almost true story” is slated for release in early 2021 through iHeart Media.

The podcast follows the adventures of the group, an ‘80s-influenced rock band of four brothers based in the hip-hop mecca of Atlanta.  “Already feeling out of place amongst their musical peers, the band suddenly find themselves transported back to the actual 1980’s where they finally get their chance at stardom. Listen to the trailer below.

While (largely) fictional, the podcast is being used as a vehicle to launch the young band’s career. The project is based in the partnership between Flom, who hosts the Lava for Good series “Wrongful Conviction” and has a long history as a label executive with artists like Tori Amos, Matchbox 20, Lorde and Greta Van Fleet, and Audio Up CEO Jared Gutstadt, who produced the podcasts with Poo Bear and T Bone Burnett, Machine Gun Kelly and 24kGoldn, and  Miranda Lambert. The project is based in an idea of how to keep a band active during the pandemic.

“Jared came up with this model that allows our bands to tour virtually, marrying the intrinsically audio experience of the podcast medium with the world of music,” explains Flom. “It’s an innovative approach to breaking a great new band at a time when new approaches are urgently needed. With tremendous support from Republic Records, Lava Media and Audio Up, we have combined our shared passions for music and podcasts to launch this band in a way that is fresh and modern.”

“Hero the Band is living the fiction that we’ve created from the podcast, but in real life,” says Gutstadt. “2020 should have been an epic year for the band with opportunities to be part of major festivals, touring globally, and having people discover their music — but with Covid-19, we are now leaning into the idea of an origin story in the form of a fictional podcast. The podcast is about a band that believes they’ve ‘arrived’ at the wrong time in history. So we turned back the clock in Sonic Leap, and sent them to the feel-good 1980s.”

Flom and Lava COO Jeff Kempler spoke more about the project in an interview with Variety earlier this month.

A new album, produced and written by Gutstadt, features original music from Hero the Band and will release through Lava Records in conjunction with the “Sonic Leap” podcast.  Sonic Leap will be distributed through iHeart Media, and is set for release next year through all podcast streaming platforms.  The series was created by Gutstadt, and scripts for season one were written by Audio Up’s Zach Selwyn in collaboration with Chris Case (C4 media).