The award-winning, Toronto indie band, The Strumbellas, are set to play Mavericks on Friday, December 12. I spoke with lead singer Simon Ward to get some insight on how 2014 was for them and on what we can expect in 2015.
KSP: Simon, you just won a Canadian Folk Music Award for contemporary album of the year and earlier this year you received a JUNO for folk and traditional album of the year. What’s the best part about winning these awards?
SW: Well, that’s a good question. I think the best part is, when you start a band, you know, we toured Canada over and over again and you hope that people are paying attention, and I think that these awards just mean that people are paying attention and it means a lot. It’s kind of what every band wants, to have the biggest audience possible that likes their music so when you get awards for representing your country, it just kind of makes you feel that it’s happening. And that’s really important to have. It just keeps us going.
KSP: We’re approaching the end of 2014, if you had one word to describe everything that happened in that year what would it be?
SW: Insanity! It’s been a very crazy year. It has been a whirlwind. We’ve been on the road for most of the year and that’s been really weird cause a lot us had never been in a band before, so just being on the road in itself was a really crazy experience. Being away from home and seeing all these new places and playing shows for people, so that alone was a wild ride. And then when you get nominated for these awards, you have people at your shows telling you that your music means a lot to them, you know all these things together made it without a doubt the most interesting year of my life. Yeah so that’s my word, insanity.
KSP: You’re a six-piece band and it’s not always easy being on the road for months at a time. What do you think makes it work in the case of The Strumbellas?
SW: I think for one, we started this band a little older. You know, we aren’t 19. The first couple years, we had people that kind of came and went cause it didn’t quite fit personality-wise. So I think we get along, we all have the same goals, we all want to make music and make a living off playing music, and so I think we really respect each other on the road. There’s not a lot of pranks going on! And when somebody is feeling low or something, people just leave them be and respect that. So, I’m not saying that we’re grown up, but I feel like we try to be as responsible and respectful of each other as we can.
KSP: And what’s on the horizon for 2015?
SW: Well, we’re gonna take a month off to spend Christmas with our families and chill out a bit and then we’re gonna go make another record. That’s our next project to do.
KSP: Any cross-Canada tours?
SW: I’m sure there will be, I just don’t know about it as of yet. We’re just kind of all winding down from this last cycle, and then I’m sure that stuff will start coming around in January, but as of right now, my mind is on making a record.
KSP: So you’re playing Mavericks on Friday. Looking forward to that?
SW: Yeah. Oh man, Ottawa has always been good to us, so always happy to go back.
The Strumbellas are playing Friday, December 12 at Mavericks (221 Rideau Street) in Ottawa. Also playing is Sam Cash and the Romantic Dogs. Doors open at 8pm. Advance tickets can be purchased online via Spectrasonic or at Vertigo Records.
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