Hailing all the way from Toronto in Canada, The Strumbellas have are basically coming as far as humanly possible to bring their feel-good anthems down to Australia.
With Bluesfest on their schedule as well as two key club gigs in Melbourne’s Northcote Social Club and Sydney’s Oxford Art Factory, we sat down with singer and guitarist Simon Ward to chat Australia, festivals and working with children.
With but a few days to go before Strumbellas touch down in Australia for the first time, we take five to chat with the man in front, Simon Ward.
HAPPY: How are you guys? What are you up to at the moment?
SIMON: We’re good! Currently I’m playing hide and seek with my three year old daughter, which is great for me because I’m way better at hiding than her. Other than, we’re taking this week to relax before we head down under.
HAPPY: I saw your recent post on Darren’s birthday about him being entirely self-taught. Are the rest of the band in the same boat?
SIMON: It’s half and half. A few of us are really good musicians and a few of us are, well, so-so musicians. I’m personally a terrible musician. I’ve tried to learn how to play the guitar for twenty years and I still can’t grasp the concept of how to play it properly. I know about ten chords and that’s what all of the Strumbellas music is based off of. We like to stick to the basics.
HAPPY: With so many self-taught musicians kicking around these days, do you think classically trained musos are falling to the wayside at all?
SIMON: I hope not! I love watching good musicians play. The way their fingers move so flawlessly and smoothly. Especially good piano players. I could listen to someone playing the piano for hours.
HAPPY: You seem to do a lot of work with children, promoting music. Where did this focus come from and why is so important for you?
SIMON: I think that came from watching my own kids. When I see how much influence music has on them it really makes me want to inspire other kids like that. We literally have the soundtracks to movies like Trolls, Sing, and Moana playing on repeat at our house and it’s really introducing my kids to music which I like. So if in any way we can influence kids too that is a great feeling in my heart.
HAPPY: You’ve never been to Australia before right? What are you all most looking forwards to?
SIMON: We’ve never been to Australia before. And honestly, we are looking forward to the beach and the ocean a lot! Being from southern Ontario, it is rare to get to see the ocean so being in a place where the ocean is so beautiful is something we are going to take great advantage of.
HAPPY: You’re playing Bluesfest this year. Who are some of the acts you’re looking forward to sharing the stage with?
SIMON: St. Paul and The Broken Bones! They are dazzling live and are always a treat to see. That being said we are totally going to try to see as many artists as possible.
HAPPY: What’s the main difference between playing festivals and club gigs, for you?
SIMON: Festivals just seem to have a magical spirit to them. The open sky, thousands of music fans cheering you on, and the overall vibe is hard to compete with. Plus the food is always so great.
HAPPY: And what’s going to be the most important aspect of your music, moving forwards?
SIMON: Honestly, this album and the song Spirits has been very humbling for us. We just want to make good music moving forward and enjoy the ride. Seeing people enjoy our music and singing along to our songs is everything to us.