The Strumbellas’ Maritime mini-tour

The Strumbellas will play Fredericton Feb. 22 (Submitted)
The Strumbellas will play Fredericton Feb. 22 (Submitted)

When it comes to downtime between writing and preparing for a new album, The Strumbellas have an unconventional way to pass the time. They’ve invented a video game featuring themselves.

“We made a video game of us. We’re pretty excited about that, it’s like Super Mario style,” said Simon Ward, The Strumbellas frontman.

The game is based off themes from their album and includes all six Strumbellas. The retro game follows the band travelling through the desert of Lindsay, Ont., to play a gig in Toronto.

The Strumbellas are gearing up for a mini-tour of the Maritimes that will take them to the Capital Complex stage for the first time.

The band has begun recording their second album but wanted to get out on the road before the process really began.

“We’ve been dying to get out East to get back out there and play,” said Ward.

The Strumbellas released their full-length debut album My Father and the Hunter last February.

The band was founded in Lindsay, Ont., with a population of 20,354 but now call the largest city in Canada their home, Toronto.

Their alternative country sound is a mix of the big city, and rural country.

“We’re all here, super busy with stuff. Band stuff and family stuff. [We’re] just trying to get everything together.”

Their alt-country music is reminiscent of The Sadies, and Cuff the Duke – other alt-country bands that call Ontario home. They fill arenas and bars with music that’s louder than your traditional banjo-strumming country.

“We don’t really plan it [the sound]. I mean, the second album it’s a little less country, but it’s more well… I don’t know. I usually wait and see what other people tell me it is.”

Their mini-tour includes shows in Nova Scotia, Ontario and Quebec. Ward said the six-person dynamic helps pass the time while touring.

“It’s totally awesome – so many different people to hang out with and have fun with, you hang out with one guy this day, and then another [person] the next.”

Ward and the band just finished recording four new songs for their upcoming second album at Bear Creek Recording Studio near Seattle.

“It was the craziest, best thing I’ve ever done in my life,” said Ward.

Ward and the band say that the second album is written and ready to record, it’s just a matter of finding time and resources. Ward is the band’s primary songwriter.

When Ward is busy writing, he and the other Strumbellas gain inspiration from other Canadian acts.

“We are all obsessed with the Deep Dark Woods and I’m listening to Elliot Bird like crazy right now.”

The band is ready to take the stage for the first time at the Capital Complex on Feb 22. With Fredericton’s Oh No! Theodore and Josh Bravener.

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