The Strumbellas Premiere James Bond-Inspired 'Spirits' Video, Talk Glassnote Debut Album

The Strumbellas
Heather Pollock

The Strumbellas

Juno Award-winning Toronto folk-rockers The Strumbellas are coming to America. 

The six-piece recently signed to Glassnote Records on the heels of two successful albums in their native Canada. Today (Jan. 28), The Strumbellas are premiering the music video for their new song “Spirits” on Billboard, along with a Q&A with lead singer Simon Ward. 

“Spirits” comes from their forthcoming third LP Hope. The album was produced and engineered by Dave Schiffman and hits stores April 22. “Spirits” has already been getting good looks at alternative/rock radio stations like KROQ in Los Angeles and KITS in San Francisco. 

Below, check out the “Spirits” video. It was filmed at Toronto’s St. Aidan’s Anglican Church, directed by Daniel AM Rosenberg and produced by Michael Goldlist. 

How did you come up with the concept for the “Spirits” video?

The initial concept of the video 'Spirits' was from the 1970s James Bond film Live and Let Die. When I was a kid, I remember watching the street style funeral scene in that movie and being blown away! I didn't know people had celebration-style funerals like that with music and beautiful colors, so I wanted to make a music video with that theme in mind. In terms of the scary characters, I just hoped that we could scare kids a little bit... Not too scary, but I wanted kids to kind of get that feeling I got when I used to watch the old Bond Movies.

The music scene you came from in Lindsay, Ontario -- what’s it like? 

To be honest, Lindsay had a pretty small music scene when I was growing up. There were definitely a few bands playing around (of which our drummer Jer was in) but overall the scene was pretty small. I was really big into hip-hop during my teenage years so my friends and I kind of did our own thing. We started a hip-hop group called KLIP Squad and we only ever had one show at our school cafeteria. Unfortunately, we all got suspended for swearing on stage and the band kind of died off after that. Long live KLIP Squad! 

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How did Glassnote Records get in touch with you? What was the process like in signing with them?

The first I heard about Glassnote was through a call from my manager. We were in talks with a few labels at that time and then one day she just dialed me up and said that Glassnote likes the record. I thought for sure she was joking with me. Next thing I know Daniel Glass is flying up to Toronto to come meet us. It was surreal. We had breakfast together and kind of hit it off and then the next thing I know we're on the Glassnote team. The whole band was just in shock and excited.

Courtesy Photo

Your new album will probably expose the band to a whole bunch of new fans. How do you think it compares to your first two albums? 

The strategy for this record, as opposed to the other records, was that we were really looking for a bigger sound. The other albums were songs that we’d played live a lot and then went into the studio to record. It's funny, some songs on the record sound almost identical to the original demo. We did this because I wanted to ensure we had exactly what was in my head recorded right before even getting into the studio. I would make the demos of all the songs at home, and then my brother-in-law, Brian, would help me shape them almost as if they were kids’ songs (He writes for kids television). I love very polished songs so I asked him to make these songs in that vein, while keeping some elements of our old rootsy sounds as well. Once we got to the studio, we were able to bring the sessions to life with instruments. It was weirdly fun and different.

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On your Facebook page it says the band “typically replies within an hour” to messages. Do you talk back and forth with fans a lot on there? 

You bet. We try to answer everything a fan asks us. Our fans have always been the sweetest and most supportive people so we always try to answer any questions or help them out with the chords of a song or whatever they need.