Road trips and travel are best accompanied by music.
Largely the product of guitarist and vocalist Ben Sir’s acoustic repertoire, the album was years in the making.
“The acoustic thing was always just kind of like a stopgap, for a theoretical band in the future,” explained Sir.
Many of the songs were written while Sir volunteered in Guatemala with a wildlife organization several years ago. He had reached a point in his life where things seemed to be ending – school, his relationship, his band – and he saw an opportunity to do something new and rewarding in volunteering.
The lyrics reflect that, telling stories of travel and adventure, as well as loss, reflections on life, transitions and carrying on. The lack of electricity in Guatemala most nights found Sir strumming his guitar often, and when he came home he started performing.
The next chapter…
“Over the next few years, I would play a lot acoustically, toured quite a bit, even though I had no idea what I was doing with it, or wasn’t very good probably,” laughed Sir.
When he moved back to Edmonton from Vancouver in 2013, he had a group of friends he wanted to start a band with, and then Worst Days Down was born.
The new album boasts classic pop punk arrangements of Sir’s acoustic songs with 90s rock vibes. Heavily inspired by Sir’s love of punk rock, he says tiny easter egg allusions to bands such as Bouncing Souls, Good Riddance and Swingin’ Utters can be heard if you listen really carefully.
Put out on German label Gunner Records, the album is getting international recognition, which is pretty gratifying, says Sir.
“To actually have people responding to it feels good in general.”
Having people come up and explain how certain songs such as “A Song for David,” make them think about people they’ve lost, or how they’ve identified with those songs in their lives blows Sir’s mind.
“There’s so many albums I can look back on in different periods in my life that make me think of very specific instances or feelings, good and bad. To have people say [that], to have this album ingraining itself in people, and to be part of that cycle feels really cool.”
Now comes the tour!
Now that the album’s out, the band is touring as much as possible. They’re headed east with fellow Edmontonians Old Wives, eventually ending up at Pouzzafest the Victoria Day long weekend. Sir is excited because it’s the third time he’s been to Pouzza, but the first time he’s playing it.
“I kind of told myself I wouldn’t go back to Pouzza or Fest down in Gainsville until I was playing it,” he explained. “The lineup’s crazy good. And to be even a small piece of that is pretty cool.”
After Pouzza, Worst Days Down plan to play the west coast and book in the states. To have gotten to this point, with the album finally out, touring pretty frequently, and playing festivals like Pouzza continues to amaze Sir.
“The importance of it isn’t lost on me, at least in a self-referential way. The little punk rocker within the band is very happy that he’s gotten to this level.”
Can’t go to Pouzza but want to catch Worst Days Down? They play Toronto May 16 at the Bovine and May 17 at Jimmy Jazz in Guelph.
Check them out on Facebook for all your tour-lovin’ updates.
Featured photo via Facebook/WorstDaysDown