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The Advocate



downhere Interview

by Tracy Darlington

"When we truly hit our wall, God is able to use us in our weakness, His strength shows through perfect." --Jason Germain

He speaks quietly, but when Jason Germain, co-lead singer and guitarist of Canadian band Downhere talks about their new album, Ending Is Beginning, he might as well be singing to the skies.

“First of all, we’re not ending as a band, not by any stretch,” Germain points out, laughing. “But the title does reflect the idea of coming to the end of yourself, of letting what you can’t change be and letting God make His strength known in our weakness. Those things that we all experience, things that don’t seem to run true, He often uses to achieve His ultimate aims for us. God uses us in our weakness. He is closest to us when we most need him. We want to capture that idea in the work we’re doing now, so Ending Is Beginning in many ways reflects of where we are as a band.”

“Where they are as a band” has changed through this group’s emergence from Canada’s alt-rock scene on the wings of their Dove Award nomination for New Artist of the Year and two subsequent Juno Awards for Contemporary Christian/Gospel Album Of The Year and Best Gospel Album, Canadian Gospel Music Association Covenant Awards for Rock Album of the Year and Rock Song of the Year and Dove Award for Modern Rock Recorded Song of the Year.

Tracy: How did you know God was calling you to pursue music as a career?

Jason Germaine: Not to devalue the question, but I personally believe the call comes to do ministry and not to do a specific vocation. I feel like we are all called as believers to do ministry and live out the Gospel through whatever vocation we are equipped to do. However that being said, I do feel like God has had His hand in bringing together specific talents and people in this band and he uses this motley crew to do ministry. How cool is that? But if we had decided to become plumbers I'm sure God would have used that to His purposes as well, as it so happens he made us musicians...so we're cool with that.

What do you know now that you wish you’d known before you started in music?

Well, I started playing the piano before I could tie my shoes...so that's a tough one. No seriously, I think maybe the sacrifice required of family in regards to time away from home. That is the hardest thing about this life. I don't know if it would have changed anything, but maybe I would have prepared for it somehow.

Ending is Beginning by downhereHow does the name of your album “Ending is Beginning” reflect where you are as a band?

When we truly hit our wall, God is able to use us in our weakness, His strength shows through perfect . . . that's a loose paraphrase. As a band we've all had our own personal walls hit over the course of our ten year sojourn together. We've seen this Scripture ring true time and time again. When we were writing for this project I think it was an area that we just needed to unpack a bit.

What message do you hope people will come away with when they listen to “Ending is Beginning”?


Our hope is not found in anything but the power of the resurrection of Christ. Any other platitute of positivism will fall flat.

What is your favorite song on the album and why?

I think for me it would be "Hope Is Rising.” It was really inspired from a season of trial personally, struggling with some anxiety. Sometimes we have to drudge through seasons like this to list our vien attempts at self-saving and turn back to the true source of our hope and salvation. I feel like I can sing the lyrics to this song every single night and it feels honest to whatever situation I'm going through.

What was the biggest challenge you had when you recorded this album?

We had three producers, I put 1500 miles on my car just getting around from studio to studio. Other than that, the record was an absolute joy to work on.
downhere
Let’s talk about your Christmas cd “How Many Kings”. What was the inspiration behind the project?

The inspiriation came from the song "How Many Kings" which became a quick favorite after a release to radio. We decided to follow it up and unpack that idea in the form of a Christmas record.

What was the most difficult part about making “How Many Kings”?

Again, we love the studio process but I think the hardest part of recording this was the workload put on us as self-producers. We had to wear several hats at the same time: engineer, songwriter, bandmate, quality control, producer, etc. Sometimes the lines get fuzzy and you have to step back from the project for some perspective. We've since found our perspective and we think we did a good job.

Do you have any advice for someone trying to reach their friends for Christ?


On how? To have an answer for the hope that’s in you I think you need to be continually doused in the Word of God, and then to walk in that wisdom as it were. To love people, not just to be nice to people but to love people. To earn trust, to listen, to have empathy and then finally to introduce Jesus as fearfully, simply and beautifully as you know how. I think love always has elements of sacrifice and to love people is to share Jesus at the risk of rejection, but not from a higher place, from a humble place.

How Many Kings by downhereAre there any steps you take to stay on track spiritually?


For me the process is one of continual repentance and confession, to stay in community and to fill up on the Word as much as possible. To take time away in nature to listen and to pray is part of staying whole and connected for me too.

Do you have any advice for teenagers trying to pursue their dreams?

Give God a variable in the equation of your future. He's really in control and it's way more exciting when He's the leader and Lord of a life.

Where do you see Downhere in the next 5 years?

Working really hard. We like doing what we do best.

If you could have dinner with anyone living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?

You didn't exempt Jesus as most people are prone to do with this question, so it's an easy one . . . Jesus. I think it would be me asking a whole lot of questions.

I’m sure you have some fun road stories. Can you share with us one that sticks out in your mind?

We were hit by baseball sized hail just outside Waterproof, Louisiana, and it came directly from the side. We wonder in hindsight if we were on the outskirts of a tornado. Our front window was cracked and our trailer looked like someone went Mario on it with a hammer. We all crouched, huddled and waited for the side windows to blow open but they didn't! Wide Eyed and Mystified by downhere

Is there anything else you’d like to say to TitleTrakk.com readers?


Make sure to check www.downhere.com for upcoming dates on our Christmas tour!

What are two things people might be surprised to know about you?

I'm into geeky hobbies like RC airplanes.

When you’re not singing, what do you enjoy doing?


Playing my piano

What did you have for breakfast this morning?

Tim Hortons (we are on tour in Canada)

Three things always found in your refrigerator:


La Croix (Sparkling Water), Coffee Cream, and Sirachi (asian hot sauce)

You’re next in line at Starbucks. What are you ordering?


Grande Bold, room for cream

What’s currently in your CD player/iPod?

Mark Driscoll Sermons

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Tracy DarlingtonTracy Darlington is a freelance writer, and her work has appeared in Brio, Breakaway, YS, CCM Magazine, Insight, Susie Magazine, and other publications. She has interviewed countless Christian musicians including Rebecca St. James, Delirious, Newsboys, Leigh Nash, Barlowgirl, Krystal Meyers, Joy Williams, Pillar, Michelle Tumes, and many others. In her spare time she can be found riding horses or listening to music and sipping a Venti 3-shot sugar-free vanilla latte. Visit her online at her blog where she talks about Music, God, dogs and coffee. You can also look her up at Twitter and Facebook.