Comprised of co-founders (and pastor’s kids) Jason Germain (vocals, keyboards, guitars) and Marc Martel (vocals, lead guitar), Downhere formed while the two were rooming together as students at Briercrest Bible College in Caronport, Saskatchewan, Canada.
In 2000, the Prairie Music Awards (honoring bands of all genres form the central provinces of Canada) awarded the band Festival Act of the Year (over 60 bands were in the competition, only a handful of which were Christian), and Outstanding Contemporary Christian Album of the Year for their indie project released on Slyngshot Records in 1999.
In the spring of 2001, the band moved to Franklin, Tennessee to start the next phase of a work that seems to bear the finger prints of God on it. “We didn’t intend to pursue this as a career in the beginning. We were just writing songs and leading worship or performing wherever we could,” says Marc. Adds Jason, “We still want to be idealistic, but not naive; willing to get hurt and take the hit for what God has called us to do.”
“Our name Downhere implies that we’re going to be real people on and off the stage – not hiding in the pastor’s study before and after the concert,” explains Glenn. “We want to hang out with people, shoot hoops with people, pray with people… and we consider all of that an act of worship.”
Downhere's latest release, Ending Is Beginning (2009) reflects on how the world is changing and how that relates to faith. "“Ending Is Beginning is probably the most positive record we’ve ever recorded. It’s almost epic in its statement of hope. But that message is set against a backdrop of despair," adds Germain. "There comes a point in anyone’s life when you realize that some of our wounds aren’t going to heal. Some of our problems won’t go away. There are always going to be temptations. I mean, hope has always been at the core of who we are, but it’s taken on a more complex form.”
From private thoughts to the most glorious vistas imaginable, Ending Is Beginning is in the end a conversation, in which Germain and Marc Martel speak candidly about how they’re handling their struggles of life while also preparing for the triumph promised by their faith.
“We want to write songs that actually inspire us and stir up our deepest convictions about who God is and how we’re going to apply that to our lives," says Jason. "That’s where it starts…and then we sing these songs, we’re challenged – by the songs and even by our name itself – to do that which we’re writing about: reconciling ourselves to God first and then reconciling ourselves to one another.”
"It's been nearly nine years since Downhere was born back in Canada,” reflects Thiessen. “The music industry has seen some pretty significant changes and challenges in that amount of time and so have we. But the one constant in our story is the sense of calling. Were it not for a deep conviction in each of us that this is the mission the Lord has for us in this season of our lives, I doubt very much that Downhere would still exist today. It is out of this conviction that we find the strength and determination to press on, pursuing excellence in all that we do until we feel this chapter is done."
Ending Is Beginning features a modern rock approach that nods to the musical influences of bands as diverse as Sugar Ray, Queen, Barenaked Ladies and dc Talk. Its combination of energetic pop songs and acoustic-based ballads is rife with possibilities for hit singles on Christian radio and more importantly, the ability to impact the lives of its listeners.