Calling someone “sir” is a reference usually reserved for formality. However, the unfolding destiny of Denver, Colorado’s SIR has been anything but conventional. Sarah Angela (vocals, synths, guitar); Kim O’Hara (guitar, synths, bass); and Luke Mehrens (drums, electronics, percussion) are able to cultivate melodically vivid and lyrically relatable alternative pop-rock from their shared twists and turns. SIR’s music is jagged at its roots and sometimes somber in its hooks but takes on refined and sonically friendly character once molded into songs.
Though the band embraces everyday with a determined mentality, it’s the jointly assertive but sensual artistic surrounding SIR’s musical messages that earned the group an extensive and loyal fan base both in and outside of Colorado. Sarah Angela, who goes simply by S.A., says appreciatively, “Our solid fan base religiously comes to our shows singing out words we haven’t even released digitally yet.”
If that implication of frequent listens to “Go!” – the trio’s debut and only single in summer 2016 – isn’t enough indication of SIR’s faith in its established and future fans, an internal band member crisis and fall out just prior to embarking on an initial album release tour left SIR in a double bind. Not only was the band faced with the daunting task of working through the hurt and confusion that follows splitting from any good friend but, alongside personal pain, the breakdown also led to a loss of all SIR’s previously recorded music. Still, these challenges didn’t leave the group any less dedicated to finding a way for the tour to go on. “When faced with the harsh truth that this would no longer be an album release tour, nor would we even have music to leave with fans during tour, only stickers, we now had to re-learn our music. [Ultimately,] we decided we were solid and weren’t going to let this [conflict] ruin our band or cancel our tour. We wrote an entirely new set of songs to perform on tour.”
S.A., has no problem summing up SIR’s renewal with a blunt declaration.“The biggest transformation we’ve made personally, is shifting from a sweet singer-songwriter trio to baring it all with a big ‘F–K OFF’ on our foreheads.” That’s not to imply SIR is a hostile band. Rather, the harsh exclamation became like a reminder of the group’s overall conviction that answers the questions of how and why SIR choose everyday, to continue down the well worn, but often abandoned, path of musicians – especially given that bitter conflict struck the band in such early days.“We finally have a grasp on not giving a f–k how long it takes, not following the direction of what other people think, making music we love, and playing it as often and as loud as we can.” Ironically, what some might see as SIR’s darkest and weakest times, are what make the trio uniquely compassionate and qualified to represent the virtue of perseverance beyond the typical desire of musicians to simply reach the top of the musical charts.
None of the three took early blessings like headlining at the iconic Red Rocks Amphitheater or multi-year showcases at South by South West for granted, knowing that there were, and still are, so many things planned for SIR down the line. The decision to record anew at Serenity West Studios in Hollywood, California, represented only the start of a life’s worth of achievements that define a career band. Following that first step with the release of second single “So Cold” – which symbolizes SIR’s emotional relief and closure from its former ordeals – set the stage of anticipation for the band’s debut album of the same name.
Planning a string of tour dates in Texas and the midwest following the release of So Cold, and then jumping back on the road at the start of 2018 for a national tour, SIR are prepared more than ever before, to expect and embrace the unexpected that accompanies life in a band. SIR might have arisen amidst distress and disconnection but as Angela states, they see the future of SIR through lenses of aspiration for themselves and inspiration for everyone they know and are bound to meet.
“I hope people are inspired by our willingness to do what we love despite the pressure to compete, and despite the risk of failure. Making it [as a band] is as simple as doing it every day and giving yourself the chance to be heard.”
Every super hero and villain has an origin and a band is no different, minus secret government experiments and radioactive spiders. What’s the origin of the SIR band?
Kim O’Hara/the SIR Band: Like super heroes, we feel like we have a cause. We are dedicated to making music that makes us feel and that we hope other people feel too. We all played in different bands before this and found each other in Denver and started this crazy journey.
I read your bio and it mentioned the internal band split, the loss of your music and the set back that it caused. It’s amazing how in our darkest times, we can learn just what we are made of and how determined we are at staying on our path and continuing. It sounds, at least by reading it, that’s what happened to all of you?
Yep, that summed it up! That’s really when we became one and went all in.
There is a rawness and honesty to this music that you don’t always get from artists these days. What’s the songwriting process like? Is one person responsible for that or does everyone contribute?
Each song is a different experience that we’ve had. Some are shared and some are kept personal, but we write everything together, usually starting with one person’s idea and seeing what we can flush out.
Why did you decide to take the music path in life instead of another one? When did you know this was what you wanted to do?
Music has been in our souls since the beginning, and all three of us naturally gravitated in this direction. A huge part of that is touring and playing all over meeting new people. We love being out on the road.
If you could bring back one artist that we have lost and just sit and have a conversation over coffee, a beer or whatever, who would you want to bring back?
It would be awesome to sit down with Janis Joplin. We watched a documentary about her once while we were on tour driving. Her story was so sad and so amazing, but we all found it very inspiring.