We had a few quick minutes to catch up with Afie a.k.a Bahamas while he was at SXSW in Austin. We chatted a bit about playing Royal Albert hall, baseball caps, and making music.
NT: You have been the guitarist for other artists in the past (Feist, Howie Beck). When writing parts for other artists are their times when you discover a riff, and want to hold on to it for yourself.
AJ: That’s never been an issue for me. If it feels right in the moment it’s probably the right thing to be doing. If I started being too calculated and ‘stock piling’ riffs I think that both things would suffer from being too over thought.
NT: Is it more challenging writing for other artists or coming up with a full album of material for your self.
AJ: Well, I think that writing an albums worth of material that is consistent and connected and realized is very difficult. That’s the point of making an album, versus just releasing singles or ep’s.
NT: Your first album ‘Pink Strat’ seemed to get quite a bit of positive attention, including a Juno nomination and a tour with Wilco. Despite being three years between albums, were you itching to get back in the studio and write more after that?
AJ: I recorded Barchords before the JUNO nomination, before the Wilco tour. It’s just that we toured behind Pink Strat for a long time, pushing the release of this new record back. It can be frustrating to have to wait but in some ways I think I benefited from it. It allowed me to sit with the record for some time, and the fact that I didn’t want to completely re-record was a good sign.
NT: Your latest album Barchords has a bit more of a warm and simplistic sound to it. Can you tell us how you approached it compared to ‘Pink Strat’
AJ: We recorded in the same place, with the same equipment, and mostly the same musicians. The biggest difference was just that I had a clear idea of the type of record I wanted to make. The first one is a little more of a mixed bag, and Barchords I feel is a more fully realized album.
NT: Tell me about the video for ‘Caught Me Thinking’ where did all the hats come from?
The ‘boob inspector’ is quite hilarious.
AJ: I love hats. Mostly baseball caps, but really anything. It’s like jewellery for men. I have a lot of jewels…
NT: I noticed on your tour schedule that you were playing Royal Albert Hall in London with Noah And The Whale, you must be pretty excited about that gig.
AJ: Always exciting. I’ve actually played there once before and it was a thrill. What’s more exciting is that our first headlining show in London has sold out. Mind you, it’s no Royal Albert, but it’s a start.
NT: Are their more projects with other artists after the current tour, or do you plan to focus more on Bahamas material?
AJ: I don’t really have a lot of time to dedicate to other artist projects. I’m sure I’ll get to play on some friends albums in Toronto, but I worked hard on Barchords and really I just wanna play as much as possible now.
NT: What has been your favourite gig you ever played and why?
AJ: Cesena, Italy. Beautiful, super old theatre in a tiny town on the Adriatic coast. We ate like Romans and then we were shocked to find the theatre full. After the show women were kissing me and saying ‘Bella!’ and some gave me strange fruit I’d never seen before. It looked a cherry, but tasted of apple.
NT: Five records to rescue from a burning building?
AJ: Willie Nelson – Stardust
Daniel Romano – Sleep Beneath the Willows
The Weather Station – All of it Was Mine
Doug Paisley – Constant Companion
Feist – Let it Die
Neil Young – Zuma
If I opened a record store these are the only records I would carry.
Credit Photo to Dave Gillespie