ARTIST IN THE SPOTLIGHT | Matthew Pinder
As a curator of culture, Cacique is always beating through the brush to find original talent lurking beneath the palm fronds of our charmed archipelago. Bob Dylan reminds us to be just who we are, nothing more. Matthew Pinder is doing just that.
"Indie-folk" is not a genre that comes to mind when most people think "island" or "Bahamian" but Matthew's sound is part of a refreshing new wave sweeping across our pink-sand shores, redefining the very meaning of "Bahamian music." Matthew's style may stray far from the calypso-soca path carved before him, but this has not discouraged him. In fact it’s done the opposite. Having recently recorded his first album, "Too Young to Understand”, we thought it would be an ideal time to check in. And what better location to check in with hip talent than Nassau's hippest boutique resort - The Island House. Designed with both visitors and the Bahamian community in mind, it is a symbiotic extension of the surrounding environment and a most fitting backdrop to explore the sound of Bahamas 2.0.
Cacique. How did you get into music? Was it always an outlet for self-expression?
Matthew. Music was always there. My parents aren’t musicians but they had music playing all the time growing up. Also, when I was really young my older brother started playing the piano. He was a piano genius at age 7 or something. So I knew the piano wasn't going to be the instrument for me because I lived with Mozart. I took some guitar lessons on and off for years. It never really meant much until college though. College is where I started to play with other people and began to sing on my own. After playing a few coffeehouse open mics, that was it.
C. Your music is definitely not something that would be considered ‘Bahamian music’. Describe your sound.
M. Yeah, that whole “Bahamian music” label is getting pretty blurred. Since I moved back home I’ve met people doing all kinds of music. It’s pretty wild, and liberating. I’d say my music falls into the ‘indie-folk' genre. When I say that to people here I usually get a blank look. So, basically I’m a singer/songwriter that mainly plays acoustic guitar. I find it hard to define at times. The music doesn't feel like a separate thing from me anymore. The number one thing I want to be included in the description of my sound is that it is honest, that I write honest songs.
C. What inspires your music-making process ?
M. Lyrics almost-always come first. I make note of short quotes or thoughts throughout the day and then I revisit them later. Making songs is different every time but I try to write in the moment. The song won’t work for me if I don’t fully believe and feel what I’m writing. That said, I don’t just sit around and wait for lyrics to fall from the sky but I can’t just write a song for the sake of it. That isn’t me nor is it honest.
C. Which artists would you love to collaborate with locally ?
M. I’ve been fortunate to jam with many brilliant musicians here. Tommy Goodwin, local guitar giant, is on my record. Also, Adrian D’Aguilar plays some bass on the album. These days, I always perform with my older brother Ben and my good friend Romel Shearer. Both of those guys are monster talents. Once again though, I go back to Judah Tha Lion. I would love to collaborate with that guy. I think we could come up with some interesting stuff.
C. What does the future of Bahamian music look like? Would you consider yourself "the future", since "you’re To Young To Understand" ?
M. I think the future of Bahamian music begins with boycotting or at least redefining the term, “Bahamian Music”. It feels like a harmless term because you hear it all the time here but it can actually be pretty discouraging for the creative Bahamian youth. Like I said, there are kids here making all kinds of music and they are influenced by many things far beyond these islands. We need to celebrate that, we need to encourage that. Because music is more than music. Does that make sense?
Since I’ve moved back home, I’ve discovered a musical community that I didn't think existed here. The majority of people in that community wouldn't call their music “Bahamian Music” - they're expressing themselves in a way that makes sense to them and thats so important! We shouldn't shame people for not sticking with tradition. We can celebrate the old and celebrate the new and all the change that comes with that. I’m a part of it, I want to add to the diversity of this whole thing. I want Bahamian kids to hear my music and feel like they can make any kind of music or art they want, they don’t have to compromise it or confine it, just make something honest.
At Cacique, we love to showcase our colourful art scene and the characters that create its distinct flavour. For more information on our featured artists, to arrange a Bahamian art or music experience or to find out about curating a unique sound for your event, feel free to contact us.
Looking forward to the next adventure! SMS:)