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 it's always been an apparent part of our family dynamic. My older brother Ben became a piano prodigy at the age 7, so it became clear to me that the piano wasn’t going to be the instrument for me as I lived with a Mozart! I took guitar lessons sporadically for years but these sessions never meant much to me until college. College is where everything came to light. I began playing with other people. I began singing. A few coffeehouses and open mic nights and that was that!
C. Your music is definitely not something that would be considered ‘Bahamian music’. Describe your sound.
M. The Bahamian Music label definitely has a connotation. It’s heavily entrenched in the traditional rake n’ scrape and soca tunes that are dear to our hearts but are arguably in need of a revival. I think my music is part of this shift. If I needed to categorize my music I’d say it would fall into the indie folk genre. This is definitely newer, perhaps almost untapped here in The Bahamas and it's been completely liberating. It’s hard to define at times but one thing is certain, the music doesn’t feel like a separate thing from me anymore. At its core, it is honest...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, a local guitar giant is on my record as is Adrian D’Aguilar who plays the bass. Lately, I've been performing with my older brother Ben and a good friend, Romel Shearer. Both of these guys are talent monsters! I would love to collaborate with Judah Tha Lion too! I think we would come up with some very 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 local music begins with a redefining of the term “Bahamian Music.” It feels like a harmless term but I think the association with soca, calypso and other classics can actually be discouraging for blossoming artists as they perhaps feel like I did, that they didn’t fit the mould.
The youth here are making all kinds of music and they are influenced by many things far beyond the boundaries of this archipelago. This must be celebrated, it needs to be encouraged. Since I made the move back home, I’ve discovered a musical community that I didn’t think existed here.
The majority of the people in that community wouldn’t use the term “Bahamian Music” to describe their tune. They are expressing themselves the way they know how - this is real. We shouldn’t discredit people for not following traditional paths carved long before us! We should learn to embrace and celebrate change and all that comes with it! I’m a part of it and I want to add diversity to this new wave of creativity. I want Bahamian kids to hear my music and feel as though they can also express themselves in anyway they see fit. They don’t need to feel confined or compromised by traditions. Just something honest, something true to themselves.
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:)