Videos by American Songwriter

Toronto singer-songwriter Afie Jurvanen of Bahamas doesn’t write songs about palm trees or drinks with little umbrellas in them. Instead, he doles out soulful slices of intimate indie rock. We asked the Brushfire recording artist about his acclaimed new album, Barchords, his approach to songwriting and more. Get a free download of the new Bahamas track “Caught Me Thinking” here.

How’d you choose your band name?

I wanted the name to have three A’s in it, and start with a B and end with an S. So it was between Bahamas and Bananas. I think I made the right call.

Does your band name lead to any confusion about your sound?

People have told me that they detect some island rhythms, but I don’t really hear it. I’m of Finnish decent, so any correlation would be purely by chance.

What’s the last song you wrote?

It’s called “Country for the Town.” It’s about someone choosing to leave what’s in front of them for something as yet undiscovered. In fact, almost all my songs are about this topic.

Who are your songwriting heroes?

Neil Young. He gets to the point and doesn’t waste any time with funny business. He says it straight, and I can relate to that.

When did you start writing songs? Were they good right away, or did that come later?

I started writing songs when I was very young and they were terrible. I suppose the best thing is that I had the desire to create something that was mine.

How does your new album compare to your last?

It’s better.

What’s a song on Barchords your particularly proud of?

“Lost In The Light”. It seemed to come effortlessly. Those are usually the best ones.

What’s a lyric on the album you’re especially proud of?

“Be my witness, be my bride.” I don’t know why I like it, but I do.

Are there any words you love, or hate?

I hate the word “man cave.” It needs to go…

What’s your typical approach to songwriting? Do you revise a lot, or do you like to write automatically?

I don’t typically write anything down until it’s down. So i guess any revisions happen in my musical mind.

What’s a song of yours that’s really touched people?

People seemed to really respond to “Caught me Thinking”. It’s a love song with drums. That combination usually gets people dancing.

Who’s an underrated songwriter in your opinion?

Bobby Charles.

What do you consider to be the perfect song?

“I Must Be In A Good Place Now”, by Bobby Charles. It just makes me feel good. Plain and simple.


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