When Afie was in the process of signing his record deal with Brushfire, we had “released” Pink Strat in Canada and were finishing up recording Barchords. It was 2011. When we played the record for Emmett, the label owner, had said “I feel like it just needs one extra song”. It is the sort of statement from your label, or label-to-be, that you never want to hear. '
Record-making, especially early in my career as a producer/engineer, is an emotionally exhausting process. To this day I still feel like my worst work is the album I’m currently working on. You doubt yourself, hate your work, and question the validity of your involvement, compare it to every song and album that you ever loved only to fall short, and somehow forge your way to the other side… ideally not to hear “it needs one more song”.
Afie had been playing in Toronto and touring a bit and his agent would get him gigs for touring bands that didn’t have support from time to time. They generally work for bragging rights but frequently you are ignored or talked through while the audience gets beer, pees, and flirts. He had a gig opening for Noah and the Whale at the Mod Club - only the 4th worst club in Toronto under 1000 capacity. The fan from the back bar was only louder than the female vocals most nights, so we were safe.
Lights go down.
People’s backs turned to stage.
First note of Lost in the Light hits.
The room silences.
First chorus hits. Carleigh and Felicity follow with their vocal solo.
The room cheers.
It was the closest thing I could imagine to what Canada had to offer for winning Midnight at the Apollo. I had toured for the previous 5 years pretty much nonstop and worked in clubs all my youth and I had never seen that happen to an unknown local support act. Never.
Barchords, Track 1 - Lost In The Light. We knew what to do to complete the album now. We went back up to the cabin where we had made the rest of the album which was “missing one song” and put the finishing touch on it. It became the true beginning of Bahamas’ story - that song sold wedding rings for Zales at Christmas, scored the finale of a season of Parenthood, was the theme song for the Vatican’s tithing ask to Italy (don’t ask), and we even did a tour where we said “yes” to any people who asked to propose to it.
It just crossed 100,000,000 streams on Spotify. (You don’t get a plaque or anything for that, I checked.)
That number is not lost on me. End to end that is 751 years of the same song. If it was only listened to by one person they would have had to start when Louis IX was in power in France. We were nearly half a century from Canada and USA even existing.
In the actual 8 years that it has been out in public, I’ve gotten to see Afie play it for thousands of people. I’ve seen my best friend grow a hobby into a career, have two beautiful girls and a beautiful family. And I’ve seen the nostalgia that a song like that can mark in people’s lives.
So to all who have listened - and supported us - and on the eve of our next chapter with Sad Hunk, thank you.
(The guy who records Afie’s albums with him)