An interview with our fantastically talented friend Ajimal.
1. How did the act form & how long have you been playing on the Edinburgh scene?
The name Ajimal actually came from some time I spent in Haiti, during which I met an ex-voodoo Witchdoctor, who had been very famous and feared, and was part of the old Duvalier regime. A very strange experience, knowing what this guy had been part of, I loved the phonetics of the word though. I think to inspire you, something has to produce an extreme emotion of one sort or another within you, not necessarily positive, but it has to be something that impresses some sort of polar feeling on you. I’d played around on the Edinburgh acoustic scene a little bit before, but much more down the road in Newcastle, where I’m originally from.
2. Who are the best bands on the local scene – the ones you go and see, the ones you’d actually buy CDs from?
There are a number of people I think are brilliant up here, I love Conquering Animal Sound, Rob St John, Aerials Up particularly, alsoMatt Norris and the Moon and Chasing Owls are wonderfully lovely people and making excellent music as well. There’s a couple of songs in particular by Rob Sproul-Cran as well which have just absolutely silenced me. He told me that the best way to get an audience to shut up is to play quietly. I heard some stuff by Rachel Sermanni the other day too, who just has an incredibly beautiful voice and some beautiful lyrics as well. I think as with any scene it’s great if people within it go along and watch and support each other, so I’d try and see any of them. I think the music scene down in Newcastle is particularly strong for this at the moment, and there’s lots of really interesting, different stuff that’s coming out of Newcastle at the moment.
3. What’s your favourite venue for playing in, and what’s your favourite venue for watching a gig in?
Is this in Edinburgh? If so, I particularly love Sneaky Pete’s just because it’s everything a good little music venue should be, it’s a bit grimy and dirty but it puts on regular, great bands, and new music, and it’s a really solid little venue for touring bands to play who might not fill bigger venues yet, that’s what has been missing in Edinburgh for a while I think, and having those sorts of venues where you can pack out the venue with a relatively intimate crowd, and without
having to have been Radio 1 playlisted or anything like that.
4. Where/when (and why) was the best gig you’ve played in Edinburgh?
Actually, I think this was at The Caves, just such an amazing space and has a beautiful natural reverb, the whole thing just sort of suited the sound I was making, quite minimal and stipped back, it was lovely.
5. If your act was an animal, Pokemon, mythical creature or superhero – which one would it be?
Don’t think I ever actually memorised many of the pokemon, would have quite liked to be a bit of a quirky, weird one, but to be honest, all I remember is thinking that Charmander was quite good, then that whatever he changed into was a bit of a dick, so if Ajimal is going to be a pokemon, then it’s going to be Charmander, without any justification.