AHI in conversation with FAULT Magazine

Artists like AHI don’t come around everyday, his personal journey has taken him to the far reaches of the globe and with every place he visits, he returns with more inspiration to feed into his music. On his upcoming album, Prospect which will be release in November, we see Ahi venture to a wholly new landscape, within himself. Inspired by past experiences, feeling of self and belonging, this upcoming body of work will arguably be the most personal we’ve seen from the artist thus far. 

We caught up with AHI to discuss his musical journey, his process and of course, his FAULTs. 

In what ways has your experience travelling the world impacted your musical process?

Travelling has taught me so much about myself. It’s taught me how to read people beyond the surface and have genuine empathy for everyone, which has really helped inform my songwriting and the emotion I pour into my singing. When I write, I try to reach those core emotions that connect us all together because at the end of the day, no matter where you go in this world, we’re all just living this life for the first time, trying to figure it all out.

Is there a relief that comes from pouring so much emotion into a song like ‘Danger’ or can it become emotionally taxing to draw on those feelings?

Pouring my emotion into Danger is the kinda thing that relives me from all the other emotionally taxing things in life. I thrive off those feelings, but I believe it’s where I shine the most in life.

What would you say was the most challenging part of the creation of Prospect? 

I’d imagine that most people who created anything in 2020-2021 would say the pandemic.  Having to put everything on hold and watching all my so called “plans” dwindle was really tough at first, but when I realized that almost everyone in the world was in the same boat it took a lot of the self-imposed pressure off me and I got back to work and writing. I actually wrote my absolute favourite song on the record during the pandemic, even though months earlier I thought I’d already had all my songs and couldn’t wait to get into the studio to record them. In hindsight, I’m glad I had the extra time.

You’ve discussed the decision to keep your face off of your previous album covers – how does it feel to finally be placing your face front and centre of your music?

In all fairness, I’m barely showing my face on this album cover, but it was such a revelation when I decided to make that change.  I’ve designed all my album artwork and I think I was intentionally hiding myself because of some industry experiences I had surrounding people putting me a in a box or judging a book by its cover merely based on my appearance. I originally had a cover for Prospect that closely resembled my previous albums, which was sitting on my computer since 2019, pretty much ready for print. When I was making some last minute tweaks something just dawned me to change the entire thing. I dismissed the idea of few times until I finally just took a last-minute chance and redid it – and I’m so glad I did! This record bears so much of myself, it’s so honest that I now feel it would have been disingenuous not to put my face on the cover.  The cover photo is from a shoot I did with photographer Caitlin Cronenberg and it embodies this album perfectly. It’s me and people will learn to accept that.

Do you benefit from a regimented writing process or do you prefer to let inspiration strike when it does? 

Having a regimen is incredibly important, but the ability to let inspiration in the room and pull you away from that regimen is even more important to me. I’m not someone who writes every day of the year. I go through writing spurts and when I’m in those spurts the inspiration usually comes when I’m operating within a regimented writing schedule. I think inspiration needs to be tickled by routine in order to start flowing sometimes.

Would you say there is a singular theme that runs through the album – and if so, what would that theme be?

I think it’s right there in the title: Prospect. It’s about human connection and how our lives are one thread of a beautiful mosaic woven through time and space. Our lives are essential because we are a product of the past and contributors of the future, and I believe both are counting on us to give our all.

If you could go back to the start of your career and leave yourself one piece of advice, what would it be? 

Don’t hide your light. You have a valuable gift to offer and there are people who don’t yet even know how desperately they are in need of that gift. Don’t hide yourself. 

What’s something positive you’ve done this year to protect your mental health? 

Exercise has really helped my mental health. But more importantly, not closing myself off from the people who care about me most when anxiety, depression or just those emotional moments hit.

What is your FAULT? (personal flaw)

I think I’m humble to a fault. Humility is a pillar of my life and I’ll never stop being humble, but sometimes I think people take humility as a sign of weakness. Sometimes you gotta know when you’ve earned the right to be boastful.