Faces of Femoir ~ Adam Fine

One of the finest musicians in Atlantic Canada, Halifax bassist Adam Fine lent his grit and grooves to the recording of Femoir.

What are your own roots?
I’m Jewish with my family roots in Toronto and Yarmouth NS, and with ancestors in various places all over Central and Eastern Europe. I grew up in Toronto, and I’ve been in Halifax for 21 years now.

When and why did you start playing music?
I played piano and French horn as a child and was terrible at both. Based on very little knowledge, I decided I wanted to learn electric bass at age 15, and it swept over me like wildfire. I played in all the school bands, skipped non-music classes to I could play more, and just hung out in the band room every second I could.

Are they the same reasons you do it today?
Not at all. Through public performances, playing music was a thing that provided access to ‘cool’. Now it’s more like a daily meditation and a thing to do with friends. Even more so with Covid making performances rare and extra special, I feel like the practice IS the goal.

How have you evolved as an artist over that time?
Well, my listening habits have certainly changed: Prog rock --> Pure-laine jazz snob --> open-minded world-music dilletante --> smooth Jazz and Yacht rock. I can get around my instrument pretty well, but I’ve never really been much of a technician. I think playing with other humans has always been my focus, and I think my ability to react and respond to what’s going on has gotten better with age. I hope that continues.

What are the challenges of the vocation?
Other people will give more interesting answers, but they’ll be embellishing. Scheduling and carrying heavy gear are the two greatest challenges to being a professional musician.

What are the rewards?
For sure: good friends and a sense of accomplishment. Actually, my favourite thing about music right now is that it happens so quickly—you get together with some nice people, you make something you essentially get to enjoy immediately (even if it’s in a half-finished state like a record or workshopping material in a rehearsal), and then you all go home! I work as a city planner in my other life, and things take years to come to fruition. Music is so fast and so fun, and you get to enjoy the choices you make right away, and if things go wrong: no big deal!

What have been some career highlights?
Playing all the jazz festivals in Canada with Gypsophilia I think were my highlights, we had such a good time on the road, and audiences were really good across the country. Getting from gig to gig was stressful—lots of late nights combined with early morning flights—but the performances were among my favourite.

How was your experience with the Femoir project?
Karen’s a very talented singer, she’s got a really hot band, and the material is fun to play. What could go wrong with that?! I’m sorry that Covid has slowed the record’s release, but I’m sure it’s going to make a splash. I’m very excited to play with the band again at the Cohn.

What makes a good song?
I don’t have an answer to this really. I think I could find exceptions to just about any rule I make up about songs!

What makes a good live show?
Variety for sure. And at my advanced age, it shouldn’t be too long.

What are your thoughts on the current state of Atlantic Canada’s music scene?
I’ve been so disconnected from the scene lately; I’m going to decline to answer. I’m sure there’s solid music being made, but I don’t know what it is right now.

What’s on your creative agenda for the rest of 2021?
I’m setting the bar low—now that things are opening up, I’d just like to keep adding some regular performances and rehearsals to my schedule. Next year maybe I’ll think a bit bigger!