Lee Bains dis­cusses the real South


What’s the con­cept be­hind the al­bum?

Birm­ing­ham is a city with a scarred his­tory as it per­tains to race, and what I ex­pe­ri­enced grow­ing up was cer­tainly that legacy but also ways in which that legacy was sub­verted and com­pli­cated ev­ery day. The scenes in the songs were com­pletely un­pre­dictable mo­ments where I, as the sub­ject, was knocked back on my ass, and are still rat­tling around 25 years later and have shaped the way I see ev­ery­thing. They are real, and that’s im­por­tant to me.

Your con­clu­sions feel op­ti­mistic.

Birm­ing­ham is a place where racial terrorism was en­acted, yet when I watch peo­ple, they’re full of love and re­spect for each other. It doesn’t mean white supremacy is over, far from it, but peo­ple like An­gela Davis from Birm­ing­ham have been fight­ing ex­ploita­tion for five decades and still be­lieve in a lib­er­ated fu­ture. I take great strength from her and peo­ple mak­ing small de­ci­sions on the street and at school. It’s hum­bling and em­pow­er­ing.

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