The first question had him stumped.
Justin Haynes didn’t know the combined number of CDs that he, Jean Martin and Ryan Driver have produced.
“Oh boy, that’s a tough one,” says Haynes over the phone. “Jean has been running a record label so, him alone, it would be at least 20.
“Me, the same; and probably Ryan the same.”
Just as difficult was the question concerning how many different groups each of them have belonged to.
“I often find myself in a different group and often it is a one-off.
“It’s the nature of music and it is less like we are trying to create a product and refine it and promote it and sell it.
“This group [which doesn’t have a name yet] has a tour coming up and we will make a record as a trio but, in a few years, I’m not sure we will be doing this.
“It’s a different mindset; it is one way to do things, but not mutually exclusive. We are in bands that fit the band model, but a lot of one-offs, too,” says Haynes.
“Bands are great, too, but I just can’t see us going for the brass ring.”
Even so, Haynes says they applied to be considered for a Juneau Award and “when we saw that crowd, we wondered what we were thinking; we are not shizam and wowz, the posturing and all that; it’s not that glitzy what we are doing.”
What they are doing is playing melodic, sweet songs for the joy of it.
Haynes plays the ukulele while Martin plays the suitcase – yes, says Haynes, a real suitcase. He carries his clothes in it between gigs – while Driver plays a street sweeper bristle.
Fans of his music can expect him to play a flute, analog synth, guitar, cell phone speakers, rulers, prong from a leaf rake or balloon.
“Other people play the balloon,” says Haynes with no hint of irony at all. “But his work is fantastic.
“And he’s a great singer.
“We used to travel with amps and all that crap, but now we have these primitive instruments.
“There is an element of humour in it, a dorkiness, but we are all pretty good musicians.
“There is something right about playing music like this.”
So, when audiences show up at the Old Fire Hall May 9, what should they expect?
“We can get pretty head banging in our own little ukulele way,” says Haynes.
“Our music can be exciting – hard to believe, but true – and there will be some laughs, some sweetness and people will be surprised by a bit of pretty fancy playing.
“I don’t want to say ‘virtuosity’, because it is a fascist kind of word, but it has lots of sweetness and beauty and swing and good feeling.
“And Ryan is a phenomenom. It is worth coming out just to hear him. I mean, he’s playing a bristle from a street sweeper for Pete’s sake.”
Tickets for the 8 p.m. show Saturday, May 9, at the Old Fire Hall, are available at the Yukon Arts Centre Box Office and Arts Underground.