Buck 65 has lived in Paris off and on over the years, and spent the last few months touring Europe. When asked what he missed most about North America, he doesn't hesitate.
"Professional baseball," says the Toronto-via-Nova Scotia rapper and CBC Radio 2 host (real name Richard Terfry). He enjoys the sport so much, he once wrote a song about José Bautista called Joey Bats, after the outfielder's nickname.
"It's so big and so exciting," says Terfry about the Blue Jays' off-season acquisitions. "I'm right on the verge of buying season tickets."
If he buys them, he'll lose a few months to touring his recently finished new album, due out in April. Shaped by a painful divorce last year from his ex-wife and former collaborator, the record was "taxing on the brain and the heart" to work on, Terfry says.
"I don't know if I've ever made anything this personal or immediate."
He describes the as-yet-untitled final product, on which he worked for the first time with Los Angeles producer Dean Nelson (Beck, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Thurston Moore), as a "little shinier," and full of difficult time signatures and sparser arrangements.
Though Terfry says he never plans out his entire set list in advance, fans attending his upcoming show at the Great Hall as part of Fucked Up's Long Winter series can expect to hear a few new songs, even though he admits that he rarely performs his most personal songs live.
But over his prolific career, he's proven he's not afraid to challenge himself and his audiences. "Giving a euphoric feeling is the easiest thing for musicians to achieve and the one they bank on," says Terfry. His new material goes against that.
There's also the matter of the novel he's been working on. While he's bound by his publishers not to give away many details, he says the book is in the style of a memoir and will hopefully be out sometime next year.
"It's a completely different beast and a much more vicious one," he says of the process. "You're trying to fight off an animal with your bare hands."