Indianapolis’s FireBreather Festival is just a couple of months away with eleven of the best stoner rock bands from around the United States hitting the stage on April 14th. Taking place at Indiana City Beer, and with food provided by Black Metal barbecue, attendees can count on a day filled with music, beer, and the best barbecue in Indy! Tickets are selling fast so make sure you snag yours soon!
One of the bands on the lineup that we’re featuring today is Austin’s Greenbeard. The trio has released two full lengths along with a self-titled EP that has helped establish them in not only the crowded Austin music scene, but internationally as well. They recently released their album Lödarödböl to rave reviews and a spot on the Doom Chart’s top albums of 2017. I was fortunate enough to chat with drummer Buddy Hachar via email about the band, making a name for themselves in Austin, and the new album.
Indy Metal Vault: Thanks for chatting with us. I have to be honest that I didn’t get turned on to you guys until after Lödarödböl was released. How did you guys get together? Were you in other bands prior to Greenbeard?
Buddy Hachar: Chance and I have known each other for 10+ years. We both worked at the same event production company as audio, video, and lighting technicians. In our down time, we’d spend hours listening to music, fighting, covering each other’s shifts, drinking gallons after gallons of shitty coffee, breaking down different bands, discussing the origins of others, and discussing the current state of rock ‘n roll. Chance, some friends, and myself started a band together dubbed, “Viracochas.” This was very much in the vein of desert rock. I left Viracochas to play in a psych rock project and was replaced by another drummer. We continued to work together, lived in a house full of musicians, and stayed in touch. My psych rock project exploded in an international bitter debacle. Upon my return to the United States, Chance had continued to develop his vision that started as Viracocahs, and we decided to keep the train going and formed Greenbeard with our good bud Alex Smith as bassist. Jeff Klien (bass, Destroyer of Light) recently joined the band as bassist, and it’s been epic thus far. Greenbeard and Destroyer of Light have played plenty of shows together, and we’ve all been buds for quite some time, so Jeff got up to speed instantly. Jeff brings a wealth of touring experience, stage presence, and tone to the band.
IMV: Getting into the album, I’m really digging Lödarödböl. The productions sounds amazing and it has a nice mix of radio friendly shorter songs like “Swing” and “Love Has Passed Me By” and epic jams like “Lanesplitter” and “Wyrm.” When writing, how do you determine when a song is finished and goes into that shorter radio friendly category, verses when it needs another section or movement to become a longer drawn out jam? Is that a conscious decision or do you let the songs dictate that themselves?
BH: For the most part, we try to keep our records interesting. We try to keep them balanced with some gratifying long slow roasters, a couple of short radio friendly bangers, and some tracks that really take advantage of what an artist can achieve in a studio. That way, there is always more to dig into — no matter what avenue people happen to discover us at. If you see us at a live show and buy the record, you are gonna hear what you heard live, plus discover some new tracks that we wrote for the studio. If you discover our music through our recordings, and come to a show live, you might catch us playing some new material that has not been recorded, or evolved versions of some of our recorded tracks. We are conscious of including depth into our song writing to keep things interesting for the listeners and ourselves.
IMV: Along the same lines, what’s your song writing process like and has it changed at all since Stoned at the Throne?
BH: For Stoned at the Throne, we pretty much put all of our new material down on one record. For Lödarödböl, we took some time crafting the pace of the album, making demos and arranging them in a working order.
IMV: I understand that the album was recorded with Matt Bayles at Red Room Recording in Seattle. He’s worked with some great artists including Mastodon, The Sword and Russian Circles. What was it like working with him?
BH: Matt is a great producer! The dude is no bullshit, efficient, and honest. He most certainly got the best performances out of each of us. We’ve also never seen anyone weave through Seattle traffic as swiftly as Matt does.
IMV: I love the album artwork. Who is the artist? Did you collaborate with them or did you let them run with the design?
BH: Antoine Defarges has been our artist since day one. He designed our logo, our “Voyager” t-shirt design, and each album cover we have ever done. We have a long back and forth collaboration process where we lay a vision out for Antoine, he interprets it with a draft, we say what we think, he goes back to the drawing board, and comes up with something brilliant. The finished product is never too far off from our initial vision. We are excited about our next collaboration with Antoine that will be released in March. Kozmik Artifactz is a European record label that will be rereleasing Lödarödböl across Europe. In celebration of this, we have designed some gatefold artwork that takes the original cover artwork to the next level! We can’t wait for everyone to see it. It took Antoine about a year to get this together!
IMV: You guys did a tour last year to support the album. What were some of your favorite places that you stopped at? Do you have any good tour stories you can share with us?
BH: We are doing four tours to support this record — one for each season. We have already completed the summer and winter editions of our Lödarödböl tour. Firebreather fest will be part of the upcoming spring chapter. As far as tour stories go, that is best discussed over a couple of beers and tacos al pastor.
IMV: It’s seems like trying to get a band going in a huge scene such as Austin would be difficult. It’s got to be saturated with talent. Do you feel like being a part of the Austin scene has helped or hindered you? You guys have gotten a lot of local recognition, but was it difficult to thrive when you started out?
BH: Getting any idea off the ground in Austin can be daunting. There is always at least five other people with the same goal in mind in this town. At first, you can look at it as competition, but then you realize that you are actually fortunate to have a community of people who all have the same interests in mind. We got great bands in this town, and we all support each other at shows, tours, etc. When we are on the road, we bump into a lot of killer bands in small towns who are the only ones doing their thing. We’d rather be sharks in a frenzy versus sheriffs in a one horse town.
IMV: I read that Texas recently opened a medical marijuana dispensary in Schulenburg, which isn’t too far from you guys. Being from a conservative state, and especially being a border state, this has got to be a pretty big step towards legalization. When I see states like Texas loosening up their laws, it gives me hope that Indiana might catch up someday. Do you think they’ll continue to expand the medical program and do you see legal recreational use ever happening in Texas?
BH: I can see that going both ways. I think we will see recreational use in some cities and their surrounding areas like Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, and Austin, and keep it medical in smaller towns.
IMV: I’m looking forward to sharing some beers and barbecue with you guys at this year’s FireBreather festival. How did you get hooked up with the fest and what other band(s) are you most looking forward to sharing the stage with?
BH: Hell yeah. It’s gonna be a good time! Drew hit us up, and the fest sounded rad, so we worked it into our upcoming tour. Being from Texas, we haven’t had the chance to play with a lot of the bands on this bill before, so we are stoked to check these guys out in person. We’ve played a few shows with Toke in the past and are particularly excited to see them.
IMV: I’ll let you have the last word. Are there any final thoughts that you’d like to add?
BH: Just remind everyone to keep it heavy on the desert sea.