Interview: The Beards

The Beards
Image Courtesy of The Beards

Interview originally published on Stars in the Attic

It has long been known that I, along with a growing number of likewise sensibly minded women in the world today, like our men with beards. There is something about a beard that defines and refines a man. And none can be more defined than these four lovely gents. Spreading the good bearded word to the nation, empowering men to give up the razors, to quit conforming to the ridiculous standards of clean-shavenness that a Bieber loving society has conditioned young men these days to follow. All hail The Beards!

Many moons ago, February 2011 to be more precise (see it here), I got to interview the legendary Facey McStubblington about the band, what they do, and why. This time I got to put my questions to the equally awesome Nathaniel Beard about their latest escapades and upcoming UK tour dates. Here’s how it went down:

Aiden L Quinn: So, it’s been a while since I last caught up with you, I hear you are going to the UK soon, tell me about that?

Nathaniel Beard: We’ll be playing songs about beards in London, Manchester, Leeds, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Cardiff, Portsmouth, Belfast and Dublin this December. We’re super excited to be coming back to the UK and Ireland, we were there earlier in the year and several people promised they’d grow beards, we’d be interested to see if they kept their word.

ALQ: Sticking with talk of the UK for a moment. The hot favourite to win The X-Factor UK this year is 20 year old Italian Andrea Faustini. He is the only contestant with a beard, do you think this improves his chances of winning?

NB: I’d go as far as to say that his beard will guarantee him victory. If the competition is being correctly and fairly judged, he will win. I assume shows of that calibre are correctly and fairly judged.

ALQ: Tell me about the latest album, what are your favourite tracks from it?

NB: It’s called The Beard Album and it’s our fourth beard-related concept album. It’s my favourite of all the albums we’ve recorded so far – it’s got a really good number of songs about beards on it – eleven. I think that like our beards, our albums keep getting better and longer. My favourite tracks from it are “I Like Beards”, “Touch Me in the Beard” and “There’s a Bearded Man Inside Me”.

ALQ: What kind of manly maintenance goes into maintaining a tip-top beard and what advice would you give to young men growing one today?

NB: Very little maintenance is required, just keep it washed and brush it every day. Growing facial hair is far less effort than continuously shaving it off. Speaking of which, I’d like to dispel the myth that shaving stimulates hair growth. It doesn’t. People just think that it does because a hair follicle is at its darkest at the tip, so as the beard regrows, as it inevitably will because it’s a beard and therefore cannot be stopped, it looks like it’s growing thickly – it’s not, it’s growing at the same speed. All that’s happened is you’ve shaved off your beard and now you look like a fool, which you are, because you shaved off your beard.

ALQ: You’ve been to the UK in the past, how do UK beards compare with Aussie beards?

NB: I don’t like to compare beards with other beards, I prefer to compare people with beards to people without beards, who I consider to be inferior.

ALQ: There has been a lot in the press condemning people with religious beards, do you have an opinion on this? have you had any negative comments from others regarding your own? how did you handle it?

NB: Yeah sure we get negative comments from people all the time. Just the other day a total stranger called me a “bearded piece of shit” and told me to “climb down off of his roof”. I don’t let that sort of thing bother me. Having a beard makes you pretty resilient. When people say things like that to me I generally just ignore them and stay on their roof.

ALQ: You have a song called “You Should Consider Having Sex with a Bearded Man”. How does a bearded lover differ to their non-bearded counterparts?

NB: Personally, I’ve only ever had bearded lovers so I couldn’t tell you, but I can only assume that a non-bearded lover would be a real let down.

ALQ: Seeing as Christmas is drawing near, have you decided what you want Santa to bring you yet?

NB: All I’d really like for Christmas is for bearded people everywhere to be extended rights not extended to those lacking a beard.

ALQ: What have been your favourite moments of this year so far?

NB: Recording The Beard Album was a really good experience – we had a rule that no-one without a beard was allowed in the studio, and we were forbidden from talking about any non-beard-related topics, by punishment of a public flaying. It was really fun. When it was all finished we held a massive party on this guy’s roof.

ALQ: Do you have anything exciting in the pipeline for next year?

NB: Ideally we’d like to implement a worldwide movement in which all people grow beards, put their differences aside and work together to make the world a better place. Failing that we’d like to record some new songs about beards and go on tour.

ALQ: Do you have a message for the people of the UK before you arrive for your gigs? what should they expect?

NB: I’d like to encourage as much pre-show beard growth as possible. If all you can manage is a scrappy, patchy, whispy beard – just remember that a scrappy, patchy, whispy beard is still a beard. All beards are equal in our eyes. Having said that we deplore stand-alone moustaches and consider anyone who has one to be sub-human.

For a full list of their tour dates, where to get tickets etc, check out The Beards’ website here

Interview: Benjamin Folke Thomas

Image Courtesy of Benjamin Folke Thomas

Interview originally published on Stars in the Attic

Having been away from the music scene for a while due to travelling, it was really great to finally catch up with one of my favourite singer-songwriters and see what they have been up to. The first time I ever saw Benjamin Folke Thomas was at the Old St Pancrass Church in London. I was working on the doors, taking ticket money and selling beer. I could watch the performances from my table outside the door. When Ben started to sing I was in awe, there was this young blonde swedish guy with the throwback voice and lyrics of an old soul, much older than his years, he was captivating. That was about 3 or 4 years ago now, I have seen him live a few times since then, but nowhere near enough. There are some singers out there who you can listen to sporadically, but him, I could sit and listen to for hours.

So heres what he had to say when i got a chance to ask him a few questions.

Aiden L Quinn: How long have you been writing and playing your own songs?

Benjamin Folke Thomas: Think I was 15 when I started to try to write my own songs. Still trying to work out how to go about it the best way. Been doing that for eleven years. Fuck that’s a long time.

ALQ: Where are the best and worst gigs you have played?

BFT: We played Fairport Convention’s Cropredy festival in England this last summer. That was the most fun gig I’ve ever done I think. Felt like there was a million people there. And some of them even enjoyed it. That one is still pretty fresh in my memory. There probably other ones I’ve done that I’ve enjoyed in different ways. Another fun gig was when a mate and I put on a Warren Zevon night at the Betsey Trotwood pub in london. That was ace too. That’s a bit blurrier. Worst gig … there’s been a few when I’ve been the only person there. The sound guy has left half way through sorta thing. Someone slipped some kinda upper in my drink before I played at a small stage at No Direction Home festival. It was pissing down with rain and I think there was about two people huddled under an umbrella there and all of a sudden this upper kicked in and I thought life was great and I was telling jokes about rabbits and other animals. I enjoyed it but I doubt anyone else did.

ALQ: You recently appeared on BBC Introducing in Nashville, how was that?

BFT: That was cool. Nashville seems like a cool town. Just like one massive working museum. Everyone walks around in fancy shirts and expensive Stetson hats and they all love country music. I love country music so it was a thrill to hang out on Broadway and see all the places you’ve read about in these country music scrapbooks and biographies. And the city smells really good. There was three musicians on the BBC Introducing showcase. Al Lewis, Frankie Davies and myself. We had a great laugh with Bob Harris who introduced the show and with the BBC crew who were there with us. It was part of the AMAs (Americana Music Association). It was fun.

ALQ: The UK, London especially has a really strong live music scene, how does it compare to back home in Sweden?

BFT: It doesn’t compare really. There’s something like 12 million people living in London and there are about half a million in Gothenburg so it’s no way near as vibrant as London is. I’ve done about five gigs in Sweden and around 500 in London so I don’t know how to compare the two.

ALQ: What artists are your inspirations? Are there any musicians out there that you think we should be looking out for?

BFT: Quite a few. The classics. Some old blues and country music. Main influence these days is Warren Zevon. He’s my go to guy if I need anything. Therapy, advice on life, health or love. I’d ask him anything that I consider worth knowing at the moment. I listen to a great new band from London called the Fat White Family. They’re awesome. Something occult about them almost. They’re channeling all sort of weird shit. The good kind.
Wish I knew more new music too but I’m very bad at seeking it out. There is a great Swedish band called Kasban. They sing in Swedish, I like them a lot.

ALQ: Do you remember what the first album you ever bought was?

BFT: Can’t remember. I wanna say the Vaselines or some other cool band like Sparklehorse but it was probably Hanson or the Spice Girls.

ALQ: Is there anything you are working on just now or have just finished?

BFT: Yea we are doing a new album now in Gothenburg. It’s nearly finished… I hope.

ALQ: Where can people get hold of your music/merch?
BFT: Go to It’s on all the online sites too I think. Our label’s Bucketfull Of Brains and they’re distributed by Proper. No t-shirts yet. We need to work on our USP a bit more.

ALQ: And finally, do you have any gigs lined up for this year or the beginning of next year?

BFT: No more shows this year. Going on tour in April and we’ll be touring in Europe and the UK hopefully. As many as we can do. We’d love to come to Australia too.

%d bloggers like this: