Adelaide’s aptly named four piece The Beards have generated a cult following with their series of songs about beards and nothing else. We caught up with bassist Nathaniel Beard to ask him about the bands music and their very impressive beards!
How did the band form?
We originally formed to play just one show in Adelaide. We all had beards, so we got the songs together – partly as a joke, and partly to make a statement about the injustice that bearded people live with every day. It was 2005, and back then, a bearded man couldn’t walk down the street without copping abuse from moronic passers by. We didn’t expect it to happen, but our message resonated with the people – the bearded population had had enough. We were rebooked to play more shows, so we grew our beards even longer and started writing more songs. Now, six years later, we’ve just recorded our third album.
Where did the obsession with having facial hair come from?
It’s only natural for a man to have a beard. To shave off one’s beard is an insult to God – who, incidentally, has a beard.
When you began did you have any idea that you’d continue for years later and gain a solid following along the way?
Definitely not. But the longer our beards grew, the more passionate we became. We never planned it, but we became a voice for the bearded man. We exist to promote beard pride and to shatter people’s pre-conceptions about beards.
Have any of you ever shaved off your beard?
No. We never have. I never will. I’d rather be torn limb from limb.
Is trimming one’s beard considered acceptable or should you let it continue to grow?
Yes. You can trim it. Having a beard is about individualism, whereas shaving is about conformity. We encourage people to experiment with their facial hair, we’re not here to judge you, unless you don’t have a beard, in which case that’s specifically what we’re here to do…
Was the song Shaved off his Beard based on any true stories?
No. It’s like a parable – the story is fictional, but the message contains a profound truth.
Your music style varies from song to song, how do you determine what style fits with the aspect of the beard you wish to sing about?
We don’t set out to write a song in a particular style, we just stroke our beards for inspiration, and the song gradually comes together – it might be bluesy or rocky or poppy or have a folksy feel. We think it’s important to have musical diversity, seeing as we permit no lyrical diversity whatsoever.
Is there any music style you’d never touch?
I think R&B (or at least the musical style that is currently referred to as R&B) would have to be the most beardless form of music, and therefore the worst form of music. I wouldn’t go near it. I’d rather be torn limb from limb…
When writing songs what comes first, the lyrics or the music?
For me, it’s normally the lyrics, I’ll often start with a title, or a central message, and go from there. but sometimes the music comes first. I know some of the other guys normally start with music, and the lyrics come later.
You’ve got the album Having a Beard is the New Not Having a Beard coming out next year, what beard related topics will be covered?
Aside from our new single (You Should Consider Having Sex with a Bearded Man), we’ve got songs called Still Got My Beard, There’s Nothing Better Than a Beard and Why Having a Beard is Better than Having a Woman, just to name a few.
How will the upcoming album’s sound compare to your previous releases?
We’ve upped the production and included far more instrumentation – our singer Johann Beardraven played a lot of keyboard on the album. We’ve also enlisted a bearded mob to help us out on a few tracks. Overall, I think it will sound more beard-y in general.
What was it like performing at the at the opening ceremony of the World Beard & Moustache Championships in Alaska?
It was great! We were on the other side of the world, in almost constant daylight… it was surreal… for once, we were playing to a crowd of people who already knew that having a beard is the correct thing to do. It was great to look out into a sea of bearded faces.
Are there any plans for any of you to compete in future World Beard & Moustache Championships?
We’d love to go back, I think the next one is in Germany – quite the bearded nation.
You’re about to start the 100 Beards tour, what can fans expect at your show?
People who routinely shave away their beards will be convinced that they have been living a lie. We will achieve this goal by cultivating an atmosphere of shame.
What do you have planned after the 100 Beards tour?
The aim of this tour is to convince at least 100 people to grow and keep a beard. We are quietly confident that we will be successful. We’ll be playing a mixture of brand new beard-related songs from our upcoming album, and plenty of old favourites from the first two albums. Most of all, the tour will be a six week long celebration of all things bearded. Beards.