With The Beards’ new album fully grown, the not-so-hairy Daniel Cribb faced off with Nathaniel Beard to discuss how they’re latest face-proof plan to put an end to beardism once and for all. Warning: beard juice is involved in the making of this story.
If you're not equipped with a beautiful, flourishing beard then sitting across from a man who lives every moment of his life around what's growing on his face can be an intimidating experience. “I'm very used to talking to people without beards, and I'm controlling my rage,” The Beards' bassist/beardist Nathaniel Beard says as our conversation begins. If there's one thing that Beard knows, it's the importance of practicing what you preach. “I used to have a different name, but I changed it,” he continues. “I didn't think that my name was beardy enough. I wanted it to convey how pro-beard I really am.”
Coming in “second to last” in triple j's Hottest 100 with their tune You Should Consider Having Sex With A Bearded Man, Beard describes their victory as a “sign of the times”. “Attitudes towards beards are changing and the beard revolution is well and truly underway,” he says. “The beard revolution is the movement that we started five years ago when we formed. The mission, basically, is to convince every man, woman and child in Australia capable of growing a beard, to do so. I don't think when we started in 2005 that anyone with a beard could have even gotten into the Hottest 100. Back then, things were different. Now attitudes are changing, and it's becoming a bit more acceptable to have a beard. What we'd like is that it is expected for everyone to have a beard.”
The song is one small step for beard-kind, and one strong step that selflessly encourages the consideration of having sex with the bearded. “It's about being open minded, and we're very open-minded, unless you don't have a beard. In which case we are extremely closed-minded,” Beard says with a hint of disappointment in his voice, as he continues to fight his growing rage. “None of us have managed to have sex since the song was released, but we did hear that one of our fans was able to convince a woman to have sex with him based on the fact that he had a beard.”
Beard's wife takes on the role of an audience member in the film clip for the single. One might become slightly concerned when a member of their band lays naked on top of their wife, dripping beard sweat all over her, but not Nathaniel Beard. He was more than happy to take one for the team and let The Beards' vocalist Johann Beardraven do that very such thing. “It was alright. I trust a man with a beard. He wouldn't cross me, he's got a beard. We bearded people like to look out for each other,” he assures himself. “I have told my wife that it would please me more if she would have a beard and she said that she is trying as hard as she can, but I can tell she is lying.”
After being crowned number 99 on the list, The Beards posted a photograph on their Facebook page that featured them celebrating in a blow up pool drinking wine from victory goblets that complimented a face down and naked Nathaniel Beard. Not surprisingly, the photo was removed due to 'inappropriate content' but for all those wanting to see the uncensored photograph in all its glory or re-live the breathtaking moment, a copy has surfaced on thebeardsblog.wordpress.com.
I'm In The Mood... for Beards, the second single off Having A Beard Is The New Not Having A Beard, is another ballad focused on putting an end to beardism as we know it. “Both singles touch on similar subjects in some ways – beards for example. They are both quite beard-related songs. We have found that to be a winning formula for us,” Beard explains. “It's all about changing people's attitudes. Some people go through life thinking 'I'm never going to grow a beard. Fuck beards, I'm never growing one.' We like to challenge those people and we like to think anyone with a negative attitude about beards will leave our show with a new found positive attitude about beards. They'll maybe even leave the show having made the decision to never shave again,” he says.
If you're luckily enough to be in the front few rows whilst The Beards rock out, you may leave their show with a little bit more than a new appreciation for facial hair. “Our shows are 10% music, 90% beard. The beard is involved in our shows in many ways. I like to rub my beard against the beard of audience members, and our beards meld as one. That really helps. We also like to spray our sweaty beards around the room, so that everyone gets a little bit of beard juice,” he says. “I think that if you're in the audience and you get sprayed by my beard juice that you are more likely to grow a beard. It's like fertilizer.”
Once you hear the word beard a hundred or so times in ten minutes it starts to take control of your mind subconsciously and that's when The Beards really try get a beard on you. “There are no cons of having a beard. There are only pros. The best way I can describe it is that most people have a void in their life, but not people with beards. The beard fills the void and that is what the void is for,” Beard explains, a theme that has continued through every song they have ever written.
“This third album picks up where our second album left off. I'd say it's even more about beards than our last album, which was called Beards, Beards, Beards. It's a bit more lavish than the last one. This one we recorded in the Gold Coast. The Gold Coast is quite a beardless place we've found, but that only amplified our rage and our passion because Australia is still by and large a beardless country, and that's not the way it used to be,” Beard says before unleashing a brief Perth beard health examination.
“I can't say that I think of Perth as a particularly beardy place unfortunately,” he continues. ”Once people realise that all they need to do to be happy is grow a beard and once Australia is restored to the great bearded nation it once was, then we won't have to do this anymore and we can retire. But we will not rest until Australia is almost 100% bearded.
Will there ever be an end to this beardness? Apparently, yes. “After the music side of it has been explored to its full extent, we'd like to start some kind of cult where you come and move to a property that we buy and we all live together according to the bearded code and the person with the biggest beard is in charge of the cult and what goes on. There'd be some kind of deduction from people's income as part of the cult. It's a cult; it has to work like that. I'd say a cult is the next step, it's a natural progression.”
This week's new sets include music from locals Gurrumul, Josh Pyke and West Thebarton Brothel Party plus new tunes from The Maccabees and Albert Hammond Jr.