Artist Feature: Magic Beans (Resonance Festival)

As an initial thought I just want to say that this was such a fun conversation. Definitely a much lighter vibe and full of great laughter. I feel like we came up with multiple unofficial taglines or titles for the article and had such a good laugh about it, or at least I did. Unofficial taglines for our convo: Music Festivals Are Great and/or This is the Part Where You Feel Good.

For those who are counting down the days, we are less than a month away from Resonance Music and Arts Festival. Resonance will take place September 19 -22 at Coopers Lake Campground in Slippery Rock, Pennsylvania. Once again, this is one we are going to be doing some in depth coverage for – so stay tuned for more interviews and coverage coming up. In the meantime, for more info on the festival check out their webpage and our prior coverage.

Earlier today, we had the opportunity to chat with Scott Hachey (guitar and vocals) from Magic Beans – they will be performing at Resonance this year. When we talked to Scott we caught him at what he described as kind of a funny time. The explanation that followed led to lots of giggles on both sides – I don’t want to play spoiler so all I will say is that it had to do with shooting a very particular scene for a music video for a song called Nude. You will have to wait and see what the secret is, so make sure to keep an eye out for videos from the band. Many thanks to Scott for being nice, answering all our questions, and giving us a great laugh during a long, stressful work week.

For those who might not be familiar with Magic Beans – they are an funk/rock/soul – jammy, fun group out of Denver, Colorado. An important question formed in my mind as I was writing this – how do I refer to them individually – are they each a singular bean? Maybe I am just getting slap happy after a long couple days of work. Just ignore me.

In any event, the group is made up of Scott Hachey (guitar and vocals), Casey Russell (keyboards and vocals), Chris Duffy (bass and vocals), and Cody Wales on the drums. The Magic Beans released their newest album, Off Leash, on June 21st and has been touring extensively this summer. For more info on Magic Beans and their newest album, check out the links at the end of the post.

Now on to the fun stuff – without further ado, here’s a taste of our conversation with Scott and thanks again to Magic Beans for their time today!

Your newest album came out just a couple months ago. Can you tell us a little about your inspiration for Off Leash and how you feel it might be different from some of your previous work?

Off Leash is a great record. We are really proud of it. The name was inspired by my dog and as a metaphor for what we tried to do with this album . . .Scott describes how the group made a creative decision to take all their equipment and record at his house. They spent three days playing music and working non-stop. “Casey was playing an organ in the kitchen, in front of the oven and there were muffins back there.”

The group made the decision because they were somewhat disenchanted with the studio environment and because it meant they didn’t have to “spend crazy money for studio time” it also allowed them to take a more “fun, casual approach to the music” and to just work continuously, which Scott feels transferred over into the music itself or keeping with the muffin theme is baked into it. After spending three days tracking at the house, the guys took their product into the studio for final touches and to build out the album. According to Scott, there are some fun pictures of the house setup in with the CD that are definitely worth checking out.

As far as how the group feels this album is different, Scott explained that he thinks it has the fun element baked in from the creative process they undertook in recording it and working in a fun environment. He also describes Off Leash as “more mature and with more slower songs than the last album which was more party bangers.” Don’t worry, he says the upbeat bangers are still there – but there is a bit of a different, more mature feel to it.

Glad you brought up the creative decision to record at your house. Reading about that, the recording in the kitchen and bringing in tons of guests it sounds like such a cool process and something that may have created some fun stories. Can you tell us a little bit more about that?

There is a song on the record calledCave Beer.” It is sort of an amalgamation of tracking for three days and being tired at the end of the day. We started throwing together some music at 3 am nightly [just for fun]. One of the lyrics is about drinking beer in a cave and it was just indicative of the moment. It is cool that the group made room on the album for it.

Scott went on to explain that “Cave Beer” is something that they made for fun and was one of his favorite stories or parts of the creative experience that was tracking at his house. It sounds like it is something they worked on over the course of the three days, at the end of the night when they were tired and brought in different members of the team. While it sounded like he wasn’t sure it was something the group would ever play live, it was a great memory. Definitely very cool that it ultimately was shared with fans through the album. It don’t matter why you came here, just grab yourself a cave beer.

It sounds like you guys got to use all kinds of cool instruments (some vintage) on this album. Do you have a favorite or one that you particularly enjoyed hearing or testing out?

We got to take a tour of Prince’s studio in Minneapolis – where Casey and I are from. Prince is such an inspiration for both of us. In the studio there were electronic drums and synths – that are just famous on his music. (Here Scott named some of them and it made me wish I was a lot more educated on equipment so that I could describe them better for the readers). I was most excited about . . . to use those – the electronic drums and synths – on the album to create more effective drums and beats.

Feed the Beast is sort of an homage to the Minneapolis funk sound, people can listen and check that out to get an idea of what I mean . . . the sound I am talking about.

Is Resonance the first festival you will play since Off Leash was released and is there anything you are particularly excited to play or see the crowd respond to in a festival setting?

Resonance is not the first. We have been on a six week tour and played some smaller fests since then.

The title track, Off Leash, fits the vibe and was kind of written for or about the festival vibe. Here Scott refers specifically to the song’s only lyrics “This is the part where you feel good” explaining that with jam bands when they are playing they hit this spot where they things are really rolling and they do some lyrics about everyone feeling something deep. . . this was kind of a less serious take on that feeling . . . kind of a tongue in cheek thing. We were not trying to be as deep in that moment. Not trying to take ourselves too seriously. You know, to not unleash a tome of words. Keep it simple.

That is something I definitely understand. I feel like there is that moment, for me, at every festival where you know you just kind of close your eyes and think this is why I love festivals. It’s sunny, people are dancing, I’m happy. It isn’t complicated really. It’s not some complicated, introspective thing – it is really simple. Festivals are fun and I don’t want to go back to work . . . you know

Right, it’s … this is the part where you feel good. He says this with a laugh and the tone is just see, exactly. Such perfect timing.

I often write in my recaps about that moment, and now I will have a little soundtrack for when I close my eyes.

That’s the hope – I think.

Speaking of festivals what do you think the biggest difference will be from a band perspective of playing a festival vs. playing a standalone show?

The big difference . . . the change is . . . at festival lots of the people are passers by or fringe fans or people who may not have seen us before. There is this push to really get it in. To get all you can out of that hour or whatever limited amount of time you have for the set. To channel high energy. We get to control the energy more in a club show. We are a group that . . . we like ballads and some of the slower stuff and a festival you just have this send it vibe. You don’t want to lose someone’s attention. If you lose someone for even 30 seconds you know we are just in this connected culture now where they will just walk away if they are like you lost me for a few seconds. At the same time there is an amazing vibe with fests – unlike some we try to … we want to…we walk around, soak it up, try to go into the campground and meet up with people to get that energy and then to come out and emanate it back to people.

We are past the point of being able to camp at festivals for performance – we need to be in peak position for performance, but we also don’t want to be that band that just shows up from the hotel. Music festivals are great. That’s a good tag line music festivals are great.

That’s a good title for the post – music festivals are just great.

That’s actually a good transition because my next question is before you were touring festivals, or even now, have you all had the opportunity to attend festivals and what has that experience meant . . .

We are all festival kids. You know…we all grew up doing this, going to festivals before we were playing them. For lots of us that is the way the dream of making music started. Casey and I used to go to lots of festivals. 10,000 Lakes, Summer Camp . . . Phish Fest. Then when we started playing the fests at first we were in this kind of transition period where we were playing them but also out there camping all four days. We reached a point where we don’t really get to go to as many, we aren’t really able to camp any more, as we get older and stuff but like I said we still want to go out there and meet up with people in the campground and spend time walking around the festival and soaking it up. We aren’t going to many that we aren’t playing, so we try to do that when we are going to a fest to perform.

Are there any acts at Resonance you are particularly excited about or want to check out . .. besides Magic Beans of course? (Author’s note – why I said this last part I don’t know you kick yourself sometimes for sounding silly).

I mean of course – I’ll guess I’ll have to be checking out our own… (we both laugh)

Can’t really go without you I guess (awkward laughter by me at the silly way I set up the question – thankfully Scott was nice and rolled with it). In all seriousness though

Resonance has done a really good job booking it. There are a lot of different genres or at least different varieties that we don’t always get to see. There’s a group called CHON – a band I am really excited to see for the first time. Black Moth Super Rainbow is kind of a trippy indie band. They are playing two shows and from a genre that we never get to check out. I am also excited for all of my friends’ bands – I will definitely be there going to check out my friends.

So I saw you guys played Red Rocks for the first time earlier this year. I have to ask because it is such a bucket list thing for so many fans to go to Red Rocks. With you guys working out of Denver was this just like a super mind blowing thing…could you talk a little bit about that?

It was literally the defining moment of my career. For me. It was I would say my number one goal. Being from Colorado, Team Bean – that’s the name of the group of our fans and friends and family – having them all there, that was just big.

We had been inspired from seeing shows like Sound Tribe at Red Rocks. Then to be there it’s just…I equate it to a golden retriever who has been chasing a ball forever and then gets it and doesn’t even know what to do with it once he has it…like that…I guess you just want to do it again, play there again. Throw the ball again and start chasing it.

I like that. I think that’s a good analogy. Such a cool experience for you guys, especially being from the area. I think my last question . . . the way I usually end is to ask if there is anything you would like fans to know about you or your music? I know that’s kind of open, so feel free to take it whatever direction you want – funny, serious, something totally off the beaten path?

Well . . . that’s a good one. (Here I am thinking – uh oh, I hope I haven’t been awkward  – is that’s a good one code for that’s a hard one. But before I panic too much – Scott is right on it and this question totally pays off in such a genuine way again).

I would say . . . Our music is something that comes from the heart. We have a genuine passion that we want to share. We have no ulterior motive. But I mean we are of course also still trying to make it, trying to continue doing what we are passionate about. We try to share that support with our friends.

I think its important to invest in your friends’ bands. If you have friends out there playing, friends in up and coming bands. Support them. Go to their shows. Stop by their merch booths and buy something. Just something to show support. We are all out here trying to earn it and pay our dues. It is such a part of it to support your friends and to support other musicians.

Sigh – See that’s why I ask the question. I mean I know it’s kind of open ended, but like what you just said – I just get such good genuine answers from people and it is so awesome and interesting to see how people take it or just the first true thing that comes to them in that moment. I appreciate that. Thank you for your answer. I definitely look forward to seeing you guys at Resonance and continuing to check out Off Leash in the meantime. I will definitely have to keep an eye out for the video – kinda of cool and funny to be part of another career first. That’s one you can add to the career first list for this year.

I don’t know…I may leave that one off (speaking about the super secret video I won’t spoil).

I was so grateful to grab some of Scott’s time today and can’t wait to check out Magic Beans and say hello at Resonance in a few weeks. Thank you again to Scott and the Magic Beans as a whole. I think we can officially say we want to be on Team Beans.

For everyone out there – let us know if you have gone to Resonance or are going this year. We always love to engage with readers about their experience and would love for you to share your thoughts in the comments. Stay tuned for more fun info about Resonance coming soon. AND CHECK OUT MAGIC BEANS!!!!

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