One of 2015’s breakout bands were Green Buzzard. A collection of friends who had all played in other bands with limited success, they decided to get together at frontman Paddy Harrowsmith’s farm house in Oberon, New South Wales to jam and see where it would lead. The resulting demos recorded there were enough for them to be signed to one of the best new labels in Australia in I Oh You without even playing a single gig.
Suddenly finding themselves signed and with labelmates with the likes of DMA’s, DZ Deathrays and Violent Soho, Green Buzzard joined the party and spent 2015 releasing a steady stream of successful singles and taking their first steps touring and playing in a live environment as a unit.
With a support slot for Bad//Dreems on their last tour as well as festivals like BIGSOUND, Mountain Sounds and Secret Garden already under their belts off the back of songs like Zoo Fly and Slow It Down Now, Green Buzzard are on the verge of releasing their debut EP Eazy Queezy Squeezy and embarking on their first national tour. We had the chance to chat with frontman Paddy about the whirlwind they presently find themselves in.
Afternoon Paddy, how’s it going?
Hey mate. Good good. How are you doing?
I’m not too bad, where do we find you this afternoon?
I’m just hanging at home.
*Laughs* Yeah, real exciting hey.
I’ve gotta congratulate you guys for as far as you’ve come in less than a year for Green Buzzard.
No worries at all. I mean, you came in kind of out of nowhere and were signed to I Oh You off the back of just your demos which is huge. I know the story of how you recorded them in the farmhouse and you’d all played in bands prior to this, but can you tell us how what is Green Buzzard today came about?
Sort of like how we started you mean?
Yeah, your blockbuster origin story.
It basically started with just myself and James (West, drums) and we sort of were just playing around. We’d played in bands before heaps of times but I was living up on my farm like you said and that’s where I wrote all the songs. I’d never really written any songs before that, I’d just played guitar in other bands but when I moved up there I was just like fuck, I may as well give it a shot. I thought of the name and everything first so I kind of had this whole band idea in my head but without the songs and without a band *laughs*.
I kind of found that after I thought of the idea behind it and thought of the band name and everything that it kind of made it easier to start writing songs. As I said, I always wanted it to be a band and so after I did the demos I started getting the band together one by one and getting those guys involved and now it is what it is with all five of us.
That’s excellent. It must be such a massively satisfying thing to see something like that that you dreamed up yourself be realised like that.
Yeah it is.
Biggest news for you guys is your first ever EP, Eazy Queezy Squeezy, which is coming out on the 1st of April. How was the recording of that?
Yeah so we did that quite a while ago now actually. We did that about two years ago when we recorded all those songs. We did it at the same time as Zoo Fly and Slow It Down Now 7″ that we put out. So it was all done at the same time and now we’ve just remixed them I guess, so they’ll sound a little different to those ones.
We did it with a friend of ours named Ryan Hazel in Gosford of all places. He had a studio out there so we just stayed out there for a few days and just bashed out a bunch of songs. We did something like ten songs in three days. We did it all pretty quick, we tried to keep a warts-and-all method about it. I think most of the drum tracks on there were like first or second take and we didn’t really want to dwell too long on the sound of the snare or anything like that.
You mention all those tracks were recorded two years ago, was it something you knew back then that you were wanting to save them for later and put out the 7″ first?
We didn’t really know what we were doing to be honest. We didn’t really have much of a plan. That was before we were signed with I Oh You and we just wanted to record a bunch of them. I think we were just going to put them all out together. We had them all and that’s when I showed it around to friends and we just didn’t know what to do with them.
It was Johann from I Oh You’s idea to put out a 7″ first and then follow it up with an EP. *Laughs* we didn’t really have a clue what we wanted to do but it just sort of worked out this way. We kind of wanted to put them out in one way or another so this EP was just a way to give a bit of a snapshot of where we were at the time.
Is there a personal favourite track amongst them on this EP for you?
Yeah I really love the opening track Diggin’ A Hole, that’s probably my favourite track on there and I really love the way that song came about. It took a while mixing that one but it turned out exactly how I pictured it and wanted it in my head and I think I love that one the most.
I did enjoy that one as well. I was wondering which one you’d say, Frequency Overload was definitely my favourite on there. I’ve had a couple of listens through now and it seems to be the one that’s just stuck with me. That riff behind it is a monster.
Yeah wicked, thanks dude.
That and the artwork for your EP. That has to be up there among some of the best I’ve seen in a long while. Took me ages to notice the dogfighter in his rear view mirror which just added a whole other story to it. It’s like an old school power metal band or something and it’s so badass. How did that come about?
I won’t take any credit for that at all. One of our best mates; his godfather is an airbrush artist named Alan Ewart. He and myself and James were around his place having a barbecue or something a while ago and he took us into his studio and showed us all this artwork he’s had since the 80s. He basically just gave some to us. He did the ram’s head for the 7″ as well as this one and he gave us a whole bunch of images to use and we just thought that the guy in the Spitfire looked so cool and it looked like it would make such a great cover. We were just lucky enough that he let us use it.
Hopefully that can be an ongoing collaboration because that is some fantastic artwork all round.
I definitely want to keep using more of his stuff, he’s so talented. He’s incredible.
Well it’s a very distinctive look and I know you guys also have a very distinctive sound as a band. How have you managed to capture that as a relatively new band.
I guess having sat on these songs for so long as well as having such a clear idea of what it was going to sound like when we started. I guess I’ve been in bands before where we wrote songs and nobody knew what they were doing and there was a million different ideas floating around but when Green Buzzard started it started with an idea of what it was going to sound like first. Even before we started writing songs. So I guess when you have that in mind it’s pretty easy. I find it easy anyway, when I had a visual too of what it would look like and what the art would look like and all that sort of stuff then it’s pretty easy to start writing in that frame of mind.
I know when you guys first came onto the scene there was a lot of usage of the word ‘Britpop’ thrown around. I personally thought that was a bit overly simplistic to label Green Buzzard as that but is that a comparison you embrace or reject or you just don’t really care either way?
I don’t really mind. I grew up listening to Britpop bands, they were my bread and butter in learning to play guitar. Lots of Oasis and Blur and Stone Roses and all of that, those were some of my favourite bands growing up. So I think even if I tried *laughs* I couldn’t not have a little of those influences in my songwriting. It’s too deeply ingrained.
But I was definitely not really going for it having said that. I was really going for a lot more… still in the 90s but more of an American style of sound. I always thought though that I’d like to have the songwriting bones of Britpop and those songs but something more sonically like a 90s American band like Dinosaur Jr. and Guided By Voices and stuff like that.
I don’t mind at all and there’s no real feeling of resentment. It’s definitely there, but like you said, I think it’s overly simplistic to call it just one thing.
You’re part of the ever-expanding I Oh You family that’s really growing and everybody is doing great things on that label at the moment. Is it extra motivation for you guys to see your labelmates in Violent Soho and DMA’s all doing as well as they are?
Yeah it’s great. It’s good stuff. Hopefully they can just get it even bigger and we can ride their coattails *laughs*. Yeah we just have to keep doing what we’re doing. It’s definitely awesome to see all bands on the label you share doing so well like that. If we all keep doing what we’re doing then hopefully everybody does really well.
Great stuff. And you’re about to get out on tour again very soon. Green Buzzard only played their first live show under a year ago. I caught you at BIGSOUND last year and I was blown away for such a new band. I mean it makes more sense now that I know you’ve been sitting on those songs for two years but even still; for a relatively new band your live show just didn’t seem like it was being played for one of the very first times ever. How far have you come since those first shows?
I think a lot, that’s good that you liked it. We were so new then and we were still working out how to do it live. It’s good that you liked it because we were all like ‘oh shit, how do we do this?’. We were basically thrown in the deep end and a quick, quick learning curve. I feel like now going into this next tour that we’re doing that I’m the most confident I’ve been, whereas before I was excited to play it live but had some trepidations and I wasn’t sure exactly how it was all going to work.
Now I feel like, it’s coming up to where we’ve been playing as a band for a year and now we’ve done the tour with Bad//Dreems and a handful of shows so I’m starting to feel like it’s becoming more natural and much more like we’re really all gelling together. There were nerves before, which I never usually get.
Those handful of shows you mention included Mountain Sounds and Secret Garden. How was your introduction to the festival scene? How was the crowd response?
Yeah really cool. It was fun. I do admittedly feel a little more comfortable in a club scenario like a late night and darker club I feel better doing that at this point anyway. I feel a little naked being onstage in the daytime. It was still cool though, something different. People seem to be into it.
Excellent. Just to wrap it up Paddy, you have your EP being released, your first headline tour kicking off and running through April, what have Green Buzzard got planned after that?
So we’re actually going back to record again straight away, I think we’ll be doing that once the tour finishes and then we’re doing another tour come late May which we’ll announce in a bit more detail later on.
No rest going forward. Paddy I’ll let you go for the afternoon, wishing you all the best for Eazy Queezy Squeezy, it’s a cracker even though I’m still trying to wrap my mouth around it, and we’re all looking forward to seeing you boys out on tour in April.
*Laughs* Awesome man, thanks so much!
Eazy Queezy Squeezy is out now via I Oh You.
Catch Green Buzzard playing live on these dates:
Fri, April 1st: Rocket Bar, Adelaide
Sat, April 2nd: The Foundry, Brisbane
Sat, April 9th: NSC, Sydney