Tim Hart of Boy & Bear talks regional touring and brewing beer with Akasha

With extensive touring just a regular item on Boy & Bear‘s calendar, we spoke to drummer/vocalist Tim Hart while in the United States about the regional dates they’ll be hitting through November, and their time spent creating their own beer with NSW brewers Akasha.

How has the U.S been?

It’s been great. It’s been pretty weird coming over for winter but we were in Columbus, Ohio yesterday and it was like, 30 degrees. One day it will be freezing and then the next day we’ll be in middle America and it’s hot. But the shows have been great; lots of travel, it’s been pretty fun.

Not something you guys aren’t used to.

No, we get around a little bit, so to speak.

All Our Exes Live In Texas are an amazing support to have. Are you psyched to get on the road with them?

Yeah it’s going to be great, me and Symesy, our bass player, both played on their record. We’ve known those guys – Georgia and Elana – for a long time. It’ll be really fun to have them on the road. They’re such quirky, fun girls; it’ll be a blast. I reckon they’re going to go down so well, it’ll be perfect.

On that, you tend to focus really heavily on regional shows across Australia and you’ve just announced that the charity you’ll be contributing to will help rural towns. Did this sort of touring schedule encourage your interest in supporting those communities?

It’s something that’s always been important to us; in some ways our way of supporting has been to give a priority to actually travel to regional places. We thought we’d do something a little different this time and that’s why we teamed up with the guys from Akasha to do something fun – make a beer and give those profits away to farmers who are doing it a bit tough. Also, using all Australian ingredients for the beer is helping them in that way too.

I guess, having done the regional tours, we realised how much of a need there is and how it can be a serious problem. I’ve got mates myself who are farmers and parents are farmers; you see them have five, six, seven bad years in a row and it’s heartbreaking. It’s a small thing, but hopefully it helps in some way.

Yeah, and it’s probably an issue that a lot of people aren’t overly aware of.

Yeah and in that sense, I think it’s good to try and promote awareness. Travelling around a country like the States now, you realise how different Australia is and how amazing Australia is. I think we really need to look after our farmers, I don’t want to speak out of turn, but there’s such shit food over here and our farmers are the difference.

A number of musicians have started collaborating in creating beers and things like that, is this something you have enjoyed doing? Can you explain a little more about the process?

So Akasha is a brewery located in Five Dock, a suburb of inner-west Sydney. I met the guys ’cause I live in the area and Josh (Pyke) had just done a beer with Young Henrys and we were kind of interested. I was chatting to the guys and I love what they do at they do at their brewery; they’re fantastic in terms of how they interact with all their producers and it’s not all about profit, it feels really community based.

One afternoon, I had one too many drinks with the owner Wes and we decided we should give it a shot and usually these sorts of things don’t really come to fruition. You have these slightly unconventional ideas and then nothing happens, but he kept pushing it and that’s when we decided, “Well, why not just give everything away and have fun doing it?” They got us in and we learned about the whole brewing process which is something we’d never done before. We got to choose what style of beer we wanted. The head brewer had great direction. It was just a really fun process and something we hope to continue to do, we hope it’s not just a one-off gimmicky thing.

This style of thing is really good because it’s a bit commercial but not buying into mainstream, mass produced stuff. It’s helping local guys who in a small way, just want to make a difference and do something that’s quality and it’s not all about the bottom line. That’s exciting.

Just back to touring, because I’m always interested in how much you guys tour and it’s on a pretty constant basis, too. Is there anywhere, though, that you’ve always wanted to play that you haven’t had the chance to yet?

This sounds like a clichéd answer, because it is, but I’d love to play in Japan. I’ve never been and I’ve always wanted to go, and I’ve always wanted to play there. Even if it’s a dingy little whisky bar or something, to be there and be among it is such a different culture. A lot of what we do is in the western world, really, whether it’s in Europe or the States, and so South East Asia and Japan and China we haven’t really touched on and I’d love to. Even South America, I’d love to do South America. But, you know, maybe one day.

Well, not having hit South East Asia is a bit crazy, considering how close it is as well.

Yeah, we always ask our management about this and they say they’re looking into it but we haven’t been able to do it yet; I agree with you, there must be something we can do. I guess it’s very different but I know bands do it – some of our friends are always making stopovers in Singapore or Kuala Lumpur so, I don’t know. The Jezebels did this amazing run through Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Manila and Taiwan and I was like, “I’d love to do that,” but maybe one day we’ll get there. I keep saying, “One day, I’ve got to make it happen,” – Gemma, I’m going to put pressure on someone.

The special edition of Limit Of Love is a cool idea. How do you guys generally feel listening back to live recordings such as this – especially considering it’s a sold out hometown show?

You get a bit self conscious, but it’s really exciting to me because it’s a record of something that was I guess a bit of a dream for us. To hear how excited people are there, ’cause it’s a blur on the night. You’ve got family and friends there and a whole bunch of fans that have been following for years and everything goes quickly and you’ve got heaps of people to talk to and the show is over all of a sudden, so it’s nice to have that record of it. It’s probably something I’m quite proud of, to be honest.

The Parlour Gigs competition seems perfectly suited to you guys. Do you think it will be a bit of a reminder of your early days?

I love that stuff. For me, it’s special to be able to do that at the end of the tour as part of it and to give back a little bit. It’s going to be a good night for everyone, there’ll be no pressure. The bigger shows you do, the less intimate they become and to be able to do this is really special for us and I think you’re right, it’ll turn back the clock a bit for us and it’s something that we’ve been talking about wanting to do, and the Parlous Gigs crew do a great job. I’ve done a few of these little shows with my solo project and with guys like Passenger and Stu Larsen and I really liked it, but I’ve never done it with a band. Being in the States we do a lot of acoustic stuff, but it’ll be cool to do this.

And just lastly, the Australian tour. It’s a big run, does it just feel like a continuation of the US shows, or the start of something new?

Nah, it’s definitely different. We’re really excited ’cause it’s so different, and if you think about the towns we’re going to, they’re just such cool towns.

Boy & Bear’s regional Australian tour begins in November, information & tickets available here.

Parlour Gigs and Wonderlick are giving you the chance to win an all-expenses-paid Parlour gig, performed by Boy & Bear themselves. Details here.