Since the first installment of “Zach and Pete’s Fireside Chats” went to print a few months back, Zach Dahmen and I had both been itching to get local rock dynamos The Beeves over for a night of campfire, bourbon, and forthright conversation. Coming off the heels of their raw, raucous, and renowned self-titled debut EP, the trio is in the process of rolling out its new full-length record, Adam and Beeve in the runup to their release show on May 17th at The Fox Theatre. We were especially stoked to host them at this poignant moment (with members Ian Ehrheart and Matthew Sease) in our backyard. Also joining us for the evening to take photos was local creative guru Courtney Farrell. The following is a transcript of what went down:
PL: So what’s a Beeve?
IE: Well, technically, a Beeve is just, you know, a Beeve. Slang for vagina.
MS: No, that’s a beaver.
IE: Yes, and beeves is the plural of beeve, meaning one beeve.
ZD: How did you come to this name?
MS: My understanding is that we took this dictionary down to my mom’s basement...
IE: It was a bible.
MS: No, it was a dictionary. I have the dictionary. And we decided the one word we hit was going to be the name of the band, and we had to stick with it. And we did it like three times.
IE: Really? I don’t remember that.
MS: Yeah, because we got, like, “crack.”
IE: It doesn’t say crack in the bible.
MS: That’s because it wasn’t a bible. And we did it again and it was another ridiculous word. And then we hit “beeves,” which was plural for beef, and we were like, oh, that’s actually pretty cool. So we used it the next day for our volleyball team in middle school.
PL: This goes back to middle school?
MS: This was like seventh grade.
IE: This was just after our band The Purple Zebras.
MS: We were going to be The Sun Kissed Nips.
PL: I think you guys made the right call.
MS: So that’s my interpretation of when we got the name. But Ian seems to think we found it in a bible?
IE: We did! It’s in Leviticus. But that wasn’t it. When we actually came up with The Beeves we were looking into a fire quite like this, and in the fire, when we were peeing in it together to put it out, and when the smoke cleared, the red hot embers spelled out “Beeves.”
ZD: So the story here is, they refuse to give us the real story.
MS: Ian and I did go to bible camp together. And we had to stay with the priest the whole time. All of the other kids got to sleep in their own dorms, but we had to stay with the priest and talk to him and confess things.
IE: One time I confessed to touching myself unlawfully.
PL: And I hope you said it just like that.
MS: The only reason I think Ian’s story might be somewhat true is because we were in the religious ed class together.
ZD: How long have you guys been in a band together?
MS: Ian and I have been playing together since sixth grade.
IE: We’ve known each other since elementary school.
MS: I didn’t really like Ian then.
IE: We never got to be friends until sixth grade, when I learned he had a guitar, and we both played guitar. We were in a rivalry until then.
MS: I never liked Ian throughout elementary school because he was really good at sports. And all the girls liked him.
IE: I had the right hair. The swoop.
ZD: You had the Bieber swoop?
IE: It was just at the right time. But then we realized we had guitars and we hung out, and we did it every single day after school. And then we formed The Purple Zebras.
ZD: So when did the third member join?
MS: We had a couple drummers before Will [Erhart]. But he was always part of the picture.
IE: We had some guy who wanted to record us one time when we were in seventh grade and Will did the drums… this creepy guy in Erie who lived in a trailer and just sat there and chain smoked next to us the whole time.
MS: We recorded an AC/DC cover.
PL: When did you know that you wanted to do this seriously?
MS: We always knew we’d do this. We’ve stuck to the same mentality since seventh grade.
IE: We were writing lyrics together in math class.
MS: It’s all we wanted to do.
IE: The first show we did was an open mic in Louisville.
MS: We did our own punk rock version version of “Wagon Wheel.”
IE: Pete, cut that part out.
PL: I talked to your father after your last Fox show, when you guys packed the place, and he was all teared up and he told me this story about how you [Ian] got tossed out of the Fox when you were in early high school.
IE: That’s why we’re doing the release at the Fox. That was where we first saw live music and the potential of what we could do.
MS: The first concert we ever went to by ourselves was at the Fox. We took the bus to the Boulder and we just kind of knew that the Fox was on The Hill. We didn’t even know where it was.
IE: We didn’t even have a ticket because we didn’t know we had to buy tickets to shows. So we just went up to the box office and we were like, “Hi, we’re here for the show.”
MS: We went up to the front, hands on the stage, watching the show.
IE: We told ourselves, “We are going to play on this stage someday.”
MS: That’s why we used to play on Pearl Street. We thought someone from the Fox would like, willy nilly, walk by and ask us to open up at the Fox someday.
IE: We were more lucrative [busking] on Pearl Street than anywhere.
MS: One day we made like $350 and a pack of cigarettes and a condom. But let’s get back to that show Ian got kicked out of. That was at The Expendables. It got a bit rowdy and we’d never crowd surfed before. And Ian was dead set on crowd surfing. So he got up on the stage and fell backwards, and they pushed him back up on the stage.
IE: And then I ran into the bouncer.
MS: And the bouncer immediately throws him out, and I’m like this eighth grader standing there alone.
IE: And from my point of view, somebody just grabbed me and literally pushed me as hard to the curb as they could. And I was like, “What’s happening right now? Is this part of the show?”
ZD: So you definitely weren’t drinking there?
IE: We didn’t even know what alcohol was.
ZD: So this is just sober Ian being pretty extra?
MS: And then we were trying to re-stamp my hand outside on your hand…
PL: Let’s talk about the studio recordings. The first one was super lo-fi, and you pretty much did it yourselves.
IE: Oliver from Slow Caves recorded us because we didn’t know shit about microphones or recording. He just loved the songs and really wanted to help us out.
PL: I fucking love that album. But you never play those songs anymore.
MS: Well we kind of got labelled as a “ska” band and that kind of turned us off to a bit, because we never saw ourselves as that.
ZD: You don’t even have any horns.
MS: But we got labelled as a ska band! Fuck!
PL: Who is the best musician in the group? The easiest one in the studio?
IE: Matthew is the best musician and is the best at his instrument.
PL: Who do you rally around in the studio?
IE: It’s equal.
MS: It’s interesting to see when Will chimes in because his input his valuable. Because Ian and I are always butting heads and trying to come up with an answer.
IE: Will has become such a good drummer. At this point he knows probably the most about music. I’ve always been the one who doesn’t know shit but has big ideas. Matthew can usually flatten that out and make something out of it with his bass lines.
ZD: It sounds like elements of conflict are part of your process.
IE: It’s all about compromise. Which is valuable, even though it’s hard.
MS: I think you and I after all these years trust each other’s instincts.
PL: Are you guys going to be together in five years?
IE: Oh, yeah. Undeniably.
MS: With all sincerity.
ZD: That’s the right answer. They say if you know someone for seven years, you’ll know them the rest of your lives. You guys kind of have a brotherhood at this point.
IE: It is like that.
MS: Ian is the most important person in my life.
PL: So Nate Cook. Let’s hear it. He’s lifting you guys up quite a bit the past year or so.
MS: He’s just a tornado of creative destruction.
IE: He pushed us in a different direction. We were so surprised he even wanted to do this. I was the biggest fucking Yawpers fan in the whole world. When they asked us to open for their album release show, I was like, “Oh my god…”
PL: In a sentence or two, what has the experience of working with him been like?
MS: He put us on a platform and he didn’t stand for any bullshit in the studio. He just kept pushing us and pushing us until we broke.
ZD: That sounds really intense.
IE: For me, it was every single song. Anyway anything I did was fucking terrible.
MS: It was terrifying to perform for someone like that who we’d idolized like that. But he had a respect for us. We played raw like him. We weren’t musicians who were trained theoretically.
ZD: So this album must have a lot of spontaneity.
MS: It was only five days of recording, and we had ten tracks. Some of the songs weren’t completed when we went into the studio.
IE: I lied to him and told him we had enough songs to record an album. I was going upstairs from the studio in between when I had to play and writing lyrics.
MS: Part of the beauty of the album was that it wasn’t put together before we went to the studio. We had to write it in those five days.
IE: Every day we had to get a certain amount done, so we just did it.
PL: What does this release mean to you?
IE: It means moving on. Letting shit go, and getting onto the next thing. I’m so fucking over it.
ZD: What are you proud of about it?
IE: I think it’s going to be a base for us. I think these songs are good.
MS: I agree. When I look at is as a whole, I think it’s a full entity, ten full songs, and I’m proud at how much we put into that and how hard we pushed each other. We’d never been put under that kind of stress before. I think I’m a bit more proud of it than Ian in that way. I’m proud of what I did in the studio.
PL: That’s refreshing to hear. The default answer when you ask a musician is that they could have done better. But for the most part, people are proud of what they make. It’s nice to hear someone say it.
MS: I really want people to listen to the album. Sit down and listen to all ten tracks. And then actually give us the time of day. Half the time we are trying to get people to just take us seriously because we’re so fucking young. But we’ve been doing this for a long time. It shouldn’t matter anyway. If you care about what you’re doing and care about this art, and you really value the music, it doesn’t matter how old you are.
The Beeves self-titled debut record drops everywhere this Friday, May 17th. Catch them at The Fox Theatre the same night. Tickets here.
All photos, videos, and embedded tracks per the artists featured and those credited. This feature was edited for brevity and clarity by BolderBeat.