An Exclusive Interview With Scott Hachey: Guitarist of The Magic Beans
Scott Hachey and The Magic Beans have solidified themselves in the Colorado music scene. For the past five years, they've toured throughout the entire state multiple times. From Boulder to Aspen and everywhere in between, the band has made a lasting impression on music lovers. Now, they're touring across the country with their brand of jam driven space-funk. In this interview he talks about the past, present, and future of the band along with what's on the horizon for 2016. Remember the name, you'll definitely be hearing it in the future.
ZF: Ok, let's get this interview started. How are you doing today, Scott?
SH: Righteous. It's actually my birthday today, so excuse me if I've already had two bloody's.
ZF: Haha happy birthday man! Have two more!
SH: Maybe, I will!
ZF: So when and where were The Magic Beans started?
SH: Well, the Beans had different stages leading to the band. It all started in Boulder, CO. I was a freshman at CU and got kicked out of the dorms for nefarious activities. Long story short, you weren't able to live outside the dorm as a freshman at CU unless this happened. So I was the only freshman with a house on the hill. I brought together lots of musicians for jams and parties. Eventually the crew kinda widdled itself down to the same lineup and by this time we had moved up to Four Mile Canyon and lived in a house together. We had some pretty crazy parties up in the canyon, where we would perform. eventually we got some recognition and encouragement to turn it into an actual band, so we did. 2010 was the first year of us actually being a band.
ZF: Hunter and Josh were in the original 5?
ZF: So when the five of you decided to start taking it seriously, was there a general consensus on the sound you were going for? Or did the music take its own shape?
SH: That's a good question. we had an extremely natural development. we never sat down and said we were going to do this or that, and dress like this or that. The music we were playing for fun was in 2 forms. We'd jam electric all night and improv in the realm of disco/funk/psychedelia. Then during the day we'd be playing acoustic, writing songs and picking bluegrass. We basically just decided to combine those two things into one thing. We'd play our songs and then experiment in the improv sections.
ZF: As your sound started to develop, what bands would you say influenced you the most?
SH: Well, we were all definitely into the jamband scene at that point and still are. So all that was/is a huge inspiration for us. We were also getting into a lot a funk music; contemporary and classic. Colorado has a pretty sweet music scene so lots of our influence were our buds in other bands too.
ZF: For sure. A lot has changed in the world of The Magic Beans in the past year. How has the band's dynamic changed?
SH: I've noticed that the focus has increased some. Jams have been going much deeper. We're also settling into a new sound. With us, the sound is always developing into something fresher than before.
ZF: What can we expect from you and the Beans in 2016?
SH: In 2016 we're going to be heading out on an extensive tour partnering up with some amazing bands that we've become friends with throughout our journey; Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Kitchen Dwellers, etc. I personally am working hard on this year's Beanstalk Festival with my business partner, Ryan Noel. Last year sold out and was too much fun, I'm trying to top it this year but its gonna be hard haha. We'll be releasing a lot of new music coming up here too. One release is going to be extremely special, interactive, and original. The way we're going to do it is interesting and should be fun for the fans too. Expect 2 singles, and 2 albums by summer.
ZF: I know Ryan Noel is a part of the Disco Biscuits team, It's awesome that he's such a vital part of The Magic Beans and Beanstalk as well. Can you give the fans any hints on the lineup this year? I remember last year's was especially epic.
SH: Haha I cannot at this point unfortunately. soon though. there will be some familiar faces returning. The usual suspects if you will. we'll have our super group tradition continue this year and hopefully lots of fresh acts too.
ZF: I don't think anyone will have objections with that. Will the upcoming albums follow up the previous ones with the same format, or will you be taking a fresh direction since Hunter and Josh are no longer part of the creative process?
SH: I think the new albums will try to capture where the sound is currently at. It's been 2 years since our last release now and like I said, the sound develops so much over 1 tour that at this point it's much different than where it was 2 years ago. We've definitely fallen into a more funk driven style and the songs are starting to mature a bit. We're also going to try and incorporate the new members styles into myself and Casey's established songwriting style. I'm honestly pumped. Part of growing older is seeing the big picture more and more. I think I know what i want out these albums more than I did when i was younger. They're going to be good.
ZF: Yes, they are. I know your new bassist is originally from New York, friends have told me that he's a killer bass player. As a guitarist, who are some of your personal influences and musical inspirations?
SH: Oh man, i could go on for days on this haha. As a "jam" guitarist if you will. I think it's really important to understand all the big players approaches in that scene: Trey Anastasio, Jerry Garcia, Chuck Garvey, Jon "Barber" Gutwillig, Jake Cinninger. Jamming is such a different mindset than playing within the form of a song. Everyone has their own way of approaching the situation. I grew up on classic rock, so I'm big into Jimi and Jimmy. Recently, been listening to a lot of Grant Green, Wes Montgomery, Larry Carlton, Eddie Roberts; jazz funk stuff. also lots of Bluegrass and Americana. I love the stuff. It's the dead head in me. I just love twangy picking and those classic blues licks. It's the shit. Some of my biggest inspirations are horn players though. Miles Davis and Clifford Brown being two big ones.
ZF: Right on. My father is a huge jazz-fusion/jazz-rock guy so I grew up listening to Steely Dan, Weather Report, Jeff Beck, Pat Metheny. He's a huge Larry Carlton fan as he's done some killer work in the studio with Steely Dan. Have you watched the Muscle Shoals documentary?
SH: Oh yeah! That's a great one. Just re-watched it recently actually. Jeff Beck though! I can't believe I forgot him. He's the truth. I forgot to say that David Gilmour is the greatest guitarist of all time though; perfect tone, phrasing, songwriting - the whole package for me.
ZF: He's incredibly well-rounded.
SH: Yeah I think there's so much criteria to take into account when evaluating a musician. It's not all just who has the best chops. It's about the way you make the instrument sing. Your originality, impact on the scene, etc.
ZF: I have to say that the dynamic that you and Casey have is seriously special. Can you tell us about what it's been like to have a musical partner that's as good as him?
SH: Yeah, I mean it's hard to explain but I think coming from the same area and having a similar up bringing as each other provided Casey and myself with similar foundations of how to approach the music. I noticed very early on that he was able to understand what direction I was looking to take the jam and help me get there and for it to sound like a cohesive idea. I try to do the same thing for him as well. It's a great dynamic because we can sort of switch off leading the jams and that way no one gets pegged into the lead or rhythm and the jams never have a lack of ideas to go on. It's cool cause as we both develop our different styles, the listener gets two different feels to groove on. It's not just, lets listen to the same guy solo every jam. You never what side it's going to come from and the best improv sections are when there is no defined lead but a collective peak that is reached. Those are the moments we strive for live.
ZF: Exactly. A similar dynamic to Barber and Magner or Paige and Trey.
SH: No doubt about it.
ZF: Last question, where do you see The Magic Beans in 2 years?
SH: Wow. You know I hate predicting the future, for me it always seems best to just work super hard and see where that leads. We're going to be busting ass to make the music as good as possible. We're looking nationally and have been touring a bunch to spread the word. We just want to keep making the music we love and hope to share it with bigger and bigger crowds. As a CO band we're always pushing for that Red Rocks stage and its within our grasps, so we'll be keeping that in our sites. But beyond that, just trying to spread the gospel of improvisational music and live instruments across this great country.
ZF: Perfect answer.
SH: Thanks so much brother. you rock! can't wait to get back up to the NE and catch up with ya!
ZF: Most definitely man. I will be out in CO in June for the Biscuits run! Hope to catch a Beans show this summer as well.
SH: Yeah, Beanstalk is the week after if you wanna stick around, you're welcome as my guest brotha.
ZF: Sounds good man. Bisco Inferno > Beanstalk is right up my alley. Great interview! See ya in June!