Five Minutes with Green Buzzard
Get to know 90s-inspired buzz band Green Buzzard with the release of their debut EP.
Photo credit: Maclay Heriot
Last Friday Green Buzzard, one of I OH YOU's newest signings, released their debut EP Eazy Queezy Squeezy which as it seems when you say it out loud, is based off the childhood saying of Easy Peasy, Lemon Squeezy. So we spoke with the lead singer of Green Buzzard Paddy Harrowsmith covering Tobias Jesso Jr., writing comic books and signing to I OH YOU. Catch 'em live at NSC in Sydney for the last show of their EP tour.
Hi Paddy. I remember the first song that really grabbed my attention was your cover of Tobias Jesso Jr.'s Hollywood. Why did you cover it? Are you a big fan of Tobias Jesso Jr.?
I do really like Tobias Jesso Jr. I first heard him when he uploaded those two tracks up to YouTube and couldn’t believe it was a guy in LA nowadays. It sounded so 70’s. I loved the way those rough recordings sounded. I was a little disappointed with how the album sounded, a little too polished I thought. But the songs are amazing and I thought ‘Hollywood’ was a real standout track. We basically just tried recording it one day and it came out pretty well so we thought we’d chuck it up online. Apparently Tobias himself was into it, which is pretty cool.
I've also read the songs we're hearing now and will hear in the EP were written two years ago at a farm in Oberon. Why did you move there? And why did you start recording songs?
My parents have had a farm there since I was young. I was living out there looking after the house whilst my mum wasn’t living there and started working at my brothers bar in Bathurst. I moved up there and started writing my own music for the first time. I basically started recording the songs because I was curious to see how they sounded, that’s about it really.
You had also been in bands beforehand, did this experience inform how you wanted Green Buzzard to be?
Before I started writing Green Buzzard songs in Oberon, a band I had been playing with for years had broken up and I was feeling a little disillusioned with playing guitar for other people’s songs and being in a band in general. With Green Buzzard, I always had a clear idea of how I wanted it to sound and look. I guess that’s the main thing I learned, not to rush things and just take my time focusing on the songs and sound before I put anything out.
How did I OH YOU become involved?
I had some Green Buzzard demos on a Soundcloud link for about a year prior to getting signed by I Oh You. Mainly just to show friends. At one point I sent them to Johann from I Oh You and he really liked them and wanted to put out a single as a 7”. At that point it was only myself James (drummer) and Huw (bass) who were in the band.
Originally I heard you were planning to have Green Buzzard as a hero, Phantasy Girl as a sidekick but with the release of 'Phantasy Girl' you decided that wasn't the way to go. What happened? Is there an attempt to create another narrative through your music now?
Yeah I had the idea to make a whole comic book story for Green Buzzard even before I had written a song. The first song I ever wrote for Green Buzzard was ‘Phantasy Girl’. It’s essentially about Green Buzzard trying to save Phantasy Girl after she had been captured. Green Buzzard was meant to be a band that played on the planet the Green Buzzard story took place on. I still think its a cool idea but I guess I never continued with the concept because I never really had a plan to release it with an EP or an album or whatever. Funnily enough, I actually am starting to write songs again with an idea and concept behind them. I think it’s an interesting idea and I find it easier to write songs when you have an initial story or theme to work towards, even if that story is completely made up.
What is it like working with songs that you wrote over two years ago?
The songs that I’m writing now are definitely quite different to the songs that appear on our EP. I guess the song I most recently write is always the one I’m most excited about. However, I always loved those songs and listening to the EP reminds me of my time living in Oberon. It’s a relief to finally have them out however, I’m glad I persevered with them.
Furthermore, the band name comes from Les Claypool's Flying Frog Brigade song 'Buzzards Of Greenhill', can you expand on how this came about?
Les Claypool is a bit of a guilty pleasure of mine. I think he’s just such a strange, cool guy. I got the idea for the name originally from that song, but that’s really about it. The film clip for ‘Buzzards of Green Hill’ is really great too actually.
You also have your debut EP 'Easy Queezy Squeezy' coming out, which sounds like it riffs off the saying 'easy peasy, lemon squeezy', what's the reason for the name behind it?
Yeah that’s pretty much where the idea came from. I like lyrics that take a normal saying and slightly skew them. It kinda sounded like a strange nursery rhyme to me.
I'm also a big fan of the EP artwork, is there a meaning behind it?
To be honest there’s really no meaning at all. It was done by air brush artist Alan Ewart who is a friend of mine. I have always loved those old spitfire planes. I was round at his house one day and saw that artwork in his studio and I asked him if we could use it for an EP cover. Thankfully he allowed us to use it.
Are you currently writing new songs as well? What is the process for them? Is it different from two years ago?
We’re always writing and recording new songs. When I wrote the songs for our EP it was just myself. Now with the inclusion of the other guys in the band we have more songwriters which is a great thing. I guess that’s the main difference now with Green Buzzard, there’s more than one songwriter in the band. We’re aiming to record a new EP in a few weeks which I’m really excited about. I feel like it will be the first introduction to the new Green Buzzard.
You're also heading out on tour across the east coast, what are you looking forwards to the most?
Apart from it being the first time we play our own headline shows, I’m looking forward to seeing how the songs from the EP are received now that people know more than one or two songs. That will be a good feeling.