by Austin Finn
Chairea are a band that carries their weight in such an important way to the Montana scene. You sort of expect there to be young, smart, ambitious bands to come out of Missoula, because of the rich arts/college scene, and you expect a few similar bands to come out of Billings, just due to the population factor of Billings.
But Bozeman is in a weird middle ground. Yes, there’s a college there, but it doesn’t really have the same kind of arty weirdo scene that Missoula has. Yes, it’s a well-established city, but it doesn’t really have the same sort of critical-mass population stability that Billings has. So being a member of the Bozeman punk/diy scene creates a unique set of challenges.
Chairea are a band that breaks through those challenges. They tour, they book, they shred. They protect but they also attack. They fight the good fight, playing music that isn’t extremely marketable in the “Our bluegrass band will play two hour-and-a-half long sets to a bunch of drunk rednecks and get paid $500.00 for it” kind of way, but it’s certainly not inaccessible by any means. It’s melodic as all hell, and also weird, but not in a weird for the sake of being weird way. What more could you ask?
Anyway, they answered some questions from us, enjoy:
Hey guys! First question- are you guys all originally from Bozeman? That seems like such a weird place to grow up, with the California/Cowboy/College Kid schism, seems like it would be difficult to find your place somewhere in between?
Nope! All of us except Austin went to high school together in Boulder, MT and then came here to Bozeman for MSU. Connor’s from outside Helena; Eric’s from Boulder; Austin moved here from Iowa, and Michael is a military brat, here via North Carolina, Florida, New Mexico, Virginia, and then finally (for now) MT. I definitely felt that difficulty finding a place to identify though, growing up in very small-town Montana. My family had horses and goats, but we weren’t at all a cowboy--or even a ranch--family.
I'm bad with genres of the post-hardcore/indie/skramz world. Where would you say you guys fit in there?
Man, I’m so bad with genre terms in general. We’re vaguely math-rock, vaguely emo?
I love your guys’ videos! Do you do them yourselves or do you have friends that help out? I know MSU has a great film school, any connection to any film students?
Wow, thank you so much for saying so!! So far we’ve done our videos ourselves, Eric was a film major, so he and I made that wrestling video together in our apartment one afternoon.
And holy shit! I LOVE Manchester Orchestra, I just saw you did a cover set for Halloween. So sick! Can you guys please play “I Can Barely Breath” at Dreyfest?
Oh hell yeah we will!
The Haufbrau was the first place I ever got a drink at a bar, I think I was like 16? Is it still as shitty as I remember it? Do they still do shows there?
I have a deep love and appreciation for the Hauf as the place that we started doing shows and becoming an actual band, but my guess is that it is still the exact same quality as when you were there. That’s maybe not totally fair, they just got a new PA not too long ago, and now you can take a twosie in the men’s restroom so that’s tight! Also they have live music there 7 nights a week, every week, so shoutout to the Hauf.
Panther Car are good friends of mine (as well as Dreyfest alumns!), do you run into them around town? Any fun stories that stick out to you?
Yeah we see them around a bunch! They’re the first band we ever saw when we moved to Bozeman in 2012, and Michael and my old band played one show in Helena with Connor from Panther Car’s old band! He, and they, are very inspirational to me. I don’t know if I have any particularly good stories about them, but I can tell you with certainty that NONE of them EVER gave me mushrooms at a fest outside Livingston.
Speaking of which, I asked Panther car this last year, ver batim, and I feel like I should just ask you guys as well- Dreyfest organizer and MSU alumn Nels Jensen is obsessed with La Parilla. I went with him twice and both times he got the fettuccine alfredo burrito. Can you please talk some sense into him?
Gosh, I’ve only been to La Parilla once and I regret not getting the alfredo burrito because that sounds SO fucked up and bizarre. I don’t know if I stand behind it conceptually, but I am definitely intrigued by it. From what I understand, though, La Parilla has been usurped for Nels by Taco Montes, so that problem may have worked itself out for you.
Favorite place to play outside Bozeman?
I’m not just saying this, we’ve had multiple conversations about how our set at Dreyfest last year might have been our favorite set we’ve ever played. We also love really playing at Interzone in Corvallis, OR and Wally’s in Wenatchee, WA.
Favorite Bozeman bands?
Panther Car for sure! Zenitram (among the most unique, truest, and best that we have), Tiny Iota (Connor from Panther Car writes great songs), Sunlight Ammunition (best/sweetest ska band in MT), Anaconda Vise (Eric’s pro-wrestling themed punk band. I’m in it, but he wrote all the songs, so I’m comfortable saying it fucking rips).
Go-to Taco Bell sauce? I totally understand if it depends on the actual Taco Bell item ordered, feel free to explain item by item.
We tend to just get regular hot sauce, I think just because it’s easier to ask for being the standard and we’re all pretty meek dudes? Eric gets mild because, in his own terms, “I’m a weenie.” I miss volcano sauce though. Is Diablo sauce still a thing? Might make that my go-to if so.
Connor, your last name is “Lachenbruch”. Has anyone every called you “Lachen-Bruh”? If not (or, if so), should they? My vote is yes.
I think I’ve gotten one or two “Lachen-Bruhs” before, yeah. I welcome any plays on my name! I’ve heard bunches of them and people find it really difficult to pronounce anyway. Actually, don’t use Lunch-and-brunch, just because that’s the most frequent one and we can all do better.
Another question I like to ask everybody- you each won a weeklong all-expense paid vacation but you have to choose between two destinations- Romania or Uganda. Which one do you choose, and why?
Connor: Uganda, because Transylvania is in Romania and I’m not a chump.
Eric: Romania because I don’t think it’d be as hot there.
The Promise Ring or Cap’n Jazz?
Eric: Promise Ring because Nothing Feels Good is a perfect record/song, and imo the Kinsellas went on to do better stuff after Cap’n Jazz
Connor: I have more of a personal attachment to the Promise Ring, but I think Cap’n Jazz are a lot gnarlier musically.
Bowie or Prince?
Eric: Bowie, because I was raised on him
Connor: Prince, because to me he seems like a more natural, effortless unicorn of a person than Bowie. But im equally unfamiliar with both their music.
Thanks guys! And to the readers, be sure to catch Chairea at this year’s Dreyfest!