Eagle Trace has a tightly woven alternative rock sound. Perhaps that’s because Eagle Trace is a band of brothers- literally. One could say that the Borgardt brothers have been raised on rock ‘n roll. Since 2012, brothers Max (guitar), Cass (drums), Jackson (bass) and Mitch (vocals) Borgardt have been playing as Eagle Trace, along with guitarist Phil Bregant.
With a double guitar attack and a knack for accessible indie-alternative rock with a flare of gusto, Eagle Trace is clearly a young band on the rise. Rock the Green had a chance to catch up with bassist Jackson Borgardt recently as he was driving up north the the gorgeous lakes near Superior, Wisconsin, to talk about music and ways Eagle Trace rocks the green.
Rock the Green: What have been some of your musical influences as a band, and how have those influences helped mold your sound?
Borgardt: We’re brothers and grew up with a lot of the same opinions on music. Our favorite bands when we first started out were Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, and Arctic Monkeys. As we’ve grown up our tastes have evolved and we’ve grown to appreciate different music. Cass, our drummer is a huge Chris Stapleton fan and is more into bluesy Americana tunes these days. Max, who plays guitar, loves Queens of the Stone Age and bands with a bit of a harder feel like that. Mitch, our vocalist, probably has the most pop sensibility of all of us, and Phil, our other guitarist is a huge classic rock guy. He just loves the Eagles.
Broadening what we all listen to has helped our sound take on greater depth and complexity. We all have core influences, but we’ve all branched out and these newer influences have helped come through in a cool way as it’s helped broaden our sound as a whole.
Rock the Green: What have been some of your favorite gigs thus far?
Borgardt: We played the Emerging Artist Series at Summerfest this year and won the day we played. That was a total blast and tons of fun with all the good folks there. In addition, we just got back from playing the famous club, First Avenue, in Minneapolis. Recently we had a chance to play the Majestic Theater in Madison which was a highlight too as we got to open for The Record Company (fronted by native Wisconsin resident Chris Vos). We’ve also had great times headlining the House of Blues and Metro in Chicago.
Rock the Green: How are you approaching your gig at the Rock the Green festival: Borgardt: We are so excited to play the pedal power stage. We were patrons of the first Rock the Green Festival in 2008, and remember seeing bands on that stage and I thought it was awesome. I am really excited to be powered by 20-30 bikers and just rock out. I hope they don’t get tired while we’re playing (laughs).
Outside festivals are some of our favorite events to play. With great weather, you can’t go wrong. The crowds are always awesome and playing outside is so much more inclusive than playing in a club or theater. Playing outside in Wisconsin in the summer is a gift. With Rock the Green in mid September, this is like a big last hurrah for the summer for us.
Rock the Green: As you know, the focus of Rock the Green is sustainability. Why is sustainability important to you as a person and artist?
Borgardt: My brother and I are starting a brewery. Everything we’re trying to do for that is to focus on staying as local as possible and minimizing waste at all costs. I think it’s really important to explore these green avenues for sustainability. We want the planet to be around long enough and we need to take care of it.
Rock the Green: Are there any particular things that you do when you are touring to “rock the green?” If so, could you please share some.
Borgardt: Recycling is key. We always recycle wherever we go. We try to conserve as much gas as possible too by, taking the least amount of vehicles. When we’re in hotel rooms we try to conserve towels and water whenever is possible. These are little things, but they all add up to making a bigger difference.
Eagle Trace starts the day at Rock the Green at 1pm. You want to get there early to hear their great sound and see them kick off the day proper on the Pedal Power Stage!