Before he became one of the music industry’s most-coveted producers, Butch Walker was a musician. As a glam rocker, a solo artist, the frontman for Marvelous 3 or playing with his band The Black Widows, Walker has accumulated a deep catalog of material that continues to inspire worldwide adoration. In the past two years, he has sold out a solo headlining tour of the United States and opened for Pink in a sold out tour of the stadiums of Europe. Taylor Swift heard Butch’s cover of her song “You Belong With Me” and was so excited by his re-tooling that she invited him to perform the song with her at the Grammy Awards ceremony (to see Walker’s creative process at work, check out this video and watch it blow up just before the three minute mark).

Derk Richardson of the San Francisco Chronicle has described the band’s sound as “the heavy sadness of Townes Van Zandt, the light pop concision of Buddy Holly, the tuneful jangle of the Beatles, [and] the raw energy of the Ramones.” Hailing from Concord, North Carolina, the Avett Brothers have burst onto the music scene with the release of their acclaimed 2009 album, I and Love and You, and there’s no looking back.

I had the fortunate opportunity to speak with Seth Avett of the band to discuss—among other things—this very album, their recent rise in popularity, and whether or not beard envy was involved when working with the man himself: Rick Rubin. Enjoy.