A new act born out of plenty fo experience, Rrestlers come from the same north Dublin stable that’s pumping out acts like Girl Band and Fontaines D.C, but sit in a very different sonic world.
Intent on a kind of escapist, swirling approach to music that aims to put the listener in a trance, they draw on a wealth of experience and the energy that came from a temporary role subbing in another band.
Their debut track ‘Spore’ could hardly be more timely, given it deals in isolation, abandonment and a lack of contact. It’s also a seven-plus minute epic. Here’s what they had to say about it all when I caught up with Paddy Groenland, vocalist with both Rrestlers and his other act, Paj.
Tell me the story behind the new act – is it intended to go far outside of your collective previous experience?
Sure. Paddy here, vox & bass. I play with Ryan Hargadon in Rob de Boer’s band and it started there. Last year I asked Robbie Barrett and Ryan Hargadon to do a festival gig with my group (Paj). They were depping on that gig but the vibe between us was so good that I forced us to start a new band.
There’s a mad connection there where we can just start making noise and turn it into something that sounds like a song. RRestlers is a source of pure live energy and a release for all of us so I think it has crazy potential.
What are you bringing from your various other roles into RRestlers?
Robbie has the most astonishing control of the drums, Ryan is patient and brilliant accompanist and I’m able to connect the two of them. There’s a lot of wisdom there because we’ve been around the block with loads of different bands. Because we’ve all played a lot we’re patient and let a vibe develop – it reminds me a bit of Sigur Ros the way the songs can put you in a trance, that’s the unspoken aim.
Spore could hardly be more appropriate. Presumably it was written prior to the pandemic. What was it intended to refer to?
It was intended to portray the feeling of an isolated singular being, believe it or not. I read the Kurdish phrase ‘I’ve no friend but the mountain’ about being abandoned by the world and it struck me as so melancholic and profoundly sad. The opening line is ‘invisible people, touch me not’ and that sets the tone.
The music came from our first jam together and I remember we were all vibing off of the epicness of it.
Break and gospel is a pretty unusual combination. How did that come together?
We’re fans of all rhythmic music and we connect so easily through rhythm, and breakbeat drumming was still on the radio a bit when we were younger.
Robbie on drums loves Burial & Aphex Twin, we all love Gospel music and hip-hop so there’s a lot of spices to choose from. We’re all mad geeky about music really so it all feels connected.
Are there other singles releases on the horizon?
Quarantine, unfortunately, scuppered all the plans for now!
Yellow Door seems to be something of a hub for Irish music at the moment. What’s it like to be around?
It’s really fun, we get to hang out with cool musicians so we all feel less weird and alone and get inspired by each other. There’s a kind of heavy industrial aesthetic there that has made it into the RRestlers sound – set by Girl Band because they’ve been there the longest! I (Paddy) used to share a band with Meltybrains? beside GB many years back so that place is all good memories.
Did Ian Faulkner’s work on the track come about from the practice set up?
Ian is in the room next door in Yellow Door! Also, he works with Ryan on the Glasshouse gigs. He’s a gent and he likes our tunes so it was a natural fit. Also, he’s got these amazing old soviet vintage mics and knows how to use them.
What kind of live set up can you imagine Rrestlers having?
Our live setup is all live for now, just as in the video. We’re all real. So that means the music can change very dynamically. It’s a blast. We plan to add visuals soon and more gadgets at some point.
Are you taking the chance to put any music together during the outbreak, or do you need to be physically in the same room?
It’s probably not worth the risk to be honest, we’ve been sending bits of ideas around but we’re a live band and the magic happens when we’re there together.
Who’s exciting you on the Irish music scene at the moment?
Alex Gough, WOB, Anna Mieke, Uly, Rachael Lavelle and Rob deBoer.
What are your hopes for the future?
We’re hoping that after the pandemic people will realise how much they missed live sound vibrations and come to our rescheduled gigs. We also miss playing so much. So we’ll be playing regardless. Cheers!