Inspired by the unlikely combination of soulful American R&B star D’Angelo and their home turf of Ballymun, North Dublin, Bricknasty – who jokingly brand themselves the ‘Sugar Club house band’ after a popular residency – are a local act on the rise.

Fronted by an anonymous guitarist and vocalist who goes only by Fatboy (at least in public), the act have quickly gathered some strong connections, opening and gaining tips from one of Ireland’s most successful exports in their niche, Maverick Sabre. When we caught up with Fatboy, he had ambitions that involved going far, far further.

The music Bricknasty produce is, already, impressively discordant: not so much a themed output, as a spattering of feelings expressed in different ways and to different soundtracks, though we’re reassured that a more cohesive project is around the corner.

“I’m really ADHD bro,” Fatboy laughs. “I need different ways to challenge myself, so my music’s all different. It took a good few years to build up the song. I’m in a bit of a dry spell at the moment, but we want to try different genres, different styles.”

“I’m trying, pushing hard for a Ballymun thing, but a lot of the rappers, all over really, they either have UK syndrome or US syndrome. I don’t feel like Ireland has put its stamp on things properly just yet. I used to get called any slur you can think of walking down the road with a guitar, but I stuck with it. I’d love for Ballymun to be the next place where all them kind of sounds come from in Dublin. There’s loads of great jazz players in Cork. I’d love for that to happen to Ballymun next, not just for rap. You need all sounds mixed together.” 

The ambitions stretch large, projects intended to push his area and his sound onto a wider scale, and while it can sound fanciful, it also sounds convincing, like a sweeping, all encompassing goal that Fatboy genuinely feels he can push towards.

“I wanna be D’Angelo when I grow up,” he says. “He has the cleanest sound ever, but it doesn’t sacrifice. It’s not polished, it’s clean, which is a different thing. It cuts through everything, it’s impossible not to feel it in your head.” 

“I’d like for Ballymun to have their own D’Angelo. I’m not nearly talented enough to do it on my own, but we have all the best people in any part of the country in my opinion, linked arm to arm, all the way up from the south to the north of the country, and we’re all trying to give each other a leg up, and make it happen.”

“Music is a good way of coming together,” he continues, “though at the level where you make money, it’s all bought and sold. Our long term plan is to try and push people to see their best selves, to figure out how to sort this kind of kip of a place out.”

That Maverick Sabre connection comes about because of deep Ballymun roots, but also because Fatboy took a chance, texting the main-stage star to ask if he could play the support slot at his shows.

“I think he was letting me open because he had done loads of work in Ballymun while I was growing up, while the flats were still standing,” Fatboy says. “It was a real natural thing, we got talking about Ballymun and music. We’re into the same sounds. Once he saw the band, we were good to go. He took an interest, and he’s decided… what Plan B did with Maverick Sabre, he’s doing for us. He’s shown us around London, booked shows, all that.”

All being well, stardom – and an Irish hip-hop scene that Fatboy can feel truly represents our homeland – could be just around the corner.


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