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A Day with Gurriers

Updated: 1 day ago

I meet Charlie, Daniel, and Pierce on a private-ish floor of a bar in the heart of Lille to kickstart the day with pints, as one often does. It’s a warm and sunny day, defying the stereotypical gloom of the North, a perfect backdrop to justify day drinking. 

Prior to their anticipated performance alongside promising talents such as Lambrini Girls, Hotel Lux, and DITZ, we settle in for an interview. They were selected for a coveted spot in a local venue's "Best Of" lineup, following last year's standout performance in Lille. The invitation to return under such esteemed circumstances alone hints at the electric stage presence of the Irish five-piece, setting high expectations for what I'd have the chance to witness myself at the end of the day.

The first thing that strikes you when listening to Gurriers is their undeniable sense of urgency. From the onset of "Nausea," with its heavy-hitting sirens, there's a palpable feeling of emergency and rage. Among bands that tackle social commentary, Gurriers stand out as particularly promising. Their music isn't fueled by a sense of punk nostalgia but rather by a fierce determination to combat the desensitization so prevalent today. Gurriers implore listeners to confront the modern currency of hypocrisy, often exemplified by celebrities and politicians. The theme is powerfully conveyed in their song "Approachable," where the band delved deep into alt-right Reddit forums for weeks to create a fever-inducing, Adam Curtis-esque music video compiled from online footage. When I asked what kind of advertisements the algorithms were showing them after the famous deep dive, their expressions and a couple of audible "Ugh"s made it clear that it was exactly what one would expect.

Their discourse transcends stereotypical taglines, sometimes associated with punk-oriented bands, where shock value tends to overshadow the essence of the message. Gurriers raise a middle finger to the costumed theatrics, making music with hearts in their hands. This ethos results in earnest and existentialism-infused lyrics that read like poems, where each instrument complements the others to create a collective, chaos-ridden brilliance. Within our pixelated, infographic-drenched reality, their expression emerges as a guiding light of pure authenticity, serving as a testament to the profound need for empathy.

I've sat down with the band for an interview for well over an hour, engaging in numerous side conversations that delved into all things Gurriers and beyond.

Gurriers backstage at l'Aéronef, Lille

Every band has that one other band that made them go, "I want to be on that stage too." Which band would represent that for you?

Daniel: For me it's Blur. When I was young I was obsessed with Damon Albarn and how he acted on stage jumping up and down like a lunatic. I thought “Oh, I could do something like that myself.” 

Did you take part in the Oasis vs Blur fandom wars?

Daniel: Blur. I have my side. 

Charlie: I don’t even like either of them as much but I’m team Blur too. 

Pierce: Oh, I love Oasis. They are probably my favorite band with The Stone Roses but to come back to your question the first band that made me think that was probably Green Day. It was my first introduction to being obsessed with a band. 

Charlie: When I was 14, I was really into Red Hot Chili Peppers and when I was 16, I was into Avenged Sevenfold, they are terrible. 

Is it a guilty pleasure now? 

C: VERY guilty. 

Do you ever hate listen to some bands? 

P: Limp Bizkit though Mark (the guitarist, Gurriers) loves it. Limp Bizkit and Deftones are his bread and water. 

C: I really like Deftones actually. 

D: We’ve smoked a joint with them. Me, Pierce, and Mark. 

How the hell did that happen? 

D: Mark sent them a message and they responded and we smoked it in some random person’s back garden in Dublin. 

P: I think that was the first time we met. 

So, the first time you and Daniel met you smoked weed with Deftones and that’s how you became friends?

D: Yeah. 

P: I was so fucking high and someone was showing me videos of his cat it was surreal. 

What was the first song you remember having a huge impact on you? 

C: It was the chorus in Teenage Dirtbag, I was singing it all the time. 

Did you relate to it as a little boy?

C: I was seven! But yeah I was like “Ah, one day I’ll be a teenage dirtbag.” 

D: For me, it was Smells Like Teen Spirit. It was my first time realizing that music could be shoutier. 

Did you have someone who introduced you to music? Maybe a cool relative?

D: My uncle would always play Oasis and The Stone Roses, Guns n Roses… I really liked it though I didn’t listen to those bands until I stole his i-Pod. My mom was into Robbie Williams, I really liked Mika as well. It was my first ever CD. He reminded me of Queen. 

P: Mark probably got me into music, he was always showing me stuff. He was listening to Metallica and Megadeth. He has shown me some terrible music now that I think about it and I’ve shown him equally as bad. 

C: My dad played guitar when I was little, I was around it but never played it myself. He showed me some blues and rock stuff and my mom put me on lots of really good music like the Buena Vista Social Club.

You’re friends, band mates and some of you have lived together. You don’t have much separation from each other. Does it ever get difficult? 

D: Not for me. We’re really lucky to be in a band with people who we actually get on well with as opposed to having to put up posters saying “Looking for a singer.” 

C: We’re all very involved but we’re engaged in different ways. I do session work and play with other people in my free time. 

D: I play Xbox.

P: I watch a lot of football and I’m really into football subculture. 

Is it the collective passion of the supporters that intrigues you? 

P: Yeah and the way fashion and music have an impact on football is very interesting. 

Like, Oasis. 

P: Yeah, exactly! Why are they all wearing the clothes that they are wearing, that kind of stuff really intrigues me. The whole thing of lads wearing designer clothes stems from being Liverpool fans. When Liverpool first started doing well in Europe in the 70s, these lads would follow Liverpool and buy tracksuits they couldn’t get back at home. It used to be a status symbol. 

What are your thoughts on the current state of the internet, especially in light of lines like "When the frame becomes violence. The eyes never leave their seats" from Sign of the Times?

D: I think people have become incredibly desensitized. It goes back to me still being in school. I used to have a computer class, there were four boys huddled around a computer over a horrible video of someone dying. They were laughing about it and they showed it to me. I was shocked and it made me really upset though they thought it was hilarious. There is so much behind a video you’re watching, like what’s currently happening in Palestine. We’re not seeing the after-effects and the PTSD that people get out of it. I ask “Why are we in this place now?” but we can never go back. 

P: They are not even in the niche corners of the internet anymore. 

C: If you flick through Instagram or TikTok you’ll be matched with such short videos so different from each other in such different contexts. You can see something about fashion and something about Palestine afterward. It’s all being presented to you as if they have the same level of importance. 

D: I’ve seen real-time footage of it and what happens is, the video stops and a red target pops over someone’s head and they shoot the person. It has thousands of views and likes. This is the start of it. When there is a next war it will be like a video game like Call of Duty and you’ll watch it in livestream. We’re fast approaching it. What a dark time. 

Would you consider yourself chronically online? 

C: I try to stay away from politics on social media. I’ll read the news and long-format articles but I won’t engage with it online. It throws me off when theater is involved with politics. 

P: Skeptical would be a wrong word to use but you have to be smart with what you’re consuming and what you're paying attention to. You should think for yourself but it’s difficult when things are framed in certain ways. I’ll be very skeptical of people constantly sharing infographics and not even knowing what happens in their own country. 

I love your music video for Approachable because it reminds me of Adam Curtis’ work and it’s like a doomsday video. 

D: Yeah, I love Adam Curtis. 

You also have a clip of Jeffrey Epstein in the music video. What do you think happened there? 

C: The only thing I properly saw about it was the Netflix documentary and from my limited understanding of it the whole thing looks very fishy. An interesting point that comes up is the question of “How guilty are you for willful ignorance of a situation?” Noticing that stuff is incorrect and not digging deeper to see what is happening there. 

D: I don’t know if he really killed himself. 

He absolutely didn’t. I think he was killed.

P: I think there is too much going on there for it to be a weird coincidence. I think there is a lot of willful ignorance in that situation like Charlie said. The people who went to the island were socialites, they probably said “Ah, okay.” and said nothing about it. I think it’s stupid to assume that everyone who knew him was a pedophile.

D: This is a very Irish thing to say “Everyone who knew him was a pedophile.” 

Anthony Kiedis being there was surprising to me. 

C: I’m not shocked at all. People always say that his autobiography is the best one that exists but I remember a whole section where he confesses to sleeping with a teenager. That’s fucked up. 

D: Jeffrey Epstein to Scar Tissue, that’s a good segway. 

I wouldn’t turn to every musician for social commentary; take Morrissey, for instance. It feels intuitive to turn to Gurriers though. Do you feel your political stance comes from a sense of responsibility, in addition to the inherent angst and disdain?

C: Morrisey will tell you what he thinks anyway. 

P: Whether you want to hear it or not he’s going to fucking tell you. 

D: I find it quite hard to get my point made in a conversation but I find it easy to sing about it. That is the main thing for me. Approachable was about a very small far-right group that existed in Ireland last year. The song was born out of fear because look at Germany. People thought that there wasn’t anything there at the time either. I wouldn’t be able to approach these people so Approachable was about them. 

P: I don’t know about responsibility but there is a lot of authenticity to it. I don’t know how often people form opinions based on the lyrics of a song but to be a band operating under “punk” and not talking about these things is not being authentic. 

In "Approachable", you sing “I was born in the wrong era.” Which era would be more suitable for you? 

D: I’d love to be born in the 50s to be able to experience the music that came out in the 60s. 

C: I think I’d love to be in New York, at any point to be honest. Pre-social media though. I remember watching an interview with Marcus Miller who is a brilliant bass player. He was talking about how the lifestyle they were leading was all about spending time doing studio recordings and doing residencies for years. 

I saw that Anthony Fantano commented under one of your videos saying “Nice.”  How did that feel? 

P: I freaked out. I was doing my shopping in the supermarket and Meghan texted me. My first thought was “Why did you photoshop this?” 

C: Anybody who is genuinely into music wants to know what he thinks so that was really cool. It doesn't feel like he is pushing anything, he’s just talking about his genuine opinion. 

What would you want people to leave your show feeling? 

D: I just want them to want to come back again. 

What's the biggest difference you see between the Irish music scene and others around the world?

C: The Irish music scene is very small, it’s very condensed. The biggest difference is that everyone in Ireland prepares for export in a way. 

P: When it comes to music, Irish people are very slow adaptors. You have to build yourself outside of Ireland even before they start caring about you

What are you particularly excited about in the coming months?


P: Yes, we’re going to Texas.

C: Yeehaw.

D: We’ll go shoot guns. -laughs- No, no, I’d never do that.

We met once again before the concert at the venue’s backstage to take some photos. After a quick photoshoot session, we went around the scene to watch Hotel Lux, who were playing before Gurriers. “We finally adopted him!” Mark said, squeezing Charlie’s shoulder, which I assumed was an encouraging squeeze of some sort, as it was going to be Charlie’s first show after becoming the official bass player for the band, the first show in two months for the others.

I returned to the crowd to find a good viewing spot, feeling the palpable energy in the air. As I remembered what I was wearing—a leather jacket with the quote, "Don’t go gentle into that good night, rage against the dying of the light," at the back—I couldn't help but feel its spontaneous relevance. Gurriers were indeed raging, anything but gentle.

I overheard one of them backstage saying, "I have to stretch a bit," not fully understanding its necessity until I witnessed Daniel rolling onto the scene and the others undergoing a complete transformation. It's always funny to see how people you'd consider "tame" expand on stage, occupying every inch of space with raw energy.

The crowd was electric, hurling empty beer cups into the air, crowd surfing and moshing, completely losing themselves as Gurriers took the stage. "Hey, this goes REALLY hard!" said one of my friends. "Yeah, I know!" I replied, realizing how profoundly flattering it must be for a band. People, some hearing your music for the first time, others already familiar, reciprocate your energy with open hearts, immersing themselves in your message. Whether in the company of friends or standing alone, they share a moment of listening to what you have to say intently and forging a connection. For a band that champions togetherness and empathy, witnessing that emotional exchange was incredibly touching, to say the least.

Gurriers, playing at l'Aéronef in Lille on 17/02/24.


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