The lads of Wrestlerish consider themselves geeks, but in fact they are the coolest soft-rock band South Africa has even seen. The Beat had a chat with Werner Olckers of the band to give us the A - Z on their new CD, Towns, and share some other interesting titbits.
If one looks at your Facebook page, one can see that you guys were a huge hit at this year's Oppikoppi Unknown Brother Music Festival. Why do you think this year was so much better than last year? Koppi has always been about growing the festival. I think this year was a big success because it wasn't just your average music festival crowd. There seemed to be a bit of everything from hippies to electro jocks. Everyone just wanted to party.
What is the one thing that sets Wrestlerish apart from other acoustic soft-rock bands? Probably that we're not an acoustic soft rock band. I think we're just a rock band. Some songs tend to be acoustically influenced, some have more of a heavier electronic setting. The success of Oliver Tambourine probably created that misconception.
Your debut CD, The Rude Mechanical, was amazing. What can fans expect from your new CD, Towns? This album is just a little bigger and has a more mature take on songwriting. We tried to incorporate different kinds of instruments and genres of music but still have them work in the context of our style and composition.
When is the new CD coming out? The official release date is 12 September so it should be on the shelves by the end of September or so.
We just LOVE the new single, Bodies of Water. It's very up-beat but still have that distinctive Wrestlerish sound to it. What is the song about and how do you guys feel about the good response it has been getting? We're very grateful for the support we get. People that like the band tend to always make a point of letting us know when they like something we've done and even more so when we've done something they don't. It helps us grow and always makes us aware that people actually really seem care about the music they listen to.
What other surprises can fans expect on the CD? The instrumentation is just a little bigger than the first album. There's even a little saxophone, mandolin and lap steel guitar.
What was the biggest obstacles you guys had to overcome to record the new CD? I think the same as most bands. Deciding when to let go and release it. If it were up to the musicians, we'd probably keep adding and mixing albums for a very long time.
Any specific reason for the title of the CD? The concept of being on tour and being in a different town every few days was a big theme. That's how the title came about.
People tend to think that being in a band you live in the lap of luxury - you have a limo waiting to drive you around, eat in the best restaurants and sleep in the posh hotels. How far removed is that statement from the truth? Pretty far from the truth. Replace that with backpackers and stinky tour vans and you'd be closer to it.
What has been the worst experience you guys had on the road? Flat tyres happen occasionally. I think the stop and goes are probably the worst things you have to deal with when driving somewhere.
Is Wrestlerish a full time project or do you guys still hold down normal jobs? If so, what jobs do you guys do? We're all involved with music full time. Jacques and Dave have their own studios, Gavin is a music teacher and Werner is involved in numerous behind the scenes projects.
How do you balance working, playing in a band and spending time with family/wives/girlfriends? We've become pretty good at balancing our schedule, it's just a matter of always planning ahead.
What is the success behind Wrestlerish? Good songs, great fans, touring and admin.
When did the band officially started and how long did it take you guys to get notices and release your first CD? We started in October 2008, signed our first record deal in August 2009 and our first album was released in March 2010.
You guys did a very interesting video for your song Sleep in December. Please tell us about the video and how long did it take to create it? It was a concept developed by Etiket in Pretoria. We wanted to get the fans involved in making a video and decided to join forces with them. The video took about three weeks to complete.
What is the one thing that people don't know about Wrestlerish? We're all geeks. Jacques and Dave are Star Craft nerds. Werner is a comic book geek and Gavin a club geek.
You guys have been called "South Africa's answer to the Counting Crows." How do you feel about that comparison? They are an amazing band and we're very flattered to even be considered in the same league. I think maybe in a decade we'll be closer to being able to back that up.
Who is the one band in the world that you guys would like to open for? We'd love to open for Manchester Orchestra or Jack's Mannequin.
Tell us a bit about the Towns CD cover design - very unique indeed. We wanted to get the fans involved with process of putting an album out and decided that we'd ask them to send us pictures of their favourite thing about their town. We picked our 5 favourite pictures and these were illustrated in a cohesive style by Chris Valentine.