Bristler is an indie/alternative band from New Jersey. Its members are Rudy Meier (Guitar, Vocals), Dana Yurcisin (Bass, Harmonies), and Biff Swenson (Drums, Harmonies). The trio began working together as bandmates in Yawn Mower. 

How did the band form and what does the band name mean?

 Bristler is a new project that more or less formed from the ashes of my previous band, Wetbrain. When Wetbrain broke up, I decided to try playing in other bands so as to avoid going stagnant and keep things fresh while I (Rudy - Guitar, Vocals) decided what my next move was regarding songs I had already stockpiled and those I was working on at the time. One of these bands was Yawn Mower, who I’d been a fan and friend of since their inception. Through working more closely with Biff (Drums, Vocals) and Dana (Bass, Vocals), it became clear that they’d be a perfect fit in terms of musicianship, personality, and work ethic. So we’ve started chipping away at what I can only describe as an “endless pile” of songs. As far as the name, Birstler, that came a bit later - we needed a name and had a large list of possible contenders that we just widdled away at until one came out on top. Bristler was one of Biff’s ideas, and Dana and I both gravitated toward it. “Bristler” is an old-timey word for a conman, but can also be thought of as one who is “bristling” with anger, or really any other emotion. For me, it paints an interesting (f perhaps a bit abstract) picture of self-reflection when I think about the headspace involved in writing music or lyrics. Hard to explain, really. It is an old-timey word for “conman”.

Previous musical projects? How'd you first get into music?

 I’ve been pursuing music my entire life, since I was very small - nearly every waking moment of my life has been dedicated to learning, improving, and executing as many skills as I can that pertain to it - be it instruments, performance, production, etc. Throughout my life I have been involved in numerous projects wearing several different hats. It would take too much time to list them all, but I guess the most notable previous projects would be Breathing Blue, Dentist, and Wetbrain. 

 First concert that you ever went to? 

 The very first concert for a national act I ever attended was Radiohead at what was the Tweeter Center in Camden, NJ. August of 2003 for the Hail to the Thief tour. Mind-blowing experience. The first local show I attended was in 2004 -  a matinee at the Saint in Asbury that my friend’s band was playing. I remember expecting it to be much a much bigger venue and much more well-attended, but this was also my first exposure to the idea of a local music scene. Prior to that it was just…kids that got together in someone’s garage to make noise much to the dismay of parents who didn’t appreciate black t shirts.

What's your writing process like?

 It varies. Most of the time, I like to keep it a bit hands off and let things happen naturally. I’ve heard so many artists say that the best material isn’t written, it’s “transmitted” to you - and I try to keep that in mind at all times. Most often it starts with a riff on whatever instrument, a melody, or a particular set of words that stick in my brain relentlessly. I sit down with it to the point of exhaustion, tinkering with it, then stop entirely and don’t think about it actively at all. It mills around in my subconscious while I’m just living day to day life, where I will inevitably have experiences that lend themselves to the idea by osmosis. When I go back to sit with the idea again, it’s usually fully fleshed out and I bring it to the band for enhancements.

 What other artists or songs inspire your music? 

I’m a big fan of experimentation and bands or artists that think outside the box. I’m also a big lyric guy - so bands that encompass these traits are right up my alley - think Radiohead, Modest Mouse, Pixies, Beck. There’s truly too many to name, and I’m drawing a blank because I want to include bands that aren’t just white guys. I find inspiration in many places and from many artists, as long as they’re genuine. I feel like I have a keen sense of what’s genuine. Huge sucker for “pretty” sounding songs across the board as well. Jazz…Hip hop, trip hop…lots.

What's the live experience like and your philosophy on playing live? Do you think the music live should be identical to the recorded version or should it be it's own thing?

 This is something I think about on the daily as someone who’s typically playing somewhere with one band or another each week, and I flip flop. On one hand, I think it should stay true to the recording, but live music is live music - the energy is there and can easily replace anything otherwise “missing” if presented properly. It can also be enhanced with extra members or samples etc…That being said, the band still has to be tight. If people come to see your band - local, regional, national, whatever - you owe them an S tier show. I can’t begin to tell you the amount of bands, with or without notoriety, that I’ve seen on tour who can’t even be bothered to tune their guitars. It’s infuriating. I digress…Long story short, I once read an interview with Omar Rodriguez-Lopez saying the record is the preview for the movie, which is the live show. I quite like that analogy. Let’s go with that.

Has the band toured? What has the touring experience been, best shows?worst shows?

 Bristler has not yet toured, although that is the plan - But I have toured with every other band I’ve been a part of since I was 16, and there’s nothing better. I love touring - always have, always will. It’s hard to pick a “best” or “worst” show, as they both happen very frequently on the road, but they need to, because it’s all a part of something bigger. The best shows are when you make friends with people/bands/fans who show you the ropes of a place where you’d be otherwise culture shocked. The worst shows are usually on a Monday, which speaks for itself. 

 What's up next for the band?

Our EP will be released in March, followed by shows. We also have a second EP ready for release and are currently recording our debut LP, which I hope will see the light of day in 2025. 


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