For Treading North’s front man Gabriel Rodreick, moving downstairs to rehearsal takes as much orchestration as the music itself.
Rodreick has used a wheelchair for the last nine years, ever since he injured his spinal cord in a Pacific Ocean diving accident.
With a basement practice space, band mates and friends must lift him — and his wheelchair — down two flights of stairs.
But once in front of the mic, there’s nothing holding him back.
Directing set list transitions, chord progressions and song compositions, Rodreick leads the practices for the bands’ upcoming shows. The list includes a gig at Triple Rock Social Club, which will take place just a day after the ninth anniversary of Rodreick’s accident.
But the anniversary show will not be one of grief.
"It's always a hard time of year,” Rodreick said. “But I've never just had a party. It's going to be a celebration rather than a sad day.”
Why did he not wait until 10 years to celebrate?
“The number didn't have anything to do with it,” he said. “This is the year I'm ready to have a good time. I think each year gets better; each year gets a little easier, just dealing with all of this.”
The music he plays is also growing and changing.
Founded four years ago, Treading North creates “dream funk” with rhythmic moving bass lines, dreamy guitar riffs, wailing saxophone solos and powerful bluesy vocals.
Falling somewhere between the glimmer, drive and funk of Glass Animals and the grit and vocal passion of Kiev, the band’s starting to find and fall into a sound of its own creation.
As the main composer of many of the band’s previous tracks, Rodreick said they’re also delving into more collaboration and “jamming” than they have in the past. Either way, he said he writes with three things in mind: pain, sex and revolution.
These subjects not only inspire the band’s lyrical direction, but also its musical sound and feel.
Rodreick said they’re taking their time writing the next album; they already have a full-length release and EP under their belts.
And now — with the front man coming back from a hiatus of sorts in politics and activism — the music has returned to the forefront for all.
"Music, for me, it's just my thing,” Rodreick said. “It's probably been my thing since day one, and I don't really know anything else as well as I know music."
While the accident and the challenges it brought are still present in his life, Rodreick said music is one of the ways he deals with everything he goes through day-to-day.
“I’m going to be grieving for the rest of my life,” Rodreick said. “But music is a way to deal with that. Music is the thing that grounds me."
What: Treading North with Neon Blaque, 26 Bats! and Pete & Doug
Where: Triple Rock Social Club, 629 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis
When: Friday, July 7, 9 p.m.