After setting himself the task of recording and releasing a song every thirty days in August last year, Bruno Major has reached the penultimate track in his pledge. Released only a few days ago, Cold Blood, has been taken from the forthcoming collection, ‘A Song For Every Moon’, which will be available on August 25th.
Cold Blood is a more up tempo cut of the North London artists crooned R&B. “The penultimate song”, Bruno says. “I wrote ‘Cold Blood’ after having been unceremoniously dropped by my record label a while ago. It was recorded last month. As with nearly all of this project, it was in a garden shed in London with my genius friend, Phairo. I think he has excelled himself on this one”.
Making music for Bruno is a cathartic experience, a release for someone who is sat on such a wealth of new material. We spoke to the man himself about outside influences and his songwriting process.
SO, HOW DID IT ALL BEGIN?
I’ve written music for as long as I can remember. But I didn’t started writing songs until I moved to London. Having grown up in Northampton, it was inspiring to be surrounded by so much energy and different cultures.
DID YOU HAVE ANY ENCOURAGEMENT FROM FAMILY OR OUTSIDE INFLUENCES TO LEAD TO MUSIC AND THE STYLE OF IT THAT YOU’RE MAKING TODAY?
My dad plays guitar so there were always instruments lying around the house. I was supported and encouraged to pursue my music. When I was little, I wanted to give up the guitar because I hated practicing so much. But my parents didn’t let me, which is something I will always be grateful for. I didn’t discover jazz until I was a teenager; my first girlfriend was a jazz singer and she had an incredible knowledge of harmony. I was planning on studying English Literature at uni but I became a Bachelor of Jazz instead.
WHAT KIND OF STORY WOULD YOU SAY “A SONG FOR EVERY NEW MOON” TELLS. IS THERE A RUNNING NARRATIVE?
Except for the last two tracks they are all love songs, which was intentional. There wasn’t meant to be a running narrative outside of that. I just put out whatever song felt right at the time. However if you look back at the subject of each song, especially at the titles, it tells the story of a failed relationship quite perfectly.
IS THERE A NARRATIVE THAT STRETCHES ACROSS ALL OF YOUR MUSIC OR ARE THE SONGS INDEPENDENT TO THEMSELVES? MANY HAVE AN EMOTIONAL RESONANCE TO THEM.
Each song definitely exists in its own space, but I do tend to write in batches. I’ll often have two or three ideas on the go at the same time, and each batch will share certain elements. As far as the emotional resonance… I try not to think too much about that stuff. I believe the songs are honest, that’s the thing I value the most in music.
WHAT IS YOUR SONG WRITING PROCESS LIKE; HOW DO YOU TURN YOUR GREAT IDEAS INTO A CATCHY SONG?
It varies wildly from song to song. Sometimes they come like emails into my brain, almost fully formed and it’s just a question of writing them down. Others you have to graft over months and months. I have entire lyrics that get used as three different songs before they find their final home. Sometimes I’ll write music that I’m really proud of but the words aren’t good enough, or vice versa. Sometimes the words are great and the music is great but they don’t suit each other. It’s a minefield.
WHEN YOU FIRST STARTED OUT, WERE YOU COMPARED TO OTHER MUSICIANS? WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON COMPARISONS IN THIS INDUSTRY.
Comparisons are inevitable. Music, as with all art, is a product of its environment and people are interested to find where it fits into the giant musical family tree. I try to ignore them, insulting or flattering as they might be.
WHAT WAS THE IDEA BEHIND RELEASING A NEW SONG EVERY FOUR WEEKS? WHAT DOES IT ALLOW YOU TO ACHIEVE, AND WHAT CHALLENGES DID YOU FACE?
A purple angel once showed me how everything works in perfect geometric patterns and cycles. I think it’s important to be in sync with the universe, because it is us and we are it. The time it takes our moon to orbit earth is just about enough time to record and release a song. There are twelve moon cycles in the time it takes the earth to orbit the sun, and twelve songs feels to me like a good amount for an album. The biggest challenge has been ignoring my perfectionism. A month isn’t enough time to create perfect things. But this has been a blessing as much as it has been a challenge. I know that whatever I make, good or bad, is going to be put on the internet. The pressure is inspiring. I have had to learn to let go.
DOES LONDON GIVE OR TAKE ANYTHING AWAY FROM YOUR CREATIVITY?
London is my favourite place in the whole world. It is my home, and it’s dark and miserable and gritty and real. I love the shitty weather and the grumpy cynical people that live here. I’m one of them. I think my music sounds like it’s from London, even though in a lot of ways I’m more inspired by American music.
WHAT’S THE MOST VALUABLE LESSON YOU HAVE LEARNED AS AN ARTIST?
The most valuable lesson I’ve learned as an artist is that nobody knows what your music should sound like better than you do. Not your label, your manager, your publishers, your family or friends. The less you rely on others, the better off you are.
KNOWING ALL THAT YOU DO NOW, WOULD YOU GIVE YOUR YOUNGER SELF ANY ADVICE IF YOU THINK IT WOULD MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
No, I don’t think I would. In order to be the person I am now I have had to go through all of the events that led me here. If I gave young me advice, I would change the version of me asking the question. It could quickly lead to a disaster of quantum proportions.
IF YOU WEREN’T A MUSICIAN, WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU WOULD BE DOING?
Honestly, being a musician is really the dream for me. I wanted to be a racing driver when I was a kid. I would still love that. Formula 1 drivers look like they’re having a great time.
WHAT COMPELS YOU TO WRITE MUSIC, AND TO KEEP CREATING IN THE VOLUME THAT YOU DO?
I was having a tough time a while ago, I’d been dropped by my record label and I was in a pretty dark place. I was talking about it all with someone when they asked me how I was ‘outside of work.’ I realised in that moment that I don’t really exist outside of my music. It is me and I am it. When it is doing well, I’m doing well. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AND THOUGHTS FOR THE REST OF THE YEAR?
At the time of releasing ‘A Song For Every Moon’ I will have been working for over a year solidly without a break. I’m going to take a well deserved holiday, then next month I’ll be recording some videos. In November I’ll be playing shows in the UK, Europe and America.