Bruno Major has released his second record To Let A Good Thing Die, a beautifully crafted tapestry of stories interwoven with timeless narratives of human relationships, love and heartbreak, and existential musings. With this in mind, Bruno imbues his craft with contemporary perceptiveness both sonically and lyrically, which ground the record in the present – classic tales for a modern age. The release coincides with the first single from the album, Old Soul, which reflects on the period of transience and lethargy which often emerges after a relationship has ended, and the acceptance of one’s new reality sets in. Bruno speaks to Hi Fi Way about making the album.
Congratulations on the album, definitely a weird time to be trying to make the most of an album release.
Yeah, it is, I suppose, but I feel very lucky that I managed to get the album finished before the lockdown. I am not a major label artist who has a billion moving parts. I think we are lucky that my team is quite select and we are all close knit so we can get it done.
Were there any restless nights wondering whether now is the right time, or wait for things to blow over?
Not really. I had to cancel my entire touring schedule into the next year, which was a pain in the arse and it was very sad, but with the album, I think people will enjoy this and it is some good news. It is not like I am making EDM that is not going to make sense. My music’s definitely the kind of music that people are going to be listening to during lockdown. I do not think it’s going to make too much difference. It felt like the right thing to do and we did not doubt our release schedule for a minute.
How was the actual working in the studio? Did you have the usual sorts of challenges when it comes to writing and recording an album?
I have only made two albums, so it is hard to have a history of album making to call normal, but it was very different to my first album for a number of reasons. Firstly, I did not give myself a deadline to finish this one. I wanted to have as much time as I needed. Whereas with my first album, I had deadlines all over the place because I decided to release and record a song every month. Secondly, this time round, I think they call it the tricky second album for a reason. Having so much going on with a second album. This time around I was touring, going on tour for a month and then coming back and working in the studio for a month, having these two different people, the Bruno who is on tour is this indestructible soldier who gets on with it, and if he’s feeling ill or sad or whatever, he still will have to get up and be entertaining.
Then the guy that’s in the studio is this delicate butterfly who just talks about his feelings and is very vulnerable and open. I had to learn to switch between the two characters a little bit. That was probably the hardest challenge for me of this album. In addition, I suppose, when you make your first album, you can make any album you want, it could have been heavy metal, it could have been ambient spa music, it could’ve been weird improvised jazz, but I didn’t make those albums. I made the album that I made, and any album following on from it is going to be a continuation and development of that flag in the sand. That was a challenge, and a blessing at the same time.
Do you feel like the weight of expectations with the new album or that sort of thing does not really bother you too much?
It does not bother me because I don’t make music for other people really. I do not think I have the strength to worry about what people think about my music, because it would just cripple me creatively and also probably change my creative direction to something dishonest. If I start worrying about what people thought about my music, I’d make music to try and get on the radio, or I’d make music to try and get streams or make hits or make singles. That is not what I am about. I’m just about writing songs that I feel and recording them in the way that I feel they should be recorded and put them on the internet and if people like it, then that’s great. If they do not, then that is great too. So, in that way I really did not feel the pressure at all because I have a very singular vision creatively, and I’m happy to stick with it.
It must be humbling also that your music is reaching all the four corners of the world.
It is wonderful. It is wonderful that my music has brought joy and can help people. That is why I love touring so much. I am really happy because it enables me to make more music. When you go to a country, on the other side of the world and meet people, then they tell you that this song helped them go through losing their dad or going through a breakup, or it helps with mental health, that’s real and that’s really special. It makes me feel like I am not just organising sound waves for my own pleasure. It makes me feel like I am actually doing something worthwhile.
Working with a producer like Finneas as well, how was that? How did that come about?
I think we met on Instagram, both mutual fans of each other and arranged to go for coffee when I was in LA. We got on well and started writing together whenever we were in the same place. I think the most beautiful thing was the second song we wrote together. It was just super easy working with him. He is an extraordinarily intelligent human and a very talented songwriter. We just connected over our love for words. I am very proud of that song (The Most Beautiful Thing).
Would you work with him again when you start thinking about the next album or collaborate with somebody else?
Absolutely. It is funny, since we started working together, Finneas’s life has changed fundamentally. He has had this humongous success with his sister Billie, and now everybody in the whole world wants to write with him. I feel quite lucky that I managed to get in there before he exploded. We have a great relationship and I know Finneas is really proud of the music we made together. I probably will work with him on album three.
Will we see a follow up album a lot sooner than later, given that like you’ve said, you’ve been working on new music?
I definitely want to make another album. I want to make albums forever until they start getting shit. I do not want to be one of those guys who makes shit albums when he is an old man, but I’m definitely going to keep making albums until I have nothing left to say.
Is that the real tricky part now, how to keep that momentum going until you can start touring?
I think touring and streaming are connected, undoubtedly, because without releasing my music, I would not be able to tour. When I am touring, my music is listened to more. The whole thing is tied up and that is how you gather momentum but at the same time, they are separate businesses. I think it is possible to exist as a streaming artist without playing shows. I think it is also possible to be a really successful touring band and not really have that much streaming stuff going on. I am just going to really focus on making music and releasing it, and as soon as it is physically possible to go back to touring, I will be. Hopefully, we can pick up where we left off.
Is Australia part of those plans for some stage later next year, once the world sorts itself out?
Of course, yeah. I did a tour there last year, just went on my own and did some solo shows, and I was kind of blown away. We sold out the whole tour out and it was pretty special. I can’t wait to come back with my band.
Interview By Rob Lyon