Interview: Brutus

We’ve never been on a long tour before so the amount of arguments on the bus are almost non-existent… for the moment, haha.

Last month Belgium’s Brutus released their debut full length album Burst through Hassle Records, which Jody Dunstan decribed in his review as “an excellent example of modern alternative rock, taking a variety of styles and blending them into something else.” Jody fired over some questions to the band to find out more about the band, the album and the recording process. Read drummer and vocalist Stefanie’s answer here… 

(((o))): First of all, congratulations on Burst, it’s a great album!

Stefanie: Thank you!

(((o))): For the recording of Burst, why did you choose Vancouver?

Stefanie: We chose Jesse Gander for his unique sound, first of all, and we then found out he lived in Vancouver… so that’s why!

(((o))): How did you find the experience in Canada?

Stefanie: It was great. The time we had in the studio was so unreal. We were well prepared and Jesse is such a great engineer with a professional attitude, it clicked instantly. The studio itself had a good vibe. It sounded great and not to mention that the whole environment was breath-taking. We mainly spent time in East-Vancouver; the best area of the city, where nature is really close by.

(((o))): How do you write as a band, individually or more as a unit?

Stefanie: We don’t have a fixed pattern in regards to writing, but the “working stage” is always the same. So we can write a piece individually at home and then bring our idea to the rehearsal room and then start working on it together. Or sometimes we write everything from scratch together. I am personally more inspired by a guitar riff from Stijn, instead of my own creations. I need his sound and energy. But every song has been worked on with the whole band. Always the three of us.

(((o))): How was working with Jesse Gander, did he shape your sound at all or take a more passive role?

Stefanie: Working with him was really nice and he perfectly captured the sound that we wanted! The guitars have a natural clean overdrive with not more than a few pedals. We let the amp do the work. Also for vocal tracking, he was the perfect coach and was really harsh on pronunciation. He did an excellent job.

(((o))): You mention your diverse musical tastes, how does this influence Brutus’ sound?

Stefanie: I think it affects the songs in a lot of ways. One thing is maybe on how they are constructed, how long some parts are and stuff like that. Of course individually we all have a structure that we always favour, or fall easily back on, but the end result is always collaboration.

(((o))): Also, does it cause many arguments on the tour bus?!

Stefanie: We’ve never been on a long tour before so the amount of arguments on the bus are almost non-existent… for the moment, haha.

(((o))): Drumming and singing must be demanding in a live setting, do you find it constrains you as a drummer or a singer? 

Stefanie: Yes it is intense and it effects my drumming, but not in a bad way. I mean, it also has positives. Like, I can never drum a song too fast for the singer! Most of the time my drum parts are the first thing that is written, and then the vocals. I usually then sing different lines when I am singing on top of the drum parts. Physically the vocals are the most exhausting. Drumming in a rehearsal without singing is less tiring and I can drum longer than with the singing on top. At this stage the vocals are the most demanding part of playing a live gig so I have to have a constant focus.

(((o))): Any favourite gig experiences so far?

Stefanie: Hard question. It’s hard to name a favourite gig, because all gigs are different. The Brussels release show for our album Burst was a special one. We waited for like 10 months to put that record out, the show was one big explosion of emotions. It was awesome!

(((o))): As individuals, if there was one gig in history you could go back in time to, which one would it be?

Stefanie: Steak Number Eight at Dunk Festival 2014! That show looked and sounded amazing! Or Fleetwood Mac, live in Boston in 1985. But I was not even born…

Peter: The Family Values tour with Korn, Limp Bizkit, Rammstein, Ice Cube, Incubus and Orgy back in 1998! What a concept, what a line-up! Great!

Stijn: Any gig by The Smiths! Not Morrisey or Mar solo, but The Smiths!

(((o))): Lastly, any recommendations for bands to watch in 2017?

Stefanie: There are a lot of cool young Belgian bands doing great stuff nowadays! Check The Guru Guru, Hypochristmuthreefuzz, Rhinos Are People Too, FÄR, Onmens and the awesome High Hi!

Burst was released last February through Hassle Records and is available through here.

Catch Brutus live at one of these upcoming dates:

29 Green Door – Brighton (UK) TICKETS
30 Old Blue Last – London (UK) TICKETS
31 The Fleece – Bristol (UK) TICKETS

02 Ramsgate Music Hall – Ramsgate (UK) TICKETS

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