Bruce talks sonic evolution, versatility and his debut LP on Hessle Audio
“I wanted to try and capture all elements of the clubbing experience without being too obvious,” says Bruce, the DJ/producer behind Hessle Audio's latest LP, the rich and riotous 'Sonder Somatic'. We catch with the breakthrough Bristol artist to learn more...
From: Bristol via Buckinghamshire
For fans of: Pearson Sound, Peverelist, Ploy
Three tunes: ‘Not Stochastic’, ‘Before You Sleep’, ‘Æon’
“When you release music as Bruce you’re likely to get people calling you Bruce,” explains Bruce — aka Bristol-based 26-year-old, Larry McCarthy — when we talk about debut album ‘Sonder Somatic’. Released on Hessle Audio, it’s a name as postmodern as his futuristic club cuts, almost entirely assembled by warping samples taken from his favourite tracks out of recognition. Its origins are also off record, for now.
In talking about the ablum, however, not much else is. Good humoured, articulate and thoughtful, conversation ranges from the difficulty of explaining the importance of club culture to his supportive parents’ friends (“When they hold one ear and do the scratching with their hand, I go with it,” he says), to his love of Faithless’ ‘Insomnia’, which he was recently filmed playing at London party Best Before, top off, as his last tune.
Citing Actress, Pangaea and Autechre as influences, ahead of a launch show at London’s Pickle Factory he revealed some of the inner workings of ‘Sonder Somatic’. The unsettling, warping melody of ‘What’, which rises to a crescendo of distended vocals and crashing drums, is a more disturbed descendent of Steve Poindexter’s ‘Computer Madness’. ‘Meek’, a Mariana Trench-deep cut from the dub techno family, which swims with alien creatures made of just noise and reverb, was genetically extracted from snippets of The Future Sound Of London’s ‘Cascade’.
“This record in particular I made a special effort to move away from the inherent characteristics of the samples I used in favour of trying to reduce the sounds to a similar and consistent aesthetic,” he says on the idiosyncratic and sometimes alien palette he's conjured up.
The literally titled ‘Just Getting Started’ for Livity Sound offshoot Dnuos Ytivil (see if you can crack the code) hit the ground running with polyrhythmic precision, a tribalist workout unsullied by first contact. Hessle followed soon after, a Delia Derbyshire sample stretched into the creepy undulations of ‘Not Stochastic’. Since then he’s added Timedance, Hemlock and Idle Hands to those supporting his distinctive sound.
“This album has brought my relationship with dance music to the next level,” reckons Larry, who’s open in interviews and on his Get Loose! monthly Noods radio about his love of a sesh, but adds he’s developed a wider appreciation of club culture’s resonance and the part played by the darker, down moments too, which fed the imagination of producers like Aphex Twin. “I wanted to try and capture all elements of the clubbing experience without being too obvious.”
This, he says, is also reflected in his DJ sets. With a taste encompassing everything from post-punk to ambient, it’s another arena where he’s testing the boundaries. No matter how experimental he gets though, Bruce always has the flow of the dancefloor in mind.
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