We interviewed Bruno Major and asked him more about his music as well as his iridescent new album – To Let A Good Thing Die.
In early June, British singer-songwriter Bruno Major released his latest album ‘To Let A Good Thing Die’.
From the slow-dance colours of ‘The Most Beautiful Thing’ to the beautiful self-titled track ‘To Let A Good Thing Die’, from the jazzy vibes of ‘Regent Park’ to the incandescent light of ‘Old-Fashioned’, the 10-track album glows in positivity and tight embraces.
And so, as we can wrap ourselves in the shining colours and textures of Major’s new album, we delve deeper into his music and ask the talented music artist what’s it all about…
AL365: Hi Bruno, Vanessa here from AsiaLive365. Thanks for taking the time to answer our questions and we hope that you’re doing well in the UK. Massive congrats on the new album! We’ve listened to it and there’s so much positivity and warmth that radiates from it. It’s such a wonderful glow and we love it! Tell us more about the inspiration and/or stories behind this new record.
Bruno Major: Why, thank you. That’s really sweet of you to say. I think I have never felt like I’m a very cool person, I was never one of the cool kids at school, and I think that with my music, I don’t try and make it cool, and I don’t try to make it to try get on a radio station, or to get on a playlist or anything like that. I just make the music that I feel in my soul, and maybe that’s because I’m quite a warm person. I’ve always felt like I’ve got a nice family and I feel very loved and I love my friends and family around me. So I think my music probably just comes from that place. Music is also a very special thing to me. Music is special to all musicians but – it is everything to me. So when I make music, I feel love for it and hopefully that comes out in the music itself.
The inspiration for this new record – I take inspiration from everywhere really. Sometimes it’s in a book that I’m reading or a film that I’ve watched, or something my friends and family say. Or maybe I’m even on the tube and I hear a conversation between two people and I have a notepad on my iPhone which I write down all my ideas, and then every now and then, those ideas would spark a chain of thought, which would become a song. So inspiration can be from everywhere, but this album is really just a collection of songs, a musical diary or a reflection of my thoughts and feelings for the last two years of my life.
AL365: You said that the album is “an honest reflection of your thoughts, feelings and musicality”. If you could pick the most personal or your favourite song from the album, what would it be and why?
Bruno: I really love all of the songs. I sometimes feel that that’s a bit like asking which of your children do you love the most. Not that I have children but I’d imagine that I would hopefully love them all equally when I do have them.
But, I love ‘Regent’s Park’ a lot. I’m very proud of that one cause it’s an interesting song-writing exercise. I wrote it as an alternative to 101 Dalmatians, and I co-wrote with the great George Bruns posthumously. I wrote lyrics to an instrumental piece of his music that he had already written, so that was cool. Disney gave me the opportunity to do that.
I also love ‘To Let A Good Thing Die’ because lyrically, it kind of sums up the feeling of the album and obviously it’s the titled track. I love ‘I’ll Sleep When I’m Older’. I think that’s probably the most personal track – the most personal ones is how I feel. But yeah, I love a lot of the songs.
AL365: ‘The Most Beautiful Thing’ is one of my favourite songs on the new album. It reminds me of another era, where life was simple. Where couples waltzed to songs on the radio. An actual radio. The melody and slow-dance colours meld and sway in an ever lingering kiss – like a whisper in a dusky night. The song almost seems to touch you gently, (hands on the shoulder, the waist, fingertips on the cheek), bringing with it, its emotions and serenading you with a night you will always remember… It is beautiful… without being too much. Like me, a lot of fans seem to love this song too. You mentioned that you wrote the song with FINNEAS in sunny Silverlake, LA and then later recorded it with Phairo in rainy London. Tell us more about layers and colours that made the song what it has grown to be. What is its story?
Bruno: Well firstly, can I just say – a very well-worded question. You should try being a songwriter yourself.
But that song, like many of them, started off in my notepad. So the idea to write a song title – The Most Beautiful Thing that I have never seen – I think originated from the idea of people falling in love with someone they like, see on the internet, on social media, like they’ve never seen before. Like how can you fall in love with someone that you’ve never met? But then it just stayed in my notepad for years, actually.
But then one day, I was with FINNEAS and I was just scrolling through my notepad, just to find something to write about or talk about, and I saw that one. And then we started talking about it, and we started talking about the idea of true love and a soulmate, and I think it’s kind of silly the idea of a Cupid’s arrow idea of true love. If you look at most relationships, people tend to end up with people they were in, you know, in Maths class together when they were at school, or who they worked with in the office, or who were born in the same small town as them, so I think true love is really two people who meet through circumstance, who have a compatibility and who work at that relationship, and over time, develop strength and connections, and emotions through a shared experience. My parents for example have been together for like 35 years. I mean they love each other. That’s true love to me. So that’s what the title became about – it’s a kinda cynical jab at the idea of a soulmate, while also a tip of the hat to people who have, like, really worked at their relationships over a long period of time.
AL365: Any plans to collaborate with other artists in the future?
Bruno: Yes, I would love to collaborate with many artists. I haven’t really been much of a collaborator, have I?
I think I’ve got a lot of stuff to say. I think my music is personal to me and I felt at the moment that having someone else on my albums, didn’t feel right. I think it would have changed the narrative and the feeling of, the listening experience. But there’s definitely scope for that in the future and I would really love to make music with somebody else.
ASL365: Anyone in particular?
Bruno: I’m going to shoot for the moon and say I would love to work with… There’s a rapper called Noname, who I really love. She’s got an amazing flow and a serenity and kind of spirituality to her which I feel like would probably work quite well with my music. So, maybe her.
ASL365: Who would you say has been your biggest inspiration for your music?
Bruno: I have a lot. I kind of view like – there’s like three different sides of music. There’s like the instrumental side of things, so like the guitarist, I would say Joe Pass. And the singer I would say Chet Baker.
And then the second one would be songwriting. Songwriting, I’d say Randy Newman, Billy Joel, Carole King, Bob Dylan.
And the third one is production – recording music and harmonising it on your laptop. As for producers, I would say J Dilla, D’Angelo, James Blake, Radiohead, Nick Drake.
ASL365: Back in April, you gave “your number” to your fans by first asking them to decipher a series of clues from a photo, after which the first person who got through would get a “Brunote” from you. Did you expect so many of your fans to figure out the puzzle so quickly?
Bruno: I didn’t. I think the guy who figured it out was from Indonesia. And he did it in less than 10 minutes. I think it’s a really nice way to connect with people.
When I’m writing, a lot of the time I’m writing some sort of little thing on the piano which is sort of 30, 40 seconds long and then it never becomes a song. You know, it’s not really long enough to record. And I always think – “Oh that’s a nice thing. Shame nobody can hear it.”
So the idea behind the WhatsApp group is primarily to share those things, but also I feel like social media, Instagram, I feel like, as my audiences have grown, I feel like that I’ve got more and more disconnected from individuals. So it’s nice to have a way to connect with people that really care, and by having that little puzzle, I knew that people who actually really cared, would bother trying to break the code and be a part of the game.
ASL365: There’s something really beautiful about your live performances. It feels almost like a beautiful and cathartic journey – both ways. As an artist, what do you miss most about performing live (gigs) for your fans?
Bruno: If you use the analogy of a painting… Sometimes it’s like when you make a song, it’s like making a painting. And once you finish the painting, there’s no point in hanging it up in your attic, because if nobody sees it, is there any point in it even existing? So it’s the same with music. I feel that once you’ve made the painting, you have to go and hang it in a gallery so people can come look at it, and experience it in real life and talk about it, and have their moment with it.
So it’s really sad actually that I haven’t been able to tour my second album. There’s nothing compared to going and meeting real people. Hearing their real experiences and learning why it means things to them, and feeling that real energy in a room with somebody. And no amount of live-streams will ever replace that feeling.
So here’s to hoping that we can do gigs in real life very soon.
ASL365: Can we hope to see you back in Asia once this is all over?
Bruno: 100%. I will be there as soon as I’m physically allowed to be. I promise you that.
ASL365: Thanks again Bruno. Take care and we hope to see you again soon!