When it comes to UK bass MCs no one has experienced such an incredible trajectory in recent years as Nottingham’s Bru-C.
After several teeth-cutting years in grime, dubstep and fronting reggae and ska bands, Bru-C levelled up four years ago when the new wave of bassline exploded. Quickly becoming the voice of the movement, both on productions and on road as Skepsis’s MC of choice (and Darkzy’s before Window Kid joined the CruCast crew), his distinctive midlands twang, quick-fire bars and ardent raver credentials resonated with the new generation of bass fans, boosting him well beyond the realms of host and as an artist in his own right.
His CruCast-released debut album Original Sounds galvanised this reputation tenfold. Released late November 2019, it covers more ground stylistically than he’s been able to before and revealed even more about him; the music that drives him, the people who inspire him and what makes him tick. From witty one-liners to deep, thoughtful and emotional, it’s an accomplished body of work that most MCs can only dream of creating. In fact the only non-grime UK MCs to operate at this level, work with so many accomplished producers yet still create something that’s cohesive, and flows with proper album impact (rather than being a selection of tracks) are Harry Shotta or DRS.
In just over two months since its release, Original Sounds has scored almost 14 million streams…. And he’s already neck-deep into his second album which, he exclusively reveals, will land before the year is out.
Before that, though, we can expect more shows, more singles and more operations from his apparel/party brand Krudd. Hell, we’re only five weeks into the year and he’s dropped two new singles. Last month saw brand new track Life land while this week sees the release of Down For You with Holy Goof. A collab of supersized proportions, it’s already had crowds singing along before it was even released. We called him up to see what else he’s down for. Join in if you know the chorus…
You’re about to go on tour for the second leg. Give us a special moment from the first part of the tour…
It’s got to be Bristol. Unbelievable. Skepsis, Sammy Virji and Zero were all on the bill so I thought most people were there for them. When you play at venues as big as Motion it’s harder to make that connection and have that intimacy. But I came out and it was like…. Wow. Just everything about it was beautiful. All the guys smashed it, the crowd were incredible. That was special.
Love that. What’s the biggest difference between constantly being on road with DJs and having your own headline tour?
The difference is that it’s a proper show. When I’m on the road with Skepsis I’m hosting, even when we do my songs in the set. But my tour is a concert. The sets are rehearsed, which is something me and Skepsis never do, thinking about it. They’re a lot more calculated and thought out. There’s also a feeling of accomplishment; I’ve gone from 2016 playing Bassfest with Skepsis at 8.30 to about 30 people and they didn’t even have a mic. Skepsis paid me out of his own fee. So going from that to my own shows, selling out these venues, blows my mind. It always will.
Wow. I’m sure Skepsis has told me a story where he only had one deck…
Yeah man, it was at a Krudd show! His first ever headline show in Nottingham, Bar 11. People would hang over the decks, as they do, and someone spilled beer on the CDJ. It stopped working.
And you pulled him through it…
Yeah it was weird but a vibe in the end. I had to do some proper work to keep the vibe between the tunes. Otherwise it would have been like ‘Now That’s What I Call Bassline’.
Ha. I think a lot of people will be surprised you don’t rehearse with Skepsis
It’s mad innit. I’ve not thought about it, but we just never have. I’ve played with many DJs and we’ve rehearsed things before but the chemistry we’ve got can’t be rehearsed. We play every weekend, we do a lot of travelling together, we’re good mates. We know where we fit in each other’s project, we know how to adapt to any crowd. You can’t rehearse that shit man.
And you can’t forecast the support you’ve had on the album. 13 million streams in two months?
Coming close to 14 million now. It’s just mad. I feel I’ve put a lot of time and effort and making sure every part of me is in the album; the people I’m with, the feelings I feel, the culture I’m part of and contribute to. That was important. So I’m blown away it’s been received so well. The hype around it was huge around it coming out, but you know what it’s like in this scene – especially in the UK – something can blow up one day and the next people don’t want to know so for things to keep on building has been mad humbling.
You & I with Simula lit the fuse on that hype…
It really did. That was a gamechanger. No, a life changer. That seems to be growing more and more. Every show I play I see more and more people singing it back to me, that did kick everything off. Big up to Simula on production.
Big up to all producers on the album! They’re all personal choices too aren’t they?
100% I never work with anyone unless I’m on the level with them and like them as a person. It’s something I want to continue doing as I move on to the Original Sounds 2 album.
Yeah man. I’ve been feeling inspired, I’ve been writing almost every day, I was writing while on tour in Australia. Fresh year, the music is flowing, I’m just enjoying doing it. I’ve got seven or eight tracks ready to go and it will be out this year.
Exclusive! I was going ask about your writing process. Some lyrics are pure jokes, others are very deep, I wondered how they come about / if you have particular methods conducive to writing?
Most the time it’s when I sit down in a nice environment and I’ve got a clear head but it all depends. Early mornings are great. When I’m not on the road and I’m feeling good I’m up at 5.30 and I’ll get my laptop open and start writing. Other times I’m a bit wavey in the club, getting drunk with Window Kid, going back and forth, catching joke. One of us will say something and it resonates and starts a track. That’s how Hide The Ting, Bits and Weekend Boys were all written.
I get that vibe off Wavey One with Mr Traumatik, too. What’s he like to work with? When two massive MCs get on a track I feel it’s either going to work really well or not well at all. No in between when you’ve got two strong characters on a tune…
He’s a very strong character! To get him on the album was a must. He’s got a lot to say and a lot to give on an intellectual level. Whenever we talk it’s about the foods we eat, the books we read, places to go and explore. I always take something away from our conversation. It’s never like ‘what you up to mate?’ There’s always something more. He’s a good guy.
You need mates like that!
Yeah man. It’s like-for-like, isn’t it? Whether people will admit it or not, the people who you associate with are your ultimatum. They are where you’re heading. So it is very important to have people like that around you that are willing to grow, willing to inspire you and willing to be inspired.
Amen. Speaking of inspiration, this all started with your sister, right?
That’s right. She showed me UKG when I was 10. I wasn’t blown away by it but I remember thinking bits were okay. Then I heard this set with Dizzee and Wiley on it. I think it was a Sidewinder tape. That just blew me away. It was mad. I was 11 years old. 2002. Grime suddenly opened out with Channel U, local MCs, mixtapes and that was it for me. Grime, clashes, rap battles, grime instrumentals, I was hooked. That culture grabbed me. Then I found bassline. Bassline had MCs back then and it just hit me. It was everything I wanted. It was high energy, it was fun, bubbling. Then bassline died, a lot of clubs shut down, MySpace pages disappeared, then dubstep came along and I hated it at first
Seriously. I was 16 / 17 and it wasn’t the commercial stuff, it was swampy, ambient, a bit grungy. I didn’t get it. It wasn’t my vibe. But when I did get into it, that was me done. I was at every rave I could get to. Burning CDs of it and selling them, trying to get on the decks, all sorts. That gave me a huge advantage being a host of bassline because I was so inspired by guys like Crazy D, Beezy, D Double E, Footsie, P Money. All those guys inspired me as we went into the new wave.
Not as may MCs in this new bassline wave. You became the voice of it quickly, like Skepsis, Darkzy and Goof became the faces of it.
Very quickly. So guys like Skepsis and Darkzy, they blew up for a number of reasons; it was down to their age, who they were around, what they were making. It was perfect timing. Bassline arrived, they were the guys on the frontline playing it. When your name is associated with something that blows up fast, you’re only going to move with it. So like back in the day someone would say dubstep and you’d instantly think Skream, Benga, Caspa, Rusko. People associate a sound with that name and if they’re looking for a bassline show they’ll look for those DJs. They’re not looking for the guys who make the tunes, it’s who’s playing it.
But the quicker you get to the top the scarier it is, right?
That’s it. I’ve been doing this a long time now, though. I’ve been doing rap battles, grime, I was in a reggae/ska band, I’ve seen people come and go and I’ve tried to keep a steady progression. I’ve never stopped putting in work, my back catalogue will continue to grow. Some people have a tune out and they think that’s it, they’re sorted, but they’re not. Even when the second album is out I won’t stop, I’ll be behind the scenes plotting my next move. The fires have to keep burning.
Yeah man. Skream said something on Twitter that resonated with a lot people; your career doesn’t really start until you’re 10 years into it…
Oh man that resonates for me. This is my 10th year in the game. I started to properly go for it in 2010 and I do totally feel that. 100% true.
Because you’ve had a bit more experience than other Crucast mates, do you kinda mentor the guys a bit?
I wouldn’t say mentor, that’s a bit strong, but I hope I’ve had a positive influence in the way I conduct this like a business. When you first start you’re just having a laugh and it’s all fun and games but when we’re touring I’m still the first to bed, first to get up, constantly writing, going to the gym, keeping it focused. Even when we’ve been doing all this touring, my output has remained high. So I think if there’s any influence it would be in that type of way.
How about influences with people who support your music? You’re an approachable man, people must be in touch with you and tell you how your music has had an influence on them?
All the time. I’m always humbled by it. Songs like Snakes & Ladders, Sunrise and the new one Life. People have said it’s given them hope and made them feel positive. That means the world to me. I’m trying to figure out ways to help people with their mental health with a more personal touch, too. I’ve thought about events like Q&As where people can learn about the industry and learn about how to go through life. There’s a big curtain in this industry that covers up a lot of mental health issues and behaviours. People need to be more honest about what’s going on in the scene. Artists struggle with it, fans who come to the shows feel it. I’ve been open about struggling with anxiety and depression and there are ways to combat that. I don’t want to be this preachy guy either though, that’s not me. I just know that too much of one thing is no good for you whether that’s going to the gym, drugs, what you eat. It’s about balance. So yeah, this is something I want to develop in the future.
But back to the now. Down For You with Holf Goof – your second single of the year and your first collab with Goof. Long time coming!
It has. We’ve been mates for a few years now. We went to Ibiza in 2017 and remained tight. We’ve had chances to collab in the past but it didn’t work out. He was working on his album, I was working on my album. But it’s been the perfect time to do it and it’s just gone mental.
People are already singing along and it’s not even out!
I was speaking to him on the phone about this last night! It’s mad. It usually takes a few months for an unreleased song to have that type of impact but the first announcement of this song – literally the first time anyone outside of our circles heard it – was 13 days ago from this conversation we’re having now. So to have that to happen over those days? It’s crazy.
Amazing. Let’s sign out with 3 things you’re down for…
I’m always down for a rave. I’m always down for a pint. I’m always down for some Caribbean food. Done.