by Tim Birkbeck
There is a strange type of beauty hearing blast beats accompany some catchy vocals. So when Belgian three-piece Brutus mix these two elements together with such ease, it’s always going to grab your attention.
The band’s debut release Burst is out today (Friday, February 24th), and is already among Vulture Hounds potential albums of the year. With an extensive European / UK tour coming in March, it seems like 2017 could be a year the trio really make their mark on the alternative music scene.
Tim Birkbeck got the lowdown on the band from Stefanie (drums/vocals), Stijn (guitars), and Peter (bass) and found out what makes them tick…
Could you give us an insight into the history of the band, and how Brutus came to be the band we hear today?
Stefanie used to be in a punk band with Stijn when they were in their late teens, so they go way back. Stefanie and Peter met in a Refused tribute-band. When Refused started playing again they pulled the plug on that project and we started something new together, called Brutus.
When starting the band what ideas did you have going into it for the sound you wanted to produce?
It’s not something we think about. The three of us just bring our own thing to the music. It’s really nice to be in a band with open minded people. It’s nice to be able to try almost everything in the rehearsal-space before ending up with songs that come from totally different places. The three of us listen to all these different bands and we like different genres. I guess we try to write songs that unintentionally can have all kinds of vibe or influence. Sometimes that can be a punk vibe or a black metal feel, while Peter, our bass player, is trying to write hip hop basslines.
Where did the name of the band come from?
The story is really simple. Stefanie has a love for single-word names. Brutus is one of her favourite names and it was as simple as that.
The music is fast paced and aggressive, yet the vocals have a haunting beauty to them, was this a conscious thing you wanted to put across in your music?
It wasn’t really a conscious thing. Like everything else in this band it’s something that just happened. It’s just the way I sing.
Which other musicians have influenced the Brutus sound?
It’s a combination of influences. Stefanie likes bands like Isis and a lot of electronic music, Peter likes all things rock and even R&B, and Stijn likes almost everything.
You’ve just released your debut full-length BURST, what are you hoping listeners take away from it?
We’ve put a lot of effort into writing songs that are equally heavy as they are catchy – we really tried to make a coherent record. Everything that shouldn’t be on Burst was filtered out.
Do you have any particular favourite tracks?
There are always songs you like more than others on a record you make. The three of us have different favourites on the album, but I think we all really like ‘Child and Bird’.
Stefanie – what’s it like being the drummer and the singer? How physically demanding is a live show for you?
It is physically demanding, but I think that everyone plays physically demanding stuff in their own way. But it asks a lot of me. Being the drummer and the singer has some negative sides to it, but the best part is that I choose my own tempo. If it is too fast I can adjust it quickly because I’ll notice when I start singing that it might be too fast or too slow.
You recently did a video for ‘All Along’ what was it like having the experience and did you enjoy it?
It was really cool performing in the museum. Spending a day in the presence of all this beautiful art was very inspiring. We contacted Charles de Meyer, the director of the video, and he was ready to go from the start. We started brainstorming and decided we wanted to give Charles carte blanche for this video. He could literally do what he wanted. I think it is the same with every artist you go to. For example, a tattoo artist – you go to the artist for his or her specific style. It was the same with Charles. We saw what he could do with strong images in combination with CGI and we just basically said to him: do whatever you want. It was all his idea and we love it!
However, for your video for “Drive” it is a very simple concept, is this just a case of wanting to mix things up?
Every song is different, but we actually have another ‘proper’ video coming soon for ‘Drive’!
What is the music scene like in Belgium? What sort of crowds do you guys pull in your native country?
There are a lot of talented bands and a lot of cool clubs in Belgium for the moment. You can feel that everybody is really going for it. There’s always a show somewhere, there’s so much stuff going on and the crowds are always very diverse.
You are about to embark on an extensive European / UK tour, is there anywhere in particular you are really looking forward to play?
It might sound cliché but we’re excited to play every city on this tour! There are a lot of cities on the list where we haven’t played before so seeing these new places and meeting new people is going to be awesome.
What other plans do you have for the rest of 2017?
We just wanna play live as much as we can and maybe start writing for the next record.
Burst is out now on Hassle Records.
You can catch Brutus in the UK during their 2017 European tour tour on the following dates:
For the band’s full European tour dates, click here.