Ever since her debut earlier in the year, BRUX has been slinking ever closer to the top. With every new release she channels club music's slick underground with a dash of chaotic energy and devilish glee. Coming from a history in the industry, this project sees an entirely new era for the producer behind the mask and has created an opportunity for her music to speak for itself.
From the bratty vocal of her solo debut 'I'm Back' to the spacious soundscape of her latest track 'In My Dreams', she's cultivating an identity defined by fine tuned production, playful intensity and dark mysticism.
She was hand picked as the only Aussie to join this year's Red Bull Music Academy class with only a single feature under her belt. Now with three singles released, BRUX is really coming into her own.
Before she returns to Australia we got a chance to talk to the producer about her time at the academy, her creative process and tarot cards.
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You were just at the Red Bull Music Academy over in Berlin, how was the experience? It seemed kind of like school camp for producers.
Yeah pretty much. We were put up in this hotel in Berlin near the Academy, which was held in this place called the Funkhaus. We got to go there every day, it was just incredible. They had a whole live studio, so they had all these rooms set up where we could jam and record with heaps of rare synthesisers and drum machines. The lectures were great too, my favourite talks were from Nina Kravitz, Jlin, Robert Henke and Objekt.
What did you pick up from your time at RMBA?
It was good to get a scope of just how different everyone is and how different everyone’s process is for creating. It was super inspiring to jam with the other participants and write music together, just purely to inspire each other. Also having exposure to new styles of music as well, like one of the gigs we went to during my time there was this afrobeat night that Red Bull put on. That was just amazing I was so into that, I’d never really listened to that kind of music before.
Was there anything else that surprised you while you were over there?
I don’t know if surprised is the right word, maybe more like inspired me. Maybe Jlin’s lecture, actually. I’d never heard of her before and she’s this awesome footwork producer, hearing her stuff for the first time was really awesome. One thing she said that really stuck with me was “you have to be willing to be humiliated through the process of creating”, so accepting failure as a part of the journey rather than worrying about every trial and error and making things perfect. It takes a lot of pressure off when you think about it like that, that you’re allowed to make mistakes working through creating.
I really like that. With all these international artists around a lot of collaboration must have been going down, which artists did you really click with?
I really worked well with one of the studio assistants actually, Pearson Sound, who’s one of my favourite producers. He was on board to mentor us, help us set up gear and teach us how to use the drum machines, he was awesome to talk to. I ended up having a jam session with him, Dorian Concept and some of the other assistants Mike Banks and Marco Passarani, they’re all incredible artists and producers. In terms of the other participants, I jelled really well with a couple of people, I really gravitated towards people making more experimental stuff and really dark techno. The standouts were this one guy from Norway produces as FAKETHIAS, this girl from Istanbul made music as robogeisha and this other guy from Tijuana, Mexico called Soul Of Hex. It was so exciting to work with other artists on the same path that have the same ideas as you, it was amazing.
You played your first BRUX show in Berlin and you’ve done a show in LA now too, how was the response to your shows over there.
Positive! The shows went really well. The Berlin one was really fun even though I was super nervous because it was the first BRUX show ever, but everyone enjoyed it. The LA show was awesome too cause more industry people came down, it was good to have my label team there and meet international friends. We wanted to keep the guests on the lineup a secret at that show, surprised everyone with DJ sets from Madeaux and El Topo.
Madeaux was your very first collaborator and your first public release, how did it feel launching a project within someone else’s?
That was really exciting for me, it kind of felt like a natural progression. Everytime I go to LA I always work with artists over there and write heaps. Plus it’s so exciting to have a track out on Fools Gold too, one of my favourite labels. Friggin awesome!
Where did the whole concept for BRUX actually come from?
I’ve been working on this project for two years now. I knew I wanted to keep my image more private just because of judgement being a female. I didn’t want anyone to assume anything before listening so I made the branding more mysterious and not gender specific. I knew I wanted to create something dark too, I’ve always been interested in the supernatural realm. Tarot cards are a big theme in the releases, each mask is based on a tarot card that I’ve chosen and with each single we will release a mask to continue the concept. We actually had a tarot card reader at the LA gig so I want to try to make that a thing across the shows, just a gimmicky thing I thought would be fun.
What were your biggest influences coming into this project?
I didn’t really have an artist in mind that I was trying to emulate I’ve just always wanted to make music like this and it kinda poured out of me. I have no idea where it really came from so I can’t answer any more than that.
Wow, you just channeled BRUX from somewhere out in the universe?
It honestly felt like I was possessed, and it all just happened. I can’t explain it.
You must be a witch. How do you go about making your tracks?
I don’t really think too hard about them. That’s why this project has really come out of no where, I just stopped thinking so hard about it. Instead of thinking “oh is radio going to play it” I honestly don’t care, I’ve kinda just gotten into this frame of mind where i’m just creating stuff for fun. Whatever the topic of the track is just evolves when I’m in the studio and writing it, I always do enjoy talking about fun cheeky topics. I’m really trying to push how I get my message across especially in my lyrics, just trying to make them a bit more interesting and playful, not so serious.
What else is on the way from Brux?
There’s a remix EP happening of my new single 'In My Dreams', then I’ll be working on my live show to tour around Australia and hopefully some summer festival shows too, who knows? I’d love to play Field Day, that’s one of my favourite festivals, maybe I’ll manifest it.
You gotta put it out into the universe and the universe will give it back to you!
WORDS BY HOLLY O’NEILL