We spoke with Bruno Major about the first time he encountered newborn life, the disappointing attributes of lasers, being taught about universal geometry by a purple angel and why thinking is the enemy of creativity.
I know it’s impossible to disconnect an artist’s personal story from their music, but sometimes it frustrates me that we can’t appreciate music in isolation.
We presented Bruno with an alphabetical list of words and asked him to describe what came to mind with each one.
My love has come along.
Be sure to put all your eggs in one.
Flames are spherical in space.
Mine is on the cloud now. “They” can see what I’m doing. which is fine because I’m not doing anything bad.
Where I come from, we call it aubergine. Although I’m fairly sure we stole that word from the French.
Once at uni I filled the big one in Leeds with Fairy Liquid.
-bladder. What does that do?
I’ve never had one. I’d like a habit.
We are clever enough to know how stupid we are.
Great verb. We do that for position, don’t we? Where can one jostle? In a queue?
Looking through one of these is more realistic than seeing with normal eyeballs. One day, we’ll all be in a kaleidoscope.
There’s a lull in my life. It’s just a void, an empty space, when you are not in my embrace.
They seem overpriced.
E is my favorite.
I wouldn’t want a pea in my bed either.
The worst level on Goldeneye 64.
is almost onomatopoeic.
I’ve got one. His name is Tim and he’s brilliant.
Out into the unknown.
My brother, frequently, vociferously.
You showed me this in capitals, so it looks like you are.
Me after this conversation. Sweet dreams!
To start things off, can you please describe your earliest childhood memory? What about your most recent memory as an adult? Can you connect the two, even in a vague or personal way?
The first thing I remember is my brother being born. I remember my mother being taken to the hospital, and then I remember her showing me a small pink baby and telling me one day I’d be able to play with him. I was two and a half. My most recent memory as an adult is responding to this question. I don’t want to think about that one too hard — it’s possible I may get caught in a memory feedback loop and I’ll only be able to concentrate on the immediate present. Which would be of benefit to me, I’m sure, except the present doesn’t exist. It’s like halving a distance an infinite amount of times.
I’d like some insight on how your mind works subconsciously in the creative realm. Do you put more emphasis on calculation or on working freely without second-guessing?
Thinking is the enemy of pure creativity. My best songs don’t feel as if they are being written, just written down, like notating something preexisting. It’s hard to disconnect your conscious mind, though. All the information you expunge has at some point been cognitively absorbed. As Charlie Parker said, “Learn the changes, then forget them.” When it happens, you have to be ready to chase the moment.
A purple angel once showed me that the universe works in perfect geometric patterns. Everything you perceive is a creation of your own mind.
On the topic of jazz, I understand Chet Baker is one of your biggest influences. I read his biography Deep in a Dream a few years ago, and I’ve been totally absorbed by his story ever since — how he was both a great trumpeter and kind of a Hollywood-style heartthrob at the same time, and how a guy who made such gentle, dreamy music could be such a monster in real life. What do you take away from Baker’s life and work?
I don’t agree that he was a monster. He was an addict. I know it’s impossible to disconnect an artist’s personal story from their music, but sometimes it frustrates me that we can’t appreciate music in isolation. I love Chet Baker because he is one of the greatest horn players of all time, and had the voice of an angel. Knowing that he killed himself, you can go looking for sadness in his recordings, but I find only the joy of an exceptional man doing what he loved to do.
Really quickly, can you meditate on these three objects: marbles, lasers and throw pillows? What is the first thing each reminds you of on a personal level? Can you relate each to a memory, anecdote or idea?
Marbles can be lost and fit snuggly in a nostril. Lasers are a constant source of disappointment to me. I was led to believe as a child that by now they’d be strapped to the top of spaceships, not fixing corneas. Throw pillows are surely the most pointless of man’s inventions. A needless final obstacle before bed.
What do you think about the concept of opportunity? Is it gained simply through hard work, or are certain outcomes kind of cosmically ordained for human beings as long as they’re willing to receive the transmission, so to speak?
A purple angel once showed me that the universe works in perfect geometric patterns. I believe this too. Everything you perceive is a creation of your own mind. We see only what we are capable of seeing, not what is really there. We can paint the picture we inhabit, so why not paint the most beautiful picture you can?
When I go to get my morning coffee, if I pretend the person behind the counter is my best friend, I’ll sometimes get a free coffee. Apply that on a grander scale, and the more positive energy you emit, the more positive energy returns to you. It isn’t karma or cosmic shenanigans, it’s logic.
Can you describe the last time you were in a forest or woodland setting in as much detail as possible? What did you see or hear? Who were you with? Why were you there?
I shot a video in the Peak District. It was literally freezing cold and I was wearing a cheap suit torn into shreds. In the morning I jumped into a river and covered myself in mud from the river. I didn’t get warm until nightfall, but it was worth it just for the feeling of the hot shower that night.
Finally, we asked Bruno to compare the cities of Los Angeles, New York and London with a simple graph, like he would explain them to a small child or a space invader.
Curated by: Morgan Enos
Conducted by: Email
Published: January 11, 2018
Total questions: 26 + 7
Word count: 1122
Reading time: Six minutes
absorption, angel, appreciation, atlas, aubergine, basket, Bruno Major, candle, Charlie Parker, chart, Chet Baker, cognition, cosmic, cosmos, diary, distance, eggplant, fountain, gall, geometry, guitar, habit, height, ignorance, infinity, isolation, jazz, jostle, kaleidoscope, laser, London, lull, marriages, meditation, New York City, nightfall, nocturnal, nostril, off-putting, pea, Princess, purple, question, register, shenanigans, statue, uncle, venture, windbreaker, yelling, zapped
About the curator
Morgan Enos is a songwriter and journalist originally from California. His curatorial work for North of the Internet aims to strike a deeper place in his conversation subjects — the dreamy subtext to the linear everyday. Morgan also frequently writes power pop records as Other Houses about joy, outer space, frustration, chess and spiritual light. He resides in New York, where he continues to creatively fire on all cylinders.
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