Bruno Major Takes Us Through The Making of His Album, 'Columbo' [Q&A]
Photo: Neil Krug
Hello, Bruno! How are you, where are you in the world?
I'm great, I’m in a cab heading back to rehearsals in Camden, with some of the band!
So Columbo is out in the world, congrats! how has the release been treating you?
It’s very nice to have it out in the world – it’s almost like carrying a bit of an emotional burden when it hasn’t been released. It’s like this secret, so it’s great to have it out in the world.
Does it feel weird, in a way, to have a project you’ve been working on for so long finally off your chest? I can imagine it might feel something like sending a child off to school for the first time.
I always say it’s like fostering a puppy: you give it away to a good home and you’re like, “I’ve done a good thing!” But now you also don’t have a puppy. Separately, it’s also a bit of an ownership thing. Before they come out, they’re yours, and now they belong to everyone else, so it’s a bit of a letting go process.
Were you working on these songs throughout this lapse in releases, or was it more of a “okay, time to sit down and write an album,” situation? What were you inspired by during this time?
I felt very creatively stifled by the lockdown, so as soon as travel bans were lifted I flew to America and wrote the majority of this album during an 8-month period living in Silverlake.
As far as inspiration goes, I had such a serious case of life FOMO – I had missed out on all of these experiences and as soon as the world went back to normal I sort of hyper-experienced life. I went to every party and fell in love with every person and bought a car and then crashed the car, got roofied, got my heart broken, broke someone’s heart… I don’t know, it was just turning everything up to 11. That period was the most prolific period of writing I'd ever experienced.
That is such a rich series of experiences – I was at your album release event in LA a few weeks ago and I could definitely sense that emotional charge in the room. The way your stories flourished in that space was lovely, but it was also just a very human night, to see you maybe a little bit nervous to be playing for the first time in so long!
I was extremely nervous. But i think if you say it, it makes it okay. As soon as I stood in front of everyone and said, “Guys, I’m a wreck,” I felt fine.
Yes, it definitely established the intimacy of the night. In that sense too, it was cool to hear the songs stripped down to just piano or guitar. How can we expect to hear Columbo on tour – stripped down like this, or with a band?
It’s a whole new experience, I’m playing with a full band. It’s a five piece with guitars and keys and synths, and I get to play a lot of guitar solos, which I rarely get to do, so that’s cool.
It seems like listeners have really latched on to “We Were Never Really Friends” as their standout single, how do you feel about this?
You know, it’s just an obvious sort of banger, isn’t it? Do you have that in America, do you say banger?
We do say banger, great word.
Well – am I allowed to call my own song a banger? I’ll humbly think it’s a banger. In terms of song craft, I don’t think I’ve done better than that. Also, it’s just the first song I put out in this release, so it’s like, “Yay music!”
We love a humble brag. I’m curious, since I first listened to this album in a little West Hollywood cocktail bar, if you have a suggested cocktail pairing for Columbo?
I’m gonna go with an Old Fashioned – not because I have a song called “Old Fashioned” – but because it’s my favorite drink, and if I were a cocktail that’s what I would be. What would you be if you were a cocktail?
Oh, I’m being interviewed! I would totally be a Moscow Mule situation, a little bitter, a little gingery, you know?
Thank you, thank you. My final, and favorite question for you, is who are your Ones to Watch?
My ones to watch are Eloise, because she’s brilliant, she just put out a new album called Drunk On a Flight, and Andy Shauf, because his album The Party really inspired me on this one.