Bruising are a four-piece band that formed in Leeds roughly a year ago. I guess a good way to describe them would be something like, I say: post-punk-sugary-garage-indie-pop-rock and you go ‘Right, sounds cool. Thanks.’ But then again, with all the messiness and misnomers of ever-evolving cross-genres cropping up here there and everywhere in music nowadays (vague terms and easy, catch-all categories which generally have all the credibility and weight of a boozed-up BNP member reciting Othello to a group of nursery school kids), it might be better if you just check them out for yourselves. You can check out their promo for Emo Friends here.
I caught up with the band at Rough Trade West, where lead singer Naomi Baguely and guitarist Ben Lewis played a stripped-down acoustic set of their hushed and dulcet almost-love songs to a small, rapt audience of record browsers. Honey, perhaps their biggest hit to date (one of my personal favourites and the B-side to the Emo Friends single), was played beautifully and slowly as it dripped, yes, like honey, into the attentive ears of all those listening.
After the gig had finished (ending with a seminal rendition of Naomi playing a solo version of Springsteen’s Tougher Than the Rest), I had a brief chat with Naomi and bassist James Thurley (who are not only in the band together, but are also a loved-up and playful couple to boot) about Bruising. Here’s what we said:
Alun Evans: Right, let’s see…
James Thurley: Why don’t you ask us what it’s like to be in one of the most popular buzz bands at the moment and also be in a relationship?
Okay then. So what’s it like to be in one of the most popular buzz bands of the moment and to also be in a relationship?
J: It’s pretty great, ‘cause Naomi lives in Berlin so she comes back and we get to spend loads of time together… I remember seeing a film about some band and they were told to keep their relationship a secret. I don’t know why that’s running over in my mind. I think people are advised, or like they used to be, to keep their relationships private…
Naomi: Yeah, so people would lust after them. Which don’t worry, they still do (Laughs). They know, but they’re still gonna try.
The un-attainability is the attraction?
N: Yeah exactly. We’re playing very hard to get.
But what about the music – can you describe your sound for a newcomer?
J: The Breeders. (Naomi laughs) Listen to The Breeders. That’s what we sound like.
N: Yeah, I’d probably say it’s like a more sugary version, honestly. A lot of riffs.
J: I think we try and be accessible, so probably more accessible.
So what kind of audience do you usually attract to your shows?
N: Honestly, dads. We don’t really get many teen girls, which would be my ideal fan-base.
J: It’s a thing me and Naomi talk about a lot. So a new Transformers movie comes out. The mainstream culture doesn’t really roll their eyes, they’re just ‘Oh, there’s a Transformers Movie’, but soon as a new Twilight movie or something that’s aimed at teenage girls comes out, everyone laughs, everybody makes fun of it. And that’s one thing we think about a lot. That it’s hard to be a teenage girl and like stuff and not be laughed at for it.
N: We wanna be there for teenage girls, because things that teenage girls get obsessive about are made fun of, and the things teenage boys get obsessed about are just part of mainstream culture. For example: Star Wars.
J: Yeah, so that’s something we truly believe.
Obviously it is a bit more common now, but I think it’s still refreshing to see bands with a female singer at the helm…
N: It made a huge difference to me when I was younger seeing young women in bands. That switched my thinking from bands being made up of people I admired and fancied, who were writing songs about ‘me’ (as a female), to feeling like being in a band was something I could do in order to express myself. I hope that Bruising function in that same way for any young women who come to see us. Representation is important, because it’s hard to imagine doing something you’ve never seen anyone do before.
Bruising have just released their debut single, Emo Friends, on the London-based Beech Coma record label. To check out their latest news and upcoming gigs, you can follow them on Twitter and on Facebook.
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