Look to the past and you’ll find a plethora of young, natural British artists who laid the groundwork for what we think a icon should be today. Unfortunately, in the years between where these artists have ruled the underground and the charts, a space has formed. Traditional music genres have fell to the wayside, and a need for set of new artists challenging the music spectrum of popular music whilst also having something to say has proved a challenge to most pop pretenders starting out, and thus have left us feeling British music to be a little stale at times.
“A lot of music, especially guitar music is dead right now because no one is doing anything different,” exclaims 20 year-old solo artist Brunswick, who echoes the sentiments of many music listeners trying to be wowed like when people first heard Wiley’s Eskimo Beat or Nirvana’s early incarnations of the Seattle Sound. His music, a combination he calls ‘rhythm and grunge’, is a shot into the veins with a cocktail of R&B, Trap, Rock, Pop & Bass. Entirely of the here and now with not a single utterance of pastiche. Brunswick confidently puts it: “I’m going into this with the intention of creating something new.”
Born & raised in West London’s Ealing, Brunswick’s life up until now has seemingly been purpose built to end up here. Back then Brunswick was solely working with the production software on his laptop. But then, post-dropping out of college, he was also kicked out of his family home – and it’s here that he slowly found his way back toward playing music with guitars before then combining the two. For a while he slept on the floor in east London’s Strongroom studios with fellow musician friend, the rapper Ryan De La Cruz. Then he headed to Brighton where he became swept up in a wave of night-after-night-and-into-the-early-hours partying with a bunch of other musician friends. This soon lead “into a realisation of guitars, Jimi Hendrix, the Stone Roses, Oasis – all these bands I’d listened to before as a kid and grown up with but had never given a proper chance.”
One day, after a late night session, Brunswick recorded a new piece of music – an unreleased song called “Plastic Kisses” – where he placed his production work alongside his new love of rock music. Thus: rhythm and grunge was born. Upcoming track “Skinny”, an addictive cacophony of slamming guitar and powerful Cobain-esque vocals, tells the story of the time Brunswick spent back in Brighton partying, with lyrics about “losing your mind” and “feeling sick”.
“It’s about me looking in the mirror at myself, staring back at a really FUCKED up skinny kid and accepting that. Being like ‘you know what, it is what it is – let’s have some fun with it while it lasts,’” he says, of the song. “And I did [have fun].”
Unlike many of today’s artists, Brunswick isn’t afraid to deal with difficult subject matter. To him, to be sanitised is the antithesis of making pure authentic art. Take another new track called “If”, which opens with the line “If I killed myself today would you miss me?” Though it’s about a break-up – “a tornado of guilt and regret hitting me all at once” – it’s the furthest thing from a surface level ode to a lost love. With high-pitched almost Frank Ocean like vocals coming in at the end of the track, it strongly hints at Brunswick’s potential to be the voice of this anxiety-ridden generation.
The whole idea, Brunswick says, is to create a culture around his music – “one in which people aren’t afraid to portray themselves as someone different”. He also wants people to party, and is influenced by the rave scene in the UK as much as he is the rock scene of yore, making him an interesting and unique proposition. He’s also an artist through and through, writing, producing and playing everything on his records. Essentially he is the first musician of his kind, one that will bring people firmly into the present instead of looking back toward the past for loud, true sounds.
“Loads of people I know in bands say they wish they born in the 80s or the 90s. Nah man, you don’t. You wish you were born now, you’re just not doing anything about it,” he says, of his decision to start making music. Certainly, he has big ambitions. “I guess the whole thing I’m trying to do is something that hasn’t been done. I don’t want to be another pop act. I want to build a cult fanbase first, and then go on to be a superstar.”