Interview: Bruce Harper

Bruce Harper Album Cover © Bruce Harper

For Bruce Harper, there is a particular science behind every choice of note and production technique. Their self-titled debut creates a dark atmosphere, bringing a fresh, analogue feel to the electronic music scene.

Dash Majesty: Please could you introduce yourself?

Bruce Harper: We are an electronic/post-rock trio from Brescia, Italy. We were already part of other post-rock/psychedelic projects (Floss, Teich, Beech), but, being fascinated by the research of new electronic sounds, we decided to shape our musical ideas together.

DM: Tell us about the concept behind your latest release.

BH: We released our debut album on March 1st, in collaboration with VolumeUp. Our idea/intention was to accompany the listener to a borderland, hanging in the balance between body and spirit. We used loops and patterns like formulas and ritualistic mantras, the surrealism of which activates strange and hypnotic sensations. In other words, we wanted to build a path which could shed light on the mysterious and irrational element which lies within everything.

DM: How do you go about creating a record? Where do you start?

BH: At the beginning, tracks were born mainly from improvisations which we recorded during rehearsals. Lately we have been changing our approach: we write down the majority of our ideas at home and then we work on them in the rehearsal studio. We have started to limit how much we improvise, but we will never fully abandon the practice.

DM: Sun is a personal favourite track of ours. What message – if any – are you trying to convey with the video?

BH: Sun is probably the track which best represents/reflects our way of creating and playing. The idea was to create an isolated solar scene – a dark sun at the end of its life, with its last beats, represented by the constant sidechain on the leads.

DM: Would you argue that your work subscribes to one musical genre? Do you try to incorporate specific elements of multiple styles in order to create something new and exciting?

BH: Our basic intention was to produce electronic music, which was totally analogue with acoustic drums. This choice naturally brings with it some traditional rock timbres, more specifically post rock and math rock. Whatever you want to call it, we definitely prefer creating an atmosphere that is dark and disorienting.

DM: Your work is quite synth-heavy – do you have any particular favourites that you prefer to use?

BH: Our instruments are all analogue, we mainly use Elektron machines/instruments, both for the sounds they produce and the usability, which makes them extremely dynamic for live performances.

DM: You seem to incorporate a fair few samples, where do you source these?

BH: The samples we use are all created and recorded by us. We are committed to keeping every creative aspect under our own control.

…music and art are not just the sum of sounds and signs, but of the meanings that are expressed through them.

DM: Playing live seems to be a fairly intensive experience for you. Do you prefer performing to a crowd or working in the studio? Could you tell us why?

BH: Those are equally important environments. The most creative, relaxing and exciting part of the process for us is being in the studio. However, in our live shows we try to liberate all energies that may have been curbed during the production phase. A totally live set is absolutely fundamental for us when performing, and it is probably what is missing nowadays from the electronic scene.

DM: Is there a particular venue you have performed at which has stuck in your minds?

BH: Definitely when we presented the record, as it was the first time we played it in front of anyone following the recording phase. Tension was clearly high, but so was our desire to unload all of our work from the previous months.

DM: Why the name Bruce Harper?

BH: The name is totally random. Yes, it is the name of the loser character in Holly&Benji, but there is no correlation. It has a nice sound and it is easy to remember. That’s all.

DM: Any words of wisdom you would give to new producers?

BH: Lately, thanks to new technology, the number of producers has massively increased, but this hasn’t always meant an increase in quality. Our advice is to find something to say, and then say it. A cool sound, if not charged with meaning, remains a sound, and music and art are not just the sum of sounds and signs, but of the meanings that are expressed through them.

You can listen to Bruce Harper below and purchase the album from iTunes or Amazon.