“70s and 80s pop… It’s what I like to call the era of real music. The drummer had his influence on it, the guitar player had his thing. Now you have something that is produced as a whole package and people are directed on what to play.”
As the co-founder of one of the leading ‘new wave’ of djent bands Brutai, guitarist Henry Ryan’s feelings could be considered somewhat confusing. Djent – that staccato-riffed beast birthed by bands like Meshuggah – has faced its fair share of slings in the last few years, mostly centred on criticism around being too prescriptive and derivative.
Brutai, which Ryan co-founded with vocalist Felix Lawrie in 2006, has unconsciously stepped away from these more derogatory associations of the genre by shying away from a more modern ‘all-in-one’ approach to the recording process.
“It’s not a studio album – we didn’t go to the studio for x amount of time and come out with an album,” explains Ryan on how they set about putting together their debut album Born, which came out at the end of last year. “Someone would have an idea and bounce it over to someone else, and you’d work on it with another band member. We didn’t really do any of it in a rehearsal room, which has a different feel to it and shapes it in a different way.”
The result is a mixture of crushing guitar sequences overlaid with soaring passages of synth – songs maneuver between more the more technical tilt of the djent scene (Lucidity) and vast melodic refrains (Deep, Never Change) with the occasional chunky prog epic thrown in for good measure (The Border).
This somewhat piecemeal approach has created an album of great depth and variety – it also explains why it took the best part of three years to put together.
“Maybe if we were a bigger band, people might have complained about how long it took,” muses Ryan. “In our position, it was probably a good thing to do and take our time with it.”
The album’s centrepiece is Deep, one of the first singles the band released from the record, but it almost didn’t make it onto the final cut – such was the amount of material the band had.
“It is amazing how much a song can change when you put on overdubbed guitars and the synth part,” Ryan laughs. “Deep has a huge chorus, which has had a lot of great feedback. It went from sounding quite bare – with the guitars and the basic drums – to what it is now.
“It is one of those things, really. If it been a rushed process, we might not have taken it far enough to have realised the potential of it.”
Being patient is all well and good, but it’s clearly left the Brutai lads chomping at the bit to take their visceral new material on tour.
“Because it was three years since the EP, you do get bored of playing the same songs live. It’s refreshing to have new songs to play!”
Felix Lawrie (vocals, guitars), Henry Ryan (guitar), Alex Lorimer (keys, vocals), Christian Sturgess (bass), Mathieu
Born is out now on Transcend Music