An Interview With Bruce

Michael McKinney speaks to the English DJ/producer about letting himself and his music become the vessel to portray whatever emotion he's feeling at the time, pivoting his focus to more pop-adjacent...
By    November 28, 2023

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Michael McKinney understands the cultural importance of Kreayshawn’s “Gucci Gucci.”

A few years ago, Bruce fell out of love with club music. This was no small shift: the Bristol producer, née Larry McCarthy, grew up listening to dubstep and attending under-18 raves. In the years since, he found his way behind the decks, and he garnered a reputation for off-kilter dance music. His 2014 EP on Hessle Audio, Not Stochastic, feinted towards UK dubstep and Birmingham techno before dissolving into a smog of bassy disorientation, and his debut LP, 2019’s Sonder Somatic, split the difference between brain-bending techno, rickety ambience, and spine-tingling psychedelia. He sneakily became one of the UK’s best working DJs, with sets that prized mood over genre particulars, building a matryoshka doll out of entire histories and turning the dancefloor inside out.

But dance music was never McCarthy’s only interest. After clubs collapsed in on themselves in the wake of COVID-19, McCarthy fell deep into what he calls “noir country”—Johnny Cash, Lee Hazelwood, Marty Robbins. He found himself drawn towards Reuben’s In Nothing We Trust, a blistering post-hardcore record from the mid-aughts, and he started reading Richard Siken. If there’s an obvious throughline in these names, it’s their directness; this is writing filled with gut punches and twists of the knife. It’s not impossible to fuse that with club music, of course, but it’s not easy, either. While McCarthy had picked up a microphone before, his voice rarely featured in his productions. It wasn’t until a try at karaoke in Japan, when he realized that he could take advantage of a freefalling live circuit: Why not try out pop music?

Not and Ready, McCarthy’s first vocal-forward EPs, double as genre exercise and an exercising of demons. On the releases, McCarthy dug through the ruins of a complex relationship, creating a collage of poetry and astral-plane synthesizers in the process. It is his way of slicing a Gordian knot; it is the sound of the producer bottling a whirlwind of emotions. The releases gesture towards the slow-motion material you’d hear on an early-evening dancefloor, but there’s peak-time energy nestled in there, too. On “Dappled Light,” drum breaks ripped from the hardcore dance-music continuum peek out between densely layered vocal runs, and “Broken” pairs a shuffle-and-skip energy with neo-noir lighting, making for a track that feels like UK garage done by Depeche Mode. Bruce’s best sets collapse genres and styles with a livewire energy—at their best, they feel like a sprint on a tightrope. In this way, Not and Ready read like a natural continuation of Bruce’s work: discombobulation and left hooks prized above all else, yet again.

A lot has changed in the past few years. Bruce is no longer disillusioned with dance music, and he’s in a fulfilling relationship. But there’s a lot of space between then and now. In advance of the release of Ready, we got a chance to catch up with the Bristol producer, digging into the genesis of his latest pivot, getting freaked out by bouncers, scaring people on the dancefloor, and plenty more.

​​(This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.)

My understanding is that your first CD was Liberty X‘s “Just a Little,” and that you grew up with guitar, cello, and choir. Do you come from a musical family?

Bruce: My dad played guitar, which I thought was incredibly cool, and my mom used to go dancing a lot when she was younger. There was music in the house, but—you’ll hear stories from other musicians, where they came out of the womb and started playing the ukulele. It’s definitely not at that level. I remember feeling a little bit of resentment in the later years of primary school—the ages of 10 and 11—for friends who had older siblings who’d show them bands: “Hey, check this out.” I was like, “How have you found this stuff?” It blew my world right open. The Liberty X CD came from my godfather. It’s a bit of a niche thing to be buying your godson at the age of eight or nine.

What’s the first art that you remember really connecting with you?

Bruce: Definitely Disney films. I remember watching them over and over. When there’s a screen, or when there’s something that’s really able to captivate my energy, my ADHD gets turned off, and it’s [a] great focus. I’ll absorb something inside out, and then I’ll just want to do it all over again. My parents were tearing their hair out with the amount of times I wanted to watch Dumbo, Pinocchio, and Toy Story. It’s wild how solidly those images are in my brain. It’s been quite a few years since I watched any of them. When I rewatched Dumbo, I had a quite physical response to it. It was kind of strange. It’s something I recently realized, after getting Disney+ and watching some of those older movies. They’re amazing, aren’t they? The visuals they were achieving, and the hold they have on childlike joy and awe: I feel it encapsulates a lot of what artists are trying to chase all their lives, you know?

How would you apply that lens to your own work?

Bruce: Emotional abandon, I guess: Fully giving into whatever emotion you’re feeling, and letting yourself become the vessel to portray that. I don’t want to be talking like I’m in some snooty gallery or some shit: “I’m literally a child when I’m at the canvas.” I don’t like going that far, because it’s not a conscious thing. But it is about abandon, and it is about fully sacrificing yourself, in a way a child would. When you see kids crying in the street—I shouldn’t laugh, but it’s usually pretty funny when a kid’s screaming their head off because they’re not allowed another lollipop. To them, it’s the worst thing that could ever happen. Without any feeling of consequence or comparison, this thing is the absolute worst. I feel that definitely applies to this album, and especially with how I portray it. I’m giving myself to it entirely.

When did you start going out?

Bruce: When I discovered dubstep. I was two or three years late to the genre; we’re talking FabricLive.37. I got obsessed with this music, and realizing I could experience it somewhere other than on my mate’s headphones at the bus stop blew my mind. There were these under-18 raves being put on by private companies, who would hire out these massive clubs in London and Manchester. They’d get mad lineups. It was sold as an under-the-radar event with no booze allowed.

I had no idea drugs existed, or that people would ever imagine taking drugs. I rolled up with Lucozade tablets. To my dismay, I’m standing at the front of the queue, and the bouncer’s looking at me; I have no idea that he’s probably just confiscated a load of MDMA off some other people. It’s funny watching the promo videos for these, because you get people screaming: these kids are nuts. I assumed they were just really enjoying it, but they were all completely murked. [laughs]

My first proper club experience was when I went to fabric for the first time. I was working in a kitchen at the time, and my boss introduced me to a lot of deeper stuff. I got into the FabricLive mixes from Insta:mental & dBridge—all that autonomic stuff. He showed me this minimal tech-house thing in 2012-2013; it was a time when minimal was still cool. I remember going to see Tiefschwarz with him at fabric. Because he was in the kitchen all the time, he didn’t get [many] chances to go out properly. This was the first chance he’d had in a while, because he’d been working every night. So we went out, and he got me absolutely murked. I was flying. It was such a special moment. It wasn’t just that; it was everything that came with it: having a nap beforehand at my parents’ house, like, “I’m going to be out all night long; I might take drugs. I’d better get napping.” I was listening to the Tiefschwarz CD I had at the time—Chocolate.

My partner and I dug up that CD recently—we’ve been listening to it in the car. She said to me, “It sounds so much like you.” I’m not sure I agree, but it’s a nice tie-in. It had a kind of poetry to it; it’s the first album where they started doing live stuff. Whenever I listen to that first track, it reminds me of going through the streets of London in November. It’s nice how it’s looped recently.

Did you understand dubstep and minimal as a UK thing at the time?

Bruce: Yes. The UK is very good at flying its flag. It’s worth remembering my context: I grew up as a middle-class white guy. Along with a lot of other people in my situation, I wasn’t really taught to think about the international effects of different things. It was like, “Isn’t it the same for everyone else?” You learn later, of course, that it certainly isn’t. I was very aware that the music was British. British culture feeds into more British culture: Look at someone like Madness, the ska band. That was a big thing in my family growing up. The ’80s UK culture was good at being very London. Dubstep sampled all sorts of gangster films; it was all so British-centric.

Autonomic, on the other hand, felt European. I went into Phonica, a record store in London, and I asked, “Have you got this Autonomic CD?” No, but they had this Magda one. I listened to that, and I couldn’t really identify anything from it. It’s only when I started hanging out with Aiden, my boss at the aforementioned kitchen job, who was really into German minimal—he’s got German heritage—he was like, “Oh, yah, it’s super minimal, yah.” It was just a kick drum. Then, of course, there’s drum-and-bass and jump-up—we were all home-county middle-class kids, you know? It was all about jumping around the speaker and going nuts. It felt like it was ours. I’d hate to use the word “pride,” because of all of its connotations, but there’s definitely a comforting identity in it.

Do you think about your own music in any particular lineage?

Bruce: I think it’s particularly hard for artists to allocate their sound. It’s been long enough where I can look at 2014-2019 [and name a kind of sound]. This Sunday, for Omar’s [McCutcheon]—Batu‘s—30th, I’m going to play a load of classic Batu tunes. It won’t be his productions; it’s tunes that he used to play a lot when he DJ’d in that time period. It’s been nice, going through those previous mixes and hearing the songs I used to hear through the wall when we lived next to each other. There’s that era of sound, which I think really nicely ties in with what our crew was doing: Ploy, Laksa, Batu, Simo Cell, Beneath, Hodge—all the new bassy boys. That lineage kind of exists in its own plane, I feel. Can you think of any I ought to add?

Peverelist, maybe?

Bruce: Good shout, yeah. Those Livity Sound guys definitely apply here. It was a very exciting time to be in the hardcore continuum. It would have been a bit much, at the time, to give ourselves that kind of credit, but looking back, it’s nice to be able to say, “That was a thing, and we were a part of that.” As to where it’s going now, I don’t think anyone knows. It’s fragmented into lots of different things, hence me writing pop music.

How has your relationship with pop changed over the years?

Bruce: I don’t think I paid attention to it. When I was growing up, a lot of the pop you found identity through was telling it wasn’t pop. Look at Busted and McFly. It’s obviously pop music, but they were like, “No man. We’re rock and roll.” [laughs] It definitely f*ckin’ isn’t. It’s the same with Fall Out Boy and My Chemical Romance—all that stuff. Over the years, pop’s changed. Younger friends of mine love pop music! Now, people embrace pop, which I’m not too sure about. A lot of it is great; it’s just not my thing. The first time I found myself really falling in love with a “pop” song was Kelela‘s “A Message.” It’s stunning, and the production is great. This was in 2015, so it was around the time that FKA twigs and Arca started getting big.

That’s when pop music first clicked for you?

Bruce: Yeah, or at least the first time I found myself saying, “I like this, and this is pop music.” That’s when I first found myself liking it as a fan and a musician. I was listening to it and going, “How did they do this? This is stunning.” It’s really forward-thinking production; it’s mostly space. It was around this time that pop started seeping into electronic production, too: early Oneohtrix Point Never; Flying Lotus; Charli XCX. I was super late to SOPHIE, but once I got involved, I was a big fan.

Was this around PRODUCT, or a bit later?

Bruce: I guess so, yeah. That came out, and then I did all the backlog listening to the EPs on Numbers. She’s definitely one of the best we will have; rest in peace.

The reason I initially asked about your relationship to pop is that, from the outside looking in, your recent and upcoming EPs might read like a hard pivot from your previous material. Does that track for you?

Bruce: Yeah, big time. I did karaoke at a festival in Japan with some other artists. It was really fun, and a few artists who I really rate—Visible Cloaks, Mount Kimbie, Alva Noto—came up to me and said, “Why haven’t you been singing on your tracks?” And I said, “Maybe I should.”

I was coming off of a whole other thing, too. My whole M.O., in my art career, was, like, “Let’s be like Hessle Audio.” But I was starting to realize that maybe that’s not me. It made sense in a production sense, but as a DJ, I found myself struggling with doing precise and clever sets every time. The larger I got as a DJ, the fewer opportunities I had to do what I wanted; I became more of an entertainer. That didn’t sit right with me. This shift took a big snap in COVID, when the clubs closed. I thought, “F*ck.” I’m sure we all did—we looked at our lives and thought, “What the f*ck am I doing in this industry? I should have learned to be a lumberjack!” [laughs]

So that made me think, “Man, club music is completely pointless.” I’d see Instagram posts with people saying, “Throwback to last February—I played all over the world.” Fuck off! None of us are doing that now. Stop reminding us about what we don’t have. I’ve since gotten over that, but I did have a moment with it. I realized I should stop putting so much hatred into it, and instead try and do something productive with music that I’d sing on. In the first four months of lockdown, I wrote most of these songs. I wrote them like I’d write club music, though, so it was wrong. It was a long and painful process.

I had the benefit of time, but I had the downside of not having anything to push back on. It was a perfect echo chamber to create this thing in. It worked, though. I pretty much finished with the album by the start of 2022. So it was a long process, but it was a very intentional switch. Now, people will come up to me, like, “Are you still DJing?” and, when I say “Yeah,” they look at me funny: How are you gonna tie the two together? People struggle to see that [connection], and I can’t really blame them. I leapt to one side of the room, saying, “I’m a singer!” But then I’ll go, “I’m still a DJ!” I’m gonna have to work that one out. It’s a bit of a juggle to fight with that identity, but it feels like I’ll find a way to work it out.

To what extent was it a reaction to you looking at dance music and saying, “I’m good?”

Bruce: Entirely. It was like, “I’m working on music that’s going to save me from feeling this hopeless again. I can write pop music for people to listen to, and they don’t need a nightclub.” As COVID hit, it dawned on me that I hadn’t released any music since 2018: Because of the way the club circuit works, I didn’t need to. Artists will do one big record and then surf the benefits of that as a touring DJ. But I got into this to write music. This gave me an excuse to dive into a new project.

Did you notice your listening habits changing at all around this time?

Bruce: I started listening to a lot of country and western music—particularly the noir side of it. I found an interest in its dark romances and stories, which usually didn’t have happy endings. That really resonated with me: everything from Lee Hazelwood, to Johnny Cash, to Marty Robbins. Those are the big three.

I was also writing music for XRA, which is a collaboration I do with Ben [Tregaskes, a.k.a. Lurka]. I had a bit of a manic episode: I was convinced that one of our songs needed to be a UK house banger. When I say UK house, I mean, that weird period of the early noughties, where people like Faithless were making these tunes that were synonymous with Ibiza and all these big club lands. I was freaking Ben out with how manic I was about this: I was, like, “We need to write a house song about gender equality.” It was a good exercise to listen to a lot of that music; I recorded a lot of vocals that sounded like really badly written apology letters. It was awful. The emotion was relevant, though. It showed where I was: I was desperately reaching out for ideas on this road to perdition we’re all on.

I listened to a lot of Björk, a lot of Thom Yorke, and a lot of my old favorites that have stories that still ring through me today. There was a lot of ambient, of course, to quiet the thoughts.

Was any of this stuff new, or was it things you were already familiar with?

Bruce: The country and western was all new. I’d heard a Lee Hazelwood tune—”My Autumn’s Done Come”—in a pub a few years before, and it really stuck with me. But, otherwise, it was all new. I delved deeper into Björk, which was really satisfying, obviously. I was trying to avoid listening to stuff that’s quite recent. I tried to avoid Kelela and FKA twigs, but also R&B stuff, like D’Angelo and Erykah Badu—all that neo-soul stuff, simply because I deem it untouchable. I was quite careful with what I listened to, because if I make music and it’s not from an immediate idea that I come up with, it’s usually me hearing something and saying, “I love that,” and copying it and changing it so nobody could tell. I tend not to listen to a lot of stuff when I’m writing. You’ve got to be careful, because you start thinking “This will never be as good as that.”

Did you notice any of this stuff bleeding into the EPs?

Bruce: The sense of story, definitely, and the importance of telling a story with as few words as possible. I started reading a bit of poetry around the time when I was finishing some of these tracks. I was given a poetry book: Crush by Richard Siken. It blew my mind open with how brilliantly violent and sexual it was. It carried on from a lot of stuff I used to love, when I studied Francis Bacon and Lucien Freud at school. That [energy] being put into words was really exciting for me, and it helped me talk about sex in music without feeling corny. It helped me give into that sense of abandon. If you’re able to be authentic to those feelings, it comes across as authentic, but you have to make sure you check in with a friend; you don’t want to make a massive fool of yourself.

“Antler” was informed by a poem written by Isabella Martin, who’s a friend of mine. All the lyrics come from that. I can trace individual songs back to their influences, but the overall production and arrangement was just about trying to find something delicate and slightly off-key while adding to the beauty of the track.

Are you willing to share the poem from Isabella Martin?

Bruce: It’s pretty much all the words in the song—it’s still unpublished. She’s a close friend, and we’re collaborating on more stuff. We had a lot of long chats during COVID. I’m struck by her grasp on a raw and beautifully unstable femininity, which she expresses through her work: “Why shouldn’t I murder you in your sleep?” She’s able to portray that kind of message in her work and make it feel justified and relevant. Her stories have undertones of witchcraft, and, relatedly, misogyny; through Mother Nature, they tie into the environmental crisis we’re going through.

That particular poem is based on someone, and how their avoidance was driving her bonkers. She got very intimate with someone, but she felt far away from them. She could feel that hot stickiness of frustration, and they just fell apart in her hands; she’s lying next to them, and then they’re sleeping, and she’s got the moon coming in through the window. It’s this weird place between day and night. This is my interpretation, of course, but it resonated with me so much.

You spoke earlier about being aware of your position as a white guy in dance music. Did you try to tap into anything from that poetry?

Bruce: Absolutely. These two EPs, and the rest of the music that’s gone into this project, are about a very complex open relationship. It had conditions that made things very complicated, especially when dealing with people’s emotions. There were things that I could have done better, but much of the time, it was the horrendous storm of other people’s emotions.

The responsibility gained and lost, through certain decisions—good and bad—amounted to hearts being broken multiple times, including mine. A lot of the role played there boiled down to being a white bloke, and the privilege that comes with that. Through that, I’ve learned an awareness through my shared experiences with other people, both queer and heteronormative. I’ve realized the privileges I’ve had along the way, and I’ve empathized with the pain and struggles of these people, both intimately and on a larger scale.

I can relate to both sides of “Antler.” I can relate to being the person that’s avoidant, and I can relate to being avoided. There’s a kind of self-simulation in these songs. It’s, “I’m sorry”; it’s “F*ck you”; it’s “I forgive you.” I hope people will identify the greater narrative through their own experiences. I just hope they hear it at the right time so they can make the right decision.

The trope around writing songs that are adjacent to trauma and breakups is that the process is itself therapeutic. Did that ring true here?

Bruce: Yeah, it was helpful. I was describing this to my current partner. We’ve been celebrating our two-year anniversary this week. She was one of the people I was dating who was outside of the relationship. A lot of the songs on these EPs are written about her, and a lot of them have the tone of, “I’m sorry. I’m not ready.” I was explaining this to her last night: I’ve had the benefit of being able to snap off part of emotion at that time, almost like a Horcrux, from Harry Potter—please forgive the corny reference. I snap off part of that, and it exists as a separate entity once I put it into the song. That song retains the emotion; it’s an extension of where I was at that time. That’s why, usually when I perform [these songs], I break down and cry. It’s not a planned thing; there’s just a point where it happens.

However, I wasn’t aware that sharing these songs with the people that they are about was, sometimes, grossly inappropriate. I assumed that other people were where I was at. A few times, I sent music to a someone I was seeing, and they were like, “What the f*ck?” It was carrying on the triggering behaviors from when we were in the relationship. The work was therapeutic, but it caused a need for so much therapy down the line. [laughs] My partner and I are great now, but we’ve had to do so much therapy to get through how much trauma this release has both fixed and caused.

I’ve been quite lucky to have a few people come up to me already and tell me about their experiences. It means the world to me to be able to extend any involvement in trauma as a positive impact from now on.

At this point, how tied are your vocal work and this kind of songwriting? Could you write a tune about something that wasn’t part of your life?

Bruce: No. It’s a neurodivergence thing. I’ve always struggled to be involved in anything I can’t relate to, which has its benefits and its downsides. The EPs are about pathos, and sadness, and relationships—now, I’m in a very comfortable relationship, and I have no interest in changing that. I’m quite confident that there are more stories to tell that don’t require sadness. Often, an artist’s breakup EP, or their grief EP, will be considered their best work. Maybe I’m being overly optimistic, but I’m confident that it all comes down to that state of abandon.

We’re just not as used to abandoning ourselves to positive emotions, because we can just get by on them. When it comes to grief and sadness, we don’t have a choice, because our body’s screaming: it wants to let go; it wants to lament. I haven’t quite had the chance to write more singing stuff yet, but I’m looking forward to the projects that I can dive into with that headspace. It’ll just require a similar learning curve, and, hopefully, less trauma.

When you were putting this together, did you notice your approach to production changing? I’m not sure if “minimal” is the right word, but I struggle to envision you singing over much of your older stuff.

Bruce: There’s a couple of cases of me singing on club music: the XRA stuff has that, and there’s a single on the Timedance compilation from 2020. I’m interested in working with my vocals on club stuff, and in moving forward with hybrid sets, where I have effects and a microphone. A lot of the music I’m currently writing has elements of that.

My production has definitely changed. Since writing [these EPs], I’ve become a lot more interested in a collaged approach to production. I listened to Frank Ocean‘s Blonde pretty constantly [while making this]. I read about the team behind that album, and about the amount of production that went into the album. They’d have session musicians record licks, and then they’d collage them together. I’m just one person, but the idea of bringing in different textures into tracks, even if they’re a step away stylistically, is of interest.

How has your approach to DJing and digging evolved in that same time?

Bruce: The best part about the singing stuff, in regards to the club world, is that I can basically split my creative interests into two piles to stop my cup from spilling over. I’ve always liked the idea of putting people on edge on dancefloors, but recently, that’s taken a malicious turn. Now, I’m more interested in scaring people on dancefloors. I’m writing a lot of club music at the moment, and it’s got some pretty weird samples. It’s interesting, toeing the line between what’s scary and what makes people jump whilst retaining a safe space attitude. So it’s about finding an appropriate way of going about it. Dancefloors are made for escape, and it’s important to give people that space without making that scariness return in one form or another.

For that reason, I’m interested in dusty, scratchy, weird, and older stuff. I think that, in comparison to more digital stuff, it’s less honest. It’s that lack of honesty which I’m curious to move towards, on the whole, artistically. There are many artists whose music I’ve thoroughly enjoyed in the past: the creepiness of Aphex Twin and Actress, the rule-breaking spirit of Hype Williams and DJ Marcelle. I think it’s important to come in with a sense that you’re telling an unhinged story that isn’t fully trustworthy.

You mentioned “honestly” earlier. To me, that feels like a bit of a charged term. Can you unpack that for me?

Bruce: Let me find an example. You know “Lady Science” by Soul Capsule? A song like that, which is very melancholic and minimal, has a brilliantly elegant way of expressing a feeling. A lot of people probably have a lot of nostalgia for that track. Compare that to Actress’s “Get Ohn (Fairlight Mix).” It’s similar: it has a nostalgia to it, and it has a bit of housiness from the vocal. But the drums are skittering around, and there’s not a fixed groove. You can’t quite see through the clouds to see what’s going on. You feel like there’s an emotion there, but you can’t quite put your finger on it. Or, think about Muslimgauze: you can feel the message, but you can’t quite tell what it’s saying. That’s what I mean when I say “dishonesty”: they’re leaving the decision to you, and do you trust yourself to come up with the answers?

The music I’m working on currently uses a lot of weird samples that I got from weird places. The messages that come with that are intentionally ambiguous. It’s not meant to be coy, or tricky; it’s just meant to be a little unsettling.

This recalls your Truancy set from last year, which has the chug of dance music, but you’re putting in post-punk records; you’re doing more uncomfortable stuff. How do you approach making unsettling material?

Bruce: It’s just from what’s around me right now. I’ve always been grateful for the Bristol scene. I’ve always been grateful for the artists here who are just so good at portraying the rough, but loving, side of the human condition. Kinlaw, Franco Franco, BIPED, Kelan, EP/64, Dan Johnson, i-sha, k means, the Schwet parties, Accidental Meetings, Noods [Radio], Strange Brew, Bokeh Versions. They all help bring eyeballs to the Bristol scene while keeping it just the right amount of f*cked up. This whole music exists on the fringes; it exists in the weird, cruddy corners and crevices of all things that are great.

It’s like in Monsters, Inc. The monsters generated quite a bit of energy by scaring people. It’s a great story, and it’s happy, in the end, but—hold on! You had a whole civilization built on scaring people.

It’s a big question, and it comes from a place of white privilege to be toying with this, but it’s very ’90s America. Before 9/11, American culture gave so much great stuff to the world: nu-metal, that horrible Marilyn Manson stuff, Fight Club. This is all stuff where people were toying with their mortality. Fear is such an exciting emotion to play with. I’ve always really enjoyed playing music to people and scaring them shitless. [laughs]

You’ve mentioned previously that you’ve struggled to let go of control and precision on the dancefloor. Now, are you striving towards fear and unsettlement instead?

Bruce: Yeah. It’s trying to embrace a sense of chaos. Obviously, only DJ Marcelle can do what DJ Marcelle does, and the way that she’s able to embrace the chaos and make it so convincing, and make it totally deliberate. I still need to put a lot of time into that, in a performance sense. With production, I’m there, in terms of where I want to go in the future. I feel like I’ve done an alright job at making people go “What the f*ck?” on the dancefloor in the past, so I want to see how far I can push that.

You mentioned, a while back, that in between putting out this EP and reorienting, finding self-care and treating yourself with more kindness. How do you do that, if that’s something you’re comfortable getting into?

Bruce: I’ve got the financial privilege of therapy, which helps. I went to a shamanically trained kinesiologist. She has massively blown open my world and my awareness of my physical body, and how I resonate with different things, and the importance of my inherited energy, for lack of a better term.

I’m very much a firm believer in tangible-is-true. But the more you open up to stuff, the more you can surprise yourself. That awareness has helped me in my day-to-day; I used to be a very black-and-white person. Being open to ambiguity has been hugely beneficial. That has helped me learn to regulate my emotions; I know to trust the ideas, and sounds, and voices in my head, rather than squashing them. I’m a very inconsistent person, so it’s about making peace with that and all the stuff that comes with it: Meditation, yoga, exercise.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

Bruce: I’m gearing up for a performance next week at the release party for Ready, which I’m looking forward to. I’m going to bring Quade, a band whose album I mixed down. They’ve got an album coming out on AD93. The formidable Susu Laroche, from Accidental Meetings, will also be performing . I’m looking forward to playing with them at MOT. I’m performing with Ben for XRA the first week of November, at Positive Education; that’s the first time we’re doing that, which is a bit scary, but exciting. After that, it’s just finishing the next album, basically. Any touring that revolves around future music that’ll be released at the end of the year, which will be revealed soon. Put it this way: There’s Not, there’s Ready, and the third record completes the story.

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