Interview: Bru-C

A true stalwart of the Nottingham music scene, Bru-C has come a long way since the days of selling out shows at the Irish Centre back in 2014. The rapper and entrepreneur has become something of a local hero with his side projects, his brands Krudd and Bubblin’ revolutionising the Nottingham bassline scenes of late, whilst, alongside the CruCast boys, Bru-C has begun to take UK bassline to new heights. With two Rock City sell-outs under his belt, millions of Spotify plays on his debut record Original Sounds, and a smattering of Radio 1 airtime over the past few months, Bru-C would be forgiven for taking a break over lockdown. Yet with new single Cardio on the horizon, Nottingham’s hottest MC is showing no signs of slowing down.

“I have no excuse: the people want it! I’ve got singles out over summer, and a big collab in September,” explained a well-spirited Bru-C. “I’m just keeping it moving, just working on the new album really,” he laughed, eager to talk about his new projects. “I’m not saying things on the album [Original Sounds] didn’t sit right, I’m just saying I can one up it. I want to be experimental, and my next project that I put out will hopefully showcase that.” Always brimming with drive and enthusiasm, this was no surprise to hear from one of the scene’s hardest working individuals. However, the journey behind the transition from party anthems to releasing a string of tracks with a more thoughtful edge, namely recent releases Introspective and Life, has been an eagerly awaited tale for fans of one of the country’s most renowned MCs.

“Music is my life… and I want to put my life into it. If I’m not telling the full story, then I’m not giving it my all. I want to speak open about it more and encourage others, because it’s something people can hold a lot of shame to. Problems with our mental health, you know we all have it… the more people can be open about it, the more people can learn about the steps they need to take,” ushered the Notts MC. “I want to set an example for the younger audience, for those who may not know about feeling lost in that place, where you don’t know what to do.” Although it is common for bands and artists to adopt an easily manufactured public persona of care, empathy and passion for fans welfare, Bru-C’s words felt far from performative.

Aside from his stellar live performances, Bru-C has been a regular face in the heart of the community for years. Throughout lockdown, he has sought to engage the young people of Nottingham. Alongside surprise performances of his new tracks around the city, the MC has strapped on his trainers, hitting the Forest Recreational Ground in a bid to stay engaged with the scene that has been so crucial to his successes. “We’ve got to try and adapt, to keep the finger on the button and to keep people engaged,” he went on. “To spread some positivity was the main reason. We can’t do shows right now, but we can definitely do something!”

Despite keeping active with his fans, Bru-C hasn’t take his foot off the gas in the studio, and his lockdown journey has influenced his ambitions as an artist. “In terms of being a dance vocalist, I want to be the biggest there ever was. Straight up.”

“There’s people in the past who have definitely made noise, don’t get me wrong… but I want to be that face, to represent the culture”

It was no surprise to hear such unrelenting ambition from a man who has grabbed the UK bass scene by the horns over the past few years. Along with live-show virtuoso and Nottingham resident DJ Dr Gre, the sound of Bru-C has been heard from Printworks to Brickworks, and even in the Mecca of dance music, Ibiza. “There’s people in the past who have definitely made noise, don’t get me wrong…but I want to be that face, to represent the culture. To take it into the mainstream, that’s the challenge over the next few years for me.” When asked about who his ideal collaborator would be, there were no hesitations. “It would be Calvin Harris. It’s happening bro!” he laughed.

Despite building a career worth bragging about, Bru-C has remained remarkably grounded. From bringing his family out on stage with him at Rock City, to organising intimate events around the city for his ever-growing fan base, the DJ has always been ready to challenge the perceptions of basslines hard exterior, to reveal a community with everyone having each other’s backs - especially when it comes to mental health. “At the end of the day, it’s a service, it’s a business, we want to service our people the best way we can, and that’s our community. And if they’re looked after, then everyone’s a winner.”

“I think it’s number one,” he continued. “Especially the nightlife scene, you gotta look after the people. It’s easy to put the tickets on and sell out the shows and keep it moving, but partying can be detrimental to people. I’m trying to make it less about selling out raves, and more about showing care for people who invest their time and money.” This has no doubt shaped the way his brand Krudd has been formed. “The slogan of our brand, Krudd, is ‘Family Only’, and I think that just makes what we do something real. It’s really important for me. I want to always have a why for when we do things.”

Although he has demonstrated his ability to conjure huge crowds of a hectic nature at summer festivals ranging from Reading and Leeds, Kendall Calling, Boomtown and Sundown, Bru-C’s focus has always returned to Nottingham. The rapper and entrepreneur’s recent tours have seen a host of talented producers and MCs visit the city as part of Bru-C’s shows, from the golden boy of bassline Skepsis to P Money, one of the most iconic figures in the game. “The fact we all get on really helps,” admitted Bru-C. “It’s good to be surrounded by good people when you’re up and down the country, and everyone brings something different to the live shows. It’s awesome man.”

“Music is my life… and I want to put my life into it. If I’m not telling the full story, then I’m not giving it my all.“

Cutting from one family to another, I couldn’t help but ask if his young son understands what his dad gets up to when on the road. “He knows man, he knows!” laughed Bru-C. “He’s the main inspiration. I show him a lot of my tunes before they are out, and I can gauge if they are any good or not from his opinion!”

Family-centric; community lead: far from slowing down over the past few months, Bru-C has been working as hard as ever, and will no doubt return to the live stage with a bang when permitted to do so. Focused, ambitious, organised - when the UK bass scene slowly wakes from its lockdown slumber, they’ll find one man in particular raring to go.

Bru-C’s latest single ‘Cardio’ is out now on all platforms.