Interview: Felix Lawrie of Brutai (November 2017)

Brutai are a band I’ve been following now for nigh on three years. They were the first band I ever interviewed for the site and since then I’ve fostered a good friendship with the frontman and vocalist of the band, Felix. Prior to their show in Manchester supporting Kobra and the Lotus, I got the chance to catch up with him to see what the band had been getting up to since I last spoke to them whilst they were out with Devil You Know in late January.

It’s been a little while since we last spoke and I gather that you’ve been quite busy as a band…

Yeah, we’ve done some things! We’ve done some shows outside of London, Download and a few others now. It’s been our most productive and busy year as a band. I mean, it feels as though Download was two weeks ago and that was all the way back in June!

This is day three of the tour now. How have the previous nights been?

The previous nights have been great actually. Southampton was a little stressful as we were a bit late and we were trying out a new setup for the first time and everyone was a bit like “Where’s this? Where’s that?” but we had a really great time on stage. And then the show in Milton Keynes yesterday was amazing as well. We really like playing that venue there and there was a really good vibe.

And tonight we’re here in Manchester. We’ve only played here once before at Sound Control and we had a great time. We’re being sensible tonight though as we’re planning to drive halfway to the next venue tonight in preparation for going to Ireland tomorrow.

What are your plans for the next 6 to 12 months?

The plan for now is new music. We’ve been cracking on for a little while now and ideas are starting to become songs now. We’ve got some targets that we’ve set ourselves and we met one of them before tour and we’ll be doing some more work in December after this tour. We don’t want to divulge too much as of yet as we’re still working on things.

Last time we spoke you had just been endorsed by Charvel guitars and you mentioned that you were in talks with an Amp maker. I gather that is with EVH.

That’s right. We’d just got endorsed by Charvel before that tour and we finalized the package with them after the tour. Charvel have done absolutely amazing for us and so have the EVH people. It’s kind of the same people we’re dealing with and they’ve been really nice to us.

You know who else uses Charvel and EVH?

Joe Duplantier. Yeah that’s right.

What’s your thoughts on Gojira headlining Bloodstock next year?

I think it’s amazing. I thought their set last year was worthy of a headline set and I kinda predicted that they would be headlining one year. I remember standing there and watching them in awe. On the topic of Bloodstock, we’d love to play there again. It’s arguably one of our favourite festivals to play and the whole atmosphere there is amazing.

Keeping on the gear theme, I gather that you’ve been trying out an IEM system on this tour.

Yeah, we’re using a combination of Sennheiser and Shure components and it’s been a huge help. Particularly for me and Alex as we’ve often had issues where we can’t hear our vocals. Now that we can, we don’t need to sing at the top of our voices and we can work on dynamics much better.

When you were on that run in 2014 with Centiment, did you ever think that you’d be in the position you are these days?

Oh man, that’s going back a bit! You’ve always got to have self belief and we always thought that we would be able to do it if we put in the hard work. If at the time someone told us that we were going to do what we did then we would have gone “Shit. Ok, I guess we worked really hard for it.” We’re still not the finished article though and as time goes on we’ll keep working hard and keep improving.

So next step, your own headlining tour?

That’s the next logical step. We were going to be doing one before this gig came up and we figured it was too good pass this up. I think early-ish next year is what we’re planning. It’s definitely going to happen and we’ll see how it goes. I’ve got a few ideas for support bands including two which I think would really complement each other. We’re going to be featuring some acts that we want to bring with us so I’m looking forward to announcing that sometime soon.

What would you say that your top three albums for this year are?

Oh man, that’s a really hard question! I think Steven Wilson’s new album is really good. It’s the first album that I’ve really got into of his and I really enjoy it. Arcane Root’s new album is amazing as well and Caligula’s Horse have a really good album. The new Trivium album as an honorable mention as it’s one of the best albums that they’ve ever come out with.

So I’d have to say, Arcane Roots, Caligula’s Horse and Steven Wilson.

What’s one ambition that the band has yet to achieve?

I would probably say that we’d love to make it onto a couple of major European festivals and to be able to play in the US. They are kinda long term goals and we’d love to play outside of the UK and bring our music to new territories. We’ve toured the UK three times now and I think we’re ready to branch out and take ourselves to the next level.

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