Feature: The Timeless Beauty of Bruno Major’s Sophomore Album ‘To Let A Good Thing Die’

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas

Our Rating

Beautifully soothing and intimately immersive, Bruno Major’s sophomore album ‘To Let A Good Thing Die’ is a timeless work of art filled with breathtaking poetry and sound that captures the imagination, inspires the mind, and moves the soul.

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Stream: “Old Soul” – Bruno Major




Bruno Major’s second album is an open book of love and learning, growth and change. It’s a record of life lived – as much a respite from our world, as it is a complete and unapologetic indulgence. As a songwriter, Major is honest and vulnerable and present – as real as one could ask the 31-year-old to be. From a musical perspective, he is equally unequivocal: Sweet and soulful, with tasteful melodies and gorgeous harmonies when and where necessary, Major’s songs haunt in all the right ways. Beautifully soothing and intimately immersive, To Let A Good Thing Die is a timeless work of art filled with breathtaking poetry and sound that captures the imagination, inspires the mind, and moves the soul.

To Let A Good Thing Die - Bruno Major

To Let A Good Thing Die – Bruno Major

Will it be a pavement or a sidewalk
When I finally lay my eyes on you?
Someone I’ve already loved
Or will you find your way out of the blue?
Will it be my flat or your apartment
When I finally realise I do?
Will we meet on Baker Street
Or find ourselves on Melrose Avenue?
I don’t know who you are
But I’ll save you a seat
Hang my coat on a chair next to me
I tried to reassure the waiter
Say you’re down the street
He laughed at me
So here’s to you
The most beautiful thing that I have never seen

Independently released June 5, 2020, To Let A Good Thing Die is a resounding achievement of artistic and emotional resonance. Hailing from Northampton, British singer/songwriter Bruno Major shines as bright as a rising star can these days. He’s a fully independent, world-touring artist of sound mind and clear head, committed to making art that is as much as vessel of expression for himself, as it is for others. “I’m just trying to bring happiness and warmth to people, like a warm cup of tea on a cold day,” he says.

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas



Years in the making, To Let a Good Thing Die finds Major opining on love and pontificating on the dual beauty and futility of our very existence; he waxes philosophical whilst reeling from a breakup, only to result in a song that (in spite of itself) captures the essence of love: That purity and unadulterated connection that fuels our days and keeps us constantly pushing forward, closer to some substantial nirvana. Elsewhere, we find Major charting his life-changing experience on the drug DMT (“I felt very clear after that experience; I felt very clear about what I needed to do, and very confident in who I was“), and exploring the magic of memory – how we once we interact with someone, we are forever a part of their story, however large or small.

Have you felt a revolution?
Do you ever sit to stop and pause
Just to take a little moment
To see what’s mine and yours?
More than all the things that I’ve seen
You will always be part of my tapestry
More than all the places I’ve been
You will always be part of my tapestry
These aren’t just lines of latitude
That we made up
Drawn upon a map
We could be meeting with more than minds
We could be woven and intertwined

Falling into some gray genre boundary encompassing pop, R&B, electronic, and soul, Bruno Major has been actively releasing music since 2014. He is one of a very few lucky artists who managed to break free from his record label (relatively) unscathed – many tend to quit the industry entirely after such a negative experience – and while it cost him a studio album that will likely never see the light of day, it bought him creative and financial independence at a young age. Major’s debut album, 2017’s A Song for Every Moon, is a sublime listening experience – it’s the kind of debut that leaves you breathless and dumbfounded all at once. Written mostly in the artist’s kitchen, the record spawned such hit songs as “Easily,” “Places We Walk,” and “Fair-Weather Friend,” which put the artist’s lyrical talents on display while showcasing the breadth of his guitar playing and the evocative depths of his vocal range.

To Let A Good Thing Die builds mightily upon A Song for Every Moon‘s foundation, jettisoning Bruno Major into a pseudo-stardom for those of us listening close; its songs, so simple and yet so powerful, feel almost too perfect to be true. Opener “Old Soul” lights a flame with deep grooves and haunting licks; Major’s croons, organic and achingly bare, evoke a complex array of feeling while immediately establishing his record’s unassuming nuance and (seemingly) limitless pull. “The Most Beautiful Thing,” written with Finneas O’Connell, is one of those sweetly seductive explorations of love that could have come out in any era; it transcends the moment, with flawlessly heartfelt sentiments that both embrace and reject the idea of “true love” or a “twin flame” all at once.

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas



Bruno Major is the kind of artist who stays true to himself and true to his art.

“You can say a lot in three minutes, you know,” Major tells Atwood Magazine. “None of my songs have bridges or middle-eights. I find that if I have a moment of inspiration, I follow that idea through to its natural conclusion. The words are the most important thing to me: They’re all just poems, and I decorate them with music. The vocals and stuff are all there to serve the words and make them feel more… I don’t know, believable, I guess.”

Clocking in at just over thirty minutes, To Let A Good Thing Die and its ten songs find Bruno Major being as honest as he could be, both with himself and with his art, at this juncture. It’s a record dealing with universal traumas like disconnect and heartbreak, but one that also takes a step back to put things into perspective and observe some of these values from a higher point-of-view. Considering what he’s done here, one can only imagine how Major might reckon with death and grief – but those are subjects for another time.

For now, this record is exactly what it is and what it needed to be: “It’s a musical description of my thoughts and feelings,” the artist states. “It’s nothing more or less than that. It’s not been made to go on a radio station; it’s not been made to please anyone, or do anything other than be what it was always meant to be, which is an honest reflection of who I am at this period in time. If you like the album, you’d probably like me, and if you don’t like the album, you probably won’t like me.”

But you’ll probably like the album, and you’ll probably like Bruno Major. An open book, the British artist spoke to Atwood Magazine at length about the emotional intricacies and exciting inner-workings of his sophomore studio album. Dive into the depths of To Let A Good Thing Die below, and be sure to give Major’s music a listen: Seldom has a set of songs felt so masterfully authentic and true to itself.

Certain songs remind you of certain people at certain times. Memories are contained with music.

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:: stream/purchase Bruno Major here ::




A CONVERSATION WITH BRUNO MAJOR

To Let A Good Thing Die - Bruno Major

Atwood Magazine: It’s been about 7 years since your debut “Home” first introduced your music to a wider audience. How do you feel you’ve grown over that time?

Bruno Major: That was actually released during my brief tenure with a major label, which ended up being a catastrophe. I was with them for about six months, and then they dropped me… and I moved back to London from LA with no money and no album and no stuff-esteem. I spent like a year or two with writer’s block – I was writing a lot of songs and towards the end of it, and I ended up working as a musical director in a Shakespeare play. I was surrounded by these beautiful words, and that kind of kick-started my writing again. I realized that I had, like, literally hundreds of songs, and I didn’t want to rely on a record label to be in charge of my career – so I decided to start releasing independently, and that’s when things started to go really well for me!

I started releasing my debut album, A Song for Every Moon, in 2016, and then got on from there, touring around the world. Now I’ve finished my second album, and it’s brilliant – I’m running the whole show myself now with my manager Sam. I know it’s one of those things that people always say, but I honestly wouldn’t have it any other way. I can’t imagine anything worse than being told what to do by a record label.

Do you feel like it was an especially long journey in advance of A Song for Every Moon, your first album?
 

Bruno Major: I dunno. It was a long journey, but I learned so much in that time. I was 27 when I released my debut album, but when you think about what it takes to become a doctor – you have to go through school, then you have to go to university, do undergraduate and postgrad, medical training… and then finally you become a doctor, if you’re lucky, around 30! For me, I spent my childhood learning my instrument, and then I went to university to do a music degree and learn about jazz and jazz harmony, and all of those songs that were written in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and then I moved to London and wrote hundreds of songs and became a songwriter. I spent two years learning how to record music on Logic and becoming a music producer, and then I spent a while being a music producer, and then finally at the end of this long journey – at the end of basically a “doctorate” – I felt comfortable enough to make my own album and make it myself, and release it myself. I didn’t have to rely on anyone else for anything. And so it was a long journey – I don’t really see how I could have done it any quicker. The journey has to be savored.

I think that's wonderful. Obviously the response to A Song for Every Moon has been nothing short of stunning. Has your album’s impact affected you at all?

Bruno Major: What, you mean did I develop a huge cocaine habit and lose sight of myself? Yeah, I spent all my money on vodka – No! Of course not; it’s funny – people have an idea of what constitutes “success” – I remember, when I was 20, I got a gig playing guitar for the artist Taio Cruz, and every time I saw my granddad, he was like, “When are you going to get a proper job?” and I was like, … and I got on TV for three seconds, I was doing this gig, playing guitar for an artist – I think I got paid 100 pounds for that gig, maximum 100 pounds – but my granddad saw that on the TV and the next time I saw him, he asked me if he could borrow 10 pounds! It was like, granddad, nothing has changed: You just saw me on TV for three seconds. And it’s the same with this album: People see that I released an album and it did really well on Spotify and stuff, and I’m doing gigs all around the world – and it is great, and I suppose those are palpable signs of success, but it depends on what you define your own success as, and for me, success has always been creating art I’m really proud of. I think if I have done that, then I consider myself to be successful: It doesn’t matter whether 3 million people listen to the song, or 30 million people, or three people. It means that I have designated my destination of success to myself. So with this album I’m about to release, I don’t feel any pressure for it to do anything because I’m really proud of it – and so as far as I’m concerned, I am successful.

For me, success has always been creating art I’m really proud of. I think if I have done that, then I consider myself to be successful.

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas



Congratulations! How did your creative process differ for To Let a Good Thing Die?

Bruno Major: It was super different. With the first album, I had nothing to do. I didn’t have a job, I was living on the breadcrumbs left over from my record advance, so I was just staying home all day making an album. And you know, it was still a tough thing because I did a song every month, and it was an intensive workload, but this time around I was trying to balance going on tour and running a business (which I do now). I think in order to be the guy who can go on tour and play a show every night, and it doesn’t matter if you’re feeling shit or ill or insecure about whatever – you still have to go out and entertain people and be 100% – in order to do that, you develop this kind of like soldier person, soldier mentality. The person who makes the songs, who pours his heart out and shares his feelings with the world is very vulnerable and fragile, and like a butterfly. And so I think that my greatest challenge with this was balancing the soldier with the butterfly, and learning how to switch between the two. I’d have like a month in the studio, and then suddenly go on tour for a month, and then go back into the studio; it was very different. Also I guess, I had access to studios this time; the first one, I made completely in my kitchen, and in my co-producer’s garden shed, whereas this time we had studio time and a little bit more budget, so things were a little bit different – but I think at the core of it, it’s the same mentality – the same process.

You introduce the album with “Old Soul,” a warm, groovy downtempo mood. Why did you choose this song as the album opener?
 

Bruno Major: I know it’s a boring, vague answer, but it just felt right. It’s a quite fresh-feeling song to me; it has the right energy it’s not too intense – it settles in nicely. It has that voice memo at the beginning, which I thought was a nice way to put it in context. It just felt like a good opening.

My greatest challenge with this was balancing the soldier with the butterfly, and learning how to switch between the two.



I really like Tom Ewbank’s work – it was cool to see that you worked with him!

Bruno Major: Oh, he’s so sick, man – he’s so sick.

Yeah he’s so talented with what he does. The Ewbank-directed music video really brings us into the smoky room with you. What do you think the video adds to the music, that might not have been there from the start?

Bruno Major: What do I think the music video adds? I mean, it’s funny – I’ve done music videos before and they’ve all been kind of like conceptual videos with a story, like a little mini film, whereas this time we had some Super 8 footage from tour, and Tom had this idea to film the first night at the venue that we did two shows in, in London because it’s a beautiful old theatre. It just shows me in my natural habitat, I suppose; I suppose in a way it’s not really related to the subject matter of the song; it’s more of a live feel.

I think people read too much into videos, man. I actually find it a bit frustrating to be honest, as a musician. Like we were talking about before, you’ve spent the equivalent of a doctorate – from age 7 you dedicate your life to music, and then you get to 27 and you finally feel like you’re ready to release a piece of art, and you’ve developed yourself as an artist enough to get to that point, and then right at the end people are like, “Oh dude, by the way, you have to make a video for the song. And, oh yeah, everyone’s gonna judge you as much on the video as on the music.” It’s like, “Oh fuck I’m sorry, in my fucking lifelong dedication to my art I forgot that I had to become a videographer at the same time.” Tom is an amazing artist and he’s an amazing videographer, and I just trust him implicitly and was like, “Whatever your vision is for this song, I trust you.

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas

I feel the exact same way: I think there's way too much pressure put on visuals; the music should just speak for itself. It's something that is so ingrained in our society since the days of MTV, but from my perspective, a good song is a good song! It shouldn't have to survive on a good visual – the music can speak for itself.

Bruno Major: It does depend on the artist – you know, there are some artists who are as much about making a statement visually and with things that they wear and stuff, and that’s great and I respect those artists a lot, but I am definitely a person who is pretty much exclusively about the music and the sounds: That’s what I’m involved with.

I want to stay on “Old Soul” for one more question, because I feel like this song really brings me into your music and it's a reintroduction in a way. “We spend our days listening to old soul,” you sing. Can you tell me about these words?

Bruno Major: I wrote this song with a British artist named Sam Bolo. It was on the day that we met, and I think we had both been through breakups at the time. And it’s kind of like – have you seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall? You know that scene where Jason Segel breaks up with Sarah Marshall, and then spends like three weeks in those green sweatpants eating cereal, out of like a gigantic Tupperware bowl? That was kind of what my breakup was like, so it’s kind of about being at home, doing absolutely nothing, and wallowing in misery – which is what everyone needs to do for a bit after they’ve been through a breakup. It’s also endemically about listening to the same records that that person had listened to, with the person that they were with. That’s why the second line, “Records play, I picture you in my home” – certain songs remind you of certain people at certain times. Memories are contained with music.



What sounds or feelings were you inspired by this time around, that perhaps weren’t readily available to you last time around?

Bruno Major: There are a few songs on A Song for Every Moon that were existential questions, like “On Our Own” springs to mind. There’s a couple on this one. “Figment Of My Mind” is about a DMT trip that I had, which kind of changed my life. There’s also a song called “I’ll Sleep When I’m Older,” which is all about the amorality of existence and the beauty of the fleeting nature of life, and what it’s like to just be a guy in his prime, trying to get as much shit done as possible, while also being horribly aware of his own mortality and the ticking clock… I guess I think about that stuff a lot.

I think it really adds a lot of color and perspective to this record – it feels very mature in that way.

Bruno Major: Thank you.

You're welcome; thank you for the music. “The Most Beautiful Thing” is a movingly sweet love song – your vocals are gentle and tender, the lyrics honest and innocent. It’s a love song to someone you haven’t met yet. Can you tell me more about it?

Bruno Major: So, I wrote this song with Finneas O’ Connell, who is a good friend of mine. A lot of people know him because he’s the brother of Billie Eilish, but he’s a fantastic artist and, I think, one of the best songwriters in the world and a really great guy. We wrote a few songs together, and this is my favorite one. I’m a total cynic, but the song was kind of about the idea of a one love – the idea that everyone has a soul mate or a twin flame. And then, it’s the cynic in me saying, “Well, why is it that most people end up marrying the person they sat next to in math when they were 14, or from a town with a population of like 20,000 people?” There’s a line in the second verse which is, “Someone on a screen asked me a question: Something about what love means to me. Maybe it’s just circumstance or general compatibility.”

It’s kind of like balancing the dichotomy of the romantic in you, versus the realist in you. I do think also, what if there is a twin flame for every person on the planet? What if right now, while you were doing this interview, if you just turned the phone off and ran outside onto the street, you would see him or her, and if you just walked up to them to be like, “Oh my god, I think you’re my person.” Or what if you didn’t do that, and what if you nearly met them one time? Or what if that person was born in Ghana, and you just never went to Ghana – do you know what I mean? I guess it’s just an over-pontification of a hypothetical situation, but I really like it – it’s one of my favorite songs I’ve ever written.



I love that – “over-pontification of a hypothetical situation.” We love Finneas here, too. We actually interviewed him before Billie blew up – so we’re big fans of him and what he does. It's nice that his work is getting so much attraction, but I do hope that the rest of the world eventually comes to see him as his own artist, the way Ed Sheeran used to be known as Taylor Swift’s songwriter, and then he became his own standalone person, too.

Bruno Major: Yeah, although that was a very American thing! Over here, he was Ed Sheeran.

I hear you on that one. One thing I love about your music is how diverse and distinct each progressive song is from the last. “Nothing” may not last three minutes, but it’s a fabulously intimate, up-close-and-personal recording with lovely vocal harmonies and guitar licks below it. What inspired moments like this?
 

Bruno Major: A lot of my favorite songwriters – I’m big into Nick Drake, Randy Newman – those guys don’t fuck about. You’ll be hard-pressed to find many Nick Drake songs that last more than three minutes. You can say a lot in three minutes, you know. I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but none of my songs have bridges or middle-eights. I find that if I have a moment of inspiration, I follow that idea through to its natural conclusion. The words are the most important thing to me: They’re all just poems, and I decorate them with music. The vocals and stuff are all there to serve the words and make them feel more… I don’t know, believable, I guess.

The words are the most important thing to me: They’re all just poems, and I decorate them with music.

I like that a lot. They're very natural that way; it kind of sounds like it comes from the heart.

Bruno Major: Thank you. Production, to me, is like framing a picture, you know? If you have a picture that you love, or if you have a poem that you love, and you want to frame it in the bathroom, then you find the frame that fits the picture and the frame that fits it in the setting you want to put it in. I’m a songwriter at heart, and I could have presented these songs in a lot of ways. It was a conscious decision to me to present them with electronic drums and jazz harmony and stuff; I could have stripped them down to the bare bones and made a Bob Dylan album, or I could have done it with a big band and had brass all over it. All of these decisions are conscious decisions, but as far as I’m concerned, the way that I’ve decorated these songs in terms of production is the way that serves the song itself the best. So if it means that there is an occasional disparity in terms of the stylistic choices between songs themselves, I think that’s because I think harder about the song itself, than I do about the album. When I was recording “Nothing,” all I was thinking about was “Nothing,” and I finished that and next, onto “The Most Beautiful Thing,” and then I’m thinking about just that, and at the end of it I put them all together and it made the album. Hopefully by virtue of the technology I’ve used and the timeframe in which I’ve completed the piece of art, they have some stylistic continuity.

Production to me is like framing a picture.



No one wants to hear a song about the bitch that broke my heart,” you croon so smoothly on “Regents Park.” This song’s melodies remind me of the Tin Pan Alley sound and the music of the 1920s. Can you talk about your musical inspirations?

Bruno Major: Okay, so this song is a really funny one: Have you wateched 101 Dalmatians? There’s an opening scene where Pongo is looking out the window, trying to find a partner for him and Roger simultaneously. In the background, Roger is smoking his pipe, playing piano. And that piece of music that he’s playing in the film is called “A Beautiful Spring Day” by George Bruns who is, I believe the musical director of Disney at time. And I love that as an instrumental piece. So I took that piece and I composed a lyric to that melody. I used the whole thing and made into another song. I actually then contacted Disney, and we split the publishing – so I’ve actually written that song with George Burns, who is no longer with us. So it was kind of a crazy thing to have co-written a song with somebody who not only isn’t alive, but also who is one of the all-time greats, in my eyes – it was a really cool thing.

So then I took the subject 101 Dalmations, where Roger gets dragged to the park by Pongo and meets Anita, and they end up falling in love and then you know, it’s a happy ending, but at the time I was really basic and I had just broken up with my girlfriend, and I was like, “That’s not realistic: I’m gonna do a realistic ending to 101 Dalmations, where actually Anita breaks Roger’s heart, and takes him to the park and dumps him.” So that’s what “Regents Park” is about.

That is so clever! Part of me wonders if it might have been harder to do that if you were on a label?
 

Bruno Major: I can’t imagine that I would be able to do any of the stuff that I’m doing if I was on a label. Freedom is essential, and I’m really grateful for it. I think the greatest thing about DSPs like Spotify and Apple Music is that they are enabling people like me to make the music we want to make, and just put it on the internet and it will find its home. That’s great – ten years ago, if I didn’t get on the radio, I didn’t have a career – and there are a lot of artists like that; the very select few ones that did get through were having to play a game. In order to get on the radio, they have to make a music of a certain style in order to appease the people who were curating that particular radio station, so you’ve got a whole host of music that all sounded alike. I’m not going to name radio station because it would be suicidal, but you’ve got a bunch of artists making music specifically to go on radio stations. Now, I can make the music that I want to make, and it has its natural home. I’m not filling out stadiums, but I’m touring around the world and I’m making a living, and I’m artistically rewarded by what I’m doing.

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas



That’s the best thing you can possibly ask for. “I’ll say goodbye on a beautiful spring day,” you sing at the end. Did this song and “Tapestry” make for an appropriate closure for you?
 

Bruno Major: “Regents Park” was written during the album process – that’s a pretty new song. I wrote “Tapestry” before I even started releasing A Song for Every Moon, so there is at least two or three years between those two songs.

I definitely feel these threads of commonality in the music but they're not necessarily related to the same events.

Bruno Major: No, they’re not; not at all – they’re not about the same person either.

This flows into lead single “Old Fashioned,” another swampy neo-soul immersion. Can you tell me about the line, “I’ll be old fashioned for you,” and what it means to you?
 

Bruno Major: That was one of the sweetest songs I’ve ever written. It’s not necessarily defeatist either; it’s just about taking pleasure in being really nice to the person you love, and that it’s okay to… It’s a funny thing in the modern day, post-#MeToo… I think the whole attitude to romance is slightly different now. If yur’e at a restaurant and the waiter brings you your bill, even five years ago I feel like the bill would have gone straight to the guy. Now it’s put in the middle of the table – like, we’re advancing all the time in terms of our attitudes towards sexism. I don’t know, it’s like, where does chivalry go there? Is it still okay to want to pay for a meal for your partner ? Of course it is! I think it’s a beautiful thing. So I think in a way that song was saying, it’s meant to be chivalrous and it’s nice to be nice! It’s okay to be nice.



I like that. How do you balance sonics? What makes a song like “Old Fashioned” worthy of a fuller band’s presence, but not “She Chose Me” or “Figment of My Mind”?

Bruno Major: I made about four or five different drum beats for “Figment of My Mind,” and then at the end of it all, I just deleted everything and it was way better. I guess it’s because that one is so spaced out, that almost gridding it to a beat felt too rigid and opposing a concept. Whereas with “Old Fashioned,” the chords are just so lovely and the groove is so strong, that I felt like that one needed a beat.

I don’t know – it’s such an instinctive thing; I work with Phairo on everything – my co-producer. I write everything fast, and then I’ll bring the songs to him, and I’ll play either a demo or just play it to him in the room. And then we go, “Okay, that would be so cool with this kind of drum beat,” and then once we’ve got the drum beat and the vocal and the guitar we just kind of build everything around it. It has got some twinkly drum beat-type things, but it’s not really a full beat; there’s just some light percussion in there, I think.

“Figment of My Mind” is an especially haunting track with its warm acoustics and exquisite strings. Can you tell me about that song’s creation?
 

Bruno Major: While I was doing A Song for Every Moon, I took DMT, and it changed my life in a lot of ways. I felt very clear after that experience; I felt very clear about what I needed to do, and very confident in who I was. It teaches you a lot of things; it’s a very spiritual experience.

My life was very different after that. It was actually after that experience that I made A Song for Every Moon, and even the concept of needing to release a song every month and being in sync with the orbit of the moon and the planet and universe themselves, that all came out of that experience and realizing that you are part of the universe and the universe is you: You are the universe experiencing itself, blah blah blah all of those things… But it took a while for me to cerebralize what I had experienced, because it’s so far removed from the reality that we are in, in everyday life. But once I had managed to do that, I managed to write a song about it So it’s really just a story of the journey: The lyrics are literally just a description of the things that I saw.

That’s really cool. Let’s talk about the way you end this album with the calm, muted title track “To Let a Good Thing Die.” Why did you choose to close your record with this song?

Bruno Major: I feel like if the word “end” was described in musical form, it would be that song. Even the way it finishes with the E flat major chord, it’s just so final, and “to let a good thing die,” die is the last word. I just thought it was so perfect – I was so stoked when I realized that that was gonna finish the album nicely. I also feel like, in terms of my creative journey, starting with the album that never was when I was signed to that major label, and moving through to A Song for Every Moon, and then, and then finishing with this, it feels like it’s one big rainbow arc, creatively speaking, and I feel like this album is the full stop: That final chord on “To Let A Good Thing Die” is the full stuff of that period of creativity in my life, and I think where I’m gonna go next is going to be somewhere very different, musically speaking. During the recording process of this album, I was going through a relationship, and it was one of those weird breakups where neither of us wanted to break up, but our lives were pulling us – our natural trajectories were in different directions, and it was like, “This is a really good thing that we have, but it has to end.” It was sad, but it was beautiful, and there’s a lesson to be learned there: “All good things must come to an end,” as they say.

To Let A Good Thing Die - Bruno Major

To Let A Good Thing Die – Bruno Major



Now that we’ve gone through it, how do you feel this album best represents who Bruno Major is at this juncture?

Bruno Major: It’s a musical description of my thoughts and feelings. It’s nothing more or less than that. It’s not been made to go on a radio station; it’s not been made to please anyone, or do anything other than be what it was always meant to be, which is an honest reflection of who I am at this period in time. If you like the album, you’d probably like me, and if you don’t like the album, you probably won’t like me.

Do you remember where you were when you felt this album was finished?

Bruno Major: [sighs] I mean, it’s never finished… that’s the thing, you just have to turn it off. It’s like the TV: At some point you have to get off the sofa and go to bed. And there’s always going to be more TV, and there’s always going to be more album that you can make. When I look back at both the albums that I’ve made now, there are there are things about both that I would change – more so with the first one because I had less time with it, but yeah… it was finished when the deadline came about that said it was finished. That doesn’t mean that I’m not proud of it, because I am – I’m extremely proud of it, and I think that you can actually fuck up what you’ve done by fiddling with it too much. There’s some kind of beauty in the first demos that you make, and what I’m always trying to preserve is that feeling. I’m a perfectionist and I have to drag myself away from stuff, but I think I did it at the right time: I think it’s ready to go out into the world.

There’s some kind of beauty in the first demos that you make, and what I’m always trying to preserve is that feeling.

Can you give me three words to describe this album?

Bruno Major: My honest feelings.

I like that a lot. What do you hope listeners take away from this album? What do you hope to impart, if anything?

Bruno Major: I don’t really think that’s for me to say. It is to the observer of art to deduce their own meaning from the art, not the artist: It is their job to just create, and so whatever it needs to be, to whoever is listening, is what it will be. On a broad level, I hope it brings warmth to the world. I’m not trying to be really cool; I’m just trying to bring happiness and warmth to people, like a warm cup of tea on a cold day.

I’m just trying to bring happiness and warmth to people, like a warm cup of tea on a cold day.

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas

Bruno Major © Juan Ortiz-Arenas

I like your attitude about your music. You are in the unique position where you are allowed to create art, and just call it art. A lot of artists don’t have the luxury of being able to say that because there are so many other stakeholders at play, and it sounds like you have really embraced the idea of music as art, and you want it to sound good – to sound nice to you and hopefully to other people – but that's not your priority.

Bruno Major: Don’t forget, I come from the world of jazz – and I don’t think there’s one area or industry that is less appreciated than jazz. A lot of my musical heroes, I’ve been to see play at jazz clubs with thirty people in them – and these are the guys who I worship the ground they walk on. They are the best in the world at what they do, and they have dedicated extraordinary amounts of time to becoming masters of their extremely difficult craft. And yet, there are 30 people watching them if they’re lucky. As far as I’m concerned, the fact that anyone listens to my music – the fact that I can go anywhere in the world and put a show on now, it’s like, it’s so far above and beyond what I hoped and dreamed for. I think the lesson to learn is that you shouldn’t ever aspire to anything on a commercial level, because if you do, then you’re creating art for a commercial reason, and it is essentially not art anymore.

That's what I really like about your music: It's very honest in that way, and you're right – if there's any theme to your music, it's this honesty and this vulnerability that you've you discovered in yourself. Lastly, who are you listening to right now that you would recommend to our readers?
 

Bruno Major: I’ve actually been spending my isolation listening to and learning classical guitar music. I firmly recommend listening to Andrés Segovia – he’s the most famous classical guitar player of all time – and also flamenco guitar player Paco de Lucía. It’s next-level music.

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The Breakdown

Mitch Mosk

Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com