At times the Scottish scene seems a little … insular. Whilst I don’t think I’ve met a band who didn’t want to play further afield, a combination of geography and economics tends to limit any ambitions in all but the most determined.
A corollary of that is that bands of a similar level from down south rarely make the trip up here, at least not across my radar. WHich is a shame because the bands I have seen (e.g. These Single Spies, Tigercats to name but two) tend to be rgeat.
So it’s a delight to be involved in a small way in helping with that sort of exchange with Thursday’s Tuff Love show in Dundee. Because thanks to the efforts of Johnny Lynch of Lost Map, tour support is Bruising – all the way from Leeds.
With only a handful of tracks available to date, Bruising probably don’t have much of a profile up here yet. But I strongly suspect that will change after the 4 dates this week.
Their wonderful track on a Beech Coma compilation tape (‘Can’t You Feel’) is one of my favourite songs of the year and further evidence of their promise came with their two tracks on the Art Is Hard 12” compilation Family Portrait pt II.
So ahead of this week’s shows Ben from the band gave MPT an idea of what Scottish audiences can expect from Bruising live.
“Bruising are Naomi Baguley who plays guitar and sings and Ben Lewis who plays guitar. We write and record everything together and are joined by our good pals James and Jack for live shows!
“Naomi and I met on a night out at The Cockpit in Leeds (RIP) – We got chatting about music (I was wearing a Perfect Pussy tee, Naomi is a fan, that was how the conversation started) – After a few facebook messages we started swapping song ideas and then finally got together and actually wrote some stuff.”
Ben is a little self effacing when describing what Bruising might sound like.
“Erm, Pixies and Weezer rip offs maybe? It’s just pop music, we love big pop songs so I guess it’s just that covered in fuzz and guitar riffs. Kinda poppy, fuzzy, dreamy, slightly noisy indie rock.”
It’s fair to say that many of Bruising’s influences are American as Ben explans.
“For me I’m a massive Weezer and Pavement fan, really big into Guided By Voices as well, a lot of early/mid 90s bands. Naomi is big into Lemonheads and Teenage Fanclub, then we both really love more recent stuff like Swearin, Waxahatchee, Trust Fund, Frankie Cosmos. And Taylor Swift, lots and lots of Taylor Swift.”
With the band starting to come together in rehearsals a name was needed. Ben is candid about what inspired their choice of name.
“I’m not wholly sure to be honest. I think I’d had a bank of band names I liked and this was one of them.
“For some solo stuff I did I’d had the thought of Cruising, but that’s a bit suspect sounding so I guess it could have stemmed from there?”
Bruising are a relatively new band but the first half of 2015 has already been quite a busy time for the duo.
“Yeah we put our first demo online in November last year and playing our first shows in January. We got asked to play for DIY magazine in London and figured we should probably do a little Leeds show before that one. So we put together a night with our friends Bloody Knees at a little bar in Leeds. It was fun.”
As mentioned above Bruising have put out tracks so far on a couple of compilations by different labels. Ben explained how the link-ups with Beech Coma and Art Is Hard came about.
“Our friend Harry who runs Beech Coma (an ace little tape label) asked if we’d put a song on one of his tapes. He’s a great guy and has been mega supportive since day 1 so we really wanted to do that.
“Then Art Is Hard got in touch. They’re a label we both really love and were into wayyy before being in the band. So being asked to do a release with them, especially alongside Abattoir Blues and Fruit bomb who are both great, was a real pleasure.
“I think for both us it’s just been really nice to work with both labels cos they’ve got a really nice scene of bands affiliated with them. Just loads of good people making really good music, it’s nice to be a part of.”
The Art is Hard compilation gave Bruising their first taste of touring which led to Ben’s favourite band moment so far.
“We just did a little tour with Abattoir Blues and Fruit Bomb for the AIH release, I think for me that’s been the highlight, getting to hang out with friends and play some great shows.
“We also just played live at leeds and ended up playing at Leeds Met Uni to about 1000 people, which was pretty daunting but really great too.”
Having been to Leeds for a handful of gigs (admittedly not to see local bands) I was interested to hear about Bruising’s peers and whether or not there’s a Leeds scene. It seems there is!
“It’s ace, there’s a load of bands at the top of the tree doing really well, Hookworms, Eagulls, PABH, Menace Beach and then loads of great smaller stuff and everyone’s just pals. It’s lovely. Everyone goes to each other’s shows and supports each other, it’s a nice place to be making music.”
In the circumstances it only seemed fair to ask Ben to recommend some of his pals.
“Menace Beach, Finnmark, The Orielles (kinda leeds), Walleater, Exit Earth. Our bassist James plays guitar in an awesome band called Don’t who are kind of Pavementy, slacker, laid back indie rock. And Jack our drummer plays in a couple of bands including Irk who are a really great noise rock band, Jesus Lizard/Drive Like Jehu type thing.”
Their soon to be touring partners figure highly in Bruising’s Scottish playlist.
“Tuff Love are mega, we’re super excited for these shows. I saw C Duncan the other day as well, he’s really great. The Vaselines, they’re Scottish right? And Life Without Buildings? I guess more recently, Honeyblood are really great, PAWS too. The Proclaimers, obviously.”
Um, obviously! Moving on, quickly, Bruising’s plans for the rest of 2015 are fairly straightforward.
“Write more, record more, release more, gig more!”
To conclude, it may simply be my problem but I had to ask Ben – can anyone can actually type Bruising without first typing Brusiing? He seems to suffer the same affliction as this scribe.
“NOPE, NEVER BEEN DONE, NEVER WILL BE.”
If you’ve not heard it, here’s the aforementioned ‘Can’t You Feel’:
The full list of dates is:
Wednesday 27th – Summerhall, Edinburgh
Thursday 28th – Drouthy’s, Dundee
Friday 29th – Glasgow, The Glad Café (as part of GoldFlakePaint’s Sucker Punch Festival)
Saturday 30th – Aberdeen, The Lemon Tree