One of the best discoveries of Desertfest 2017 was watching San Francisco’s Brume. The band’s psychadelic, drawn-out doom packs a powerful punch, with premier cuts of stoner riffage. In July, I was lucky to speak to the three piece to talk about the origins, the scene in San Francisco, their album Rooster, touring with Gurt, playing Desertfest and the stoner scene.
Jack: Hey, thanks for taking the time to answer my questions. How are you?
Jordan Perkins-Lewis (Drums): Gearing up to play a show tonight.
Jack: How did you all meet?
Susie McMullan (Vocals/Bass): Jamie McCathie (Guitar) is the only mother fucker in all of San Francisco I know that wants to go to see The Melvins and High on Fire over and over again, we have definitely been to at least five shows for each band in the last three years. So one day, probably at a show watching Yob, The Melvins, High on Fire, Orange Goblin, I asked him to come to my studio so we can play music together. The snowball started rolling downhill; then Jordan responded to a craigslist add and we had an avalanche.
Jamie McCathie (Guitar): I met Susie at a party when I was visiting San Francisco from London and she wanted to play. When I eventually moved here a year or so later I knew she’d be down. We hung out at shows, wrote some songs and eventually found Jordan through luck and chance.
Jordan: I was summoned from the depths of Craigslist.
Jack: What acts have been the biggest influence?
Susie: Wino, Ill Whiskey, Suplecs, Honkey, Big Business, Acid King, Yob, High on Fire, Earth, Enya, Portishead, Dolly Parton, Danzig, Bjork, Preservation Hall Jazz Band, Marva Wright, Fugazi and Bad Brains.
Jordan: My influences are everywhere. I am always under the influence.
Jack: The music has a very hypnotic feel, what is the appeal in playing this genre of music?
Susie: I don’t concentrate or chill well without help. This helps.
Jamie: I love monotonous music, it’s kinda my jam. West African, blues or Folk especially do it for me in this genre
Jordan: It’s nice and slow so I don’t get tuckered out during a set.
Jack: When I interviewed Scott Evans from Kowloon Walled City he said that “San Francisco has gotten very very expensive in the last five years and a lot of musicians have left and have moved to Los Angeles”. Have you found San Francisco to be expensive? What is the scene like?
Jordan: The scene is in the East Bay. Shout out to the Golden Bull.
Susie: Property is expensive, burritos are still $8. The only thing about expensive property is it brings in a douche-wave. Southern Louisiana teaches you how to surf a douche-wave. Shit, growing up in a college-sports-enthused city has douche tsunamis and we still survived and found our group of friends. I’ve found a pretty great group of friends, so the scene is whatever you make of it. All of California is beautiful. It is the most beautiful landscape I have ever seen. You don’t have to be rich to go for a walk in the mountains or through the Red Woods or sit on a bluff over looking the Pacific ocean or feel sand in your toes at the beach and all of that is only a few minutes away.
Jamie: Coming from London, it’s expensive in San Fransisco. But it’s fucking awesome. It’s small and easy to navigate with everything you can imagine within. It’s surrounded by nature and is close to Oakland and San Jose. Both of these city’s have provided brotherhood in terms of scenes and bands. SF can be a lil tricky but man there are some killer bands here too. Our homies you should check out include: Body Void, Kook, War Cloud, Love Moon, Serpents of Dawn, TVSK, Lowcaster to name a few.
Jack: Your latest album Rooster came out earlier this year, are you happy with the response?
Jamie: Very. We worked our asses off on this record.
Jack: Is there a theme and concept to the album?
Jordan: Tragically soul-crushing doom.
Susie: Jordan names all of the albums. He’s a one of a kind, funny, dry dude but most of all unpredictable. I’ll defer to him.
Jamie: Yeh, maybe there is a continuing theme? Who knows. Depends how Jordan is feeling next record. [Laughs]
Jack: How would you say the album is different to Donkey? Did you approach it differently to Donkey?
Susie: We became more comfortable creating music together and found a place to be ourselves in Rooster. Donkey was us sniffing butts and figuring shit out with a strict 6 month timeline. I’m proud of both of them, because they represent us growing together and evolving as a band. Donkey was a snap shot in time of us first meeting and learning each other’s style. Rooster was us knowing each others styles and playing off of them. Albums are pretty lovely like that, they represent who you are as a band at that point in time.
Jamie: Everything in Rooster had more focus and intensity in terms of what went into it. I wanted it to be more dynamic and the music to have variation whilst maintaining that monotonous feel. Susie worked real hard lyrically and vocally and man it payed off. She crushed it.
Jordan: Rooster is more dynamic and has cooler art. Shout out to Shaun Beaudry.
Jack: What was the recording process like? Did you record in Sharkbite?
Jordan: We did the whole record in five days. Sharkbite is our home in the East Bay.
Susan: I very much like Ryan and sharkbite. We recorded with Billy for this one song we haven’t released yet, split is coming out end of year with another band. After that experience, I don’t know if I can live without him. He is very easy to collaborate with and record with. He has fantastic ear, he’s fun as hell and has an open spirit that makes being creative in the moment easy and accepted. He didn’t hesitate when I asked him to add piano to the song, Welter. We were messing around on Sharkbite’s analog piano together while we were playing back that recording and it sparked my idea of asking him to add something soft and sweet to a lyrically brutal song.
Jamie: Sharkbite is a great studio, the drum sound is killer and the whole place has a vibe that is very comfortable. Billy IS the fourth member of Brume. So many guitar parts/lead ideas came from me and him riffing it out. He’s fucking hilarious, hardworking and knows how to get the best out of each of us.
Jack: Are recording processes stressful?
Jordan: Not when you have Billy Anderson at the helm.
Susie: What Jordan said.
Jamie: I was a lil stressed on Eve 5. I had a load of shit to get through on the last night still, it was late and we were all tired. That said – Billy is a boss. It helped.
Jack: How did your UK tour with Gurt go?
Jordan: In my mind we’re still in the van, tearing through the English countryside, blasting power ballads, barreling towards oblivion, and sleeping at your mum’s house.
Susie: Oh my god, yes! Take me back there to a place where the world revolves around music and your time is spent with brilliant musicians and your travels are spent with Ice-T and your whiskey is plentiful and your concerns aren’t any deeper than will my pedal work today. They are all fantastic men and incredibly talented musicians. If I could fold the world in half to spend more time with them, I would.
Jamie: I got to hang out with my best friend Gareth (Gurt vocals) everyday. I also got to hang and play a 20min set every night with all of my bro’s in Gurt. Plus Gurt 5-way sounds so fucking FAT. To say it was great is a massive understatement. I miss them all very, very much.
Jack: At Desertfest you were great and people were struggling to get into the venue, how did you find Desertfest?
Jordan: Easily one my favorite festivals in the world.
Susie: I feel grateful that it was so fantastic. I would like to think everyone who bought merch and supported us, you made our trip amazing and your financial support funded our adventure in the UK.
Jamie: The Underworld has long been my fave London venue. I never got to play there when I was in Gurt so this was a dream come true. The fact it was at capacity and full of love, friend old and new is pretty overwhelming to think about. We got see a bunch of incredible bands from the UK like Grave Lines, Vodun, Chubby Thunderous, Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard and Elephant Tree (who we have a band crush on) and share a stage with Inter Arma! I hope we get to come back to Desertfest again someday. Maybe another city? That Belgian lineup is CRAZY.
Jack: What are the major differences between the UK and the US?
Jordan: People in the UK will buy all your merch – sometimes right off your body.
Susie: When you like the same kind of music it feels like family no matter what country or town. However, Jordan’s sweaty gear is a hot commodity in the UK. There was something there that I can’t put my finger on but I know I desperately missed that undefined thing when I got back. I hope to go back soon. We played at the underworld, but I want to go back and play a show with Elephant Tree, Pist and Gurt at the Blackheart, can you arrange that?
Jamie: UK bands are obsessed with the US, US bands are vise-versa.
Jack: Do you think stoner/sludge/doom are getting more popular or that there is just more exposure to the genre thanks to the internet and festivals like Desertfest?
Jordan: Por que no los dos?
Susie: In my opinion, it is getting more popular because the world is getting worse. Gloomy times makes gloomy music make sense and helps you feel less alone. Its probably gained more traction here in the bay area. It’s been a thing in Louisiana for a while, since the 90s, with Crowbar, Honkey, Suplecs, Eyehategod, etc. I’d be interested in hearing what Lori from Acid King has to say. She’s been slaying it since Acid King III came out in 2005, I bet she gets more offers now, 12 years later.
Jamie: Defo more popular, it feels like there are more bands now that play this sub genre(s) than when we began Gurt in 2010.
Jack: What are your upcoming plans?
Jordan: More shows, more records, more of everything.
Susie: I usually say yes to everything that sounds fun, get burned out, hide for a bit and then repeat.
Jamie: Some surprise additional recordings/releases in 2017. Some awesome shows booked: San Francisco with Inter Arma and San Jose with High on Fire, Big Business and Holy Grove. Writing for new songs has begun.
Jack: Finally, as we recently lost Chris Cornell, what was your favourite work of his?
Jordan: I just learned ‘Blow Up The Outside World’ on ukulele so I’ll go with that one.
Susie: ‘Fell on Black Days’
Jamie: I’ve always been jazzed on ‘Hunger Strike.’ That Chris/Eddie combo is too much for my tiny mind.