When they asked me if I wanted to have a chat with Kid Brunswick I knew it had to be done. I was already a fan of his track "4AM" ,one of the most well-written songs ever released, which I later learned to be part of his debut mixtape "XFOREVER". You hear a lot of different music nowadays, different styles, different approach, different production, but this time it's different. The raw and deep lyrics he sings on "Prescription Kid" or the newest single "The Feel" will carve your skin. Born in Essex with the huge dram of becoming a rockstar, he will later learn that the dream is actually achievable and that practising every single day in his house shed has brought something in his life. "XFOREVER" is everything he's gone through, from struggling with addiction at such young age to his rebirth as well as breakups. We meet up in East London. We sit down and he rolls a cigarette, he's full of tattoos and wears a black t-shirt saying "Fuck You" from his own merch. This is interesting. I ask him how he has been "I am trying to keep my mind focus, you know, trying not to do anything stupid. I don't want to take my eyes off the prize." I am now wondering what the prize is: "I think it's just to follow my dreams really, this is what I wanted to do since I was a kid. Be a rockstar." I envision him headlining a big stage, a big festival. Kid Brunswick gives me that vibe.
He is the guy who doesn't fit in within the music scene, he thinks nobody pushes rock forward, he doesn't like to be compared to anyone but he has a lot of inspirations. What are your inspirations? I ask "It used to be dead legends like Kurt Cobain, Jimmy Hendrix, all these people who are no longer here with us, that's what I wanted. To become famous and then die. But I sort of grew out of that immaturity and now my inspiration are people that have been through shit but have also come out on the other side, I really like that. I like people that improve themselves through traumas and experiences. People who can show you that your mind can't control you, that's very inspiring. That's not more musicians but life. And that's the purpose of "XFOREVER". The most personal Kid Brunswick has ever been".
But what is the music scene like now and how did he get into music? "Drugs fucked up my education to the extent where I couldn't remember how to do stuff, if you ask me how I got into music I actually don't know, I know that one day I bought a drum kit, it was a little rubbish one but I was obsessed with it and it kind of just started from there, then I moved with other instruments. I later went into a strict catholic school which was very music vigilant so hymns and choirs" he sips some coke now but continues "I did that for a long time, I always wanted to make music I just didn't have the knowledge of how I was going to do it, I had a mixer, but not a laptop so there was no point, that's when I got a terrible laptop that I downloaded GarageBand and started from there". As he continued experimenting with music, a young Harry James (which is his real name) got signed by Island Records by the age of 17, while his talent was undeniable, it faced a constant battle against drugs and trouble -while also having ADHD and eating disorders to contend with. His music was the only anchor to keep him afloat. "There were a few moments in my life where I thought that this was going to be my serious job, to be honest" he tells me "I think when I dropped out of college, right before getting signed, I didn't give myself a plan B, I didn't even want a plan B. I just thought to myself: this is it, or you can end up working somewhere really bad for the rest of your life. One night, I was in a house in the countryside, my girlfriend at the time and I were partying hard, and when you party hard sometimes it becomes like an epiphany and mine was a voice telling me that I could actually do music". The dream at this point is not somebody else's dream. And Harry can't stop talking about it and that worked out quite well.
Kid Brunswick doesn't fit in. But music makes him connect with his fans. He's not alone anymore nor the troubled kid, he's more confident. "It takes a lot of doubt to get to that point, you need to go down before you start going up" he says "as an artist you always self doubt, if you're a creative person you'll always doubt yourself, I am my own biggest critic. I appreciate it but some days it's annoying". You need to have that feeling where you still don't know what you're doing to go higher and push your boundaries and that's what he does. After admitting that he had a problem, Brunswick is 21, clean and sober but still carrying the scars of everything he's been through. You can hear it in "Prescription Kid" ("Ruin my life with that American shit/Let's get high like American kids/If we wanna be cool, we wanna make ourselves sick), the moshable yet macabre "Skinny" ("Because I'm sick as I've ever been, so skinny, I came here uninvited") and in the aching anti-ballad "4AM" ("When I'm sober I can figure it out, cigarettes and sex help us get past all of it again"). He later puts out more music online, he starts writing even more, he starts building a fanbase until one day Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park gets involved "He heard my music online, my friend Jack played my music on a Twitch stream and Mike DM'd me the next day on Instagram. I grew up with Linkin Park. I have always loved Nirvana and Linkin Park. It's Linkin fucking Park man. That's my childhood's favourite band". Mike Shinoda joins forces not only on Brunswick's latest single "The Feel" but on the entire upcoming mixtape.
Why should people listen to the tape Harry?" Because it's exciting new music, they might like it - he laughs and adds "they shouldn't listen to the album if they don't like music". "XFOREVER" is out today.