Prove your humanity

Between releasing a new song and preparing for a single launch, Melbourne muso Gena Rose Bruce found time to chat with Grok about her writing process, newly released single The Way You Make Love, and her plans for the future.

How do you describe your sound?

I usually say it’s quite 90s inspired. I have a big influence of all different styles from country to grunge to alternative. I wouldn’t know how, I probably couldn’t put myself into a category.

I saw that you have a side project with Henry Wagons called Principal. The synth electric sounds are very different to your solo stuff.

Yeah, absolutely. I think we were both just wanting to experiment a little bit and were getting a bit flat with our kind of typical writing styles, so we just wanted to try something completely different. It was actually a really good exercise. I feel like we both really enjoyed writing again. Yeah, just trying something completely new.

Fair enough, it sounds pretty cool. How does your songwriting process work? Where do you pull inspiration from?

It’s really all different but you have to be focusing on your lifestyle for writing. I feel like when I’m reading a lot of books I get really inspired and when I’m listening to new music, currently that really inspires me. And then the writing process usually is triggered by just a word or just a lyric I may hear from someone else or a phrase in a book. Then I draw inspiration from that and usually write a few lyrics down and then try and put a melody to it, and go back and forth with that really.

In 2016, you released your EP Mad Love. How do you feel your music has evolved and changed since then?

I’d say it’s a little more mature and better. I think it’s improved, which is a good thing. Just songs about different stories, you know. Probably grew up a little bit more and not just singing about love, not that there’s anything wrong with that, but just a little bit more depth in the music. I would say maybe musically it’s a little more structured and has probably a little bit more technical kinds of chords and music compared to that EP Mad Love, that was a little bit more just me on guitar. But this time I’ve kind of experimented with a few synths and piano and yeah, that’s been really fun.

Can you still relate to your older stuff or do you kind of find yourself looking back being like “I was so young”?

*Laughs* It’s weird, some days I do and other days I don’t. But I still play a few of my old songs, but I’ve kind of reworked them a little more. I think I kind of was so rushed, I kind of rushed everything out those days and didn’t put a lot of thought into it, which is good in a way.

A learning process?

Yeah, exactly.

Your new single The Way You Make Love is really beautiful and honest. What’s the inspiration behind that? Or is it like what you said before about how it can be a lyric or a book or something?

Yeah, I was actually reading some poetry and, it was quite erotic poetry, but it was really inspiring actually in the way they kind of worded things. I guess that was just really honest and open about something that’s really normal. So again, poetry, reading.

It got you nominated for the 2018 Frankie Magazine Good Stuff Award for music.

Yeah, that was really cool. Frankie Magazine is such a great magazine. Just any support is just so cool and I was really lucky. I, unfortunately, didn’t win it, but still great publicity and support from them. Yeah, that was so cool.

You spent last year writing and recording your debut album. What can you tell me about this?

It took a lot longer than I would think, but that’s okay. I recorded it with Tim Harvey, who is an amazing musician himself, and it was quite an easy process. The year before I was gigging so much that I didn’t really write and then I just had all these songs built up, so the writing came really easily.

Then when we went into recording we did a lot of demoing and tried to make every song perfect, which took time—but I’m really glad we took our time and we’ve come up with something we’re really happy with. Tim, he’s an amazing musician, it was really fun to work with him and hearing all the ideas he had was something I could never really think of myself. It was a really easy, good, fun experience. Just long, but worth it.

Is there a song in particular that you’re most excited about, or is your favourite?

Again, it changes all the time, but I’m pretty excited about what I hope to be my next single, which is a song called White Waves. I think it’s just a little bit different for me and we played with a lot of the synths in that song and piano. I’m really excited about that because it’s really cool and I didn’t really see myself going in that direction when I originally wrote it. It came out really cool.

What can we expect next from you?

I’ll be releasing the next single hopefully in May and then hopefully the album. We don’t have an exact date yet, but it will be within the next six months I’m hoping. I’ve just started playing with a new band, well semi-new now, so we’ll be playing more live shows and just be getting it out there and releasing more music and doing everything we can.

Hopefully we’ll see you over in Perth sometime in the future.

Yeah, that would be awesome.

Gena Rose Bruce’s latest single The Way You Make Love is out now.