Emotional feedback-riddled upheaval is at the core of Bruising, a Leeds-based outfit whose music harks back to a more innocent time - skewer yourselves on their sweetly hefty pop hooks in our new interview...

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 5 Jan 2017
  • min read
Riffs, melancholy, harmonies and feedback all cross beams at the bleeding heart of the music of Bruising, a Leeds four piece who take their props from the sugary noise of the Pixies and Superchunk.

After meeting at a gig, front woman Naomi Baguley and guitarist Ben Lewis passed song ideas back and forth, steadily perfecting their songwriting skills, recording with Hookworms’ MJ at his newly reopened Suburban Home Studios in Leeds and finding permanent members in the form of James Thurley (bass) and Stephanie Anderson (drums).

I Don’t Mind is their latest release, an ace and infectious piece of guitar pop seeing the light of day via Beech Coma, an imprint responsible for releases from Tuff Love, Abattoir Blues and Lazy Day. We get under the finger nails of Naomi to find out more about their music and what lies ahead for them…

How did you first get into music? Was there a song or person that first started your musical journey?

I can’t remember a time when I haven't been into music: my dad always played us music, so me and my brothers were pretty much obsessed with the Beatles when we were kids. To this day when we're in the van, the Beatles, Wings, Paul McCartney and anything affiliated is always on the playlist.

What or who made you want to start writing your own songs?

I saw Laura Marling play when she was 16 and I was 12. I think that made me realise that girls could play guitar and write songs, and they didn't have to look pretty while doing it.

How did Bruising form?

I met Ben in a club in Leeds and we became friends. We'd talked about all the bands we both loved and that we both wrote songs so started trading song ideas and recording demos in our bedrooms. We decided to put a couple of songs online and people seemed to really like them. We had a different bassist and drummer to start off with but after a few shows James and Steph joined and it really started to feel like a band.

Could you explain a little about the creative process?

Either me or Ben will have an idea for a melody, guitar riff or lyric. Last year I was writing a lot while living in Berlin, so we'd trade ideas by sending voice messages back and forth until we're able meet up and all play the songs together and flesh them out.

How has working with Hookworms' MJ been?  

MJ is great at listening to how we want our songs to sound, but also offering some new ideas. It makes the recording process a lot more creative and collaborative. As we've only recorded with him so far and he knows our sound very well, he's great at knowing exactly what we want.

Where do you look for inspiration?

Mainly my own life, however selfish that sounds, you write about what you know. Some of my ideas for lyrics have been taken from poems.

How important has playing live been to the sound of the band?

Playing live is the most important thing for us as a band because we get to be with an audience. We've just finished a tour that really showed us how important that is, people coming out to shows and singing along is crazy for us, it's so nice to get to hang out with them as well. That's the reason we play. Recording and releasing songs for me are secondary to that.

Have you a favourite venue to play?

The Brudenell in Leeds is always great because of the cheap pints and friendly crowd.

Have you got any advice for new and emerging songwriters? 

I'm not sure I'm qualified to give advice! I guess I would say for lyrics write as honestly as you can about your own experiences and feelings without trying to be too clever, because that's what really resonates with people. Melody-wise something that gets stuck in your own head will probably do that for others too. Listen to a lot of different music. Make good playlists. Be patient.

Are there any new artists you’re tipping for future success?

We played with a band called Brunch in London a few months ago, and they're really great. We loved a band called Neurotic Fiction from Bristol supported us on our last tour too. We toured with Diet Cig from New York early this year who are going to be huge, their songs are awesome.

What does the future have in store?

We've got a something new to announce in the new year which we got to go to Abbey Road to work on. That was pretty surreal. We'll be writing as many songs as possible too and getting back out doing shows as much as we can between work and university.