RENDEZVOUS: A Quick Catch Up With Gena Rose Bruce
“I don't like feeling defeated and down after listening to music. I think there should always be a sense of, yeah things get pretty messy and challenging, but you’re never alone and you will always pull through.”
Last week, Melbourne’s Gena Rose Bruce released her gorgeous debut LP Can’t Make You Love Me. It’s a truly considered release, with each and every track overflowing with both attitude and emotion. There’s a tenderness to her songwriting that unveils so many layers. While the honey-soaked vocals remain soft, there’s an underlying edge throughout - often articulated via dirty bass lines and powerful lyrics. We had a catch up with Gena to chat about her new album, her love for psychedelia, and how she works best in creative isolation.
PHOTOGRAPHY: PAIGGE WARTON
WORDS: KYLIE O’CONNELL
As always, please press play below to enrich your reading experience.
We’ve had your single ‘Rearview’ on repeat for a while now, it’s pure magic. How do you prep to hold those notes?
Thank you! I always run through some vocal scales before a gig and do lots of body stretches (for some reason it helps).
What does the general Gena Rose Bruce creative process look like?
I need to be alone, no one is allowed in the house. I always record everything I'm working on, on my phone, then I listen back and re-work it.
Can you tell us a bit about the recording process for your debut LP Can’t Make You Love Me?
There were lots of phone demos back and forth with my producer Tim Harvey. Once we felt the core of the songs were ready we then went on to experiment in the studio playing with different sounds and tones, trying to find the perfect match.
What was one of the weirdest instruments of recording techniques you used on the album?
We used my old AM/FM portable pocket radio to record atmospheric noise and changing of station sounds to the song ‘Revive’.
‘The Way You Make Love’ feels quite psychedelic at times – what kind of albums were you listening to when writing the record?
The Dandy Warhols, Brian Jonestown Massacre and Mazzy Star.
There’s a real strength in your lyrics. You’re vulnerable but there’s full ownership of your emotions, which is really empowering. Do you ever feel too exposed when writing or performing?
Sometimes yes, especially when my people who I'm close to are in the audience. I do tend to switch off though when I go on stage, you kind of get into your own character.
While the lyrics are heavy at times, there’s a playful groove present in all of your tracks. How important is it to maintain that balance and/or hint of lightness?
It’s pretty important, I don't like feeling defeated and down after listening to music. I think there should always be a sense of, yeah things get pretty messy and challenging, but you’re never alone and you will always pull through.
What do you want people to feel when they walk away from a Gena Rose Bruce show?
Who are some local Melbourne artists that we should all be listening to?
Merpire, Girlatones and Emilee South.
Finally, you obviously have an ear for music. How do you go on the dance floor?
I'm very awkward and will just tell you how awkward I feel the whole time.
Can’t Make You Love Me is out now via Dot Dash Recordings. Don’t miss her live later this month:
Thursday 18th July - WAYWARDS - Sydney
Wednesday 31st July - NORTHCOTE SOCIAL CLUB - Melbourne