I recently had a chance to interview 22 year old Harry James, better known as the alternative artist Kid Brunswick. His self-proclaimed rhythm and grunge music combines elements of all genres to create a world around his struggles and triumphs, emphasizing his battles with addiction and mental health.
In our interview, he was down to earth and brutally honest, just like his music. This openness has helped him build a genuine growing fan base (myself included). Following his hit song “Prescription Kid”, he just released the catchy new single, “4am”. Here we discuss “4am” and more, including his ultimate project goal and what’s next for Kid Brunswick.
So, let’s get started. What got you into music?
KB: Oh god. Drums. I used to play drums when I was a kid. And uh, I don’t know, music just happened naturally. It was just a thing that happened and I thought, this is the only thing I can do so I’d be mad to not do it. It was just easy, it just came naturally, and to get into producing music was a different story. Music in general? Linking Park; Nirvana; to some extent, Radiohead, as I got a bit older; bands that I love; Guns N Roses; Led Zeppelin; classic rock when I was younger, I guess; AC/DC as well, I was obsessed with AC/DC; and Green Day as well. That was what got me into loving music was bands.
Well, that kinda goes into, which musicians do you admire the most, and why.
KB: I’ve always been sort of a geek for producers rather than musicians. Producers that I think, they kinda transcend just from being producers to someone that actually is a musician themselves. I’ve always been a massive Hans Zimmerman fan, the fact that he’s like done Interstellar and also Pirates of the Caribbean, I think is so fucking good. And Trent Reznor, Nine Inch Nails, I think he’s incredible. I think in terms of artists I admire the most, I’d have to say probably Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood from Radiohead, they’re incredible and their partnership that they have in creating music is something that I love. And also, in despite of him being a complete twat, I love Kanye West, especially his old stuff. And you know I grew up listening to a lot of weird stuff, you know, and I always had my stepdad whose Italian listening to like Frank Zappa in the car and David Bowie, and that was really kind of my, sort of my first music lesson in a way. And um I started to just connect with artists that spoke to me and one of those people was Chester Bennington from Linkin Park. His lyrics were just, in some songs I find some of the lyrics are quite corny, but they just cut through, and I really admire that.
What is your creative process like?
KB: See I don’t really know what my process is, I know the patterns around it because it’s a hard thing to pin down saying in a sentence like this is how I write a song, because every song is different. But the patterns I notice is I stop going to the gym, when I’m about to write a really good song. I feel a bit shit for a while when I start writing a good song — I feel a bit shit, and then I get out of it, and then I’m like, “I should go to the gym or I should go for a run”. Instead of doing that, I’ll write something and that will end up being like all the energy that I would’ve taken out in the gym, or going like to a boxing class or something, I would put that out into a song.
That’s your therapy.
KB: Yeah, and just… I wouldn’t call it therapy, I’m in therapy! I wouldn’t call it therapy. But um I would definitely say it has some cathartic process to it, yeah. Revisiting past situations, you know, and writing about them.
What is one message you would give to any new musicians, just trying to start out?
KB: Do everything your fucking self, no one else will do it for you. Do it all yourself. No one gives a shit. No one gives a fuck. You will literally think in your head, that you’re like the next biggest thing, and you’ll convince yourself that you’re a god, like I did, and you become this arrogant piece of shit that’s horrible and no one wants to hang around with. And when you get beaten down by life and life tells you, “hey dude, you’re not there yet, and you probably won’t ever be if you act like this.” Then you start to realize, “I need to humble the fuck down, and start appreciating the fact that I’m just a human being and I’m no better than everyone else. And just because I can make cool sounds on a fucking laptop doesn’t mean that I’m better than anyone else, and because of that, you start to realize that if you want something done, you’ve gotta do it yourself. Whether it’s artwork, whether it’s video, you can have a manager that says he’ll do everything, but unless you’re the one driving it, nothing will get done. You need to do it all yourself, especially in this day and age.
Which of your songs that you’ve written means the most to you?
KB: It’s a song that hasn’t come out yet. It’s called “Dear Anonymous”, it’s quite a short song, it’s about a lot of abuse that I suffered when I was a kid, so whenever I hear that, it’s pretty heavy. That means a lot to me, that song, and also, it’s fucking cool, it’s a really cool song. So I’m kind of glad it turned out that way. If it was just a shit song, and it was about something so deep, I’d be like, “fuck you man, come on”. So yeah, I think that song, and also as well it’s the first time on a record that I scream, that I had to balls to just go “ahhhhhh” like that. Yeah, that song is pretty cool, it’s coming out in the next few months.
Okay, I’m excited to hear it! What else are you passionate about besides music?
KB: I love gaming, I fucking, I love Call of Duty, and um, dude I’m a big nerd, like I may be acting like I’m some cool guy, but deep down dude I’m the biggest Lord of the Rings fan, I fucking love Tolkien, and I love Harry Potter, and I’ve always been into things that are like sort of fantasy and stuff. I used to create fantasies in my own head about my own life, like I used to tell people that my dad works for NASA, even though we lived in like Edin in West London where NASA is not there. I love gaming, and I love keeping fit, I like eating healthy when I’m not depressed, and I think today is the first day that I’ve gotten out of a really really hard depressive episode. I’m just back to normal again and I’m like, “yes! Thank God!” So I think, yeah I love art, I love artwork, I love painting, everything creative basically. I love fashion as well. But in my personal life, I don’t sew clothes, I don’t stitch clothes together, but I love appreciating stuff. I love touring, I love writing, and I really really like killing people on games, that’s like my biggest sort of “fuck you, let’s go”. So I spend a lot of time with my boys on Warzone, on Call of Duty, and it’s something I’m getting into. And eventually I will start streaming. I started doing it last weekend and I really enjoyed it so that’s something I’m going to get into.
How would you describe your newest single, 4am?
KB: Depressing. A psychedelic trip into my mind. Definitely one of the funnest songs I’ve written even though it’s about me wanting to kill myself. But I wrote that song, I wrote the top parts when I was in like rehab, getting off drugs, so I wrote some of it on the guitar, and then I came out, and when I was sober, I finished it. A lot of it was recorded on my iPhone, just guitars and like claps and stuff. It was just like a sort of, it made me realize that I can write songs that don’t have to be really crazy fast and heavy. So it was a really good experience for me to maybe put another step forward in a different direction as well, and I think I needed to write a song like that for me to move forward as an artist.
It’s not the first one I heard of yours, but it’s the one that gets stuck in my head.
KB: Yeah, “cigare-e-e-ettes”. *laughs*
What do you think sets your music apart?
KB: I don’t want to seem like some arrogant d*ck, so I don’t know. I guess you could say like one thing that would describe it is I’m like an emo boy at heart but I have a classic rock sort of like soul, and I think those two worlds kind of collide. And in my head I’m also some sort of trap star, so I guess it’s like a combination of those things, designing some sort of character/ artist that I love to see. Like one of my favorite artists is Lil Peep, another one is Dominic Fike, I like Billie Eilish, and then I also have my favorite bands of all time, Nirvana, Linkin Park and stuff. I guess it’s just an influence of all those different people and I think as well, you know, I’ve always gravitated towards artists that struggle with mental illness. And that’s something I put openly into my music and if there was anything that set me apart in some sense, it would be that I’m very open talking about my past experiences and the journey that I had to go on to get to where I am now, where I’m like not homeless like I’m living in a house and stuff.
What have your experiences with fans been like? Which may be along the same lines, that they’re reaching out to you because they recognize that in you.
KB: I get that, I get like new messages every single day, which is crazy because I don’t have a lot of followers. But I’m getting new messages every single day, don’t get me wrong I’ve had some weird ones — and I’m talking seriously weird — and I’ll send it to my friends or my management and I’ll be like dude what do I reply and they’ll be like “do not reply” and I’ll be like, “I have to reply, this is so interesting and so weird”. And then I’ll understand why they said do not respond months later when I get really odd things. But I do get people reaching out, a lot, I get a lot of people reaching out and saying, “hey your lyrics on this song or this interview that I heard on the radio really resonated with me, really helped me.” Now music is really great, I love doing it, but my main focus is to eventually start a project in the future that helps kids with addiction and a lot of mental health issues. When people reach out saying that makes me feel fucking great because it makes that sort of dream become more of a reality in the future. So yeah, I get a lot of amazing people reaching out and then I will, so one guy reached out and said he really loved the music and related to it on sort of a mental health perspective and we started speaking, and now I play Warzone with him on gaming. So I know people say like, “always keep fans like at a distance” and stuff, and I think with certain people, yeah 100%, those people are fucking nuts, but with other people, there’s no harm in being friends with someone that connects with something you’ve created. So I find that, I always respond to people and I always try to relate to what they’re saying as well. It’s a very healthy relationship with my tiny awesome fanbase.
Amazing. What are you working on right now, if anything?
KB: Well, first of all I’m going to finish this interview and have a shower, because I haven’t showered in a day, and I feel so gross. And then I’m going to send over some things for a new single which is coming out, after the next one, so the next one is called Bipolar Rhapsody, which is like my weird take on Bohemian Rhapsody, in a like grunge version. It’s fucking mental. And then I put a song coming out called When You Were Young, which is something I wrote maybe two years ago, year and a half ago, yeah about a year and a half ago. And I’ve just finished it so I’m working on that, and it sounds — ugh, dude, it’s like my favorite song I’ve written, it’s just like a complete thought, I just love it. Like I’m talking about it like I’m a fan, because I am a fan. Because the music I’m making now is stuff that I would’ve grown up listening to, being like “this is aaaawesome”. So I think, yeah that’s what I’m working on right now, I’m also working on getting the video for Bipolar, which is hard to do during a world of pandemic but we move, we get through it, we do this, and so yeah, at the moment it’s just about getting the next singles ready, and then eventually I’m going to try and come up with a concept for my next, natural project, once these songs are out, and I’m doing this thing right now where it looks I’m stroking a cat because I saw your cat and she was just there and now I feel like Dr Evil where he’s stroking something like an evil genius. But I think for me at the moment, it’s all about getting the songs out, building a fanbase. I think for Halloween I might do my first live set online. Who knows what’ll happen? But as long as I keep doing what I’m supposed to be doing then hopefully nothing will be too catastrophic.
That’s actually all I had for you, thank you so much for your time!
KB: *claps* We did it! Congratulations to us! We’re such a good team, that was awesome. Thank you so much, I hope you have a lovely day, and let me know when the interviews coming out! Bye!