‘Cloaked Travels’ is the second, more song-based album by Rotterdam-based tape collagist Red Brut.
“Trying to bring it all together with my own solutions”
Can you compare your self-titled album with the new one?
Marijn Verbiesen: With Red Brut, I make most of the sounds with objects you can (usually) find in a house. Like a stove/heater, a whisk, a squeaky door or a draining bath. When I started making ‘Cloaked Travels’ I found out that my affinity for certain materials brought me back to the same sounds even though the objects were completely different. It forced me to look at my process differently. I guess that’s why this album has a bit fewer sounds made with objects and has more music made with instruments and synthesizers.
I did integrate the objects more with instruments though, using objects on instruments. When I play instruments and synthesizers I do tend to create more structures which are ‘song-like’.
I do feel like I’ve grown as a musician, but I do that with every recording and live set.
What kind of record did you want to make with ‘Cloacked Travels’?
When I started working on this album I didn’t have a clear picture of what it was going to be. The process is usually that I have an idea of what kind of sounds it should contain, but it never ends up like how I want it to be, but that doesn’t matter. It’s actually good because I end up surprising myself with new ways of making sounds, like with this album. That’s something I really enjoy. These new sounds are like the starting point.
“My dreams play a big part in my music.”
What does ‘Cloaked Travels’ mean?
My dreams play a big part in my music. In one dream I dreamt I was flying around watching at everything below me with a big cape around me, which hid me from sight. It felt nice to just look and visit places without being seen.
For this album, it can mean different things, like for the listener to be able to peak into my world without being seen or it can be a world created by the listener itself.
Is working with tapes a form of nostalgia?
When I first started out making music, I played in Sweat Tongue where we would release everything on tape. It was how I got to know experimental music; people all around me are using tapes to release their music (or use it in their music). It was normal for me to start using it as well.
I also find it a rather calming and satisfying process of slicing the tape, putting it all back together and listening to how it comes together (or not) with the other tapes. I guess it also makes me more aware of the actual sound.
Would you consider your music as amateuristic?
I’m not cultivating my ‘amateurism’ per se, it’s more like that it has always been there. When growing up my dad would fix things in the house, but I’d always feel like he would do it in his own style, not the way it usually goes or supposed to be. If it works, it works.
I see that in myself as well in a lot of aspects in my life. Same goes for my music, approaching it in my own way, trying to bring it all together with my own solutions. I feel like I can enjoy it more that way, it feels more free.
Do you make your music at home?
Yeah, I make most of my music at home. Although for this album I did a lot of it in a temporary room which I rented from friends. The objects I gather are usually things you find in homes, wherever I bring them I can make it my ‘home’.
It became this way because I would walk around my house trying everything out. Now it is a big part of Red Brut. It would be a different feel if it wouldn’t have that.
With my previous album, s/t, I made a lot of field recordings on my last tour to Japan. One of the first versions were made with those recordings and a lot less with sounds of home-objects. For me, it didn’t feel like Red Brut at all.
Which role does music play in your daily life?
I listen to music pretty much every day. Usually because Michiel (my boyfriend) is putting something on. I leave the music hoarding and playing records up to him. This can be anything.
I don’t make music every day, but I am aware of the sounds around me every day. If I hear something good I’ll try and record it, or write it down for later. I’m not a very productive musician, but when I decide on making something new I will do so in a concise period.
What are you listening to at the moment?
Recently I’ve been listening to mostly hip hop, the classics. Nas, Ol’ Dirty Bastard, Wu-Tang Clan, etc. When Michiel is not playing records.
‘The Magical Mystery Tour’ is a song by The Beatles. But it’s also an actual bus tour you can take, which takes you to the places that marked the story of The Beatles. If I would take a Marijn Verbiesen Magical Mystery Tour, where would you take me?
There are so many places! Every tour I went on I found new places and people who inspire me, maybe, even more, the people than the places itself.
But it all started in Rotterdam, so that would be the first stop for sure. Here I met Michiel and Beliz when I just moved here. They showed me this new crazy world and with them, I started my first band Sweat Tongue.
Around the same time, I started setting up MiMa concerts with Michiel. During those times we met so many inspiring artists.
2nd stop would be New Zealand, Auckland where I met Pat Kraus on a Sweat Tongue tour. This was in 2014.
Soon after we started playing with Sweat Tongue I started making my own music as well. I started messing with tapes. It took me a long time to come to this format, exploring lots of possibilities. Pat Kraus was the one who gave me the final push to continue with it.
Two years after we met in NZ he came to Europe for a tour with Floris Vanhoof and asked me to drum for him (which was an amazing experience in itself). I showed him what I was working on and he really liked it and told me I should bring the tapes on tour. Back then I only had 8 tapes or so (to compare: nowadays I use at least 20-25 tapes for a set of 30 minutes). My first set was in Cafe Oto, shitting rainbow colours, but it felt great! I knew that was the way to go. The support Pat (and Floris) gave me really brought me the confidence to continue with Red Brut.
Last stop is Japan. Not per se because I have been a total anime and manga geek for a long time, but because this was my first big solo tour. When I finally got to go, it was even better than I expected. We (me & Michiel) toured the country for a whole month, did 12 shows, but also had plenty of spare time to experience Japan properly. It was a completely new world to discover. Sound-wise it was amazing. You notice that Japan has a different approach than Western countries when using sounds in public spaces, especially in the big cities. There are sounds everywhere! Even in the toilets, but surprisingly enough even in a big city as Tokyo it could be really quiet as well. Such contradictions were everywhere to be found. For me, that was a big inspiration.
– Joeri Bruyninckx