Plodding down the wide grey steps inside Manchester’s Sound Control venue I feel as though I’m heading into a deserted boiler room. But minutes later I will experience the
most electric underground gremlin attack this dingy room has ever witnessed.
Gabriel Bruce is the culprit here. He springs from one side of the small stage to the other, clinging to the far railings and then leaping off the heightened platform like a wild monkey towards me. He pants, drips sweat from his brow, and brings the microphone towards his lips to produce a low rumbling vocal. His music is chock full of disco beats and booming bass synths. His dance moves are Flashdance-esque with hints of Michael Jackson and he’s accompanied by two sultry girls, whose flapper style skirts sway along in time.
When he exits the stage I catch up with him for an interview while he tokes on a post-show cigarette. He would shake my hand but he’s just slicked back his greased-up hair.
Where are you from?
I grew up in London, my father is Brazilian and my mother is Scottish. At the moment I live in East London, in Hackney. It’s quite bourgie and gentrified where I live. There’s a coffee shop by my house and I can’t afford the coffee.
Where do you get your influence from? You seem absolutely mad (in a great way).
I like a lot of disco music. I really like Giorgio Maroder and Tom Waits. David Bowie is my favourite though.
Ah, is David Bowie who you get your moves from then?
Uh no, I think that guy had more refined moves, I’m kind of all over the place and I hope that some of it is ok.
To me you seem a bit like a monkey – you catapulted out towards the crowd! If you were one animal what would you be?
Well, a slow loris maybe… I save up my energy for the shows. If you saw me offstage I’m very slow really.
How regularly are you gigging?
We’re playing quite a lot at the moment, doing lots of festivals – Latitude, Hyde Park with Bruce Springstein for the Hyde Rock Calling, and we’re playing a mini festival in France.
You sound like you have a slight twinge in your accent? Slightly American?
Yeh, I think so, I’ve lived all over the place. I’ve lived in London the most but my voice tends to change a lot depending on the situation. I don’t have much control over it. Sometimes I speak like a child, or like a girl.
In what context do you speak like a child?!
When I’m having intimate moments. I find it very infantilising. I can’t help myself.
Reverting into a child. It’s so scary though. Have you ever had sex? It’s scary!
Tell me about your dancers.
They’re friends of mine, Sabilla and Phoebe. They’re fantastic. Phoebe (the brunette of the girls) works in a pub but she’s a dancer by trade. Sabilla is more of a singer - she sings back up for a bunch of people. George is on the laptop. He’s a master musician in his own right. He’s got a lot of projects.
What music have you got out at the moment?
The only thing online is Family at the moment; you should check it out, it’s amazing! I’ve recorded an album I’ve just finished making. It’s hopefully out soon – it depends on the label (Mercury Records). I’ve been with them about a year now but I’ve only just started doing shows.
If you could have a music video what would it be like?
At the moment I’m obsessed with a particular idea. I really want Danny DeVito to be in my music video. Just me and Danny hanging out, that’s all I want.
It’s the Jubilee weekend, have you done anything to celebrate?
Last night I had a bath with too many bubbles in a Travel Lodge and it was a lovely experience. I pretended that I was afloat on the flotilla, bobbing along in a sea of beautiful bubbles.
Seeing as this is a patriotic weekend, if you could have any song as the national anthem what would it be?
That’s a very big question, that’s a huge question. I feel like I need some time to think. It’s too hard. It has to be a British song I guess.
George pipes up that some countries’ anthems are fairly violent.
Maybe we could have War Pigs by Black Sabbath. That has the most majestic guitar line I’ve ever heard – it’s unifying!
Gabriel Bruce speaking to Sophie Elis at Dot To Dot Festival, Manchester. Monday 4th June 2012. Check out his single 'Sleep Paralysis' here.