Amalie Bruun: Close Your Eyes and Listen

Written by Noah Wunsch on . Posted in Arts & Film, Music.


Amalie Bruun has been on the NYC music scene long enough to know the ins, the outs and the in-betweens. She’s transitioned through the “it hip bands” of the moment, only to find band members who weren’t thinking long term or didn’t take it seriously. She’s been in between the tenements, worked the in-between jobs, ditched the in-between friends, and now she’s getting ready to release her newest solo EP produced by Mark Saunders (The Cure, David Byrne), which should produce a more settled life if it gets the attention it deserves. On it, Bruun sings, plays the piano, the guitar and the glockenspiel. Physically, she’s comparable to 1960s muse Nico, with cropped bangs and stone mason’s daughter features. Musically however, Bruun brings to mind the dream singers of the early ’90s. Mazzy Star. PJ Harvey. Cat Power. You can catch the native Scandinavian Jan. 24 at Glasslands.


You were born and raised in 
Denmark, and moved to the states at the beginning of your twenties. How have the two cultures influenced your music?
I grew up with Scandinavian music and composers. Nordic, icy classical music. Nature was a big element, and that influenced me a lot. Especially my piano. Moving to New York and living in an urban environment influenced me to write more stuff on the guitar. All the incredible musicians I’ve gotten to play with since I’ve been here have influenced me and introduced me to things I’ve never heard of. But my roots are definitelyScandinavian.

What was it like working with music producer Mark Saunders?
Incredible, nothing less. He just got it and I just got him. I hate him too sometimes. All his emails start, “Please don’t hate me but…” And then it goes off on a song we’re writing. It was a great challenge. We laughed and cried when we wrote all the music, but it’s been a lot of fun. He really challenges me. He pushes me further than anyone ever has in the past.

Any war stories?
There’s always been problems with lyrics because… I don’t know, he’s British, I’m Danish and we’re recording in New York. It’s this huge urban clash. At the end of the day we agree on everything, but it’s about how you get to that point. I did this music video for the song “Crush,” with Kava Gorna and my boyfriend at the time. She’s a lot of fun, and I’m obsessed with the video and can’t wait to show it to people. I sent it to Mark and he had all these annoying comments and I wanted to shoot him. But he was right, we re-edited it and it’s better and now everyone’s happy. But I nearly murdered him that day. He sounds like Simon Cowell when he offends you, which is sort of endearing at the same time.

You’ve had a number of side projects, including the one of the moment, Ex Cops. How have those shaped you, and how is the process different when working on your solo music?
Ex Cops is a friend and me, and it’s very much his vision, but I fit into that. I have a lot of fun with it. My own stuff tends to be a bit more lonely in the process. I like both. At the end of the day it’s not that different. It’s all music, right?

What’s your favorite venue to play in the city?
At the moment, Glasslands. They always have great bands on the bill. They do great promotion. Good crowd of people who are interested in music. It looks great in photos with that big white cloud in the back.

What’s influenced the EP you’re about to put out?
Working with Mark, who worked with The Cure quite a bit, ultimately influenced the sound a lot. I’ve gotten better at the guitar, so that’s stronger on the tracks. Way more guitar based. I’ve had a really crazy year touring with Minks and not being with Minks and relationships ending, friendships ending, new friendships beginning. That crazy year influenced it a lot too. It was a necessary year. Sometimes you just need a shake. That’s New York for you, though. Just when you think you’re comfortable and good, something nuts happens to you and you’re forced to reevaluate everything. You come out in a stronger place. Once you’ve gone through that enough times you don’t get scared, you just recognize it’s going to be a ride and you’ll be fine when it’s over, because you’ve been fine the eight other times it’s happened.

You’ve modeled for Stella Artois and Chanel. Do you ever worry how the image displayed in the ads may clash or affect your image as a musician?
No. It’s great money.

What’re you working on next?
I’m about to release a single, hopefully in mid February. I have a show at Glasslands the 24th. I’ve been rehearsing with a new band, really cool people. The live stuff is taking up a lot of my time. I’m working on music with a few other people as well. Ex Cops will be playing South By Southwest, and I may be as well.

What can we expect to see at an Amalie Bruun show?
You can expect to close your eyes and listen. I adore playing music and I think that comes across. Most people can hear that. It’ll be fun too. You won’t fall asleep!

Glasslands, 289 Kent Ave., Brooklyn, www.ticketfly.com;  8 p.m., $10.

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