Brujo’s Bowl is the alias of Saxon Higgs, a psychedelic master crafting beats out of Wales since 2009. Born out of a psy-festival inspired awakening, Brujo’s Bowl has flowed and evolved into a statement of the human potential. The Brujo’s work and live sets consist of creaking psychedelic sound effects, beautifully flowing soundscape design, deep and intricate bass lines, tribal influenced beats and an overall dubbed up fusion of dubstep, psygressive, minimal and dub. After hearing Brujo’s track Gyananakashu (Eye of Knowledge) at the end of Whitebear’s Paradigm Shift’ Set, I was hooked and made it my mission to hear as much of this man’s work as possible. His earlier albums are available for free download from Ektoplazm.
Brujo’s Bowl was quickly recognized and picked up by Zenon Records, joining the likes of Grouch, HypoGeo, Merkaba, Pspiralife, Sensient, and Smoke Sign. Brujo’s Bowl latest work, Mother Nature’s Nipple, was released on January 13th. Have a listen while you find out more about the man:
(LIS) What’s your musical background?
(Brujo’s Bowl) Techno style dubstep brought me into the world of electronic music. Very deep sub bass lines. Before electronic music I was a dub enthusiast. Mad professor, King Tubby, and all of the Trojan music was what I listened to the most. And before all of that, I listened to a lot of heavy metal… had a few bands which didn’t really go so well when I was a teenager. Moshing and headbanging was where I was at.
(LIS) What motivates you to make music? Do you have a message/dream you are trying to communicate?
(Brujo’s Bowl) What drives my music I don’t think should really be printed for the world to read because it mainly concerns most of humanities flaws. But I shall be an honest chap and tell ye’ a few. And only a few, otherwise the readers would be reading this interview for a possible few days.
My productions are meant to convey that we can treat each other (and ourselves for that matter) with more respect. We continuously move to cities where there isn’t much vitality, other than the few recreational parks. Bribed and conned into the consumerist depths of society, we remain unsatisfied with our products which are made only to last a while before we chuck them into rubbish piles, which tower too high. We then, inevitably, go to the store the next day to get a new one. Conned, are we not? They should last or at least be recyclable.
The western world has manipulated our way of evolving. The basics of living have been taken over by mundane jobs that people don’t want to do, rendering our natural sense of achievement at the end of a long day hard to come by (unless we find a preferred form of escapism). This is why people become depressed and addicted to narcotics. The reality people have been shoved into with out a say in, from the day they were born, is unfortunately a made up one. We are somewhat forced to buy our food from the supermarket. Many people haven’t had the opportunity in life to know what it feels like to have a garden of their own, feel the earth’s many textures between finger tips, and taste the flesh of fruits and vegetables that they have witnessed the growth of. How can they when they are made to think that the joys of life come from electronic windows that we stare at all day. There is little knowledge found through trial and error these days, not by the common folk by any means. It is most of the time googled. Too much of the human race has become uninterested in nature and exploration.
The dreadful drug trade. A sneaky subject which always slips conversations within the psychedelic music scene, funnily enough. I find it disheartening that we laugh and boogie under the influence of substances which we do not know the source from whom, where, and how they came. Who might have suffered? What poor illegal immigrants work in factories, producing vast quantities of pills, which we then consume and unknowingly fund the unfairness of? We speak of love and tell tales of epiphany whilst induced but give no regard of love to the people working hard to bring us these splendid little treats. A lot of it has to do with the illegalizing of substances. If they were legal, the organized crime side of the drug trade would subside a little bit, and people would be able to have quality produced substances. Which, to be honest with you, would be far more desirable than having someone (sometimes best friends) overdose on something which came from an unreliable source, which may have cut or mixed drugs with things no one would want in his or her body. We could have it under control for once.
So I guess my music, I hope, is there to inspire. And to help remind us of our ancestral lineage we once were, to connect communities in dance and happiness, and to regard in full all of those who aren’t as fortunate to share it with us. It would be nice to see a change to the things clouded to the common eye. It’s brilliant that there are groups who strive towards desired goals, and they work very hard at making people aware. However, there are far too many minds which think and perceive in different ways to even start convincing people that they’re living life in the wrong. Because they aren’t in the wrong to begin with. Who is anyone to judge this? What is incorrect is that we don’t take into consideration the long term effects of what we do, and there is none given to those in the range of impact when we do it.
(LIS) How would you describe your sound?
An eclectic quest through tribal, experimental beats intended to give a glimpse to the listener of their ancestral lineage.
(LIS) How do you go about producing? What’s your workflow/process?
Workflow? Hmmm. Well I suppose I just start by jamming, finding a rhythm I am happy with. I always start with the drums, then the bass line and melodies. However, each track is meant to tell a tale. So unless I’m feeling it, I can’t do it. I have to be in the right space… But aye, I just jam until I find something that I’m happy with. It can take hours sometimes.
(LIS) What helps you stay fresh and keep from stagnating in producing?
The many different styles, genres, and sub genres which are spread out before me to indulge upon. I don’t believe that any artist should become stagnant. If an artist becomes stagnant, they aren’t trying something new in my opinion. I know people like to stick to their guns and make the things they are used to, or most known by. This is mostly to do with the fans I think. If the fans aren’t enjoying the new material which is so different from the usual, then that should mean that there will be other customers out there who will enjoy the new, hence expanding the list of followers. Expanding the audience should be within an artist’s best interest.
(LIS) What artists motivate you? Who do you listen to?
The main artist which motivates me at the moment is a chap known as Deadbeat. Him and 2562 are my two main inspirations in my new productions. They both make very deep intelligent dubstep. But not the mainstream, angry type. It is very smooth and yummy, with a slight techno/garage vibe. They both make use of the lowest of frequencies, getting that sub perfect for rattling your nostrils.
(LIS) Where does the name of your project come from?
As I started getting into psy music, I also became very interested in psychedelics (you don’t say?). I started reading about the different religions and cultures which used various entheogens for healing purposes. One series of books was ‘The Teachings of Don Juan’ by Carlos Castaneda, which he wrote during his apprenticeship with a Yaqui Indian known as Don Juan Matus. Don Juan was a shaman from northern Mexico. But in the books, shaman was referred to as ‘Brujo,’ which is the Spanish term for a person who practices witchcraft, though in some places it means healer or shaman. So where do these shaman make their ayahuasca, peyote, and psilocybe cubensis tea? In a bowl would be the typical place, so I use this as a kind of metaphor for the way I produce my music. I mix all the sounds into a healthy sized bowl. What then comes out, I hope will alter perceptions of the world.
(LIS) What’s your setup (equipment/programs/packs/etc.)?
I use Ableton live to produce all of my music. A variety of plugins, a pair of Mackie MR5 MKII monitors, along with an Adam audio Sub 8, and a Moog Slim Phatty analogue synthesizer, which I use mainly for the bass in my tracks. I can assure anyone that if they want fat bass with gorgeously smooth clarity to get yourself a Moog. It is a relatively inexpensive setup as far as studios go. It would be lovely to invest in nicer monitors. But to be honest, these MR5 are pretty clear in my opinion. I don’t think my cheap monitors make any difference in the quality of my productions. When I play I use a Faderfox DJ2 assigned to two channels in Ableton. Very simple… but I like simple.
(LIS) You’ve started working under a different name “Beatroots.” What motivated the shift, and what can we expect?
I have started the project ‘Beatroots’ to release my new style of deep, tribal bass music. I will still be making Brujo’s Bowl material, but I would really like to focus on getting into the UK bass music scene. I love playing around with sub frequencies and voice since I’ve purchased my new sub woofer. And I think it will add some quirky elements to my sets in the future. Quite a bit of the music will feature vocals by me and my partner, very similar to the last track on my new album, Peace Data. However, there will be more upbeat steppa’ styles in the tracks to come. I recently played a few unreleased tracks at a New Years celebration in Paris. They received a very good response.
(LIS) Tell us about your relationship with the Zenon Collective.
Being signed to Zenon was my foot in the door, really. I can’t thank Tim Sensient enough for having me take part. I had only known of Zenon records for a year when I decided to produce music like that. And two EPs later, I was received and released The Real Picture on Zenon. Gob smacked I was. It was mainly a influence of Merkaba and Grouch which got me into the style. But I thought up a vision that the standard sound of Zenon, I could alter. I would bring in different genres and fuse them all together to make a more hybrid style. I feel like I have accomplished this in my productions. My sets no longer consist of prog only. Of course they ‘progress,’ but through genre and style rather than sounds and noises. When I play I suppose the genres would be a little something like this, Zenon/Psybreaks/Techno/Dubstep/Dub/Steppa. Not in order and of play, but in oneness.
(LIS) What can we look forward to from you (any upcoming tours, releases, other projects)?
People can look forward to the debut of my ‘Beatroots’ album in 2013, probably towards the end of the UK winter. I haven’t actually been booked this year for any festivals yet, and I don’t go on long tours. I miss home too much when I do. So we’ll see. For now I am in hibernation focusing on the album.