ARTIST FOCUS: THUNDERCAT

Grammy award winning bassist Thundercat makes his way to Printworks in July for Afro Punk, on a shining line-up featuring heavyweights like The Internet, JME and Corrine Bailey Rae.

Real name Stephen Bruner, Thundercat hails from Los Angeles and has music running through his veins - his father, Ronald Bruner, is an internationally renowned jazz drummer who played with the Temptations, Diana Ross and Gladys Knight. His brother Ronald Bruner Jr. is also a Grammy award winner, preferring drums to strings (imagine the annual family get together!). Whilst still in high school, the brothers toured worldwide in thrash band Suicidal Tendencies; Thundercat also toured Japan with jazz musician Stanley Clarke at the age of 16 and in Snoop Dogg’s band in the mid-2000’s.

As Thundercat, Bruner is wildly experimental. His jazz roots reflect the choice of artists he has shared stage and studio with - Erykah Badu, Pharrel Wiliams, Kendrick Lamar and most recently Wiz Khalifa, to name only a few. Thundercat has perhaps most widely collaborated with Flying Lotus, firstly back in 2010 on the Cosmogramma LP, with Fly-Lo going on to produce all or parts of Thundercat’s albums The Golden Age of Apocalypse (2011) and Apocalypse (2013), which blurring the confines of pop, funk, electronica and prog rock.

The two got together again on Thundercat’s most recent album ‘Drunk’, released this February. Seeming to be his breakout moment, it consists of a tremendous 23 short tracks, fusing Thundercat’s solid jazz credentials with punk, hip-hop, psychedelia and funk, touching on subjects ranging from those as pedestrian as losing your wallet and as timely as police brutality, to the perils of social media, and an ode to his cat in ‘Tron Song’. Tellingly, he began composing Drunk after working on Kendrick Lamar’s seminal ‘To Pimp A Butterfly’ and Kamasi Washington’s ‘The Epic’. Arguably, time will mark out Thundercat as essential an artist as either of them.

Catch Thundercat at Afro Punk on July 22.



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