Ewan Atkinson chats to Brighton’s angriest poet, Miles Townsend a.k.a Brunt Poetry, about politics, open mics and missing trains.
Miles spits one window smashing verse after another on their latest EP ‘Open Mic Knight Live’. The animosity of the bars is concentrated on his frustration with the government and a lack of payment. The sheer power of Brunt Poetry is awe inspiring. The relentless rap and roll group from Brighton is made up of Miles Townsend on vocals, Charlie Welfare on guitar, Edward Lamb on bass and his younger brother John Townsend on drums. They have been playing in every pub and club in Brighton they can for over a year now. With London and Bristol gigs starting to become regular thing for the boys, is there going to be any stopping them?
When did you start Brunt Poetry? I started Brunt Poetry as a band in September 2014, although I had been writing and performing my solo rap/poetry for a few years before that. But before it was called ‘Brunt’, it was just ‘Poetry’.
Where does the name come from? The name was given to be my brother (who is also the drummer for Brunt Poetry band) after he said I was obscure, aggressive and informed enough to use such a word to describe myself. I had to google its definition, but think it suits my vocal style well.
What are the biggest struggles you face as unsigned underground artist? Missing the train to another city! Then you’re fucked!
Any pre-gig rituals? I tend to go outside the venue and circle the local area, like a vulture waiting for its prey to be weak enough or dead so that it can feast. Its that kind of showmanship that I feel will bring Brunt into the limelight in coming years.
You have done a lot of open mics, do you think they have influenced your music? The first band Ep, ‘Open Mic Knight Live’ was influenced by my time spent on the open mic scene in Brighton. Its how I made a lot of good friends and contacts in the city which has helped me move the act around so easily. You never know what you’re going to get at an open mic, could literally be anything in Brighton .. Ha. Its almost always interesting.
How much do you think music reflects what’s going on in the world?
Music is always a reflection of the world its created within. I think the sheer amount of political music around at the moment shows how much discontent there is in the world with the current global political status. Also on the flip side there is obviously a market for music and media that is never satisfied. I don’t know if id go as far as to say they run high pitch frequencies within the tracks to hypnotise the audience but I definitely think they have people brainwashed. Primark / Pop Music / Media / Fast Food. Its all bullshit.
You’re songs are quite political, is that a conscious decision? I don’t ever consciously try to write political songs, but I feel so much so often, the world today hits me and my music is how I roll with the punches.
When you’re songwriting do you have to get in a certain mindset and lock yourself away or do you just randomly start writing in the pub? I get inspiration for lyrics in all kinds of places and times … It often completely interrupts my life and I find I have to lock down and get it out of my system. Although I can never estimate how long it takes to get my ideas down … Sometimes for a song to be finished it takes months, sometimes it takes minutes.
What is coming up next for Brunt Poetry? (any releases, gigs?) Brunt Poetry has been pretty busy in its various forms (spoken word and occasional hip-hop, mostly really loud full band Rap n Roll) the last year and a half and we intend to keep and increase the momentum. Between Brighton, Bristol and London we’ve been gigging every month. We are playing in Liverpool in September and also heading over to the Isle Of Wight in August. Not to mention another new band release: The CCTV Ep, is being recorded in August. Keep an eye on B.P. Facebook for details. I think its the best work that Brunt has made so far, including the original, unreleased record!