FEATURES Meet 13-Year-Old Punk Prodigy Bruno and the Outrageous Methods of Presentation By Joe Briggs · Photos by James Griffiths · July 15, 2019
Photos by James Griffiths

The last time my band played in Bristol, we went to get coffee the morning after the show. While we were there, our singer was approached by a kid who introduced himself as Bruno, and complimented them on their Rudimentary Peni patch and Sisters of Mercy badges. Patches, badges, band shirts—they’ve always been a way to signal your musical leanings to others who have the same subcultural interests, but it’s not often you get a 13-year-old clocking the logo of a classic anarcho-punk band from the early ‘80s. We gave the kid our band contact, and a couple weeks later we got an email from him including a link to his Bandcamp page, which is how I was introduced to the incredible world of Bruno and the Outrageous Methods of Presentation.

Bruno Wilkinson, as mentioned, is 13 years old and lives in Bristol. He’s been making music since 2017, and his Bandcamp page already features 60 releases; it’s growing all the time. When you ask him what music he’s into, he quickly reels off an incredible list of subgenres—Oi!, riot grrrl, EBM, hardcore, industrial, anarcho, psychedelic rock, proto-punk, garage rock, punxploitation, and more. He seems to have an encyclopedic knowledge of almost every branch of underground weirdo music and noise from the last 60 years. When asked how he got into this stuff, he enigmatically responds, “I guess it just found me.”

Finding someone who’s into this music is a rarity—let alone somebody who hasn’t even started their secondary school GCSE exams yet. What’s more impressive is that Wilkinson’s deep musical knowledge isn’t just a list of trivia and facts, but fuel for his own sonic weapon of self-expression. Going through his discography for the first time feels like stumbling across a hidden treasure trove, a wealth of killer tracks that reflect the wide range of his interests and influences.

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There’s “On the Streets,” an ugly slab of drum machine Oi! from We Did it Again, which Wilkinson describes as “general urban dead end gloom ‘n’ aggro.” This means it’s him, yelling over a dirt-simple hooligan riff. (The album notes read: “NO ROCK. NO ENTERTAINMENT. JUST SUCK. CRUDE SOUND FOR FRINGE PEOPLE.”) Wilkinson explains, “We wanted the song to sound like utter unbridled fury, and I think it’s fair to say that we succeeded!”

Bruno Outrageous

And then there’s “I Think I’m Living in a Z-Grade Movie,” from Goody Puppy Tail Dog, which Wilkinson describes as a “shit-fi surf punk blaster,” or “Only Rock ‘n’ Roll,” from Government Forces, which he says is “snotty outsider garage clatter” about “rock ‘n’ roll, morality, and life itself.” Some might prefer the dry messthetics post-punk of “She Wasn’t Very Funny,” from The Space Race, about a former colleague of his mum, or the “B&OMP Mission Statement,” 10 minutes of swirling industrial noise on This Is Real Now, or the screwball lounge music of “Tourists in Turkey,” from Stream of Nonsenseness.

Of his creative process, Wilkinson says, “It changes all the time. Sometimes I’ll have some lyrics that I want to do something with, sometimes I want to attempt a certain genre, and sometimes I’ll have some weird idea that I want to make a reality.” His voice ties all these different songs and styles together. By “voice,” I mean both his vocals, which he can twist from a kind of conversational spoken tone, to a sneering parodic croon, to a harsh raw scream—and his creative voice, which combines a clear sense of playfulness with a love for bizarro noise and snotty punk. All of his songs are full of sharp asides and raging fury, his words elongated and mangled by repetition. Despite his disparate sonic interests and working with different collaborators (“Mostly close friends and assorted degenerates,” he says), Wilkinson’s wit shines through.

Bruno Outrageous

He’s even played live a couple of times so far, including a Christmas show where he covered Cockney Rejects’s “Oi! Oi! Oi!” in a church, changing the lyrics to “Ho! Ho! Ho!” and introducing it with the Situationist quote “HUMANITY WON’T BE HAPPY TILL THE LAST BUREAUCRAT IS HUNG WITH THE GUTS OF THE LAST CAPITALIST.” He hopes to do more; when asked about his other plans for the future, Wilkinson tells me he wants to keep “being creative, having fun, making noise, creating havoc, and trashing the square world,” which is as good a plan as, really, anyone could have.

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