The Grammy-winning bass wizard breaks down the landmarks of his life in low-end frequencies.
When it comes to what you’ve heard about Thundercat, believe the hype. A prodigiously talented bassist and central pillar of the Los Angeles beat scene, Stephen Bruner was trained in jazz and classical standards but originally played alongside his brother in the rhythm section of thrash-metal legends Suicidal Tendencies. After years of crafting his own music under the Thundercat moniker, it took encouragement from longtime affiliate and Brainfeeder head honcho Flying Lotus to get Bruner’s own swirling jazz, heavy bass lines and fierce electronica to the world — it was worth the wait. 2011’s The Golden Age of Apocalypse melded the astral intensity of Sun Ra with the stone-cold impact of contemporary future bass; since then, he’s released Apocalypse in 2013 and the sublime The Beyond / Where the Giants Roam in 2015, not to mention collaborations with Vic Mensa, Wiz Khalifa, Childish Gambino and many more. Thundercat reached even wider renown via his contributions to Kendrick Lamar’s titanic To Pimp a Butterfly and Kamasi Washington’s sprawling The Epic. His 2017 album for Brainfeeder, Drunk, proves that we’re only just beginning to understand the wondrous creative power that Thundercat wields with his bass.