Words by:
Photography: Jessica Eli Hill

“I wouldn’t consider myself religious. I just consider myself a believer in the universe.” London-based MC and producer Brother May is explaining how his spirituality influences his creative practice, fuels his commitment to personal evolution, and helps him tap into the creative energy that exists around him. 

This all-embracing approach has served him well. After appearing on a number of projects from the mid 2010s onwards – including 2016’s May and Meeks with Mica Levi, and a 2018 compilation alongside Tirzah and Coby Sey – May released his first full-length album, Aura Type Orange, in 2019. Pattern With Force, his second LP, released on Warp Records earlier this year, borrows from grime, garage, hip-hop and the sound system culture that coloured his youth. His lyrics, often delivered in a rhythmic snarl over stripped-back beats, range from deeply personal stories about overcoming adversity, to surreal and cryptic descriptions of London street life.


Brother May’s music is also continually shaped by collaboration. Together with Mica Levi and Coby Sey, May is a member of CURL, an experimental sonic collective based in southeast London. Lurking in the city’s musical fringes, the three artists playfully blend, merge and subvert genres, with releases spanning raw and ragged guitar compositions and wonky R&B to ambient hip-hop and dub electronics.

Pattern With Force arrived as a result of one of CURL’s exploratory sessions. “[Mica Levi] has been a close friend of mine for around 17 years, and we’ve been making music that whole time. They proposed this idea to me – they compiled 12 to 13 tracks with me in mind, they were all kind of rough,” he explains. “I went to their house in south London, and the song Gully Hymns came on. They built the beat around a sample of my voice. I just kind of freestyled to it.”


Brother May touched down in the Crack Magazine studio for a special holographic AR performance of Gully Hymns, a dark and hypnotic track he describes as “a ghetto anthem for the hood, but dressed in godliness”. As an artist constantly exploring the hidden forces propelling his own creativity, he feels that a hologram perfectly encapsulates the themes in his music: “Everything is vibration, shapes, energy, grey matter. Ideas exist in our mind as intangibles, but as we bring them out, you find their shape.”

Pattern With Force is out now via Warp Records