THE BRONX LA Confrontational

Since their formation and first album, LA punk rockers The Bronx have injected a new wave energy into punk rock as we know it. Their strait up brutality in both songs and live performances is a force to be reckoned with. In late September, The Bronx dropped their fifth album, titled, in sequence with preceding albums, you guessed it, V. Ahead of their Australian tour alongside none other than punk rock legends Pennywise, RYAN ELLIS caught up with The Bronx vocalist Matt Caughthran to talk about the new album, it’s influences and the what to expect at their, not to be missed, final show of the tour at Metropolis Fremantle this Friday, November 3.

So touring with Pennywise, you must be pretty stoked with that, how did that come around?

We’ve been trying to do it forever. They’re good friends of ours and it’s something that, between, our schedules kind of crazy and so was theirs, especially with us having El Bronx and stuff to do over the last couple years, and it was just something that wasn’t able to line up and make sense until it did. We’re super stoked now because Australia’s the perfect place to do it, for both bands, and it’s just going to be a great great tour. I’m excited that it finally came together.

Has Pennywise had a big impact on you and the band?

Ah, for me yeah, for me personally, absolutely. I mean the first two records were massive for me, between self-titled and Unknown Road, those records were very influential on me. I was the big second wave LA punk rocker, Pennywise, Bad Religion, all that stuff, it had a big big big impact on me, and you know, it’s a trip, to be able to call both those bands friends now is great. Just outside of that, purely on the musical level, I’m definitely a big fan.

Do you have a favourite track of theirs, or pretty much everything?

Ah, there’s a lot of them you know, Home Sick has always been one of my favourites on the road, that’s always been…that was one of the early ones, they had a video to that song too that I remember seeing when I was, a little bit younger and it was just awesome, it was exactly what their shows were at the time, their cool live footage swiped in-between and, it was really cool man. That’s always been a song that kind of makes me go a little crazy, whenever they play that, I’m definitely right in the middle of it.

Now I’ve got to say, congratulations on the new album as well, The Bronx V, I’ve had it on pretty much repeat the last week, and it’s awesome.

Hell yeah, awesome man, thank you, that’s great. We’re super proud of the record man, It took a lot to get there but, actually the record was pretty easy to record so, you know, it was good man, and everyone seems to be digging it, so we’re stoked.

It seems a little bit more refined to some of the previous albums, its different but it’s still got that real Bronx vibe and the traits you guys are known for, it’s hard not to love.

Yeah yeah, you know, we wanted to do something nasty, we wanted the record to sound different, we wanted it to sound mean, we wanted to shake things up. The records a definite reflection of how we were feeling, it’s like, a lot of people were like, ‘man the records really, it’s really distorted, there’s a lot of steps on it, it’s really nasty and trashy sounding’. I mean, that’s where our heads were, that’s what it sounded like in our heads when we’re writing it and we envisioned it, so you know, that’s the truest form of what we wanted, and I love the way it came out, I love the grittiness of it.

I found it hard to pick a track I liked above the others, so, is there a particular track that is a favourite of yours on there?

Um, there’s a couple, one song that were playing live right now that just rules is Broken Arrow, the way that song came out, the way it sounds live, it just rips, it’s a killer killer tune, ah, and Stranger Danger sounds good live, everything sounds good live, Glue Factory, Two Birds and Side Effects, it’s like, we really like playing all the songs on this record so, I love them all. I would say that right now Broken Arrow is a favourite of mine.

It sounds like it’s going to be an intense album to hear live.

Yeah, yeah absolutely, and sometimes, you know, with Bronx records, because we kind of approached it as two different animals, where, it’s like you have a record, sound, or vibe, or idea, and then you have the live Bronx, which is usually faster and more aggressive, but I feel like, along with our first record, I feel like this fifth record is a pretty close representation or who we are live as well, so it’s cool like that for me, I like having the closeness like that.

I noticed there’s a few punchy lyrics on quite a few of the tracks as well, sort of referencing various social and political issues like shootings, fake news, and even your own confrontations with depression in Channel Islands. Were there any particular events that had a bigger impact of the band and the development of the album than others?

Ah yeah, I mean, those police shootings fucked everybody up you know, those were a catalyst for a lot of anger and, a lot of frustration, on behalf of just, people, living in the states at the moment that just aren’t get, you know, what they deserve. Punks and police are at odds to begin with, but, outside of music, you know, the amount of injustice that’s been going on, throughout the states in the last three four years have been, just kind of, with the tide swinging the other way, you know back to the old rich white Republican side of things and ideologies, and it’s just shitty man, it’s just shitty, and it’s pissing a lot of people off, and a lot of people are being dramatically affected by it, not just angry, people are like, losing family members, innocent people are getting hurt, innocent people are getting molested, innocent people are going to jail, and it’s fucked up.

Night Drop at the Glue Factory seems to come off as a bit of a fuck you to all these sorts of problems, it’s sort of that vibe you get from the song.

Yeah, that’s definitely what it is you know. Yeah, that song is definitely addressing all that, and, just kind of how, just how fucked it all is. Things have taken a turn in the wrong direction as far as I’m concerned, and it’s really tough, granted, I’m still a fortunate individual you know, I get to play music for a living and, I don’t necessarily feel the weight of everything like other people do but it’s like, I’m still am a conscious human being, with a heart and mind, and I know when things are fucked up, when things are wrong, it’s gotten to a point where you can’t just stand by, you can’t be the guy filming the fight instead of breaking it up, you know what I mean, it’s like, you have to be involved to a certain extent and that’s like, part of our involvement is through music.

On the new album, one thing that strikes me is the cover art, it’s awesome. Your design or something you brought on?

Ah no, it’s something that our guitar player Joby Ford did, he’s done every record cover. He’s done, since the Bronx started, he did Bronx one through five and El Bronx one through three, he’s our in-house guru, he’s the record cover master

So, we know your live shows are pretty intense and they seem to just go off the hook, how do you guys prepare for a gig, any pre-gig rituals or is it just go out there and lose your mind?

Ah, you know, it’s kinda just go out there and lose your mind type of thing, I mean, we just hang out before, we’ll have beers, we just kinda chill, that’s really it. We love what we do so there’s no real need to like, put yourself in this crazy head space, you know, it’s like, it’s pretty automatic for us, the Bronx is who we are as individuals so, it’s just kind of a reflection of that, so lucky for us, we don’t need to force anything or do anything like that.

Freo’s going to be your last gig for the Australian tour, is there anything you were planning to do while you were here?

Ah yeah, were gonna be pretty busy but the top priority for me is always getting in the ocean, always trying to catch a couple waves if I can, and catch up with all the friends we have over there so, the night needs to take on, you know, whatever it takes on. I guarantee you we’re gonna have a blast, we’re gonna get into some shit we probably shouldn’t be getting into but that’s the way we are so, the only real thing I really got on my mind is trying to catch up with all our friends and jump in the ocean, outside of that, I’m sure a whole of great stuff is gonna happen.

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