Interview: Joby J. Ford [The Bronx / Pounded By The Surf]

By James Davenport

Joby J. Ford has his fingers in a number musical pies, all of which he manages to balance by often opening for himself when touring. Despite Joby having a broken hand he has just completed a two week European tour with The Bronx and Mariachi El Bronx, alongside support acts Frank Carter And The Rattlesnakes and Joby’s newest instrumental surf project, Pounded By The Surf.

Prior to the show on their final date of the tour at London’s Brooklyn Bowl, Joby was kind enough to answer some questions.

How’s the tour going?

Tour’s good. Tonight’s our last night and coming over here you never really know. Especially since we were just in Paris and it’s really interesting to see the change and the effects and the ripples of what happened there, but I think it was a really an important show for us to go and honor our commitments. It was very special to the Parisians, we’ve played Paris a bunch but that time felt completely different. There was a bunch of people that had survived the attacks that came and it was just nuts. Terror’s never really hit the music scene like that.

Did that affect the way you planned the tour?

Yeah it did, well it could have. We didn’t change anything but there were tonnes of emails saying ‘should we go? Should we not?’. I just said if we don’t go then terror wins. It was nuts the military came on our bus at the border and there was armed guards everywhere. It was just weird.

Do you think those events affected the number of people that attended the shows?

Absolutely. There was a bunch of people that bought tickets that just stopped going to shows and just said ‘fuck it’.

You’re playing in multiple bands on this tour. How do you manage to cope with that? 

We’ve started doing two nights in towns but not all of them. Last night was Mariachi and tonight’s Bronx.  We have another band, an instrumental surf band opening up and we sat in with Craig Finn who played the Mariachi shows too. So lots of music.

How are you coping playing all these shows with a broken hand?

Vicodin. I mean I’m older you know and I hate sitting around so I would much rather be doing something. I love the hour and a half I get to play each day and everyone else is the same, if there’s a chance to play while we’re out here then we’re gonna do it.

Do you have to do much extra planning and bring more equipment with you?

Oh yeah. It’s insane. Our baggage overages are hilarious. Most of our gear is over here as we have two sets but I think we brought like seventeen guitars for all the bands.

Your new project Pounded By The Surf is an all instrumental surf band. How’s the reaction been to that from fans?

It’s a very old art form that’s way before my time and it’s like anything else, some people like it some people don’t. Some people like The Bronx and some people don’t. With music, when you’re doing something subjective, it’s like, there was this one guy who said ‘are you gonna sing?’ and I said ‘obviously you’re not a golfer’ but he didn’t get that joke. The receptions been great though, it’s been really positive.

What inspired you to make that sort of an album?

There was this radio station in LA, I don’t even know if it’s still around. It was really small and called ‘Indie103′ and it was great, like only people in bands I think listened to it. Steve Jones had a show and Henry Rollins had a show on there. I was driving home from band practice one night, listening to Henry Rollins’ show and he played this song, by a British band actually called TheSshadows who were an old instrumental band. I think it was ‘Apache’ and it was really refreshing to hear music that takes you some place without a singer telling you where to go, if that makes sense. I remember thinking ‘I really like this. This isn’t something you hear everyday’ and I love the almost cinematic aspect too. That’s something that we really like, it’s very western but it’s also very surf. All that psycho surf stuff isn’t really my thing but this is just a style of music that all of us really like so we made a record. I guess that’s how every band starts, you play some tunes with your friends and see what happens.

You mentioned The Shadows but did you have any other influences? Did you look into the scene more?

Yeah. Duane Eddy would probably be the main guy, he just had a really interesting and really bizarre and simple way of playing these four or five note riffs that really stuck out to me and I really locked on him. He’s probably one of my favourite artists of that kind of genre, very Western but very Surf, and The Shadows obviously, I think are an amazing band.

In the press release for the album, you referred to the ideal setting as being the ‘Docean’. Is that a real place or did you have a place in mind when you came up with that description?

Yeah! The ‘Docean’ is how I would describe our band, where the desert meets the ocean. That’s what it sounds like to me, that’s what the sound looks like in my head when I listen to it. So that’s our word, well it is now.

Have you got anything planned for next year with any of your bands?

No, I don’t know. Matt and I had an old band called The Drips and the drummer Dave in that band plays in Social Distortion so he has been gone forever but we’re actually getting back together and we’re doing a bunch of Christmas shows in California when we get home. Same thing, two nights and The Drips are getting back together to open up those shows. Everybody’s like ‘let’s do another record’ but I dunno we’ll see what happens. But as far as planning goes, I’m not really one of those guys that can really plan, it’s more like whatever feels right in the moment and right now I’m trying to get through the end of the year and then take a break because we’re kind of done with all of the record cycles.

Are there any other styles or genres you’d like to delve into or try your hand at?

Yeah I do. I was recently in Texas and I reconnected with some old friends. We went into the studio and started cutting songs during the day and played all night. I don’t know what’s going to come of it but it’s very western. We’re gonna do the same thing though, make some songs and see what happens. I’ve got a bunch of studio stuff coming up in the new year, just mixing and recording bands.


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