The Bronx: “15 Years of Madness”

The Bronx: “15 Years of Madness”

By Becky Mount

Sep 22, 2017 10:40

The wait is finally over. After what feels like ten thousand years - realistically, just four - the fifth installment in the eponymous discography of The Bronx is out now on Cooking Vinyl/ATO Records.

Once upon a time a four year album cycle wasn’t unheard of. But these days, anything longer than two can feel excruciating. Like you’re just waiting for a hiatus announcement. But the same can’t be said for The Bronx, because in practically every way possible, they’re a different beast entirely. Marching to the beat of their own drum, rewriting the rule-book…whatever banal turn of phrase you want to use, it is absolutely true – The Bronx are unapologetically doing whatever the hell they want. With album number five so close that we can almost tasting the sweat of a signature Bronx pit, we spoke to front-man Matt Caughthran about what to expect.

“It’s a bit more of a punk rock record, really. We’re really stoked on it. Our buddy Rob Schnapf produced it, and he nailed it. He’s worked with a bunch of awesome bands and he’s just this fucking guru – he’s this shredding, great guitar player and he just really knocked it out of the park.”

The Bronx are incapable of putting together anything short of staggering, but there’s still great comfort to be taken in how excited Caughthran is about the impending release. “15 years of madness,” as he puts it. 15 years of blowing our minds, it’s a feat in itself to stay together that long, let alone be that excited about what’s around the corner. And it’s something Caughthran is all too aware of.

“There are so many tricks nowadays to survive in music, you almost HAVE to break up and reunite.” For that delicious paycheck? “Exactly! But we’ve managed to stay alive the whole way through and we’re really proud of that.”

And proud they should be, because their ferocity – that bare bones approach – has never faltered; their debut sounds as feral, relevant and loud today as it did back then. And that dedication to the cause? That stripped back and savage sound? That isn’t a coincidence. Whilst no one is giving The Bronx hell for sticking to what they know, we’re pretty sure they wouldn’t listen anyway.

“We love our fans, we love them to death…but you can’t really write records for them or drive the band based on what they want. Obviously you take that into consideration; you always go play where people want to see you play – supply and demand – and you write music for the people who want to hear it but as far as the actual schedule and sanity and existence of the band? The thing you’ve created and care about, that you’ve strived so hard to keep alive? You know that more than anyone else.

“At the end of the day, no matter how short someone’s attention span is – and whatever music they claim they want from you – if they really like your band, and as musicians you stick to what you love, the fans are going to be fine. Every now and then they might get grumpy…”

The Bronx seem utterly unfazed by pressure surrounding artists these days. You know the type, that privilege that fans are owed a new album every two years, with a fit to burst touring schedule to boot. A memento which works for some but can be more detrimental than a lot of fans realise. The Bronx, of course, do what the hell they want. Always. How else are you going to explain Mariachi El Bronx – their alter egos and side project – still going strong? “Because of the two bands, we’re able to have that balance. Having the Mariachi (El Bronx) helps out a lot because we’re able to space things out a bit and not get burned out, you know?”

Whilst that may sound exhausting, it seems to be working wonders. The band still command ravenous fans and utter furore with everything they do, despite the disposable culture that so many bands can fall victim to. “You can’t go off people’s attention span; in the modern day, you’re screwed. You have to go off what works for you. And what we do? That works for us, it’s good for us to take our time and do things when we feel right.

“And this fifth record? It just felt right – we always kind of let the music dictate the record, you just write until something feels good and that’s just what felt natural. And what felt good was going in a grittier recording style…and then the songs got faster…so you know what? We went for it, we went with it.”

Fans don’t need telling just how ardent, how unyielding The Bronx are but it sounds like the (self imposed) limits have been pushed once again. There’s no denying that darkness, that fury and that fire. Take lead single ‘Sore Throat’. In his own words, Caughthran describes it as “a crime scene”.

“It’s really dirty and just sounds nasty…it’s actually a little more aggressive than previous albums. It’s a little faster and it just sounds great.” So, the same Bronx we know and love and then some? “We always try to change a bit with each record, but we have ‘our Bronx’. It’s funny, when we started the band, our only rule was that it had to kick ass. It sounds so stupid, but it’s a base rule that we’ve always tried to stick to. And we always just try to do things a little differently to what else it out there. So you know, if you’re able to kick ass and change things up? Boom, put it out there.”

And that’s exactly what they’re doing. ‘BRVNX’ is out on September 22.