"When things line up and everything feels organic and natural and inspired and creative and loose, those rare moments you have to treasure."
The Bronx have just released their brand new album 'Bronx VI' via Cooking Vinyl.
Bright, breezy and bristling with loud and loose rock and roll energy, it's a slice of sunshine-stained punk that feels so vital at a time like this. Bridging into new waters whilst keeping the chest-thumping spirit that has kept them going all these years burning brighter than it has ever been, it's so good to have them back.
To find out a bit about how it came to be, we caught up with vocalist Matt Caughthran...
At the very beginning of piecing together this 6th piece of your story, what were the intentions? Was there anything you wanted to be able to do?
"I think that on the 5th record [2017's 'Bronx V'], it was another one of our survival records. What I mean by that is that it was a super important record for the band. We had gone through a lot at that moment internally, so we needed to be able to get it out and done. So when we did do that, it felt really good. It was another moment of The Bronx über alles. The Bronx survives.
"So going into the sixth record, the vibe within in the band was a lot looser and a lot more fun. It’s always a blast, but going into the writing process this time around, we were like, ‘Let’s just kick some ass’. It opened the experience to Ken [Horne, guitar] and Brad [Magers, bass], both writing songs. Everyone contributed on a level that had never really happened before. It also became something that we could get excited about. We were thinking about the micro and the macro, which was a very special feeling. Just because the future was so wide open for what we could do, I think that our best music is still to come as we look forward. We’re firing on all cylinders right now."
When you’re going through a hardship of sorts, it’s only when you’re out the other end that you made it through. So that belief and hunger that comes with that success rub off on what you do next. The fire in your belly intensifies…
"Absolutely. Every record is different, though, you know? And with his one also knowing that we were going to be recording with Joe Baressi, who we have been looking to work with ever since considering him for 'Bronx III', was another way that things lined up in the right way. Getting into his spot in Pasadena felt cool as well.
"Recording is a trip, either way, man. I think back to when we did it when we were younger, and the first time can be such a head fuck. So when things line up and everything feels organic and natural and inspired and creative and loose, those are the rare moments you have to treasure."
What would you say with you all bringing something to the writing table? What were the elements that had never really cropped up before?
"What you can hear on this record more than anything are those new elements. They come from Ken and Brad and are the more rock and roll songs. 'Water In The Well' is a Ken Horne song, a rock and roll god. The coolest dude on the planet who is stepping into his own as a songwriter right now. Then you have guys like Joby [J. Ford, guitar], who has been writing songs for The Bronx forever but is going through a Renaissance of sorts. Then you have Brad writing five songs because he wanted to get in on it for the longest time. And then Joey on production giving every song so much attitude and bite and grit. But then, through all of that, it still feels like a classic Bronx album. What you hear on this is the doors opening to new directions. The Bronx is always going to be The Bronx, but as we grow and continue to write, things will take on a life of their own. It’s only a matter of time until I even put on a guitar and fuck everything up!"
In many ways, The Bronx has become a vessel for whatever you want the band to be, written by whoever. And even after all these years of travelling around the world and sharing, to feel like you have still only scratched the surface…
"Absolutely. Creative growth is essential and what it’s all about. Being in a band is fun as fuck and something that we’re all grateful for and don’t take for granted. So when we write a record, we push ourselves. We want to grow creatively. And sometimes those growing pains are stressful as fuck, and sometimes they’re not. This time around, it was much more of a painless experience. It felt good, and we’re pretty confident in where we are as a band. And we’re also so excited about the next step and giving these songs the respect they deserve."
This is an album that you've had to sit on through the most unique period of all of our lifetimes. How did it feel like a band that are so used to moving around as fast as possible suddenly having to be static?
"It was tough. When your identity Is wrapped up in your professions and your profession is then taken away, it feels like you’ve been stripped. Everyone went through the, ‘Who am I?’ Thought-process. But it was short-lived for me because I have so much to be grateful for. I’ve always resigned in the fact that if the band were to stop suddenly, I would still be the luckiest guy in the world to have been a part of it with my friends.
"The thing is that we’re all like terminators. We’re never going to stop, and the only way you could make us stop was with a pandemic. We had a break forced on us, and it was the best thing for us."
Though one of the main parts of The Bronx ethos is the community around it, that community built came into its own over the last 18 months...
"Absolutely. Thank god for music in times like this because it’s a unifier. Life is beautiful. It’s crazy, and it’s short, and you’ve got to be thankful for being able to live whilst so much crazy stuff is going on around the world. It was super hectic, but we got through it, and we are looking to spread some joy with everything we’ve got now."