Who’s got the love? We got the love! The love for The Bronx that is, and the feeling is very mutual! It wouldn’t be surprising if frontman Matt Caughthran knew the Aussie national anthem — he has nothing but good things to say about our great land down under ahead of the punk-rock outfit’s annual pilgrimage and massive national tour next month.
This year marks the 15th anniversary of the release of The Bronx I, the L.A. rockers’ Gilby Clarke-produced debut album that catapulted them into the scene thanks to hits like ‘False Alarm’, and ‘They Will Kill Us All (Without Mercy)’.
So how have The Bronx grown musically in that time? Have they matured from jumpy young things to more solemn men? Not likely!
In a chat with Music Feeds, Caughthran says the sound, the sentiment, and the love between The Bronx I and their latest album, V, is the same as ever — if not amplified! Check out what he had to say below.
Music Feeds: Matt, you can’t get enough of Australia – you just played Splendour and you’ll be back touring in October – dude, why don’t you just move here?
Matt Caughthran: I mean, I might! I’ve been slowly, piece by piece, putting in place my Australian retirement plan! [Laughs] Every time we go over there, I bring a little piece of furniture, store it with my friends.
Eventually, you know, when I’m 50, 60 [years old], if I make it that far, I’ll make my way down there and enjoy the rest of my life on the coast!
MF: Sounds like a good plan to me! So you’re coming back over next month, what’s gonna be the vibe? How’s it gonna differ from when you guys have been here doing festivals? For one thing I guess — these are way more intimate shows, and hell, it’s gonna be a lot warmer so it’ll be a lot sweatier!
MC: That’s for sure! I mean, we’re looking to come down because we started this really cool tradition of coming over in October every year and it’s something we wanna keep doing because, I dunno, Halloween over there is just getting to a place where people are starting to embrace it. We played Halloween over in Australia the last two years, we’re looking forward to doing that in Melbourne, it’s gonna be great.
We try and do different things every time we come over, we’ve never really done some of the smaller regional stuff – we wanted to do that and play some badass shows, mix up the setlist a little bit, give it one last run of The Bronx V record cycle. Australia has been a really good place for us, it’s a great spot for us to, you know, unwind. I guess you could say the year, the record, the new shows – once it’s all done, we’ll take a break for a little bit because we’ve been busy.
Coming out for just Splendour [In The Grass] just didn’t feel right! We wanted to come back and do it properly.
MF: But if you’re making it an annual thing, if you were gonna come back over 2019, how would that fit in with your guys having a break? What constitutes a break for The Bronx?
MC: [Laughs] It’s not really much of a break at all. We try to take off the first few months of the years, so I’ve got all that time to write, record, to regroup in general.
I think next year we’ll be working on a record – so yeah, it’ll be kind of sporadic what we’re doing. Next year we’ll be back for a Halloween show – I don’t know if we’ll get to do a full tour – but it is a lot sometimes but if we can make it over, we go for it. We have so many friends there, it’s always a good time.
MF: You mentioned mixing it up a little in the set – of course, this year marks 15 years since Bronx I, but of course, you’re still operating of the back of the V cycle – two very different albums, two different moments in time. What’ been the journey between those two albums and how have you watched your music change with what’s going on in the world?
MC: It’s weird, there’s been a lot of time between The Bronx I and V. In each record, you know, it has a special place in our hearts and is obviously a crazy time for all of us. Like with Bronx I, we were crazy, we figuring everything out, going nuts, having a good time. By Bronx II, we’d become real musicians, going for that major label goal. Bronx III, we’re depressed, we’re broke. Bronx IV, you know, the rocky comeback – Bronx V it was like, okay we’re still here, still motivated.
It’s funny because sonically, it just feels like one… I mean, you know, it feels like my life, one long thing. It feels great, but it would be really hard for me and dissect how the band [has] changed sonically, because I don’t feel like we have, you know what I mean? It’s just the band, I don’t feel like there’s been that drastic of a change between records that I’d be like, ‘Oh we used to sound like this, we stopped doing that, we wanted to go more this direction,’ you know? Everything is pretty minor.
There’s usually one or two songs on each record that make people scratch their head – those are the songs we like writing. Those are the songs that make each record different. It’s cool, everything feels the same, one big time body of work.
MF: It’s all very well celebrating 15 years, Bronx I was the catapult into what you have become – it has some pretty gnarly sentiments in there. How far would you say the themes of Bronx I are still relevant today?
MC: Fortunately it has the same power and is something that sticks with people. Music is one of those things, when people hear it, it affects them in a certain way and it’s just beneath the surface – that’s what’s beautiful about music. To think we have songs and albums that affect people in that way, it’s amazing. I think that a crowd of people that, people who love that record and want to hear those songs, I’m the same way. I still love playing those songs, I don’t piss on that at all. We’re not one of those bands who are made at people who like one record over another, it’s cool. I’m super stoked that people, 15 years later, still give a shit about that record.
Catch The Bronx playing live across Australia from next week! Dates here.