We sat down with Matt from The Bronx ahead of their sold-out show in Leeds to talk about the new record, the music industry and his thoughts on the punk and hardcore scene today.
So, how you doing, tour going well so far?
Yeah man, everything is good dude. We are really excited about this one as we haven’t really done a full record on tour and the shows are nice and intimate, so yeah really good.
Following on from that, what was the reasoning behind doing the album in full?
Just something different, we came over here wanting to do small clubs for this promo tour and we said that “if we want to do the promo tour we might as well play the album and do some other songs afterwards” and that’s pretty much what happened. Been a really good reaction so far.
Have you got any good memories from touring the UK in the past?
Yeah dude loads. Reading and Leeds is always a blast, got Slam dunk here as well, we’ve been coming here enough times now that we’ve built up a lot of good friendships which is cool. We’ve done a lot of cool stuff with El Bronx too, we did one night in London when The Bronx played then El Bronx played in two separate clubs, that was a blast. Played some great shows in Manchester and Leeds, especially at the Cockpit, is that still there?
No that’s shut unfortunately
That’s crazy! We played a load of great shows there, especially with that band Fucked Up. It’s always a blast coming over here.
Going on to your latest release Bronx V, I felt that it had a much more bluesy, classic rock vibe, which had always been in your sound but felt much more prominent here. Was a that a conscious decision, or did it come about naturally?
On every Bronx record, there’s always some straight up heavy punk songs, and there’s always one, two or three kinda weird left-field rock and roll songs, and with this record and the second record too, the bluesy stuff just happened. I wouldn’t see it as bluesy, more kinda cock rock I guess, but everyone album we always try and do something a little strange.
How have the new songs gone down live?
Pretty good, it’s definitely been well rehearsed. We’d been working on these songs a while and we knew that they felt good and that the energy was right. There are certain songs from the record that we haven’t played live yet, and they all feel great so it’s all cool.
The production on the new album sounds nastier and dirtier than it did on Bronx IV, is that relative of the current state of world affairs or am I thinking too much into it?
Yeah maybe, I don’t know if it’s relative to world affairs but it’s just how we felt when we were writing the record. We just wanted to make something nasty and just fucked up, you know, and it was a lot of fun doing it. Rob Schnapf the producer was the perfect guy for that, he’s got all the gear in the world with vintage amps, and pedals and all this cool stuff. It’s nice, when you were talking about the different sound of the songs on the record, a different production is a good way to differentiate between albums. We wanted to make a nasty record for a while, with more of an alive crunch to it.
It definitely sounds a lot more natural
Yeah, in the past we tend to polish up more on records, and there’s a pro and a con to that. It separates the records from the band live, cause I think live there’s a certain rawness to the sound that doesn’t translate to the studio.
How do you feel about the hardcore and punk scene in 2018?
Well you know, the same as I did coming into 2017 and the year before that. There’s good people, there’s bad people, there’s good bands, there’s shitty bands, there’s posers and there’s good people trying to make a difference and push things forward, and there’s a lot of people out there who care about punk rock and hardcore music. I think its more alive now than it has been in the years before, its gaining strength again. 2015 and 16 were kinda shitty years, but now I feel like things are coming back. There’s more of an underground presence back in the mix.
On Knifeman you made it pretty clear how you felt about the music industry. Ten years on from that song, are your feelings changed?
No, I definitely don’t. The music industry is tough man, its tough. Honestly, we’ve been fortunate to work with a lot of great people and its cool, but it doesn’t still change the fact that it’s always tough. To be a part of an industry that doesn’t really have an identity anymore, as far as a structural identity, is tough, and you have this aspect of everyone being a part of the team when face to face fending for themselves behind your back. So you have to deal with that because the music industry is in such dire times that everyone is doing whatever they can to keep themselves afloat and keep money in their pockets.
The flipside of that is you lose out on the genuineness of people being in it for the right reasons when you’ve got all this backstabbing going on, and a lot of people that just want to make money off artists. They are in it for the wrong reasons. Or however they got into music, that’s not where they are at now, and they are forced to scrape money wherever they can get, and its just tough man.
There’s a lot of great people in the music industry but its hard, and as a band when you do a lot of work and you have to see where everything goes financially and all that stuff, its a little bit of a cluster fuck. But it’s the industry that we chose and I don’t want to make it sound like its a bunch of theives, cause its not, there’s a lot of good people, but you’ve got to be more on your toes now than when you were in the 80’s when your manager was stealing money from your account, that shit happens on the daily now and not just your manager. It’s a wild kingdom the industry, and you have to be on your toes.
Do you think everything going digital has had an effect for the worse?
I mean yes and no, it’s not just the music industry I think its a lot of everything. I think people are looking for the easy way to do things, they don’t really want to find a new way of doing things. So they either bitch about the old way or want to keep doing the same thing. Like in Hollywood all they do is new versions of old movies, and when I was growing up everything was new and now its like they’re tired, lazy, out of ideas and drained, and its reflecting in the industry side of things, and the musical side of things, you know? Bands have gotta go the fucking extra mile nowadays and it is what its. Downloading digital music, like it or hate its the way things are, so figure it out (laughs). It’s all good, we’re a band who doesn’t make a lot of money but we stay alive because we care about what we’re doing, and we’re smart about what we’re doing and we try as hard as we can to be smart about our future. The bands survival is the number 1 priority, and if you think like that, you’re good.
What’re your plans for the rest of the year?
Just more touring and festivals over here, in Europe and in the States and then Australia. Next year we will probably either right Bronx 6 or El Bronx 4, one of the two haha.
Great, thanks for taking the time to speak with us and good luck with the rest of the tour!
Check out our review of the sold out Leeds show here.