After taking a self-imposed hiatus to pursue their passion for mariachi music, the hardcore punk band The Bronx is back with their first new release in more than five years. The eagerly-anticipated record, The Bronx (IV), is due in stores on February 5th and the group will be embarking on a tour of the UK shortly thereafter. Drummer Jorma Vik spoke with me recently about the band and the release; here is what he had to say.
You guys have just completed work on your new record, The Bronx (IV). Are you satisfied with the way it turned out?
Jorma: We’re very happy with it. We’ve all matured as musicians and songwriters over the ten year history of the band and we’d like to think that each of our records is a progression of the record prior. I think (IV) is a good representation of where we’re at creatively.
What can fans expect when they pick up a copy of the disc?
Jorma: A spirited and vivacious sonic finger blast to the ear canal.
Check out the song “Ribcage”
What is your writing process like?
Jorma: It’s been different for every record. This time around it started with a basic layout on guitar after which Matt would lay a rough idea of a vocal part. Then we’d attack it as a whole and work out a structure. It seemed to work out great from a drummers standpoint because you know where not to play as opposed to when the vocals are an afterthought to what you’re playing.
When you write do you write with the live setting in mind?
Jorma: Not so much. We try and stay focused on the record as an entity in and of itself. Tempos play an important roll in the recording process so the songs have a groove to them. The tempos for any particular song tend to push and pull in the live setting depending on many different variables. We like to keep things organic like that.
It has been five years since you released an album as The Bronx. What was the reason for doing so now?
Jorma: We released two records with our other band, Mariachi El Bronx in the interim and toured pretty extensively with that, so we’ve definitely kept busy.
We took our time and waited until we felt truly inspired to write another proper Bronx record.
For the past few years you guys have been working as Mariachi El Bronx. Has that been put aside now or are you doing double duty?
Jorma: We’re currently writing songs for the next MEB record and have some touring between our Bronx duties. Having two bands is twice as rewarding but also twice as much work.
You guys have been around for a while. When you are writing your songs these days do you find it difficult being as rebellious and rage-filled as you were in your early days?
Jorma: Not at all ‘cuz we aren’t and we don’t pretend to be. Our first record was recorded ten years ago. We were very different people then. The way we write reflects directly on where we’re at in our lives at that particular time. To try and recreate the attitude and angst from our past would feel contrived and dishonest. We have all new things that fuel our creativity now; like changing diapers.
You guys are known for constantly being on the road. I noticed you are going back out again for a decent stretch of dates. Do you find it more difficult to tour as you get older?
Jorma: Speaking personally, absolutely! I have to pay much closer attention to what I put into my body because that plays a very big part in your stamina and endurance. We tend to push ourselves to the limit during shows so I try to do everything in my power to prevent burning out and/or injuring myself. This was not the case ten years ago.
Along those same lines how do you prepare for the physical demands of a tour?
Jorma: At the suggestion of the Foo Fighters who play 3+ hour shows, I’ve recently taken up mountain biking which has helped immensely. If anyone knows the importance of keeping yourself in shape for tour it’s those dudes.
What is next for The Bronx?
Jorma: We’re super excited about our current UK tour. After which we head home a do a couple week Mariachi El Bronx tour in the States. Then The Bronx heads back over to Australia in April.
Check out the ‘IV’ album teaser trailer