The Unorthodox Punk Odyssey of Matt Caughthran
After five years fronting hardcore band The Bronx, cherubic Angeleno native Matt Caughthran and his band did something bizarre, risky and potentially brilliant. They formed a mariachi group.
Mariachi El Bronx would go on to open gigs for Foo Fighters and The Killers; quite a successful 180. They've since returned to their punk roots with their fourth eponymously titled full-length album The Bronx (IV), which will be released by White Drugs/ATO Records on Tuesday. We caught up with Caughthran before their record release show at Los Globos on Saturday.
Did you ever think that El Bronx would catch on?
Fuck no dude! No way, we thought we were gonna get killed. We're a bunch of white guys that are gonna try and play mariachi music and I'll bet that people are gonna fucking hate us. But it's something we want to do, so let's approach it as seriously as possible and be respectful to the genre. It ended up coming across authentic, which is what we wanted it to be. We didn't want people to think we were taking a shit on the genre or the culture so when it actually worked out I couldn't believe it.
That's gotta be a bit of a confidence booster...
When we didn't get assassinated and actually started getting tours I was like, I can't believe this, it's amazing. It restored so much faith in music industry and the creative side of life. Seven or eight years years ago people were so jaded. No one wanted to hear anything new, everyone was just bitching about every band on the planet. I think nowadays people are excited about music again. It's a kind of renaissance of the music right now.
Yeah, there seems to be a ton of older punk bands getting back together lately as well, what's your take on that?
See also: Black Flag Are Back Together
Honestly, I think it's an inspiring time in music and I think it's making people who haven't played in awhile miss it and wake up. I think it's coming from a genuine excitement of music and that's why I think the shows are so good...you get bands like Quicksand back together and they're fucking pumped and crowds are pumped too.
So you're a born and bred L.A. native, in what ways do you think Los Angeles has influenced your music?
Mariachi music itself was really regionally distinct throughout Mexico when it started. You got different sounds from different places and on a bigger scale I think that's the same for us. If we were from New York would we have made a mariachi record? Probably not. If we were from fucking Canada would we have made one? Definitely not. Los Angeles has a lot to do with both bands with The Bronx and El Bronx.