The 5 best songs by Mariachi El Bronx, by Matt Caughthran
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Did you read about my favourite Bronx songs earlier? Now it's Mariachi time. This is gonna be a tough one...
**MY LOVE **(Mariachi El Bronx, 2009)
This was one of the first Mariachi songs that I wrote. It’s about the insecure moments that I have a human being, being away on tour when you have someone that you love at home. I know that it’s usually the opposite way round, and it’s usually easier for the person travelling because they’re moving around staying busy whereas the person at home is just missing what’s going on. But I had a moment in New York City where I called my girlfriend at the time and she didn’t pick up, and just that random moment of her not picking up sent me into this crazy, downward, insecure spiral of paranoia. I thought I had lost her – that it was over and she’d gone – and that’s where the line ‘Oh, my love / Where have you gone? / Oh my love / Have you moved on?’ came from. It’s a really sad song, but it’s a love song and it’s really, really personal. It’s a tough one for me to sing, and it always will be, but it’s so beautiful and I love the way it came out. The guys set it up so well for me to sing because they’re such great musicians, and we rarely play it live but when we do it’s one that I really enjoy.
**MARIACHI EL BRONX **(Mariachi El Bronx II, 2011)
Next I’m going to say the instrumental on the second Mariachi record, just because that was the first time we’d done anything like that and when we play it I love being able to introduce all the guys. They’re such an amazing group of friends and we’ve been through so much together, and I really think they are the most amazing musicians on the planet. Joby, Jorma, Brad [Magers], Ken [Horne], Vincent [Hidalgo], and Rebecca [Schlappich] who’s playing with us too now. I’m a super lucky dude to be able to play music with these people. And we’re all friends so it’s not that type of environment where anyone’s been hired or anything like that. It’s deeper than that. All those guys are so fucking awesome, and every time we do this song it just reminds me of how fucking stoked I am to be playing music with the people that I’m playing music with.
**NEW BEAT **(Mariachi El Bronx III, 2014)
Like with the Knifeman tune, we were looking for the direction with the latest Mariachi record. Joby sent me this guitar part, and it was so dope because it had such an amazing groove but it sounded so simple. And it spoke to me in a way that not a lot of things do, and what’s what you want when you’re writing music. Going through what I was going through at that time, which was a downward spiral of me being a pile of shit, this was the perfect song for me to sing. You fight so hard sometimes to be good and to be strong, and sometimes it’s so overwhelming that you just want to give up. New Beat is about letting go and just celebrating who you are – the good, the bad and the ugly. You know what I mean? Like, stop trying to be perfect and please everyone, and just be yourself. Everyone’s got fuck ups, so just let it go and let all your parts shine. I can obsess like that in an endless search to try to be something that everybody loves and wants to have around, and it’s dumb. There are so many songs on that last Mariachi record that I love, but this one is my favourite and I love the way it came out. The music’s so great and the drumbeat on it is the best thing Jorma has ever done.
**48 ROSES **(Mariachi El Bronx II, 2011)
This song is just amazing. Back when Ray Suen was in the band, this was the first song that he wrote. He’s the type of guy that when he writes a demo he plays everything on it, and he sent it to me and I was like, ‘Woah! What the fuck?’ And like with all good tunes like that, I was able to write lyrics for it instantly. At the time I was going through my playboy phase of being a guy running around town trying to meet girls and do all that shit, and all it did was get me in trouble. All it did was fucking end my life. But everyone goes through that and it’s all part of life. It is what it is, and I had the idea for this song with 4 different lovers and a dozen roses for each lover. It was so fucking perfect. I was hanging out with my friends in Huntington just chilling out, and I listened to this song on headphones and just wrote the lyrics then and there. I was able to send the demo back straight away, and that was it. It was done, just like that. We made a couple of edits and the guys came in with some extra instrumentation, but that was basically it. It came together so fucking quick, and the cool thing about the second El Bronx record was that it was like a finely tuned version of the first one. It doesn’t have the naivety and the awesome amateurishness that the first one has, which has a whole other charm to begin with, but with the second one we honed our craft. That time was such a prolific time for the band. Everyone was just writing their assess off, and this song in particular helped us get into a lot of different places. We got to Letterman and Leno and all that stuff, and that’s when the band really started taking off. So this song is always going to be a special one for me, but not the most special song…
CELL MATES (Mariachi El Bronx, 2009)
Cell Mates is my number one. It’s a song that was originally titled Prison Rules, because my friend Zack Cannon and I used to be obsessed with prison shows. We used to always talk about everything in prison terms, like how we were going to shank people and see them in the yard and all that shit. And the starting of El Bronx was so fun because we didn’t know what the fuck we were doing. We were trying to do something cool, and we were having so much fun doing it. This tune is everything that we are personally, I think. It’s super funny and super light-hearted, but it’s also hopeful and it’s got charm. We try not to take ourselves seriously in life. We work our asses off, but we always try to have fun and we’re super stoked to get to do what we do. This song is the spirit of El Bronx. It’s us just trying to step out and do something new and different. Technically, the lyrics are about a guy who goes to jail, and the song is about all the things that he misses - and will anyone still be there or care when he gets out. But that could also transfer a lot of different ways into what we do, and sometimes how I think personally about what will happen when the crazy fucking touring party ends. What’s going to be left? It’s real, and it’s connected in that way. But it’s also tongue-in-cheek and very coded and unique. It’s basically everything that I love about writing music with these guys, and everything that I love about our bands. It’s a beautiful song too, and every time we play it I can’t help but smile and think about where we were when we wrote it, where we are when we’re playing it at that point, and everywhere in between. So that’s my number one!
Matt Caughthran was talking to Matt Stocks. Want something a little louder and aggressive now? Click the link below to read about Matt's five best songs by The Bronx.