Thursday, June 5, 2014

Borracho Interview

1. Can you give us an update on what is going on with the band these days?
These days are non-stop for Borracho. We just got back from a two week tour of Northern Europe, including a performance at DesertFest London; we've had a few shows Stateside since we've been back, including support for Fu Manchu when they rolled through DC in May; and we're going back into the studio this summer to record for a yet-to-be announced split LP!

2. How would you describe the musical sound of the new material and also how does it differ from the stuff you have released in the past?
The Borracho sound has been and always will be a low, heavy groove. It doesn't matter if you shake fists or hips, but all are possible and none avoidable. We're pilgrims in search of the perfect sonic expression of that vibe. With each tune we release, we get a little closer to this perfection. We don't place any limitations on ourselves of what we "should" sound like. We have a very organic approach, and the result is completely natural and the result of us three guys doing what we do, and our chemistry with one another.

3. Over the years the band has a couple of full lengths, splits and a lot of singles, what  is the decision behind putting out mostly singles?
We've always considered our music in units of complete albums. We write and perform to create a longer, more dynamic and engaging experience. That's why we have a lot of songs over eight minutes and our sets are generally non-stop for the duration - we're keen to bring you into our experience and we don't think it can be done properly in 3:45 intervals. Except for the earliest releases, all our music has been conceived as part of a larger whole, the next full album. But because our tracks can be long, we're inevitably facing big decisions about what to include in the sequence and what to leave out. After the record is released, we hustle the remaining tracks for the best promotional outlet. a lot of times that opportunity ends up being a single release - whether a split with another band or a Borracho-only release.

An interesting example of this is Splitting Sky. The original sequence is too long for a conventional 12" so we had to leave off a track from the vinyl version. The only sequence that made sense was taking out "Plunge/Return" and there's no way we could keep that track unavailable on vinyl! so we decided to release Plunge as a 10" single (7" was too short!) to complete the vinyl offering of Splitting Sky. Another example is Concentric Circles, I mean having the same track in two different languages screams single. I think in the end we want to continuously release new music to keep our fans interested and the single is a great vehicle for that. Plus the vinyl collectors love it!
4. What are some of the lyrical topics and subjects the band explores with the music? 
Splitting Sky lyrics, written primarily by Noah, cover a number of light topics including addiction, rebirth, the pitfalls of power, relationships, etc. With Oculus, we all had lyrical contributions and the songs covered an even wider array of ever lighter topics, including revenge, murder, you know, every day stuff.

5. I know that the band name means drunkard in Spanish, why did you pick a Spanish name for the band? 
We wanted the name to be simple and immediately recognizable or at least memorable. As you'd expect, we'd throw out ideas to see how they'd bounce around and for some reason, we'd always see how they sounded in Spanish. Probably to lend that air of uniqueness. Anyway, at some point variations on "drunk" were being thrown about and when the inevitable Spanish translation came out it was kind of like a revelation - the idea was solid and in Spanish, it's one word that's spelled phonetically and sounds almost like a proper name. Perfecto!

6. What are some of the best shows that the band has played over the years and also how would you describe your stage performance?
Steve:  We've played with so many amazing bands that have become good friends. A lot of the smaller shows stand out in my mind, we made such great friends such as Kingsnake, Valley of the Sun, Lo Pan, Cortez, Elder etc. Also, to play with old friends like Saint Vitus and Spirit Caravan and Sixty Watt Shaman were highlights.

Tim: for me we've had a couple of real standout shows on our last European tour. Playing Effinaar in Eindhoven, NL to a packed house, and then at this kind of squat-like "culture house" called Waldmeister in Solingen Germany to a room so full, that I was sweating on people in the front rows. I also remember the first time we played with Fu Manchu but not necessarily because of their performance - which was awesome - but because I got to see a lot of Scott's gear, particularly a few of his modified Dan Armstrong guitars, up close and personal. I studied them for as long as possible. so kewl...

Mario: We've hit a pretty great groove in the past year, and have had some great shows recently. The experience of playing Desertfest in London was amazing, and we also got to be total fans. That show was the shit. Also, our Oculus release show in DC last summer with Lo Pan, Kingsnake and Weed is Weed was a banger for the books. No matter where we play, we've been fortunate to have pretty good control over who we play with, and we've been playing shows with bands we not only love, but are our buds.

7. Do you have any touring plans for the future?
Yes, yes we do. Right now we're plotting to delve deeper into the Midwest and South of the US - we'd like to get to Michigan, back to Ohio and get down deeper into Dixie. Likely to head up to New England, since it's been some time. We're also heading out to Southern California in February for a one off show, but may try to tack a few more on during the trip. Seeds are also being planted for a return to Europe as well. we don't ever sit still too long. Stay tuned...

8. Recently you were a part of a split with Cortez, what are your thoughts on the other band that participated on the ep?
We've been tight with the Cortez boys for a good long while - we actually played our first show with them back in 2008 - and were looking for an opportunity to do something cool with them outside of playing shows together. When this split project came together, Cortez were our first choice to fill the side. Their track - "Vanishing Point" - kicks ass and is a great compliment to "Know My Name". I understand it's the only compilation of East Coast US doom bands with Spanish names!

9. Currently you are unsigned, are you looking for a label?
We've been fortunate to be able to achieve a lot in a very DIY way. We do nearly everything ourselves, along with the support of Scott Harrington, our manager, our network of killer underground bands, and this great scene. But it's our work ethic and ambition, and of course our ability to keep writing music people want to hear, that keeps us going. We'd love to have the financial support a label brings along with the doors they help open, but until the right opportunity comes we'll keep doing what we do.

10. On a worldwide level how has the feedback been to your music by fans of stoner rock and metal?
It's pretty astonishing to us really. The cross section of fans we've made - from North America and Europe, to Latin America and Australia - is humbling. We were really happy to bring our live show to Europe this year and it was so amazing to meet and talk with fans who discovered us online and couldn't wait to see us play. Many even travelled hundreds of miles to do so. The feedback has been incredible, and we hope to continue to spread our live show as far and wide as our music makes it online. One thing about this stoner rock/metal scene is that fans are loyal, and rabid. With only two records and no label we're super proud we've been able to reach these audiences, and we couldn't do it without the support of these fans and this scene.

11. Where do you see the band heading into musically during the future?
That's a tough one, we don't really like to plan on direction, we just like the music to evolve. We try not to put limitations on ourselves, and just let the creativity happen.

12. What are some of the bands or musical styles that have had an influence on your music and also what are you listening to nowadays?
Steve: I've been influenced by so many of the heavy bands from the late 60's, early 70's, like Hendrix and Sabbath. Inspired by so many bands from the past 20 years, like Kyuss, Monster Magnet, Fu Manchu, Spirit Caravan etc etc. Nowadays I'm listening to Grand Funk Railroad, Neon Warship, Crobot, Rose Tattoo, Graveyard, a lot of stuff. 

Mario: As a drummer I admire and have been influenced by Bonham, Bill Ward, Alex Van Halen, Jimmy Chamberlain, Matt Cameron, Brant Bjork, and Phil Rudd. I've got diverse taste, but as far as rock goes, classic rock and early metal is what I grew up on and has given me the most inspiration over the years. Lately when I have time to spin some newer records I'm listening to a lot of Swedish rock like The Hellacopters, Truckfighters, Dozer, Graveyard, Greenleaf, plus great new underground stuff from Stone Axe, Valley of the Sun, Cortez, Elder, Lo-Pan, Sasquatch, and Clutch. I also regularly dig into a ton of my old records like Hendrix, ZZ Top, Zeppelin - the classic rock is deep in my collection.

Tim: I'm influenced mostly by heavy blues rock from the 60s and 70s and the bands that they also influenced. At the moment I'm listening to a lot of Deep Purple, Mt. Carmel, Pelican, Elder, Lo-Pan, Nebula, Neon Warship, etc.

13. What are some of your non musical  interests?
Steve: My daughter. Traveling. Motorcycles; I build custom motorcycles and restore antique motorcycles for a living, but it is still a true obsession.

Tim: I've got an episodic visual arts career. Mostly found-object painting/collage and sculpture. I work when I have the space and don't when I don't. I do most of the graphics for the band so Borracho is continuously providing opportunity for that outlet.

Mario: Family, travel, TV and film. Music takes up a lot, honestly. I also handle most of the business end of the band, so that pretty much clobbers any hope for other outside outlets. 

14. Before we wrap up this interview, do you have any final words or thoughts?
We want to thank you for giving us the opportunity to share our inner Borracho with your readers! We really appreciate everything you do to support the scene to make it something of real value for bands and fans. We also wanted to thank the fans who continue to support independent music and the bands that make it. You are true patrons of the arts and without your support, there'd be a lot less great music out there. Thanks! We have had a very good year as a band, and are looking forward to taking it up another level. Stay tuned for a very cool new release planned for the end of the year, some more regional US touring, and a return to Europe late next spring!


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