Having already concluded one of the biggest, if not the biggest, Australian rock tour of the year with their WACO national tour, Violent Soho announced yet another Australian tour earlier this year, this time with The Bronx, Luca Brasi and Tired Lion.
Since they’re in the country, The Bronx figured why not unveil their mariachi alter-egos for a one-off show at Sydney’s Manning Bar. Mariachi El Bronx will play an exclusive headline set at Manning Bar on Wednesday, 2nd November 2016.
With the tour set to kick off in just a matter of days, we caught up with Joby J Ford of Mariachi El Bronx to talk about the band, their alternate identity, and the gear he simply couldn’t live without.
Breaking It Down
If I had to break down my rig to just the basics, I’d bring alaptop to handle all the backing tracks, a projector so no one will notice I’m not playing anything, and weed.
Back In The Day
My grandfather took me to a music store when I was 17. He got me a Washburn acoustic guitar. I played it all day everyday. I think the action was about an inch high. It was like playin’ a fence. I didn’t have an amp for a long time.
I used to borrow a Peavey Bandit and weird gold top in my first band (Jack Ruby) and I didn’t have any idea how to work anything – when we would play with other bands I would have some other guitar player dial in my amp (which was hilarious). Eventually I got a Marshall JCM 900, and felt like I had arrived.
The Mariachi Rig
The Mariachi El Bronx rig is pretty simple. LR Baggs Venue Di and Xotic Effects RC booster (which is a pre-amp with high and low EQ) depending on which instrument we are using (guitar / vihuela / tres / banjo sexton). I can usually use those two pedals to get those instruments happening.
Bronx vs El Bronx
Nothing about the instruments crosses/translates. Acoustic vs electric. The biggest learning curve was monitoring. We had to start using in-ear monitors in the mariachi band because it was impossible to get those instruments in the wedges without feeding back.
I never heard a note I played for about a year and a half. It was interesting.
Hitting The Studio
I use a few of the same guitars in the studio as well as live. I have one really great guitar – a National nylon string that stays in its case until we record. Everything is mic’ed rather than using dI’s.
The world of music gear can be pretty daunting. I think now with the internet there is way more information (wrong or right) which didn’t exist when I got into music. Now people can look up what kind of gear their favorite guitar player uses.
It doesn’t make any difference, as the sound is all in your hands. As far as gear, it’s all about what you do. It feels that every guy with a beard and a coffee maker has a pedal company.
It seems at times younger bands are all pedal connoisseurs and could care less about the instrument or amp, which is a weird way to look at music (to me), but however you get from point A to B with a sound, I suppose doesn’t matter.
The weirdest piece of gear ever given to me by a company was USB microphones, but I went through a phase of bouncing down all my drum tracks to cassette tape to get tape compression. Sounds great. Finding cassette tapes that actually work is a bit tough. Amazon comes through from time to time.
The oldest piece of gear in my rig is probably my Marshall JMP 100 watt. It’s from the late ’70s, I believe. I recently started playing my Gibson l6s, and I believe that was made in ’78.
My Radial ABY switch is a perpetual problem solver. I generally run two amps, and that usually creates a pretty bad buzz or hum if you use single coil pickups. The ABY pedal has transformers (I think) that you can isolate / flip-phase / lift.
So generally a combination of flipping those switches usually cleans things up. I always carry two.
See Mariachi El Bronx do their thing live when they play an exclusive Sydney headline show next month – check below for dates and details!
Mariachi El Bronx Australian Tour Dates
Wednesday, 2nd November 2016
Manning Bar, Sydney
Tickets: Manning Bar