Wednesday 4 August 2021

Getting Their Pound Of Flesh - An Interview With BORRACHO

USA Stoner Metallers Borracho return with their new album POUND OF FLESH this Friday and as the title suggests, Borracho mean business and are willing to take a pound of flesh from the USA and Global Political Scene. 

The band formed in 2007 and features the same core members of Tim, Mario and Steve. This highly dedicated Power-Trio have impressed with each album but Pound Of Flesh (their 4th album) is their most aggressive, boldest and funkiest album to date.

I last interviewed the band back in 2017 and it was good catching up with them to discuss the making of the album. 

Read on for more about the making of the album and how the guys have been coping during the Global Pandemic.

Hi Borracho. Thanks for doing this interview. How are things with you today.

Everything is cool here, Steve, thanks. Trying to get back to normal. Hope things are going OK over in the UK

We may as well get down straight to business with your brilliant new album - Pound Of Flesh. What people can expect from this album.

This record by and large is a rocker. It’s got a good amount of energy throughout, but we do get a chance to touch on a bit of ground over its course. A lot of it was written while Mario was living in Peru, and we would get together every couple of months to jam and write. So each song had a spontaneity to it, but we also got to live with them and fine tune them over time. Lyrically it’s very much in response to the period we were living in, and is probably the most directly political of any of our albums.

I have to say on this record, you guys aren't FUCKING AROUND on this one. This is quite a bold and politically charged album. Your last album had a few Political Overtones but this one feels like it's ready to explode. Was this an easy decision to make.

Pound of Flesh is definitely continuing in a direction we were exploring on Atacama and there’s no question the completely fucked up environment we were writing in helped amplify or, in a sense, make more critical, the ideas we wanted to get across. Maybe we’re holding up a mirror to our society and saying “see what you are?” but more so we’re just expressing ourselves honestly about what’s going on. It’s not a protest record but it is definitely calling out a bunch of bullshit. Borracho doesn’t really hold punches.

I feel a few folks from the Doom/Stoner Metal community might be upset or uncomfortable listening to this album. Are you guys ready for criticism from long-time fans of the band and how will you deal with that.

We aren’t really overly concerned about that. We hold our principles, and feel absolutely confident in how we express that in our music. Everybody is entitled to their opinion, and we have ours. But mainly, we let the riffs do the talking.

Did you start making this album during the Pandemic or before the Pandemic. I felt this album was a direct reference to the Donald Trump Presidency and what came during his presidency and what is coming after that. Though there's a lot of other politically charged references that's perhaps being going on everywhere but America for the last 100 years or so, Or have I looked way too much in to the album.

Almost all of the music, lyrics and vocals were written and recorded before the pandemic hit. That period was just headscratchingly stupid and yes, we felt compelled to address it. But to be fair, we were singing about this stuff back in 2016 before Trump was even elected. The political industrial complex in the US and around the world is rigged in a way that there’s no getting out of. So we try to cleverly point these things out in response to what we see.

Did you guys know you had a powerful and politically charged album on your hands before you started recording this.

Most of the music of the album was written before any lyrics were added, but It Came From the Sky is a track we had completed and performed live before we recorded it. But I think once we get going on a theme, the ideas just build upon each other, and the politically charged vibes just kept growing. Let’s face it, there’s no lack of inspiration out there.

Though the album does contain the usual Borracho style of Heavy Stoner Riffs but with a more a funky and blues based experimental vibe. Compared against your previous records, Felt like a soulful blues rock revival in places. Was that part of the original plan as well.

We have always had the approach of writing what we like to play, and not trying to be confined by our history or any expectations. So I think it’s another facet of our jamminess that came through in places. Including some swing in there helps keep the songs energetic and grooving. But going back 10 years to Splitting Sky, we got plenty of reviews that characterized some of our sound as being Southern Metal, or having an Allman Brothers vibe, so I’d say it’s been a facet of our sound since the beginning.

Was this a hard album to write and record for. Especially during COVID-19 still being around us all.

We got hung up in the recording process right before we were about to finish vocals and start mixing in March 2020. It was October before we made it back to the studio to finish recording vocals, and December before we completed mixing and mastering. So logistical and public health concerns delayed things for more than a year, and the scheduling delays at the vinyl pressing plants delayed it even longer. But we’ve been around a long time, and tried to be zen about it and took it in stride. We’re excited things are opening up now that the record is coming out, and trying to focus on the return to the stage.

What influenced or inspired you when making this album.

I think musically we pretty much wear our influences on our sleeves. No one would argue that Sabbath, Pink Floyd, Mountain, and loads of the original heavy classics are absolute inspirations. It sounds corny but musically I don’t make a conscious effort to go in any one direction. I don’t really know how to explain it but the riffs just seem to come out of nowhere. We go into rehearsal, plug in and my hands just start playing something that I’ve never thought about. Must be the cosmos, man.

Lyrically we’re training a very skeptical eye on what we see. A lot of the lyrics were written while watching the news. I really don’t know how to write about things that don’t have an impact on me. Maybe on previous records it was okay to do one or two tunes on social issues and sort of keep focusing on more of the fantasy imagery stoner rock and doom is better known for. Now, that’s impossible. Reality is so fantastically fucked up that there’s no need to make it up, you just comment on what’s around you in the present. Some of the sound effects added to this record are actual politicians making actual political statements in real time. That’s not so much an inspiration as something to react to but it does get the job done.

After everything is back to some sort of normality. What does the future hold for the band. Will you be touring the record if possible?

We’re just about to start playing shows again in August, and are starting to look at more further out. But we’re still a bit cautious about booking given the ongoing volatility with COVID. But the plan is to try to resume a normal gigging schedule and play these songs wherever they’ll take us.

Will you be anxious, scared or excited when performing on the live stage again.

A bit of all of those, really. I think where and when we play will matter. Our first show back is at an outdoor festival with strict COVID precautions being enforced, and we feel pretty comfortable with that. Small venues with packed crowds are going to take some getting used to again.

Kozmik Artifactz are releasing the new album again like they did with your last studio album, Though you worked with Ripple Music a few years back as well, I thought Ripple Music would release this album instead of Kozmik Artifactz. Or was Kozmik the only choice for you guys,

We’ve had a great relationship with KA for years and really just went straight to them with this one. Kai was so stoked to hear the early mixes and was on board minute one. Before even starting to think about art or packaging, we always know it’s going to be a great product, and they really position us well with the European audience, who have been key for us since the first record.

What was the label's verdict when they first heard the album, Did they ask you to make any changes to the record.

When we first sent over the early mixes a couple songs still didn’t have vocals, but they absolutely gave us full creative license on this record. From the music to the art. They really are amazing to work with, even through all of the COVID challenges.

Thanks for doing this interview. Before you go, do you have any words of wisdom that you want to say to your fans.

Mainly we just want to thank everyone who has supported us over the past year and a half. We appreciate every fan who picked up some records or merch, the bloggers and podcasters who have shared our music with their audiences, and our brothers and sisters in arms from bands around the world who have kept pushing forward despite all the challenges. We can’t wait for you all to hear the record. And, get vaccinated! YouTube conspiracy theories are not real. Science is. Cheers and heavy jams to you all!.

Words by Steve Howe and Borracho

Thanks to Borracho for doing this interview.

Pound of Flesh is available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Kozmik Artifactz from Friday August 06th 2021.