Meet: Cristina Martinez interview on new Boss Hog album ‘Brood X’

After nearly two decades of osmosis, New York’s glorious garage-noise hybrids Boss Hog are back. Their first studio album in almost twenty years ‘BROOD X’ emerges from gestation on March 24th via Bronze Rat Records and its ravenous.

Fear not, for ‘Brood X’ feels not like the work of a group who’ve been on ice for so long. Martinez, “ably assisted by her faithful sideman/husband Jon Spencer, as ever playing Flavor Flav to her Chuck D” and the band have put together a creeping, swampy behemoth of an LP.  A bubbling cauldron of searing funk keys, growling punk attack, cut with blues breaks and a sirens holler.

Conjured into existence on the Lower East Side of NY, in the same basement where Boss Hog brewed their first blistering noise-outs. ‘Brood X’, cut at Michigan’s Key Club Recording Company on the same Flickinger N32 Matrix console Sly Stone used for There’s A Riot Goin’, is “serious music for serious times, the perfect soundtrack for a necessary revolution”.

We we’re privileged enough to get the time to talk to frontwoman Cristina Martinez about uprising, ‘Brood X’, chemistry and aphids!

BM] Cristina, you mentioned in your recent press that “There are different broods of cicadas emerging in cyclical periods, there are 13-year cicadas and 17-year cicadas. That’s what Boss Hog is like”. Google tells me that Cicadas are aphid like creatures that are active underground, tunnelling and feeding before emerging as nymphs to climb the nearest available tree. From which they begin to shed their exoskeleton. Can you tell us what musical and cultural sustenance you’ve been feeding on in this underground period of incubation?

CM] “17 years is a long time. I can scarcely remember what I had for lunch yesterday! So many things have come and gone. It’s dizzying to think of it with time lapse {goggles}. It is like one of those movies where your life flashes before your eyes and it’s just a blur of tears and laughing. But in general terms I can say there have been times of feast and those of famine. Seems like we are in the later now. I feel like all I listen to is the news and Die Antwoord. Life must have balance”.

BM] This is very true. So as a band have you experienced a need or desire to re-balance by revisiting  your musical ‘roots’ when uncovering the inspirations for this new album?

CM] Not intentionally. But I suppose “I yam what I yam,” and proud of it, so that irreverence must ultimately shine through.

BM] Are you also informed and inspired by bands relatively new to the scene alongside art/artists, cultural events and political changes?

CM] “There are definitely bands that I enjoy watching or listening to that make me want to get up and make some noise, yes. The Jolly Goods (Berlin) and Fat White Family (London) are two that come to mind right this instant. They embody the joy and fever of being in a band for me. The current political situation motivates me to give voice to the resistance”.

BM] VIVE LE HOG! Have you continued to ‘tunnel’ or if you will, ‘play live’ whilst nurturing ‘Brood X’period?

CM] “Only underground… literally, in our basement rehearsal space”.

BM] As ‘Brood X’ reached the end of its gestation period, what needed to be shed for the LP to emerge? Have you engaged new techniques for recording or experimenting with sounds, or, dismissed previously preferred traditions in the production of this fantastic new release?

CM] “Personally, I suppose I’ve dispensed with the constraints of doubt or insecurity. I have become a more concrete version of myself by exposing my flaws. The vocals are louder on this record than any other, the urgency more pronounced”.

BM] The current Boss Hog manifestation is comprised of Cristina Martinez (vocals), Jon Spencer (guitar & vocals), Jens Jurgensen (bass), Hollis Queens (drums & vocals) and Mickey Finn (keys). Would you say this is the ‘All Star’ line up?

CM] “Most definitely an ALL-STAR line-up. We are Formula X”.

BM] The album has trademark Boss Hog elements of punky experimentation and collaborative artistic endeavour. As a fan of various incarnations of Boss Hog and the Blues Explosion (especially the remixes of ‘Greyhound’ by Moby and ‘Bellbottoms’ by Beck) do you have plans to take the LP out on the road and engage with other artists on remix projects in the future?

CM] “The Brood Star “premix” EP was a collaboration with local NYC hip-hop head Alap Momin. He’s a producer, composer and musician so I felt he understood us well. I enjoyed working with him immensely. He is a master at teasing out specific threads of Boss Hog and rebuilding us into a bionic Boss Hog. Over the years there have been others, but I prefer to work in the same room with collaborators which is harder to accomplish. Generally, people just want to do their own thing and then hand it back, finished”.

…and with that our interview finishes. We’ve had chance to listen to the new album here at Backseat Mafia and we will have a full review up on the site next week. We can tell you now it is fresh, fearsome and full of bionic Boss Hog bossing it! We’ve even got a Pre-Order link for the album here. Huge thanks to Cristina, our best to the band and to Dave at Division Promotions.

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