The Boxer Rebellion - Interview
Interview with The Boxer Rebellion January 2014
Having had over a decade dedicated to fine tuning their sound, London-based indie quartet The Boxer Rebellion are improving with every album. Their new offering 'Promises' shows all the charm of a confident band who have experienced the highs with the lows; from being unsigned to breaking into the Billboard Album chart; and now the band seem set on bringing more of their welcomed sounds to the stages around the UK and Europe from February 2014.
Contactmusic.com caught up with Maryville, Tennessee born vocalist Nathan Nicholson before the band's tour begins.
CM: Your new single 'Keep on Moving' is soon to be released, can you tell us a little about that?
NN: Yeah, it's an overall topic of relationships and a look of optimism when things are going wrong.
CM: The video was made by Rob+Rob, what was it that brought Boxer Rebellion to work with them?
NN: Yeah, we know the band Magistrates who introduced us. But we didn't actually go to the shoot because we were on tour, actually. It was really good though, they are some extremely talented guys. They do a lot of post-production stuff, and they do it all themselves. For the budget we had, the outcome was really good and they can make things look spectacular.
CM: We heard you converted your rehearsal space into a recording studio for 'Promises', why was that?
NN: We have been in the same rehearsal room since 2005 and, basically, three years ago we decided to make it full time. We were writing in the room constantly, and so it just made it way more convenient than trying to drag and move our gear around which is a complete pain in the arse.
CM: Although it was for convenience, do you feel that your surroundings helped shape the album?
NN: I think it definitely helped shape the album. If we were to set up a recording studio every day, that's really time consuming, and so with us being in the room it meant that we could just record ideas and work on them as and when they happened. We did a lot of drum beats and stuff like that which was a lot easier to accomplish, and didn't need a whole lot of re-setting up.
CM: Being a self- financed band, did this cause a delay in recording and releasing music or is it no problem?
NN: Yes, well we have investments now. It kind of streamlines things for us. It makes things a lot quicker as we don't have to involve everybody.
CM: Did you have to get day jobs to pay to fund the band?
NN: When we released our first album in 2005 and then after that we were in No Man's Land for a while, so for four years we went back and worked and stuff. Since 2009, we have been doing this as our job. if you can call it a job!
CM: Ah, would you class being an artist as a job?
NN: It is a hobby that has gone way out of control!
CM: Would you change anything if you could go back?
NN: No, I wouldn't change anything. I guess we have learned a lot; it's one of them things that you really do learn from your mistakes.
CM: You guys have had some hard times along your thirteen year career, did you ever consider giving up?
NN: For me, I don't really know anything else which sounds kind of silly. I've been doing this since I was 18/19 and I'm in my thirties now so I don't know what the hell else I could do. We all want it to work so much because, well, it's our life.
CM: A picture was posted of you guys in the studio in November on Twitter, were you guys doing any new recordings or material?
NN: Ahh, what were we doing in November? Oh, it was probably the guitarist Todd who posted the picture. He works in the studio a lot and he's been mixing a lot of our live sounds. We are back in the studio now getting ready to go on tour. And then we'll start work on some new material. It'll probably be around April/May. We will kind of go from there.
CM: When it comes to song writing does one person usually take the lead?
NN: On the last record it was me who did the majority of the chord structures and the melodies and the lyrics. I really did the backbone and structure to the songs, but it really does all change. I mean, I didn't do any of the guitars, drums or bass or anything like that. So I can play my bit on an acoustic guitar which may sound nice, but it wouldn't really be a band song until we all collaborated.
CM: You broke the record as the first musicians to enter the Billboard Album Chart with a digital-only release. That's quite incredible, are there any other records you would like to break?
NN: Well, that was really quite cool. I think it's very early days for that kind of thing; I mean, there are lots of things we haven't achieved yet as we are still relatively small so I guess the world really is still our oyster.
CM: You start a short tour in the UK on 3rd February, how is the experience for you playing live?
NN: It's always pretty good, especially the new album. As with every album it gets better and better as we have so many more songs to pull from. It was hard when we released the first album and we were struggling to play 45 minutes on stage, and now we have that step-up with having a lot of songs that people want to hear.
CM: I'm sure the rehearsing has been fun too, yet tiring. What do you guys do to relax before the storm of touring?
NN: We are just kind of normal guys really. We go to the pub and watch the football, standard stuff. I have just become a father so I'm still kind of in absolute baby-world, that's my relaxing.
CM: Which football team do you support?
NN: Well, I wouldn't say that I support a football team to the point where if they a lost a game I would cry or anything, but I'll play fantasy league. My wife is from near Huddersfield so I keep my eye on Huddersfield Town. Our drummer is a season holder.
CM: What has been a highlight of being in The Boxer Rebellion so far?
NN: Especially in the past five years, being able to visit some amazing places and having had some great times. It's been great just being the four of us and our manager. I would say, probably when we played our first US shows and when we played Shepherd Bush Empire a few years ago, that was a big thing for us just because it was on home base. It was very special.
CM: Thank you very much for taking time to do the interview Nathan.
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