Artist Spotlight: The Boxer Rebellion Interview
SOME BANDS ARE JUST DESTINED. Thanks to crumbling labels, faulty marketing, support slot falterings, and more setbacks than Lindsay Lohan’s sobriety, THE BOXER REBELLION has spent the last ten years pulverizing the music industry’s old guard to achieve monumental accomplishments as an unsigned band. Having more musical layers than a Pink Floyd concert, iTunes US named their latest release Union (2009) as the No. 1 Alternative Album and countless other music journals are heralding The Boxer Rebellion as a band that needs to be heard…now. And lucky for you, I scored an interview. Oh, and enjoy my hilariously amateur intro:
Ah, thank Heavens. They have a sense of humor! The Boxer Rebellion are:
- Nathan Nicholson – singer (USA)
- Adam Harrison – bass player (UK)
- Piers Hewitt – drummer (UK)
- Todd Howe – guitarist and other instruments (Australia)
Highlights from the rest of the interview:
RP: I love that you guys are still unsigned. You’ve gotten all of this publicity through TV and movie placements. Did you get a lucky break or are you just that damn awesome?
Adam: We are that awesome. No, in all seriousness, we’ve been doing it for nearly ten years now. We’ve been fortunate enough with the second album, that we got it out to a lot of people on iTunes. That meant that we started to get a lot of interest in the States. And some of that culminated in us playing at the Troubadour at our first show in LA. And for there to be some people there from New Line Cinema that had this project. A film called “Going the Distance” with Drew Barrymore and they thought we’d be great for the band scenes. That break was excellent for us. That came out over the summer and since then we’ve been able to do this tour and our shows have been busy.
RP: One of the comments from your YouTube video said “Please don’t pull a Kings of Leon.” Are you guys planning on pulling a Kings of Leon?
Nate: We pulled a Kings of Leon in the sense that we worked with the producer they worked with on their first 3 albums. A guy named Ethan Johns. I’m assuming they mean going extremely mainstream. We still don’t aim to write that kind of stuff. It’s not what we seem to come up with.
Todd: We sort of resigned ourselves to the fact that we just want to have everything happen naturally in terms of songwriting. I don’t think we’re the sort of band that we want to force to try and write something that is what we think is overtly commercial. If there is a song we write in the future that’s timely and is right and everyone’s into it – and puts us at another level, it’s cool with us as long as it happens naturally.
Nate: For instance, Union, there’s a song called “Spitting Fire” that’s now in the Buick thing (commercial) and in “Going the Distance,” that is probably the most poppy thing on Union. it didn’t get added to Union until the last day of mixing. It was because we were afraid that it might be too poppy.
Piers: If we got to that size, I think we’d probably stop selling our own merch.
RP: So when you guys are writing,is their one main writer or is a collaborative effort?
Nate: I like a lot of the new stuff lyrically that you haven’t heard. I like a song called “Cause for Alarm (off the forthcoming album).” We all kind of write collectively. Todd and I will bring in an initial idea and it’s kind of a collective effort to write it.
Piers: An important part of the writing process in this record is trying stuff out first. (editor’s official note: the band kicks ass live)
Video edit: Jake Cook