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The Boxer Rebellion

Written by Daniel Clarke on November 24, 2009

With their place reserved at the massive Purple Sneakers NYE party, Boxer Rebellion are getting ready to storm Australia for the first time this December. Daniel Clarke caught up with the band a couple of months ago for a chat, so in the lead up to their arrival down under, we thought we’d take another look at that conversation…

It’s hard enough trying to succeed in an indie band when you have the support of a record label behind you, but for London-based Boxer Rebellion, they’re more than happy to try it on their own. Having formed way back in 2001, they’ve released two full length albums and managed to stay truly independent with the help of some timely itunes coverage. Lead signer Nathan Nicholson gives us the lowdown.

Music Feeds: So, what’s been happening?

Nathan Nicholson: We’ve had a few days off actually, which is nice.

MF: Do you guys get much time off?

NN: Not loads. It comes in little blocks.

MF: Now, you moved to the UK from the States in 2000, right?

NN: Yeah. I came over to study. Around the same time our guitarist came over from Adelaide. We met on this musicians wanted message board thing. He posted something and I was the only person to respond. We did a few acoustic gigs and then decided we wanted kind of a band thing going on.

MF: I was reading that the band was originally called ‘The Slippermen.’ How was that incarnation different to the Boxer Rebellion?

NN: Usually we try to hide that name, you must have done some digging. Originally I wrote a lot of songs from start to finish and then I was bringing them in. At that point the guys weren’t adding a whole lot; it was like a session kind of thing. Eventually we all got involved and that’s when it really started changing.

MF: So are you still the one that writes the songs?

NN: I’ll bring in the ideas most of the time, but everyone does their own thing.

MF: I noticed that you haven’t had a label since 2005. Has that been difficult?

NN: It was difficult at first, then things kind of fell into place. We like not having a label. We had a whole itunes thing that happened at the beginning of the year, which was great for us, but then we didn’t need the label so much. We started licensing our music to people. It’s kinda just making decisions a lot quicker and doing what we wanna do.

MF: Do you think the so-called ‘digital revolution’ has helped with that?

NN: It definitely makes it a lot easier because anyone can do it, as long as they’re not shit. But it does make it a lot easier to get it out there, get your stuff heard. People can make a judgement quickly and we can cut out the middleman.

MF: And do you make easier connections with fans because of that also?

NN: Yeah I think so. At the moment we have a good rapport with our fans and the gap isn’t very big. After the gig we’ll sell our CDs personally. That really helps because I think people wanna come over and say hello and they generally take more of an interest when you’re taking more of an interest. It’s really been beneficial to us.

MF: If a big label came to you tomorrow with a record deal, would you ever consider that?

NN: After the itunes thing we had some offers that seemed to be going in the right direction, but they just never worked out. We’ve had a few of those now and I don’t think we’re in any rush. We’ll wait and see what comes along. Never say never, but we’re quite happy with the way things are going.

MF: You guys are coming to Australia soon. Have you had much of a response from down under?

NN: I know we have fans there. We’re looking forward to playing to everyone out there. We’re just working all those details out now. We’re probably going to be over there around New Year.

MF: So what’s on the cards now? When’s the new CD released?

NN: In Australia its out on Inertia and that’s in a couple of days. In the UK it’s out 14th September and the US, we’re still working that out. We did our first shows in the US ever last year and they were really great. But we’ve only done New York and LA. Over in the UK the whole model for not having a label or doing it yourself it works really well but in the US you really need some finances to do it.

MF: Is there anything else you want to say to your Aussie fans?

NN: We can’t wait to get over there; it’s been a long time coming. We’ve been a band for eight years.

MF: Do you guys ever get into arguments then, having been in a band together for so long?

NN: Yeah we do but it’s more kind of a family vibe now. We get pissed off at each other quite easily but it’s also remedied more easily.

The Boxer Rebellion are bringing their family down under in December and will be playing Purple Sneakers NYE. Their new album, Union, is out now through Intertia. Find it on The Boxer Rebellion

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