British India are a high-energy quartet hailing from Melbourne, Australia. Their latest album Controller is packed with clever melodies, and is lyrically canny. The first track we heard by British India was I Can Make You Love Me— a song immersed in admirable lyrics (accompanied by a brilliant music video). Have a read as AMBY spoke with British India’s Declan Melia about getting kicked out of his own gig, their pub quiz team, and striking fear into people’s “cold desperate hearts”!
AMBY: Hello British India, what’s the band been up to lately?
British India: We’ve hit a very nice cruising altitude and have fallen into a fulfilling routine of touring on the weekend and writing and recording during the week- it’s a delicate balance and one I feel not many bands can manage. Our new record took an agonisingly long time to write and record so were determined not let that happen again, hence the furious writing. The shows are sort of like the party at the end of the week as a reward. Suffice to say we’re hungry literally as well as figuratively as at the time of writing I haven’t had breakfast.
AMBY: If you had to describe each band member with one word, what would they be?
British India: Declan – ‘hungry’, Will – ‘Classy’, Nic – ‘Funny’, Matt – ‘Sincere’
AMBY: You have just released your new album Controller, what are your favourite tracks on the record?
British India: Hmm I think my favourite track is Crystals which closes the album. It’s quite familiar territory for us but the first time we’ve pulled it off so well- I’m this close to saying I’m proud of it.
AMBY: How has the band evolved since your last record Avalanche?
British India: I’m not sure we have- we just happened to make a slightly better album, but that’s probably because we had more time- British India are in a state of arrested development. Permanent adolescents who are inadvertently encouraged to stay that way.
AMBY: What’s the story behind your wicked song Summer Forgive Me?
British India: Well Summer if one song that just came out of thin air, it’s like there was a Summer Forgive Me shaped hole on the record and we just had to fill that space. Musically it’s all Nic Wilson and I think he had avery specific sound and idea in mind by the time he showed it to us and then it just came to me to write some words that suited what he was doing. I didn’t want to agonise over it too much because when you think about lyrics too long you start to second guess yourself- I’d been obsessed with this ‘forgive me’ line from a Bat For Lashes song so I started down that road and just imagined a chap who’s had a fight with his girlfriend for the thousandth time and what he would say when he was trying to make up for it all. Did any of it come from personal experience? Not really, I’ve never had a girlfriend and if I did we would never fight. Thank you for calling it wicked by the way.
AMBY: What’s the funniest thing to happen to you at a gig?
British India: On the March Into The Ocean tour I decided to try my hand at stage diving again like I did when I was a pup. I must have just watched a Fugazi documentary or something because it seems so stupid to me now. Anyway I jumped into the crowd and got carried around the room for a bit and then a security guard came and rescued me and prepared to take me back to the stage, or so I thought. The security guard grabbed me and marched me straight out the front door and onto the street and told me I couldn’t come back in! The band were still playing away and I was standing at the entrance with a few of the staff listening to them wail way- it took a good deal of convincing until I got back onstage and finished the set. Not sure that’s really ‘funny’ maybe more ‘tragic’.
AMBY: Which artists have you been listening to lately?
British India: Depeche Mode, The Monkees, Modest Mouse, Kendrick and Julia Holter.
AMBY: Which three of your influences would you love to hang out with for a day?
British India: Three? I’d be hard pressed to pick one, meeting you influences is notoriously disappointing, but then I don’t speak from experience as I haven’t managed to meet anyone more famous than the taller Veronica in the past eight years of British India. Matt once met Rodriguez at an airport and he was reportedly very friendly so he might be a good choice, but then again I find musicians pretty intolerable company. I choose Nicholas Cage.
AMBY: If you could tour anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?
British India: The backwoods of Siberian Russia- It would be nice to play somewhere and feel utterly Alien and unfamiliar. We could strike fear into their cold desperate hearts.
AMBY: What has you excited for 2013?
British India: Too many to list. Our European trip. Making the next filmclip. The next Deerhunter record. Winter in Melbourne. The gig tonight. Will’s birthday party. I could go on…
AMBY: And last but never least, what’s something about British India that nobody knows?
British India: We have a pub quiz team called ‘The Magic Christian’ that are trying to do a tour of every quiz night in Melbourne and eventually beyond. We’re not very good at the trivia but it’s a good way for us to catch up when were not working. Matt specialises at the Who Am I sections. Honestly he’s unbeatable!
Thank you British India, for giving us your answers!