Gimme Your Answers: An Interview w/ The Boxer Rebellion

The Boxer Rebellion
Photo by Vincent Dolman

Tonight, London indie-rock quartet The Boxer Rebellion play The Limelight in Belfast. With the recent release of their single Diamonds (taken off of their latest album Promises), there was much to discuss ahead of their Irish tour dates. In a recent interview, A Music Blog, Yea? had the opportunity of speaking with guitarist Todd Howe about Diamonds, a dog running on stage, new material, and more…

AMBY: Hello The Boxer Rebellion, thanks for speaking with us today! I wanted to start off by saying your single Diamonds has become one of our favourite tracks. What’s the story behind the song?

The Boxer Rebellion: This song probably took more time to write than any song we’ve ever written. It started with a drum beat idea I had on the tube on the way in, we’d recorded a basic drum loop and went through a number of ideas before Nathan moved on to the keyboard and then struck on the chords and melody for the verse. We all knew we had something that was a cut above, albeit just for us and we just buried ourselves in it and didn’t surface until it was done.

The song itself is about not feeling worthy of someone, or not feeling good enough or undeserving. I personally think it’s the best song we’ve written.

AMBY: Diamonds is off of your latest album Promises. What is the significance behind the LP’s title?

The Boxer Rebellion: We wanted a one word title. Promises was the first song we’d written for the album and it just seemed to fit the whole essence of where we were at at that time. We went through a load of different album titles but nothing ever felt right like that word did. To me it kind of reflects the ideals we had as kids for our future and the promises we make our break within ourselves.

AMBY: What’s next as far as recording goes?

The Boxer Rebellion: We’ll be starting to write again soon. Writing is very cyclical for us and we don’t necessarily write so much on the road, mainly because of our setup. We have our studio in London and it’s kind of revolutionised our writing process. We can choose to write any way we like and record as we go along. So we record a hell of a lot. With us, experimenting with sounds and getting an idea of the bigger picture is pretty important. So we write, record and mix as we go along. Then right at the end we’ll bring someone in to save our sanity and give us the final direction. In the case of Promises it was Billy Bush.

AMBY: Which three songs are the quintessential The Boxer Rebellion?

The Boxer Rebellion: For me at least they are Diamonds, Caught By The Light and We Have This Place Surrounded.

AMBY: You recently added two new Irish shows in Dublin and Belfast to your UK tour. What are you most looking forward to regarding being on the road?

The Boxer Rebellion: Weirdly, the thing I like most is catching up with friends I have in different places as I usually never get to see them. All of my closest friends live elsewhere around the world (Toronto, NYC, Berlin, LA, Seattle) so it’s great to catch up and see them. As for the UK & Ireland, it seems like we haven’t been out on tour in so long. I’m really looking forward to playing to the fans again. That goes without saying.

AMBY: What is the funniest thing to happen to The Boxer Rebellion while on tour?

The Boxer Rebellion: A dog came on stage and stuck his snout in my crotch in Derby in 2004. Need I say more?

AMBY: What are some of your favourite things to do outside of music?

The Boxer Rebellion: My wife lives in Phoenix right now, so going out there and spending time with my family when I can is a priority. I’m incredibly into the craft mixing music in particular so I still usually bury myself in that. It’s just a logical progression for me personally.

AMBY: The band has had multiple features in film and television shows. If you could have your music featured in any show or film, which would you choose?

The Boxer Rebellion: It has to be Breaking Bad, without fail. Sadly, we had an offer to submit an original song for it way back before the first season came out. We’d never heard of it and what’s more, back then, we didn’t have the money spare to record a song… It will always be one of my greatest regrets!

AMBY: What has you most excited for 2014?

The Boxer Rebellion: Each year gets better for us. Each year we grow. As long as it keeps happening, every year is a good year. I’m really looking forward to some Dutch festivals and more shows at the end of the year but for me, I’m a creative, and I love being in the studio and creating the next Boxer vision is something I’m uber excited about.

AMBY: And lastly, what’s something about The Boxer Rebellion that nobody knows yet?

The Boxer Rebellion: On 7/7, when the bombs went off we couldn’t make it into the rehearsal studio. The studio, which has since gone under, still charged us for not showing up…


Thank you The Boxer Rebellion, for giving us your answers!

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Alicia Atout | @AliciaAtout

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