The Boxer Rebellion are making quite a stir in the UK Music Scene at the moment. The new CD Union recently topped heavyweights Kings of Leon and Coldplay in the iTunes charts through no Record Label backing, or press coverage, wowwing fans at this years Glastonbury. Not to mention the first band to form a partnership with HMV. The Boxer Rebellion are clearly a new and innovative band which are breaking down the boundaries of traditional artist progression, and succeeding. I caught up with Nathan and Adam to find out whats next for the band.
This is the second date of your tour, how was Cardiff last night?
Adam: Cardiff was good. We've been there a few times now with supported The Ravonettes and the Editors actually supported us there once. Definately one of the better smaller venues in Cardiff.
Nathan: Yeah Cardiff was a good gig!
Are you looking forward to the Southampton show tonight?
Nathan: Yeah, we played the Joiners last May, I think it was sold out so it was a lot of fun. Also this venues really good because when its packed, its really packed.
You recently played Glastonbury on the Other Stage. How was that for you?
Nathan: Yeah, I think that i'm a little older now I get a bit claustrophobic being around so many people, but the actual gig was a lot of fun.
Adam: We played in the new bands tent back in 2003 and to come back to it this year and play the Other Stage was really good. I've seen so many bands that I love on the Other Stage!
Union has recently just been released on physical format, although it was released on iTunes in January. Are you happy with how it has been received so far?
Nathan: Yeah really pleased! The beginning of the year was great for us because of the whole iTunes thing. And it happened in a way in which we wern't expecting. Last week when it came out physically it was just nice to have a copy that people could get.
Adam: Doing it earlier in the year like we did and having the success that we did meant that we could retain our independence and put it out physically.
Do you feel like the iTunes release helped to create alot of buzz for when the physical copy was released?
Adam: Yeah, there was a lot of that actually. Our fans have stuck by us for a long time. A lot of fans from the first album back in 2005 stuck with us and its been part of the reason why we've managed to keep going. Doing gigs in the mean time etc. I think a lot of them enjoy the music so much that even though they had it digitally they want the physical copy as well.
In todays age where music is going more digital, its good to know the demand for CDs is still there.
Nathan: Yeah I think a lot of people still prefer buying CDs. Saying that we do owe alot to the whole digital thing. Digitally you can do a lot more by yourself, its a lot easier to do things on your own.
How does your songwriting usually come about. Does it usually follow a particular formula?
Nathan: I'll bring in about a third of the music on acoustic guitar and then we'll work out the arrangment and will drastically change. Its usually just for a starting point. Either that or Todd will come up with something in the rehearsal room.
Has this changed since the first album Exits at all?
Nathan: Not really, it's pretty much been that way for a long time.
Adam: Just a mixture really. The spark might happen in the rehearsal room or when Nathan's writing at home on the guitar.
Nathan: Usually, i'll write about 20-30 songs and then they'll get whittled down to about 2 or 3, these guys are my toughest critics I would say.
How did the HMV partnership come about?
Nathan: It came about through HMV Canada. Theres a guy there who contacted us in January because we didn't have our CD out physically. A lot of people had heard it and couldn't find the CD on their systems. They contacted us asking why it wasn't out yet and we explained that it wasn't possible to release it on physical format at that time. To cut a long story short they said they'd release and distribute our CD for us and then basically relayed over here to HMV UK.
That sounds like an amazing opportunity. How did it feel to be the first band for this to happen with?
Nathan: It was really cool. It's something that hopefully will continue, not only with us and our relationship with HMV but also for other bands too. Although we still have a really good relationship with iTunes it just shows that you don't have to nessesarily have to work with anyone else other than the distributors.
Adam: It provides a chance for bands to retain their rights and cut out middle men and work closely with distributors and retailers. It's actually something that benefits HMV as well in the changing music scene, it makes them a big part of the future.
I've noticed your now an openly unsigned band. Do you feel that in this day and age theres less need to be on a Record Label?
Nathan: Yeah, well I think it boils down to you still have to have some good tunes. For us we were able to make the album thanks to our old management and you gotta have that a lot of times to begin with. Also you just have to be a bit more business minded if your doing it yourself so you know what's going on. We're lucky because we have really good management so that helps a lot.
Adam: In today's world you can get your music out with much more ease through things like MySpace where people listen to your tracks. If you hit the social networking stuff hard you can actually promote your band to a point where traditionally may have only been able to have been done in the first stages of being on a record label.
Nathan: I've always thought as major labels as a bank. They basically invest in you and you spend it on making music. It does cost a lot of money to tour and make records. You still have to have some sort of cash flow though.
I picked up a certain degree of ambience in your music. What sort of bands do you collectively listen to which reflects this?
Adam: I'm really liking The Temper Trap at the moment. but collective influences even though its slightly cliched are bands like Radiohead.
Nathan: We like My Morning Jacket and bands like that. But we all individually like a lot of different stuff.
If there was one thing you could change about the Music Industry what would it be?
Nathan: That there would be more people that actually love music working in it. A lot of people seem to be scared about losing jobs which is fair enough. But no one takes any risks anymore.
Adam: If I was to change one thing it would be the UK Label Music Industry's absolute complacency and reliance over success they've had in the past rather than looking to the future. But thats changing right now and it's had to change because the old model clearly isn't working anymore.
Nathan: We had the opportunity to get back in that game but its just not appealing anymore. It's nice to make our own decisions.
The Boxer Rebellion - Union Available everywhere now