British India

Publication: The Western Weekender

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British India shed the shackles of their punk past

Not afraid to experiment, Aussie band British India are looking forward to recording their latest album, but not before playing to fans at Penrith’s Tattersalls Hotel

Though the thought of a life without British India scares guitarist Nic Wilson he does have one idea for what he might do if the band ever fell apart. “I’m sort of interested in films and film making. I’m not sure exactly what I’d do, maybe wedding videos,” he joked.

“I’ve got to get a card, that’s what I’ve got to do. ‘Nic Wilson, Wedding Videographer’.”

There’s not much chance he will be moving into the wedding industry anytime soon though. It’s been eight years since the indie rock band released their first music video for ‘Black and White Radio’ and since then there’s been four albums, countless singles and plenty of radio play.

British India have also gained a reputation for their intense touring schedules. You won’t find many articles on these guys that don’t mention the phrase ‘hardest working band in Australia’.

“I don’t know how much truth there is to that, because it doesn’t feel like work to us,” Wilson said.

“I think we all go a little bit mad if we’re left at home for too long. We love playing live and also, I mean there’s an obvious sort of state of affairs with music sales these days that a lot of our income comes from playing live not from records anymore. But that’s not the main motivation, it’s just a good one.”

Wilson also attributes this love for life on the road as one of the reasons the band has remained successful for all these years – which anyone trying to make a life in the arts will tell you is no mean feat.

“I think a lot of it has to do with how much we tour. Like going to places where people generally don’t, or don’t think to. There’s nowhere too far away or too small for us to go to,” he said.

“By going to those places you find people who genuinely have never heard of the band but will just go for the sake of going out and you go and play those shows and you give it your best and that’s how you make new fans.

“I think that’s the way we’ve been able to do it for eight years, just going out and finding new fans, and new generations of fans is the other thing. There’s always someone turning 18 every year.”

British India’s back catalogue includes their debut album ‘Guillotine’ which was released in 2007 and won them the AIR Award for ‘Best New Independent Artist’ followed by ‘Thieves’ in 2008, which spawned the singles ‘I Said I’m Sorry’ and ‘God is Dead, Meet The Kids’. The band’s third album ‘Avalanche’ debuted in the

Top 10 on the Aria charts. Three years after the release of ‘Avalanche’ came British India’s most recent release, ‘Controller’. That time between albums wasn’t easy for the band, Wilson admits.

“British India was sort of starting to lose its way a little bit and when it came down to it, it was like ‘are we going to do this or not?’ When it finally came time to put the album together it came together really well and it had our biggest song to date. We were against the ropes and we sort of came out of it smiling so we’re all quite proud of the success of ‘Controller’,” he said.

Since their first album, the band’s sound has inevitably evolved, broadening their punk roots in the process.

“I think the biggest change is that we’re not as embarrassed to try stuff now, like I don’t think the onus is to always just be a punk band with a punk mentality. We’re a bit older and wiser and feeling a bit deeper about things and less ashamed to try a keyboard line or even a song about more weighty emotional things. (We’re) not as callous as we once were,” Wilson said.

After their current tour, which has seen them playing gigs consistently since the start of the year, the band will be heading to Germany to record their new album, which they are hoping to have released by the end of the year. Followed, of course, by a tour in 2015, with the band planning to get some international dates in as well.

“So, that’s sort of the long-term goal at the moment, just an album, tour and have a look overseas,” Wilson said.

So after eight years and much success what is Wilson’s advice to those trying to follow in British India’s footsteps?

“Our advice is always write – just write, write, write, write. You can never write enough. The key to all this stuff at the end of the day is good songs and getting those songs on the radio, because without things like Triple J the music scene in this country would be a disaster because that’s the only way you can really get songs out to the masses,” he said.

“I mean one of the reasons that we can go out and play these little places is because of Triple J going out to every pocket of Australia and being able to get two or three songs on the radio every year. You know that’s the key to it, you have just got to keep writing and putting your best foot forward with songs.”

With the new album and touring plans there is no sign of British India slowing down but Wilson hopes when it does all come to an end their legacy is simple.

“Just being remembered as a tough working, touring band would be nice, but as I said just to be remembered at all would be sweet.”

British India will be playing at Penrith’s Tattersalls Hotel on June 13, 2014 at 8pm. Tickets are $25. For more information visit www.britishindia.com.au.

Article published in the Friday, June 6 edition of The Western Weekender