The Boxer Rebellion originated in London, England and is made up of Nathan Nicholson, Adam Harrison, Todd Howe and Piers Hewitt. They are currently doing a North American tour promoting their brand-new album Promises, which is their fourth full-length album. Their music has been featured on many television shows including One Tree Hill, and the band itself played a major plot point within the film “Going the Distance” starring Drew Barrymore and Justin Long, who performed their songs “Spitting Fire” and “Evacuate” (as well as the song “If You Run,” written specifically for the film).
I was lucky enough to attend their concert at The Starlite Room on May 28th and I have to say it was one of the best shows I have been to in a long time. The show was 18+ but the audience was extremely varied, which made for a great crowd. This was their first show in Edmonton and at one point Nathan said “It’s always interesting playing a show where you aren’t sure if anyone is going to show up… so thanks for showing up!” When I got to the club, I also didn’t know whether the turnout would be great, but I was pleasantly surprised when the venue slowly started to fill up.
The show itself was amazing; their live sound was perfect and each song built on top of one another. My favorite song of the concert was “New York,” which was hauntingly beautiful. The three different drumming styles only added to the whole experience. I cannot wait until they come back to Edmonton, as it was a fantastic show and I would see them many times over.
I recently interviewed the band’s drummer Piers Hewitt and we spoke about everything from indecisiveness to Justin Bieber and their new album, where he explained how it was a very different experience from anything they had done in the past.
How is the tour going?
Starts tonight, Montreal tonight as far as the tour is going. It’s been the boring journey and picking up our gear over here.
Have you played in Canada before?
Select gigs in Canada. We’ve played Montreal and Toronto a bunch of times and Vancouver a few times.
You will definitely have to check out West Edmonton Mall when you are here. That seems to be the thing to do.
Well we are travelling from Toronto in three days so we will have to see how we feel.
What is your favorite city to tour in?
Can I give you my top three? I am the most indecisive person you will ever meet.
I don’t know I think I might have you beat.
We could never go to a restaurant together.
[Laughs] We’d have to go to one of those places that only has one option and it’s whatever the chef felt like cooking that evening.
Do you ever ask the waiter what to get?
Yes all the time.
And then I get food envy because someone else was going to get what I kind of wanted… So my top three are 1. Madrid, 2. Tokyo and 3. Seattle
If I moved to this side of the pond that’s where I would live.
I’ve actually heard that a lot actually.
Yeah and it’s rainy and I am from London
Oh yeah I suppose that’s in your blood. Promises just came out! What was different about this record?
Quite a lot actually. It stems from the beginning of last year. We took a bit of a turn with the room we’ve recorded in for the last couple of years. We ended up taking it on full-time. We were more or less like “Let’s see what happens…” We decked it out with recording equipment and we started recording as we wrote instead of writing everything and then six months later recorder.
Nathan also didn’t feel like he needed to come in with the bones of a song; it was more of demoing layers really. It was really exciting and kind of boring really because we didn’t know when we’d be needed. Some days I would work all day and others I would sit around. We liked the direction we were going and the songs we were writing.
We Got Billy Bush involved re-recording everything. Different experience for me. Definitely liked putting everything together. It took us about five weeks and we finished in January.
Well I love the new record. But I have to admit I embarrassingly found you guys through that Drew Barrymore movie, Going the Distance…
Actually I have heard that a lot, a lot of people are embarrassed about it. But we don’t really mind. We had such a laugh. I was a little bit weary from the start, as I didn’t want to be that band in that film. Overall it was good; I don’t know when I’d ever be in a film again. We had a good time particularly doing the promo for it.
Did you like that film?
Yeah I did. It was weird, we read the script before it was filmed. I didn’t think it would be funny but I enjoyed it. How is the interview going so far?
This is my first interview!
Really! Well you are doing better than a few people I’ve had to talk to in the past.
Thank you! I was very nervous but it helps that you are being quite nice.
You should look at the Q&A with the drummer from the band Cream. It’s horrible, in front of an open audience and he just looks at the reporter and says “That’s a stupid question.”
Oh wow! That makes me feel so much better.
I don’t understand when people get awkward; we make music and people want to know things about us. There are far worse professions out there.
The Boxer Rebellion’s new album “Promises” is available now.
Photograph is taken from Big Hassle.