No rebellious streak in Boxer Rebellion

No rebellious streak in Boxer Rebellion
British indie rock band Boxer Rebellion comprises (from far left) bassist Adam Harrison, lead vocalist Nathan Nicholson and drummer Piers Hewitt.

British indie rock band The Boxer Rebellion take their name from a violent uprising in China that took place between 1898 and 1900, towards the end of the Qing dynasty.

But they give the assurance that they are by no means a political band - they just thought the name sounded cool at the time.

Speaking to Life! last week when the band were in town to perform at the Music Matters Live with HP festival at Clarke Quay, lead vocalist Nathan Nicholson, 33, says: "Over the years, we have had people asking us if we were political and some people even felt we were wrong to be giving ourselves such a name because it was an event where a lot of people died.

"But I assure you that was not in the thought process back in 2002 when we came together."

The trio - which also comprise bassist Adam Harrison, 31, and drummer Piers Hewitt, 33 - are probably telling the truth as they hardly seem to be a serious bunch of guys.

They laugh as they run through the list of names they had considered before settling on The Boxer Rebellion - Conspiracy Theory, Pan Am and the Tyrell Corporation, a shadowy company in the cult science-fiction movie Blade Runner (1982).

"They were all terrible. There was nothing there, it was all bad. Please don't write it," Harrison interjects the conversation, embarrassed by the list of names they had conjured up.

But Hewitt defends their hand-wringing over the group's name, saying: "The name was a lot more important in the early days, even from the perspective of being booked at venues to be noticed. You need to stand out before your music sometimes, as people may not pay attention to your music otherwise."

The Boxer Rebellion was formed as a four-piece band between 2001 and 2002 in London. To date, the band, known for their brand of melodic British-rock with post-rock leanings, have put out four studio albums.

Each album has charted in the top 100 albums in the United Kingdom and the United States.

Their most recent release is Promises (2013), a record that the band describe as being "more refined and layered".

The Boxer Rebellion's fourth member was lead guitarist Todd Howe, who announced his departure from the band last month to pursue his interests in music production and mixing. The band are now touring with session guitarist Andy Smith.

Their performance at Clarke Quay last weekend - their maiden show in Singapore - was the first time they had played with Smith.

"At the moment, we have been writing and that's been going well, but you don't see the true test of it until you release another record.

At the moment, things are looking very positive," says Harrison of the change in the band's dynamics since Howe's departure.

The band hope that their participation at the recent Music Matters conference - an annual international trade event for the business industry - will give them more opportunities to return to Asia.

Nicholson says: "Hopefully, it will open the conversation a little more for us, to come over more often and have stuff to do in Asia."


This article was first published on May 29, 2014.
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