Boxer boys keep their egos in check

THE Boxer Rebellion have been going strong for 13 years - and believe the secret to their longevity is keeping their egos in check.

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The Boxer Rebellion play at SWG3 on Thursday night
The Boxer Rebellion play at SWG3 on Thursday night

The London four-piece are proof of how modern bands can thrive without record company support, as they've released albums through their own label.

The band also enjoyed a taste of film fame, starring with Drew Barrrymore in rom-com Going The Distance, and their tunes have soundtracked hit shows including One Tree Hill and Grey's Anatomy.

Yet singer Nathan Nicholson believes that the group have stuck together for over a decade because they haven't reached where they want to be yet.

"There's not a lot of ego with us," says the singer, originally from Tennessee.

"We've never had major, major success but just enough to keep doing this as a way of surviving.

"We've always said we've had the dangling carrot above us for so long that we should keep going. We've never reached where we want to go as a band, and that helps us stay very hungry."

Their latest record, Promises, was released last year. It's an album that sounds cinematic in scope, with plenty of upbeat, soaring guitar anthems running through it, a contrast to the gloomy, low-key tone of third album The Cold Still.

"We don't want to make the same record twice and that was definitely a consideration in writing Promises," says Nathan.

"One of the main catalysts was that we'd been on the road a lot playing songs from The Cold Still a lot, and we all wanted more upbeat songs that. More stuff that was better suited to live gigs."

They'll get to showcase that tonight at SWG3, as they return to Glasgow for the first time in a few years. It's a trip that might leave the band out of pocket, though…

"It'll be nice to get back to Glasgow, although we usually end up in a casino or somewhere like that after the gig, which is probably not a great idea," laughs Nathan.

"Although we're cheap, so we're normally only down by £20 at the end of it…"

Watching their cash is something the band have had to do over the years, as they run their own label and have no backing from a record company, following a brief stint on Alan McGee's Poptones label.

While that hasn't stopped them becoming more and more popular (the group were able to quit their jobs in 2009 and focus on the band full-time) managing offstage life can be problematic.

"With everything, there's always second guessing and making sure we do things right," says Nathan.

"It's no longer just recording an album and putting things out, you've got to be more savvy and have an awareness of how the industry is.

"You got to be smarter in a business sense and in a social media sense."

Having their music appear on TV regularly is has helped pull in new fans, but there's one programme the band missed out on - after they knocked back the chance to get a song on Breaking Bad, before it became a hit.

"It was the early days of the series, like the first season, and they were looking for songs," says Nathan.

"We hadn't heard of it, and we didn't have any money, and they said there was no budget, so they couldn't pay us to go into the studio to record anything. We couldn't do it.

"It was shooting ourselves in the foot a bit, but we didn't know it was going to be one of the best TV shows ever…

l The Boxer Rebellion, SWG3, Eastvale Place, tonight, £12.50, 7pm

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