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The Flavour of the Month and Then Some: British India

I’m not sure if British India are worried about the old ‘out of sight, out of mind’ adage or if they just get bored easily, but you sure can’t fault the band for tardiness when it comes to new releases. After putting out their debut album in 2007 and following up with Thieves just 12 months later, the boys are already hard at work recording their third album, Avalanches, which is set to hit shelves in March next year.

photo by Jade Pham

“Recording this album and the last has been like chalk and cheese,” says lead singer, Declan Melia.
“With this one, we keep going in and out, adding bits and pieces and changing our minds.”

“The beauty of new technology is that we can erase and change every part as we like… but then, sometimes things are perfect in their imperfection as well.”

Speaking of technology, the band is obviously comfortable with the changing attitude towards music and have gratefully embraced their digital fans. They recently turned to their friend and supporter, Triple J, to coordinate a limited free download for the forthcoming album’s debut single, Vanilla. The song is on the slower end of the spectrum for British India, but even without their usual ‘burn the floor’ chorus, it still stands as a positive indication of how the rest of the album will play.

“The song is already running on Triple J, and people seem to be loving it. If we can get the other nine songs up to the same standard we’ll be very happy,” says Declan.

photo by Tony Mott

As part of their efforts to launch the new single, British India recently kick-started a Vanilla themed national tour, which will land in Sydney at Manning Bar this Friday, October 16. While the band would likely draw enough of a crowd to fill bigger spaces, Declan says they actually prefer sticking to smaller venues.

“As clichéd as it sounds, I think British India has always excelled in those kind of ‘pub gigs’,” he says.

As anyone who’s ever been to their shows will attest, a night with British India is never boring, thanks both to the music and the crowds. I’ve been to more than one of their gigs myself, and I don’t think I’ve ever left without bruises, torn eardrums or a generous helping of anonymous sweat (sometimes all three). Admittedly, this may be due to my own alcoholic tendencies and choice of friends, but the blatant enthusiasm of their fellow fans definitely hasn’t helped the matter. Lucky for some, crazy adoration isn’t something the British India boys are likely to turn down in a hurry.

“We’ve definitely got some passionate fans, but that’s one of the things we’re most proud of,” says Declan.
“We’d rather mean a lot to a few people than not much to lots.”

While the band is lucky enough to be able to play music full time without the hindrance of those pesky ‘day jobs’, they’re also surprisingly realistic when it comes to the future. I suppose having watched so many local and international bands go from success to silence in just a few short years, it pays to think outside the dream.

“We’re unashamedly ambitious, but at the same time we’re realistic as well,” Declan explains.

“I mean yeah, I believe this band should be as big as John Farnham or Elton John, but we don’t hold any illusions that we’ll be doing this when we’re 40.”

“At the moment we’re young, we’re excited and we’re creative, so we just try and make the most of it. Even if it ends tomorrow, we’ll still be happy.”

Catch British India at the Manning Bar this Friday night!
Tickets are $28.50 and can be purchased here.

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words: Jacqueline Flint


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