London quartet The Boxer Rebellion have been around for over a decade and have a new album, Promises, out now. Drummer Piers Hewitt chats ahead of gigs at Sound Control, Manchester (8 Feb) and Brudenell Social Club, Leeds (15 Feb).
Is the single Diamonds about living up to expectations and is the album quite reflective of where you are as a band?
I wouldn’t really say that the song is about the band as a whole, to be honest. I don’t think we consider many other people’s expectations much anymore either really. In the early parts of our career, we spent quite a while second guessing lots of people. We are so much more relaxed about what we do now, and much more comfortable with who we are.
How have you managed to stay such a tight unit for over a decade?
We have definitely been dealt situations and circumstances where we may have thrown in the towel – of that there is no doubt. The period between Exits, our first album, and Union, was a long and difficult time. I think it was the quality of what we were writing that kept us together then more than anything else. We obviously don’t earn as much money as some of the huge bands that you see on your TV screens day in day out, but we have a lot of autonomy.
When was the last time you discovered a band or artist that took over your world?
I suppose the last time that happened for me was with Wilco. In all honesty, it doesn’t happen an awful lot. I like music, obviously, but I don’t spend all my spare time listening to it. I go through phases of listening to music, and I will probably listen to the most new stuff when we’re writing.
You’ve already played some dates in December in Europe – was that about road-testing material before you unleash it over here? And did it all go smoothly?
The way I see it, it is really all one big tour, just split into two bits. The way we are, we have to be a bit more strategic with how we plan all sorts of things, most of all gigs. It was never our intention to leave touring around the UK for so long – it really has been ages – and we are really looking forward to getting out there and seeing some British faces, old and new.