The Scottish-Canadian band say their Universal Music contract was the result of a lot of work.
The latest UAE act to be snatched up by a major label are Canadian-Scottish band The Boxtones. The five-piece group, which started off a decade ago doing covers, and released their debut studio album, In the Pockets of Clowns, last February, is ready to take the next step under Universal Music MENA.
"We're reaping the benefits of doing a lot of work," singer-guitarist Gary Tierney told tabloid!. "It was very hard to keep a secret. We knew for quite a while that we'd been signed, but we couldn't tell anybody until there was a press release. We managed to keep most of it to ourselves."
Now that the cat is out of the bag, Tierney is ready to tell us what's next for himself and his band - made up of Tierney's sister, drummer Gill, vocalist Louise Peel, keyboardist Will Janssen and bassist Patrick Thibault - as they get ready to rock the Dubai World Trade Centre on April 10-11 at the Middle East Film and Comic Con and release their first single in September.
Congratulations on being signed by Universal. How did it all come about?
We released the first album last year and promoted it on our own. We just kept making songs and Universal caught wind of what we're doing. I got a call for a meeting, talked about the album that we'd released, and they were pretty impressed with it. Then we wrote the single, basically. We're calling it "the single" because it's kind of what we got signed on.
How does this change things for the Boxtones?
We run our own business as well, so the Boxtones is a company here in Dubai. We do like 200 shows a year, most of them being corporate things for clients, and obviously, we did the F1. But the main thing for us is the ability to make original music and make a living from it.
How will this album differ from the debut album?
I write a lot of the material for the band, and then they tinker with it, and mess around the studio quite a lot. Obviously, when you're doing 200 shows, it's difficult to find time to write, but we've actually penned a few songs for the new album already. We'll probably end up doing about 30 songs, and in all honesty, the direction we're going in, we're a rock band, but it's rock-pop, I think. It has to have that international appeal. I don't want to be so brazen as to say [we're similar to the] Foo Fighters, but they have such a broad range of sound. They're very heavy on one hand and very melodic on the other.
So it's a departure form your debut sound?
The debut album was a collection of songs I had written in the past five years. It was really all the old stuff that I'd written for a previous band. We didn't have as much time or focus on that one as we do on this one. We need to make a statement. The Boxtones are not just a corporate cover band, we're actually doing our own stuff. This one, we're going to sit, we're going to write, we're maybe even going to go abroad. Take some time.
What are your goals for 2015?
Festivals. Gigs and festivals. You have to line up all your ducks in a row when you're getting this kind of stuff together. What I probably would see happening is by the end of the year, we'll have an album, we'll have some music videos, and by 2016, very early, you'll see us doing the bigger festivals. Not just in the Middle East, hopefully, but in Europe and the States. We're even thinking about Japan, China and Malaysia. The world is your oyster. If a festival will have us play, we're happy to do it.