What inspired the lyrics of your latest album?
The whole idea of Home was to write a bunch of new songs about where the band was in our early career, and how we were all so far away from home, and yet learning to live and work in our familiar home of Dubai but under a new umbrella of being a signed rock / pop band to a major label. It was and will continue to be a learning curve working with a major label, and we are have progressed so much not only in our music making, but also in knowing more about the music industry and how it all works… Louise and I wrote the lyrics for our own songs on the album, and we both sat together for the duets. We wanted to speak from our hearts and from our experiences over the past three years of living in Dubai, and we also wanted to say some things to each other, and get a few things off our chest, which I think we did.
What is the best verse you wrote?
Best Verse? Tough one – I’m almost as big a fan of lyrics as I am of writing the songs, which I normally do before I tackle the lyrics. I’ll always have a title or an idea of a title in my head when I start to write the music, but the lyrics take shape later. I’ve recently wrote a new song which will be released hopefully before the end of the year, which has one of my favourite lines I’ve written in a while, but you’ll have to wait to hear it!
Are you currently working on new songs?
Yup, we are already writing the demo’ing the new album, which we hope to release before the summer next year.
What does music mean to you?
Its pretty much everything. The business side of things does take over so often, but when you get on stage, that all melts away, and you're 16 again, rocking out and not giving a s##t what anyone thinks of you—well thats me at least…
Can you tell us more about “Against the Odds”?
That song was written for a sports event out here in Dubai, but unfortunately it didn’t get selected, and we were left with what we thought was a great tune, and nothing we could do with it. So we went out to drown our sorrows, I got particularly inebriated, and decide to send it to Universal Music from a mate who gave me a contact email a month prior. They called me in next day, and with a slight hangover, we sat and discussed signing The Boxtones to Universal because of that song. After we signed, they asked us to write “nine or ten more hits” – So we tried to oblige…
The title song on the album. I’d been listening to a lot of Scottish and Gaelic music around that time, and had never written a ‘folky’ type song before. I also got into Mumford and Sons for a while, and thought I’d have a crack at it. Its the lead song on the record because it says everything about the message we wanted to album to say…
Where your fans can see you playing?
Original gigs are few and far between in the UAE. Most venues don’t support the local music scene as much as they should. We do perform at Lock Stock and Barrel in Barsha Heights, and we mix it up with originals and covers, plus they have one of the best sound systems in Dubai for a great live sound. We also do some weekends in McGettigans Abu Dhabi to get out of the city every now and then, where folks can see us performing acoustically. We have some big shows coming up towards the end of the year, with Party in The Park on November 10th where we will be opening for Liam Gallagher. We will also be performing at the annual Whats on Awards show in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Then we have an amazing gig at Rugby Sevens on December 1st, and then a week later opening for Elton John on December 8th at 117 Autism Rocks Arena. 2018 is shaping up really well too, and we can’t wait to announce our plans for next year.
What the most important thing in being a band?
Putting up with your band mates. Ha ha. Seriously, I think its respect. You really have to respect each other and each others point of view. Im the band leader and the song writer, so its a real balancing act, especially for me not pressuring everyone into my way of doing things. Its a democracy, but ultimately the buck has to stop with someone, which ironically is me, but I try my best to let everyone have their input. Because we are self managed as well, The Boxtones really has developed into one of the hardest working bands in the region, and as full time musicians, we live and breathe this every day.
How Dubai influences your music?
Dubai had a heavy influence on our last album, and we have all lived here for over 5 years now, so the culture and the lifestyle is part of the norm now…I wish and hope that the music scene does get off the ground, and people start to recognize the amazing talent here. Its a slow process, but music labels like Universal Music MENA are constantly pushing the boundaries and our endorsement partners at NMK are developing some really exciting projects for 2018, which we are really happy to be a part of. Overall, the most important thing that influences the bands music, and my songwriting, is probably the things we take for granted every day, and the things we don’t notice. I’m fascinated with the mundane at times, and how human beings as a society constantly evolve from their regular lives, and achieve things far beyond their own expectations and those of others.