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Shortlist UAE Magazine Feature, "Last Word with Will Janssen"

Last Word ... with Will Janssen

The Keyboardist with Dubai-based rock band The Boxtones reflects on his very recent past.

The Boxtones are on the march. The multi-award-winning, Dubai-based five-piece, made up of Canadian and Scottish transplants to the Emirates, are about to share a stage with Stereophonic and Razorlight at Party in the Park in Dubai's Media City, which certainly won't faze a band who have already headlined Comic Con and the Dubai Sevens and played on the same stage as The Who, Parrell Williams and Jason Derulo. Now in the studio recording there latest new album for Universal Music Group, we caught up with their keyboardist, Will Janssen to chat party playlists, Trader Vic's and Dungeons and Dragons.

What was the last song you bought or downloaded? Lately, I've been the guy responsible for providing a killer playlist for boat parties, limousine rides and our truck CD mix while driving around Dubai. Making my repertoire recently have been tracks from Lonely Island, Rage Against the Machine and Electric Six mashups... oh, and for fun, Tom Jones' Greatest Hits!

What was the last song you heard you wish you'd written? Has to be "Can't Feel My Face" by The Weekend. Not just because he's a fellow Canadian, but also because his music is so popular. All the radio stations are playing this song and that's what I want with The Boxtones - becoming a household name to the point where people know all the words and hooks to our songs. We're getting there.

What was the last thing you did before answering these questions? Well, I'm currently sitting in Soundtrack Studios, Dubai, recording The Boxtones' new album. Today is drum tracking, which is going very well I must say. It's a stressful, yet fun experience that only happens a few times in our life so we're taking full advantage, documenting the whole thing on Go Pro cameras and taking as many pictures as possible.

What was the last great piece of advice you received? "Don't eat yellow snow"... just kidding! Probably from various web sources when I've been researching about how to write a pop song: "Less is more". So when the band and myself were writing songs for our next album, we had to "pull back the reins" on our original ideas.

What was the last thing you bought you wish you hadn't? Definitely the spicy chicken fingers from the frozen food section at Geant supermarket. It seems like the batch was extra spicy to the point where I was actually crying...

What was the last time you did something for the first time? Keeping our mouths shut when we knew we were going to perform at Party in the Park with The Stereophonics. That was taught, but for the first time, my lips were sealed!

What was the last book you recommended to someone? If you're a fan of fantasy novels, I strongly recommend picking up the DragonLance series. It's like Lord of the Rings meets Game of Thrones, which definitely piques my interest! When we have free time, we like to geek out and play Dungeons & Dragons. Yes, I am a nerd!

What was the last memorable meal you ate? I think it would have to be Trader Vic's in Madinat Jumeirah with the whole band, some family and friends, including our bassist Patrick's parents, who flew all the way over to Dubai from Canada. It's our go-to place when visitors come to town.