The 1898 uprising in China by the same name may go down in political history, but rockers The Boxer Rebellion can already claim a piece of musical history themselves. With the digital release of their sophomore album, Union, the London-based quartet became the first unsigned band ever to break the Billboard Top 200 Chart. 2 years later and The Boxer Rebellion is set to release their third record, The Cold Still, this February. We chatted with drummer Piers Hewitt about what they've been up to since then.
Would you say that The Cold Still is a departure from your last album, Union?
We didn't set out to make a statement in terms of completely changing what we were doing. We're aware of what Union brought for us, so part of the songwriting involved not going off the page too much. I think the sound has matured.
What is your favorite song off the new album?
My favorite by far is "Cause for Alarm." It doesn't sound anyone in particular, but I can hear where other bands have influenced us in a positive way in that song more than any other.
Really, like who?
You can hear The National in there- they're one of our favorite bands. Although we've never set out to write a song like x or y, when one band in particular makes us excited, you can hear the influence.
Do you have any pre-show rituals on tour?
We're not superstitious, but we do have a strange four-way exercise that we must keep behind closed doors [laughing].
Can you tell a difference in the fans, depending on the location?
The most different place where we've performed was Japan. They show their appreciation not by cheering loudly, but clapping faster, which is strange. By the time you're halfway into the song they just start clapping.
Do you prefer being on tour as opposed to recording studio?
I am the guy who likes to be on tour. The new album has given me a fresh perspective on that. Traveling around, meeting new people...that's the best part about being a musician. If you hate to perform live, then why be in a band?!