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BRITISH INDIA Indian summer

Melbourne’s British India are returning to WA for the first time in 18 months with a bang, hitting Bunbury’s Prince of Wales on February 20, Guildford’s Stirling Arms on February 21, Perth’s Badlands Bar on February 22, Scarborough’s Indi Bar on February 23 and the 
Dunsborough Tavern on February 28. With four Top 10 ARIA albums, eight entries into the Hottest 100 and ARIA Gold accredited single I Can Make You Love Me under their belt, the four piece have garnered a reputation as being one of the most hard-working and enduring live Oz acts of the past decade. But that’s not say there haven’t been changes. Following the departure of lead guitarist Nic Wilson last January, new axeman Jack Tosi will be introduced at the coming shows in what will be an exciting new encounter for the fans and the band alike. BRAYDEN EDWARDS spoke to bassist Will Drummond about the return. 

You haven’t been over to WA in about 18 months, which is fairly standard for most bands but seems like more than usual for a band that tours consistently as British India. What have you been up to and what are you looking forward to about coming back?

At the start of last year we played our farewell shows for our guitarist Nic Wilson. After over 15 years of playing together, and parting on good terms with our friend we needed time to digest and have a break. It wasn’t until later last year when our drummer Matt O’Gorman ran into our old friend Jack Tosi and asked him if he’d like to come down to a rehearsal, that we started looking at booking another tour and moving forward. As you said, it’s been 18 months, which for us is an eon. We usually come to Perth two to three times a year. So just to play those great rooms, see so many of our friends and get out of Melbourne for two weeks is great.

I first saw British India at the Prince of Wales on what might have been your first or second time over in WA in around 2007, what do you feel is the main difference between the band now and then?

Jack is a glaring difference. Our setlists are longer and better thought out, too. And we also don’t take ourselves anywhere near as seriously as we once did!

It’s impressive to see how you are still going so strong and I’m talking to you all these years later, do you think there are any particular qualities that have made British India so durable?

It’s a mix of hard work and luck. From very early on we treated each day like a 9-5 when we weren’t on the road. We’d turn up to the studio and write every day we weren’t on the road but at the same time we were always booking shows which would drive us to write more. We’ve been lucky that people have connected with those songs over the years. We have some die-hard fans and constantly meet new ones at shows, which is very humbling and reassuring.

What did you think you would have gotten sick of by now but still find yourself enjoying? Also, anything you thought would get easier over time that doesn’t?

It ebbs and flows; some days you hate plane flights, others you just can’t wait to get on them. Going into the studio will seem like the most laborious thing in the world on some days and then you can go weeks at a time where there aren’t enough hours in the day. Missing friends and family milestones never gets any easier.

As mentioned, you have a new guitarist Jack Tosi coming over for the first time. What went down that saw him come to be part of the band?

Matt ran into him and asked him to come down and have a play. After a few songs it was easy to tell he had the skill to pull it off and it’s also been very easy because he’s a very easy guy to travel with. He’s also done an amazing job with only four rehearsals.

And was it simply a matter of him emulating the way the songs have always been played, or does he bring his own style or character to the songs as well?

He certainly has a tough job. Nic is a fantastic guitarist and Jack has been great at mimicking his style where needed but bringing his own flavour to the stage and sound. He’s a huge music fan and loves playing shows. That enthusiasm is infectious.

And has it influenced the setlist you might play on your shows over here? I’m guessing you can’t just draw on the entire catalogue to choose from just yet?

Funnily enough, Jack has been the one bringing up old songs to slip in here and there! So we will have to wait and see what he throws out to us next.

What’s next for British India, any new music on the way we can look forward to in the near future?

We are going to ride the wave and high of this west coast tour followed by an east coast tour and see how we feel. I can’t make any sweeping promises, but I’m on the 9-5’s in the studio.


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