Hardworking indie rockers return

Jackson Lavell-LeeBusselton Dunsborough Times
British India Matt O’Gorman (left) Damian Melia (front) Will Drummond back and new guitarist Jack Tosi return to Dunsborough Tavern next Friday.
Camera IconBritish India Matt O’Gorman (left) Damian Melia (front) Will Drummond back and new guitarist Jack Tosi return to Dunsborough Tavern next Friday. Credit: Jackson Lavell-Lee/Busselton-Dunsborough Times

Melbourne indie pop rockers British India are back with a new guitarist and a new lease on life.

The rockers were left in the wilderness in 2018 when former guitarist Nic Wilson informed bandmates he could no longer tolerate the constant cycle of touring and recording after more than a decade.

British India released their first independent album Guillotine in 2007, with hit single Tie Up My Hands an instant alternative indie classic, helping the band win the Australian Independent Record award for best new independent artist.

Their second album, Thieves, was released a year later and after several sold-out national shows, British India earned a reputation as the hardest-working band in Australia.

Bassist Will Drummond looked back at those early years fondly and said he loved touring WA because shows were so well attended, with crowds interacting lovingly with the band.

“We were four best friends from high school having fun with legendary Australian rock producers. Before that album we had a conversation about how we were continuing to build and we couldn’t do it half-a...d so we made decisions to just keep touring,” he said.

But in 2010, their record label Shock Records went into receivership and, after six years gruelling years of touring and recording, the band released fourth album Controller in 2013.

British India are back with a new lease on life and less external pressure.
Camera IconBritish India are back with a new lease on life and less external pressure. Credit: Supplied

The album was met with critical acclaim, with tracks I Can Make You Love Me, Summer Forgive Me, and Plastic Souvenirs ensuring their first gold record.

That success was met with mixed emotions within the band, with Drummond sometimes questioning the motives of those close to them.

“Everybody has opinions and you end up doing things you don’t want to do by listening to other people and not trusting your gut,” he said. “The music scene at the time was very radio-focused, everyone was trying to get commercial and we had to ask ourselves ‘why am I actually writing music? Is it because I think it will be popular and successful, or because I’ve picked up a guitar and feel something?’.”

The band answered emphatically with 2015 album Nothing Touches Me, including classic singles Suddenly and Wrong Direction. The death of his mother in 2016 during the writing of fifth album Forgetting the Future gave Drummond the perspective to write therapeutically on songs Precious and Take Me With You. He said the band’s workaholic nature meant there was no animosity towards Wilson, who quit after that album’ s exhaustive tour.

“After he told us, everything was up in the air,” he said. “We didn’t know what to do. There’s a lot of pressure off now, we’re just playing shows and having fun with our friend Jack Tosi, who has learnt all the songs really quickly.”

British India will play a mix of their five studio albums on February 28 at the Dunsborough Tavern. Tickets are $35 via Oztix.

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