The Boxtones in the hot seat

Time Out grills GCC rockers on debut album release

Interview, Hot seat

As Bahrain’s best-known musical export celebrate the release of their debut LP, we reconnect with former brunch favourites The Boxtones.

If you remember the days of the riotous Diplomat brunches, then you’ll certainly remember the Boxtones – the band who had us all singing ‘Roxanne’ and ‘Alice’ and congoing round the room.

Now Bahrain’s favourite musical exports have moved on from the covers circuit and are making waves across the region with the release of their first album this month. Currently based in Dubai but with gigs across the GCC planned in support of the LP, keyboard player Will Janssen gave us the lowdown on In the Pockets of Clowns.

How long’s the album been in the making?
The album is a collection of songs written by Gary as early as 2001, and reworked and redone with the Boxtones for the release. So you could say that the album has taken 13 years to do. But then again,
a year to record and master with this line-up. Confused?

So lead guitarist and vocalist Gary wrote all the songs? How much of a stamp did the band put on them?
Gary Tierney wrote the songs. He brought them to rehearsal, and the rest of the guys hammered out the details and constructed the song around his idea. The result is what you hear.

Have you got a record deal?
As we have developed our own company, we are in effect signed... to ourselves. We are the distributers, publishers, songwriters, advertisers, promoters, performers, sound riggers, sound crafters, social media reps, web designers, video editors, blah blah blah – we do it all ourselves. With a team of five, plus assistance from Gary and Gill’s parents in Bahrain. It sounds like a lot… and it is. We signed a distribution deal with Sony and a physical distribution deal with Virgin, so you can expect to see our record on the shelves and in stores in Bahrain soon.

Will you be touring it?
We are working on a multiple tour, covering the UK to begin with, moving to Europe at the end of the year, and next year Asia, the USA and Canada, so we have a very busy schedule lined up, lots of sponsors involved, and a load of work to do.

What can we expect – ballads, rock, or a bit of both?
The album is a collection of songs. A real broad range of rock/pop. There’s a ballad, an acoustic tune, a rock anthem, a couple of rock songs, a dubstep song, a Mumfordesque-type folk song – it’s a real cooking pot of melodic rock themes. It’s hard to describe – better to listen.

When are we going to see you in Bahrain?
If you want us back, get the promoters there to get in touch as we are always happy to get back to our ‘base’ and rock out with the Bahrain massive.
In the Pockets of Clowns is for sale on iTunes now.

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