Formed in 2018 in London, John Chamberlain (vocals/guitar), Barny Skinner (guitar), Paddy Chamberlain (bass) and Ryan Peek (drums) came together to craft a different form of indie-rock. Influenced by Joy Division, Foo Fights, Nirvana and The Stone Roses, Box Time is fast, insightful and damned furious. We spoke John about their new single ‘Another Excuse’ and much more.
Why did you decide to enter the music industry?
I grew up in a very musical family and it wasn’t long before I had designs on being a musician. I was playing one-note solos on stage with my dad from the age of five, so I guess I got the bug then and didn’t look back.
Can you tell us about your release ‘Another Excuse’?
‘Another Excuse’ is the best thing we’ve put out to date. It’s the fairest reflection of our sound and the energy of our live performances. It’s a nod to our post-punk influences and you’ll hear some of those tones in the guitars.
The song itself is about being stuck in a rut and making excuses for not attempting to change your circumstances. It has real relevance to the current mood and frustration in the UK, which is why we decided to switch around the order of our releases. Our next single is a lot more pop in comparison, hence why we felt ‘Another Excuse’ carried more cultural significance.
What was the recording and writing process like?
Working with producer Nico Secretin was amazing. He shares our vision and his input was crucial. We’ll be back in the studio with him as soon as we can.
The song was recorded in Tottenham’s Puzzle Factory Sound Studios and was completed in Belgium during lockdown. Nico was stuck there but still managed to build a studio and finish the mixes.
Does the single have any significant meaning for you?
I think it’s my most confident vocal performance. I wrote the song in 2017 just before we formed and the early demo is so different. It was all floaty and acoustic, like The National on Cannabis Tea or something. As soon as I brought it into rehearsal with Box Time, Ryan decided he was going to play a beat at double the tempo. Paddy started hitting his bass and I couldn’t argue with what it had become.
What do you hope people take from your music?
All of our songs have hooks that are designed to catch the listener’s attention, but I guess the goal is to make music that people can relate to and twist to suit their own stories. I love the fact that the same song can mean one thing to you and something completely different to the next listener. Once a song is written and released to the world it doesn’t belong to you anymore.
What is more challenging for you – melody or lyrics?
I’d have to say that writing a more complex or unique melody is the hardest part. There’s only so much you can do without accidentally borrowing from your favourite records. I enjoy writing lyrics and I’m quite prolific. Sometimes we like to make stupid songs and parodies when we’ve had enough of writing serious music. We simply call this ‘Burt’ music.
How do you keep yourself motivated?
I listen to a lot of music and when we could I was going to a lot of gigs in venues across London. I think if you support other bands and go to a lot of gigs, it automatically spurs you on to get things moving with your own music. I can’t wait for the venues to reopen if they can. The events industry is a sorry state in this country and we need our government to take note! I fear for the small venues and the independent rehearsal studios that we regularly have relied on.
How would you describe your sound?
Ryan, our drummer, previously used the term ‘visceral melodic rock’ which I quite like. We definitely have an aggressive rhythm section which suits the guitar tones, and we love a hazy lead guitar part. Barny and I swap lead guitar duties, sometimes three or four times in one song, so you can imagine that gives us a certain dynamic as a live act.
What do you think is the best way to discover new music?
Again, go and watch gigs. It’s all well and good being on Spotify, but we know from some of our previous recordings that some bands aren’t always able to provide an audience with an accurate representation of their live sound.
We got lucky with our latest recordings, but, really, people started to take notice when we played at The Finsbury for the first time. Then, low and behold, the same heads were at our next gig a month later. It’s the most natural way to experience music.
What does the future hold for Box Time?
We have another single to launch through AWAL and a music video with an apocalyptic theme. It’s lots of fun and was completely DIY – we get chased by a bunch of undead pub types who are hungry for more than just a pint of Craft IPA.
In the long-term, I have enough songs to fill at least two albums and lockdown has been a productive time for me. The big plan is to make our first album once we get into a recording studio again.
Do you have a message for our readers?
Wash your hands and make sure you dry between your toes after you’ve had a shower! Be excellent to each other and keep supporting live music.