The Boxtones are a five piece international band from Scotland and Canada, currently living in Dubai. They have been working for the past 8 to 10 years performing in 5 star establishments providing contract entertainment around the world. The Boxtones came to Dubai just over two years ago, and started to pen together their own original material.
We chat to Gary Tierney, Boxtones manager, lead singer, composer about their music plans.
Tell us a bit about the Boxtones, how did you find each other and form the band?
After a few member changes throughout the years, we feel the band is now ready to take its first step into the original music scene. Myself (Gary Tierney – Managing Director of The Boxtones FZE, band leader, guitarist, lead singer, composer and song writer) and my sister Gillian Tierney (drums, percussion and vocals) along with Louise Peel ( lead singer ) started the band in Edinburgh, Scotland back in 2007. We were working the corporate scene in Scotland for a number of years, myself and Gill had our original band where we toured the UK for a spell, and found it severely lacked in one fundamental thing: money. We decided to start our own corporate band, and took off to Bahrain for our first contract. We haven’t looked back. With the recent addition of Will Janssen (keyboards, rhythm guitar and vocals) from Winnipeg, Canada and Patrick Thibault (bass and vocals) from Montreal, I think the band has finally found its true sound. We get a lot of compliments about our performances, which boosts your confidence and with the recent start up of our own business ( no longer doing contracts 6 nights per week, instead performing at high profile events, weddings, parties, corporate business performances – anything really ), we now have the time to focus on our original material, which is great!
Where are each of you from, how did you get to Dubai and what are your musical influences?
I (Gary) am from Glasgow, Scotland – and so is Gill. Louise is from Edinburgh, Scotland, Will is from Winnipeg and Patrick is from Montreal, Canada. Me, Gill and Louise were already in Dubai, working the contract scene in a hotel at Dubai Marina, and we needed a new bass player and keyboard player for our own business set up. Will was working in another band and he was a good friend of ours for several years, and was anxious to play with The Boxtones for a while. It seemed like a great fit, and he fit in perfectly. Patrick was also working in another band in Abu Dhabi, that with band ending their run, he was looking for another project. I got in touch with him through a mutual friend, we got to talking and the rest as they say is history. Musically, we are all a bit diverse in pour influences, which is apparent in our original material. We all love rock music, which is where we gel. Louise’s favourite however is soul music, I love time signature rock like Tool and Biffy Clyro, Gill and Will are both into the heavier rock stuff and Patrick is into his punk music. So when you blend all that together – you get The Boxtones.
You do your own originals, can you tell us a bit about your latest track UFO?
UFO is part of an album we will be releasing this year, named ‘In the Pockets of Clowns’. The song was written back in 2001 by myself, and has had around 3 or 4 incarnations before landing here. It was originally called UFO landing party, but I dropped the last part as I wanted it to be recognised as a deeper and more thoughtful approach to the subject matter: abduction – than a reference to a party. The song is about a lonely guy, who meets a beautiful woman at a bar, and immediately falls in love. She asks him to go with her, and he blindly obeys. That’s when all hell breaks loose, as he realises too soon, she is an alien and can read his mind. She takes him aboard her ship and off they go into space, but not before they are pursued by the authorities. She forgets her keys to her flying saucer at the bar, so has to return to get them, which builds the apprehension as they are close to being stopped. They get away and the man is happy for the first time in his life, as he’s no longer lonely, and has the freedom he wasn’t permitted at home as he now lives with the aliens in space. Its all a bit tongue in cheek, but I’ve found that people relate to it and appreciate a good story within a song – that’s UFO.
Are you planning to release an album any time soon?
‘In the Pockets of Clowns’ is scheduled for a late 2013 release. We have a counter on our website telling you exactly when it will be done and available to the general public. Our initial release will be available on our website store, iTunes and Reverbnation. We have been demo-ing out the material we are close to final mix on, and a song Identity Crisis which is the closest to being master ready, is charting at number 3 on the Reverbnation UAE charts. Not bad.
You also do covers, which bands are your top ones to cover and what is your favourite cover song to play?
Covers are a different animal. I mean I love to rock our the solo to Free Bird for 12 minutes or so, but that’s a specialist song – I mean if your request it, we’ll play it. Usually, the audience want songs they know and love, and that comes from the top 40 charts. We do all of them, we play everything, I don’t think we have shied away from any song, except the ridiculous: your not getting the birdie song or ABBA from us I’m afraid. We try to make cover songs our own, we add a little here, take a little away there, and try to have fun with the songs we learn.
What is the one item of gear, either personal or gig -related that you (each of you) always forget when going to or coming from a gig?
Me: batteries – I have an active Fender Stratocaster CS Eric Clapton ‘Blackie’ which I wasn’t aware had a battery in the back. Of course it does, as it has an active boost circuit which gives me +25DB for soloing, and that needs a battery. So I have to remember to bring one.
Gill: not much really, she is pretty organised. If I had to pick something, I would say cables – she’s a drummer, but recently we have been experimenting with modules and triggers, which needs cables to connect to the desk. Drummers don’t do cables!
Patrick: Again, Mr organised, can’t really think of anything.
Will: DI boxes – always DI boxes
Louise: Lyrics mostly, printed out lyrics for new songs – mostly….
Again we try really hard to remember everything, and with sound companies now supplying most of the equipment, we only really need our instruments – but every gig is different and you have to be prepared for the worst. That’s why we now take a gig bag – fully locked and loaded.
What has been your very worst and very best gigs and can you tell us a bit about them?
As this line up, we haven’t had a worst gig – I think the only thing we would complain about is the heat during the summer, especially outdoor gigs – they can be killer. Our best gig had to be the Abu Dhabi film festival closing party at the Emirates Palace last year – that was impressive. We also love performing to the troops on the USO Naval base, they are great rock gigs. I think every gig is different, and with no two alike, and each having a different set of obstacles to overcome, there is no best and worst, just a challenge at different levels.
Where do you think disappearing socks go?
This is a question only the gods can answer, as I think there is a special sock heaven where all the lonely socks go to meet other lonely socks, and rock their socks off…. just my thoughts on this.
Check them out on the below links:
The band’s album is set for release late 2013, ‘In the Pockets of Clowns’ – featuring 12 original tracks.
Check out theirwebsite, www.boxtonesband.com, which is constantly updated with details on our next show, you can preview tracks form the album, check out all our videos, audio samples, press releases, gig photos, radio shows, and much much more – we have a blog and you can subscribe to our podcasts to keep up to date with all the comings and goings of The Boxtones.
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