British India’s greatest fear after five albums was ruining their rapport with the fans.
The ambitious and unexpected Forgetting the Future was released on September 22. Lead vocalist Declan Melia said they worried followers might become disillusioned if the album failed.
“When you’ve built a fanbase over five records, you have an ongoing relationship with them,” he said.
“You don’t want to betray it or pollute it with a record that wasn’t quite right.”
With his creativity coming in three-year cycles, Melia said after finishing the last album, he felt like he didn’t have any more to say.
“I was really creatively exhausted after Controller and particularly after Nothing Touches Me,” he said.
“Frankly my life was really happy and good, so I had nothing to complain about.
“So we wrote really average songs for a year and half, then our guitarist Nic said, ‘it’s all garbage, we need to start again.’
“Once we wrote Just Sing Like Everybody Else, we knew that it was the benchmark and level of energy that we were aiming for with every song afterwards.”
Melia speaks fondly of booking a ramshackle Ballarat gig at the showgrounds, when most of the band members had just turned 18.
“We hadn’t done any recordings, but we just drove up to Ballarat, and there were all these very cool, artsy kids who were like 16 years old standing around,” he said.
“They all had homemade British India t-shirts, and that didn’t even happen in Melbourne. These kids went on to play in Neon Love, Hunting Grounds and Twinsy, and we’ve remained friends.
“I think it’s something about being insular but near a major city, and there should be a place like Karova in every regional town, because every kid has a story of an epic night there.”
Even after thirteen years together, the Melbourne music stalwarts believe they haven’t hit their peak.
“British India set out to do a job and it hasn’t been done yet,” Melia said.
“If you took us out of the Australian music scene, I seriously think there would be a huge British India-shaped hole, because no one else is doing what we’re doing and we love to do it.”
British India plays Karova Lounge on November 9, with support act Fan Girl.
Tickets $30, find out more at karovalounge.com/show/british-india