When PEARL last caught up with British India lead singer and guitarist Declan Melia and the band were just beginning to work on songs for their next album. Fast forward six months and Melia along with band mates Matt O’Gorman, Will Drummond and Nic Wilson have just returned from Berlin, Germany where they recoded their new album, off which the first single will be released later this month with the album to follow next year. The Bayside boys are also returning to their old stomping ground to play a show at Chelsea Heights Hotel on Friday 24 October.

PEARL’s Jessica Mills spoke to Melia about British India’s new single and spring tour, which includes two shows supporting the Rolling Stones.

PEARL: When we spoke back in March you were beginning to work on your new album and you said the recurring theme so far was airports and travel/ beginnings and endings. Is this still true or did it change as you continued to work on the album?

MELIA: Yeah it bubbled to the top pretty strongly. I’d made a conscious decision to try and work on the lyrics for this album pretty quickly and not to self-edit too much. There’s two different processes for writing- one is to labour over it and one is to do it quite quickly, and when that happens you do end up with a lot of similar themes as you mentioned, and the theme of travel and distance especially is really rich.

PEARL: What was it like recording in Berlin and what made you choose to record over there?

MELIA: Berlin was an attractive aspect but we really wanted to work with this Australian producer who we’ve worked with before in Melbourne but he happened to be in Berlin. However right from when we got off the plane in Berlin, we kind of felt like British India where exactly where they want to be and exactly where they need to be- a lot different from when we made the first record in Sydney.

PEARL: What was the best thing about Berlin? Last time we spoke you said you and Matt like to go to gigs together- did you go out and catch many German bands?

MELIA: Not German bands, we saw Parkway Corpse an American band that came through, but there’s really not much rock and roll, they’re all about electronic dance music over there which isn’t something we really get into so we didn’t go to so many gigs, but we did go out and soak up the culture. They love heavy metal so we went to a lot of heavy metal bars and listened to a lot of heavy metal records. We just lived in this house in a lovely suburb and at about midday we’d go down to the recording studio and work for a few hours, we’d have a lot of lunches, and everyone was hanging out and rocking the same headspace it was really quite peaceful. A really good recording experience.

PEARL: What can you tell me about your first single, from the new album that’s being released in October?

MELIA: It’s the most complex song on the record, it really was a departure for us from what we’d been writing, it started with a rift. It really wasn’t the kind of thing we’d done before. It was a matter of taking a song that wasn’t very British Indiary and making it British Indiary. It’s also got a bit more hope than I Can Make You Love Me. I think this record for us is a lot more complex; we’re a lot more complex whereas with Controller we were struggling with the old British India and the new British India.

PEARL: Do you have a favourite track on the album?

MELIA: The first single is my favourite track, there’s another song on it called Spidercords, which is the kind of song that the boys always wanted to write, but we didn’t have the ability or the courage to go through with it. It’s very long and alternatively very heavy and very soft with a lot of screaming- it’s the most heavy song on the album. I used to do a lot of shouting when we were a punk band and I sung a bit more on our last album Controller but this particular song called for a move off the wind platform. It’s a really strange song and I’ll be interested to see what people think.

PEARL: Are you excited for the upcoming tour supporting the Rolling Stones? How did you feel when Mick Jagger asked to hear more of British India’s music?

MELIA: Surreal! It felt strange, but the thing about the Stones is that when we think of the Rolling Stones, what we think of is the live show that we’ll be doing, the massive touring juggernaut that they’ve become. It’s hard to connect that with those sixties records that we love so much. You have to remind yourself that; this is the band that did Satisfaction, they were the dark Beatles! They’re one of those bands that we can all agree are the greatest!

PEARL: The four of you grew up Bayside and on the Peninsula, are you looking forward to playing to a home crowd at Chelsea Heights Hotel?

MELIA: Chelsea and that area is where we are from, so the shows are always pretty special to us, and it’ll be a really good party vibe. We’re planning to do a few new songs and then it will just turn to the audience and whatever the audience wants to hear we’ll play.

British India plays the Chelsea Heights Hotel, Cnr Springvale Rd and Wells Rd, Chelsea Heights on Friday October 24.  For further details and tickets visit  Be sure to check for release details of British India’s new single!

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 JESSICA MILLS

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