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British India - Hindi Rock

Author: Jonathan Appleby
Monday, 28 July 2008
3D's Jonathan Appleby chats with Matt O'Gorman, drummer for Melbourne rock outfit British India, about their new album Thieves, its speedy delivery and growing up.

British India's incredible rise from the underbelly of Melbourne's healthy independent scene to the top of the Australian indie pile has taken a mere 12 months. July last year saw the release of their acclaimed debut album Guillotine and it's been nothing but an endless stream of triple j airplay, sold out shows and festival dates nationwide. Now comes Thieves, the second album released almost exactly one year to the date.

'We wouldn't have done it so quickly if we weren't so confident with the songs,' O'Gorman explains. 'Between the recording and the release of Guillotine, we had a bit of time spare. We used that time to do a lot of writing and of course, a lot of touring. We'd pretty much have a gig each weekend so during the week we'd get together. It was something we always want to do; release a second album close to the first.'

Again produced by Easybeats legend Harry Vanda and Glenn Goldsmith, Thieves continues on from where Guillotine left off, celebrating the garage pop that has so far defined the band while exuding their obvious growth.

'We couldn't be happier with it,' O'Gorman claims. 'I think the band has grown so much since Guillotine. It makes a difference going into the studio after you've been playing a lot, also I think the band had more of an idea of what we wanted to get from it sound-wise. When you go into a studio for the first time, you're like a rabbit in the headlights. We were just more confident going in this time.'

With the album hitting shelves last weekend and its brooding, foot stomping first single I Said I'm Sorry currently getting much radio love, it's already clear that Thieves is a proper step up for British India and the budding lyrical genius of Declan Melia.

'I think lyrically it's grown a lot,' O'Gorman explains. 'Declan hasn't changed his formula much, I just think they've grown. The same themes are there like Guillotine, which are growing up and what you experience being this age, 22, but they're just much stronger. Also, it feels more like an album. Guillotine felt more like a collection of songs because you've got your whole life to write your first album. We wrote these songs in that one year period so they seem to go really well together.'

In a year brimming with highlights, one classic moment that most would kill to see stands out to O'Gorman.

'During the Big Day Out tour, we were in Adelaide,' he enthuses. 'We had played and the other boys were having an afternoon nap and I went down to the foyer and there was Björk, The Arcade Fire, Battles and Rage [Against the Machine] all huddled around this big grand piano. They were singing ABBA songs and I remember sitting down by the bar and filmed a bit of it on the camera. I should put it on YouTube.'

WHO: British India
WHAT: Thieves through Flashpoint/Shock / Play Splendour in the Grass, Byron Bay / The Metro Theatre
WHEN:  Out now / Sunday 3 August / Friday 22