British India’s musical journey has them searching for something almost intangible, and this could be the band’s main driving force
Adecade into their decorated career, Melbourne indie rockers British India are still going strong, searching for something that remains just beyond their grasp.
But maybe it would be better for the band, and their fans, if they never quite found it.
“This will sound strange, but I attribute our longevity to our lack of success,” frontman Declan Melia says.
“We’ve had an awesome run, but we’ve never had a No.1 record and we’ve never played massive venues ... we’re always striving for something that seems just out of reach.
“British India have always had something to say and I don’t think we’ve said it quite the way we want to yet.”
Melia says British India “were in a pretty bad way, suffering from shocking writer’s block” when trying to make their fourth album, 2013’s Controller.
The band decided to change things up a bit and expand their musical boundaries, and Controller – which featured the popular singles Plastic Souvenirs, Summer Forgive Me and I Can Make You Love Me – eventually became their most successful album to date.
The experimentation flowed on to new album Nothing Touches Me, which debuted at No.5 on the ARIA album chart earlier this year.
“Writing and recording this record felt like a real victory lap,” Melia says.
“After Controller came out, we really felt validated that our audience was willing to let us change. I think we had been a little scared of that.”
Nothing Touches Me is British India’s fifth album in just eight years and they have also played more than 600 live shows in that time.
They could, perhaps, lay claim to the title of “Australia’s hardest-working band”.
“If you saw what we do on a day-to-day basis, I don’t think you’d say we work hard,” Melia says with a laugh.
“Having said that, playing live is something I don’t think I’ll ever get sick of.
“When a show works, it’s incredibly gratifying and very addictive.”
British India haven’t quite found mainstream success, not that it bothers them.