Boy In A Box On My Mind Interview
Tobias 'Tij' Priddle has drawn many tags in the brief time since the riot-pop anthems of Boy In A Box first gripped radio listeners and live audiences nationwide.
The boy with the brylcreem voice. The boy wonder. The boy with a golden touch.
Truth is, Tij was the boy least likely to carve a musical path after giving up on the band life when his father passed away from cancer in 2010. It was only after taking a job building recording studios that Tij wrote 'Moon Comes Up' for a Blue September cancer awareness campaign on which his boss was helping out.
The track was soon launched onto the airwaves of Triple J and Tij's earnest and arresting ways with a hook were called to action. Boy In A Box was formed. An EP was pieced together from song samples. Follow-up track 'Glitter, Gold, Ruin' exploded. The Melbourne-based band were invited to tour with Birds Of Tokyo and Calling All Cars. By the end of 2011, they were taking the stage at the Falls Festival in Lorne.
All of a sudden, the reluctant frontman was one of the country's strongest new voices.
It's no surprise then that the band's second release - what Tij calls their "first official EP" - sees them advancing in leaps and bounds. This is where accidents become intentions; where raw, discovered talent turns into bright-eyed ambition.
Boy In A Box retreated to a beachside house in the tiny Victorian town of Kennett River to write new songs for the release. Rather than Tij nutting out ideas alone in a room, this time he had bassist Athan Hewett and drummer Tom Crimmins to wrangle songs with.
"I've got two walls to bounce off now instead of second-guessing myself and wondering if a song is any good," Tij says. "I'll be writing and yelling out beats to Tom and he's disagreeing and yelling ideas back to me. Then Athan comes in and we'll work on bass lines… I like being holed up in a dark room and pretending like nothing's going on outside."
The trio then took the songs to Birdland Studios for an intensive recording period with iconic Melbourne producer Lindsay Gravina (Adalita, Rowland S. Howard, The Living End). The resulting productions reveal a new urgency and density to Boy In A Box. There's an anxiety lurking beneath the venue-ready sing-alongs.
"You can't help it when you've got Gravina sitting in the room," Tij claims of the EP's mushrooming sounds. "He pulls the rock out of you. It was midday-to-midnight sessions and we'd be going the whole time."
As on the first release, Tij had his own vision for the EP, adding ambient details to the songs and layering as many as seven guitar tracks within the shuddering 'On My Mind' and 'I'm Alive.'
"I put a big barrier up between playing live and working in the studio. I don't think, 'I've only got one guitar so I can only put one guitar on the recording.' I love that big studio sound."
Consequently, Boy In A Box might soon have a fourth member in tow to add extra weight to their live shows as they continue to write towards a debut album.
As always, we'll be watching as Tij and his band mates develop and push forward, and as the spotlight-shy boy we saw all that potential in, who made us want to champion him, becomes the boy who does us proud.
First single from the self-titled EP 'On My Mind' is available digitally now.
Interview with Tobias 'Tij' PriddleQuestion:
How does it feel to have your songs played from the EP, On My Mind? Tobias 'Tij' Priddle
: On My Mind is a collection of songs that we've written over the last couple of years that were designed to go onto an album, we then decided to put them on an EP. I was putting together a story for the album which is why the songs are a little bit oddly placed but they do work. Question:
Do you write your own songs? What's your inspiration? Tobias 'Tij' Priddle
: Yes, I am influenced by what is around me. That's a hard question for me because I never know where I draw inspiration from, I usually wake up one morning with a song idea as I never search for an idea. All types of music inspires me; as does the rush I get from writing a song and being happy with it and then seeing it turn from an idea on an acoustic guitar to a song recorded in the studio; that rush inspires me to pick up the guitar.Question:
What music/artists do you listen to when you are not playing your own? Tobias 'Tij' Priddle
: I haven't actually been listening to that much music, lately, as much as I usually would. The music I listen to doesn't make sense to the music that I play (laughs). I have been listening to the latest Lykke Li album a lot. Question:
You played at the Falls Festival in Lorne, what do you love about performing live? Tobias 'Tij' Priddle
: We had a great time; Falls was the first festival that we played as Boy In A Box. I had played at festivals as a part of other bands and a few of my friends had played at Falls Festival before but playing at the Falls Festival ourselves and staying in the band camping area was very interesting, I enjoyed having free range of the festival and being able to go 'back stage' whenever I wanted! It was a weird and enjoyable experience. Question:
Can you talk us through the recording process; likes/dislikes? Tobias 'Tij' Priddle
: I am very much a studio guy, I find myself totally in my element when I'm in the studio especially around all the elements of producing. I often find myself spending more time looking at the studio that I'm in and the pre-amps and compressors than focusing on a song (laughs)! When I'm in the studio I am very comfortable. Question:
Are you looking for a fourth member for Boy In A Box? Tobias 'Tij' Priddle
: We are a three piece at the moment and there is a lot on the new single but realistically when I think about it, it's because a studio recording and a live performance are two different things. A studio recording is about putting what you need onto the track, to make the song work to its best whereas live is about energy and you may not need to have everything that you have recorded going. However I believe having an extra guitarist might make some of the parts that I have to play, a little easier and I could spend more time singing and running around. Question:
What/who was your inspiration to head back into the music industry? Tobias 'Tij' Priddle
: Previously, in 2009, I had lost my love for music and many things had happened in my life and I decided to throw in the towel when I moved to Melbourne to work out where I was going. It took six months to be coached back into performing and what got me back into the industry was recording the first single, Moon Comes Up for the Blue September cancer awareness campaign. I went from recording a song for the campaign to getting really into the music industry, again - the ball started rolling and all I could do was jump on, hold on and enjoy the ride…Question:
What has been your favourite part of becoming a music artist? Tobias 'Tij' Priddle
: That's a good question! I think it's probably all the great opportunities we've been presented with as previously it was so much work to even play at a local pub in the middle of the week and playing in those bands prior to Boy In A Box has allowed me to appreciate having a manager and label which is why I felt spoilt! The favourite part, for me, was how easy it was to get out there and play in front of a lot of people and be able to record songs without having to wait as everything was readily available - I still can't believe it even though I know it's happened for a lot of people but because of the background I came from, I thought it was something that never would happen and overall it was a humbling experience.Question:
What is the biggest challenge you have faced along the way to your musical success? Tobias 'Tij' Priddle
: I think the biggest challenge has been finding our live show as we have been through a few members, I've been through about seven band-mates and it's been difficult to find the right chemistry on stage and finding people who you're happy to be stuck in a van, for hours (or days), with. Although I have found my two strong members, we need that one other person and we've been trying for a couple of years - we've had another guitarist and a keyboardist and it didn't really work out. It's always a challenge because it's not just me that the new member has to get along with but the other two members of the band and our managers whilst sounding and looking good. Trying to find the perfect person isn't as easy as it sounds even though there are a lot of guitarists out there because a lot of the good ones are taken (laughs)! Question:
Do you have a website fans can visit? Tobias 'Tij' Priddle
: www.Facebook.com/boyinaboxmusic Question:
What is the story behind the band's name, Boy In A Box? Tobias 'Tij' Priddle
: There is no story… It just came to me one day at the stage when I didn't have a band and I was trying to think of the perfect name that would work for a group of people or a solo musician and Boy In A Box seemed right for having options up my sleeve because I didn't know if I would be turning it into a band or if I was going to keep it me.
I have found two amazing guys who I also consider my best friends and couldn't see it any other way than being in a band. The chemistry between us, as a band, is really strong which is why they're involved in the project, as much as I am.
Interview by Brooke Hunter