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The Boxmasters Take On Upbeat Pop Sounds With Reflective Lyrics

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Rob Fenn
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The Boxmasters.

Despite an upbeat pop sound, the band The Boxmasters deals with lyrical themes ranging from paranoia to broken hearts. KMUW's JeddBeaudoin recently spoke with the band and has more.

Los Angeles-based band The Boxmasters recently released the album Boys and Girls…and The World. A quick listen reveals music that’s reminiscent of ‘60s pop acts such as The Beatles and The Byrds. It’s also filled with classic pop hooks. Spend a few seconds listening to a Boxmasters song and you’ll probably walk away humming the chorus.

Organist Teddy Andreadis says that growing up in the era of British pop taught him and his bandmates the importance of the hook.

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Credit Rob Fenn

“We grew up in the era where if you didn’t have a hook, you didn’t have a song,” Andreadis offers. “To me, if someone can leave a room humming a song, that means you’ve got a good hook. That’s what we aim to create.”

Bassist and guitarist J.D. Andrew says that although the band takes its inspiration from the sounds of the ‘60s, The Boxmasters have their own sound to mine.

“We all grew up on the hook masters of the ‘60s: British Invasion like The Beatles, other stuff like the Beach Boys,” he adds. “The sounds of bands like The Byrds. Bands that had identifiable sounds, huge songs. We do our own version of music that pays tribute to that stuff. We all different types of music that we like but we also have a lot of same influences. We merge them all together and become what we are.”

Drummer Billy Bob Thornton adds that despite the band’s pop sound, the lyrics offer a deeper take on life.

“Our lyrical content is fairly heavy,” he says. “We don’t do a lot of ‘Baby, meet me at the malt shop’ kind of songs. Unless we’re making fun of them. We’ve got a couple of those. Even when you hear one that is hooky and sounds more like a late-‘60s pop-rock kind of song, the subject matter may be heavier than the music would telegraph to ya. Sometimes, when people are just dancing along, like, ‘Hey! This has a good beat and I can dance to it!’ They don’t know that you’re really singing about some heavy topic.”

Thornton points to one song on the album, “My Creeping Sundays,” as an example of a Boxmasters’ songs that’s darker than some might first believe. For starters, he set the song on Sunday, a day when most people are at ease.

“Sunday’s a pleasant day,” Thornton offers. “It’s like a day off. You go for picnics. But if your life is a mess? During bad parts of my life, Friday night was always my favorite time, and then Saturday night. But starting on Sunday morning, I knew that the next day was Monday and the bill collectors and the lawyers and the spurned lover, all that could come back to get ya. It’s just about a guy who holes up in his place and the only time he’s not a nervous wreck is Friday through Saturday.”

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Another tune on Boys and Girls…and The World, “Rain On,” provides a little hope in the darkness.

“It’s like when you see a storm coming, and you say, ‘You know what? I’ve been through much worse,'" Thornton says. "In this case, it’s a relationship. You're looking at, not a literal sky full of clouds, instead it’s a metaphor for the bad things that can happen in life. You just say, ‘You know what? You can dish it out all day long. I’ve seen so much worse.’”

“Of Course You’re a Leo” details Thornton’s inability to connect with a woman who shared his star sign. It’s also a song that Andreadis says has an unexpected feel from other band material.

“It has some sort of Rick James thing,” he notes.

“Like a moodier Rick James,” Thornton offers.

“And yet it still has the spices of The Boxmasters,” Andreadis continues. “That was probably our first funk tune. We didn’t want to get too far outside the territory of The Boxmasters.”

“Well, there’s only so much more funky I can get,” Andrew says. “I know the other two have more funk in them than I do, but I am from Kansas.”

In fact, the band’s performance at the Stiefel Theatre will also serve as a homecoming for Andrew.

“I’m really excited about it, all the people that I’ll see. My high school music teacher [Bill Tuzicka] is the technical director, and that’s great because he’s one of the main people who inspired me to get into a music career,” Andrew says.

The band performs at the Stiefel Theatre on Friday, Aug. 19, and the Emporia Granada Theater on Saturday, Aug. 20. The band also boasts a Kansas City date at Knucklehead’s on Aug. 18. The group’s fourth double album, Boys and Girls…and The World, is out now.

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Jedd Beaudoin is the host of Strange Currency. Follow him on Twitter @JeddBeaudoin.

 

To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.