British India press rewind to celebrate ten years of ‘Guillotine’

It's hard to expect that we’ll still be making records and touring in ten years. But then I would have said the same thing ten years ago.”

A lot has happened since British India released their debut album Guillotine in 2007. They’ve released five albums, toured Australia extensively, as well as abroad, and built up a loyal fan base. All while still boasting the same lineup they did when they began as four high school mates in Mentone.
To celebrate the tenth anniversary of the album that kick-started their careers, they’re playing a one-off hometown show, giving many fans the chance to hear their debut record played in full for the first time ever.
Frontman Declan Melia says the band has enjoyed putting together the setlist for the show. “I'm really proud of the way the setlist looks at the moment, it’s been great fun choosing songs to play from across the five albums. It's going to be the last show of what’s been a three-month tour, so we'll be in pretty good moods.”
Ten years of releasing records would be cause for reflection for many, but Melia doesn’t see it that way. “I'm too stressed about the new record and tour to think too much about it.” In fact, the only reason they’re playing an anniversary show was because they decided on a whim to play the album in full at a show in WA. “Who knew so many people wanted to hear 'Council Flat' live again?”
He says it’s hard to believe it’s been ten years since their debut. “Since then the years have just been a tumble. I can hardly believe we've made six records. I was having so much fun I never even noticed it happening.”
If given the chance to make any changes to the album in hindsight, Melia thinks the album would be close to unrecognisable. “That's what makes it great, it’s a good document of us at that age and time. I'm proud of the way it was produced mainly, it really was just the four of us in a studio playing no differently to how we play live – no click track, no overdubs.
“It was sort of antithetical to what was happening at the time. All the bands were starting to become very dance-orientated and slick.” Melia reckons there were basically no new Aussie bands producing guitar-centric albums when they released Guillotine. He points to this being referenced in the opening lines of ‘Russian Roulette’ – “And last week, on Swan Street, people pointed to me and said, 'Boy that's last week’”.
“Also, of course, the singles from the album were really catchy. We were listening to a lot of records, often really heavy stuff, but those songs are all an attempt to emulate British pop.”
He’s also adamant he wouldn’t change anything about their careers when asked what advice he’d give himself if he could go back in time. “If we'd done anything differently we probably wouldn't still be here. Even the mistakes we've made – and there have been a lot of them – somehow have a way of working to our advantage. We've been very lucky.”
Given the band had never expected they’d play an anniversary show for Guillotine, does that mean they might start doing this for their other albums when their time comes around? “There's something special about a debut so it might not make so much sense to play all the way through Avalanche or Nothing Touches Me. All that said though, people seem to love the Thieves record so never say never.”
Fans will be forgiven for hoping in ten years’ time the band will be gearing up to play the album’s 20th-anniversary show. However, Melia reckons that’s not too likely, but there is a little bit of hope in his words. “It's hard to expect that we’ll still be making records and touring in ten years. But then I would have said the same thing ten years ago.”

British India will celebrate ten years of Guillotine at Max Watt’s on Saturday December 16.