In our latest installment of the Baker’s Dozen Interview Series, Jersey band Boxed Wine shares their thoughts on colloquial Australia, life after school, slaughtering butterflies and playing the laptop. We also delve into their music a bit before hitting the kitchen for a brilliant (and fucking easy) open faced grilled cheese with turkey, gravy and bacon. Boxed Wine gets cheap and fun now:
TB: Boxed Wine (or Goon as it is known colloquially in Australia) is said to encourage binge drinking and cause an excessive hangover. What kind of symptoms can one expect from a few pours of your music?
Boxed Wine (BW): Ha! Well hopefully the desire to have fun, casually frolic naked, and start a dance party are the main symptoms of listening to us. That’d be pretty much the same as normal drinking symptoms, but with none of the after effects!
TB: You guys got your start when Chris (lead vocals and rhythm guitar) and Ralph (lead guitar) started hating life after school. What was it about that time period that drove you to writing music?
BW: Well, it was nice having an escape through music at such a tumultuous time in life. In fact, it’s still going. The twenties are pretty miserable when you have no direction in life, are burdened by thousands in student debt, and only care about playing shows. We’re still dealing with it, and are really hoping this ‘writing songs’ thing works out…
BW: They don’t fit together! That’s why we chose them, honestly. We really wanted to show that we could do different styles of music, and to give people a taste of where we are as a band right now. The songs on this EP, in our opinion, are far different than our first EP, so we wanted to make it almost a reintroduction to the band itself.
TB: All three tracks come from your upcoming debut full-length album due out in April. What can you tell us about the full-length?
BW: It’s dancier and has better songs on it! At this point, we might even replace one of these tracks with a new one, but we’re still not sure on the track list. More than anything, we want all the songs to sound like they belong together.
TB: “Bones” is the stand out track on the EP and it makes me think about beauty (like cherry trees whisper in the spring air) being trampled down by death (specifically butterflies being slaughtered). What images were you actually trying to conjure up with this song?
BW: Holy smokes, you got it! In truth, most of our songs are so lyrically happy and carefree, so that made us want to take…
TB: I’ve found myself dancing to the track a number of times over the last few weeks. I am still searching for that signature “Bones” dance move. If you were to create your own “Harlem Shake” for “Bones,” what would it look like?
BW: Obviously a cross between the Carlton and the Hand Jive, with a touch of dramatic hipster irony.
TB: I have to ask about the astronaut on the front of the EP. When I think cheap and fun an astronaut is not the first thing that comes to mind. Why did you go with this particular piece for your cover?
BW: We picked the astronaut because Chris likes sci-fi stuff and nobody else had a strong opinion. We wanted a them for this EP and album, just like the theme was robots for the last release. Themes are fun, and you can play off the astronaut thing because it means different things to different people.
TB: Right before the holidays, you guys released and EP full of 70’s covers. What was it about these songs that appealed to Boxed Wine?
BW: You’ve really done your homework here, so cheers to that! We released the covers as a stop gap between original releases. The songs were deemed good to cover because they were all fun songs from a great era of music. Plus, most already had a dance beat and we were easily able to modernize them a bit.
TB: So far, you’ve given all your releases away for free. Why?
BW: People are going to steal it anyway, and at this point we would rather have people putting us on their iPODs instead of streaming and promptly forgetting about the music. All of us do that constantly, and end up remembering 10 percent of the bands who only allow streaming.
Being able to just have the music means we’re gonna be listened to more, end up in personal playlists, and maybe even have a few fans come to our shows instead. For the album, we might have to charge a bit, but we like to think the year of work we put into it is worth the value of a Big Mac or half a six-pack.
As for iTunes, they’re not gonna let us give anything away, but if anyone likes us enough to research the music, they’ll find it free somewhere. We just hope they buy a t-shirt or something to show they care.
TB: You’ve got a couple shows lined up in March and April around New Jersey. Are their plans for a more extensive tour after the debut album comes out?
BW: Yeah, we’ve mainly done one-off shows until now because of work schedules. Hopefully, we’ll find a week we can all take off and finally do a real short tour, but it’s tough. If the album does well, somebody might realize we’re a blast to see live and offer us the chance to open for someone bigger. That sounds a tad cocky, but we’re starting to realize that you don’t get anywhere by being completely humble. Our songs are fun and meant to be seen in a live setting while getting intoxicated.
What’s coll is that we’ve been asked to play every show on our schedule right now, so somebody is realizing we’re a good band to play with. Or maybe every noisy metal and hardcore band in our area is terrble…either way, cheers to them.
TB: You were quoted in the Daily Targum as saying “Bands with instruments that aren’t generated by computers are in steep decline. The guitar just isn’t that cool anymore.” How did you come to that conclusion? What are your plans for making the guitar cool again?
BW: I think that was Ralph being misquoted a bit, being the sentence doesn’t exactly make sense. Not your fault, but maybe he meant that only synth and laptop bands are doing well right now. That’s true and false at the same time, but it does seem that the guitar isn’t cool anymore.
That’s primarily because everything that could be done with it already has. We’re trying to show it still has something to say, but we’re not exactly breaking the mold trying to do it. All of our songs are simple, and the most we do is use odd chord voicings that sound a bit unique from just plain old power chords. We’d like to show that it could be used to great effect in dance songs, but maybe that’s just because we haven’t learned to play the laptop yet…
TB: Does Boxed Wine get the chance to do much cooking? Any special recipes we can steal from you?
BW: Ralph is the cook in the band, but his secret pasta sauce is from his grandma and not allowed to be told to anyone. We can attest that it’s seriously delicious. He adds sausage and maybe other pig parts and lets it sit for like three days just slow cooking. It’s intense. Here’s a different recipe he wanted me to put in (verbatim):
Chris: Hey, did you write out that recipe for the interview?
Ralph: Open faced grilled cheese with bacon and provolone with hot sliced turkey and gravy, done.
Chris: Really? That’s it? No actual recipe?
Ralph: LOL. It’s so easy. That’s really it.
Chris: That’s pathetic, I’m not putting that in if that’s all ur giving me. Make it look like a recipe. Put some heart in it!
Ralph: It’s a fucking grilled cheese with turkey.
There you have it. I tried turning it into a recipe below. (Get the printable version here.)
TB: Ending sentiments?
BW: Nothing really, thanks for asking real questions and we can’t wait to send you the album in May! Maybe we can tour as the Goons in Australia. That’d be sweet.
Boxed Wine’s “Bones”:
There track “Dayglow (Why Can’t We Stay)”: