In a prolifically rich musical landscape, indie band Boxing Day has managed to captivate and charm audiences within the University of Wisconsin-Madison community and the greater city of Madison.
Thriving on passion, determination and a shared love of music, band members Jan Grzywacz, Ella Scott, Shayfer Huitt, Annika Maxey and Chris Norcross encapsulate the essence of what it means to nurture talent in the indie music scene.
Boxing Day, winner of WUD Music's 2023 Battle of the Bands, got their start in the close-knit community of Ogg Residence Hall’s music studio.
However, it was much more than proximity that shaped their formation, Huitt said. He remembered how band members bonded over their musical interests and their shared experiences of recording tracks and performing live.
They were all on the same page about their collective musical pursuits as a band, he said.
“We try to write for the Boxing Day sound, blending our tastes into something more unified,” Scott said in an email.
The “Boxing Day sound,” as band members described it, is a sonic tapestry woven with a harmonious blend of creative endeavors and emotions that transcend the boundaries of mere melodies.
The band’s process in creating this unified sound is nothing if not a collaborative journey — an amalgam of perspectives — resulting in music that echoes and resonates beyond the venues they perform in, members said. However, collaboration is far from easy.
“Some of us definitely thought collaboration in a band setting meant spontaneously making a full song during a jam session,” Scott said. “It’s definitely more of a continuous process than some of us first thought.”
Nevertheless, Boxing Day has curated a delicate balance between individual artistic freedom and collective cohesion.
The release of their first song, "Your Voice," in early July marked a poignant chapter in the band’s journey. They initially intended “Your Voice” to be a quiet folksong for Chris’s solo project, “Croix Du Nord.”
“Bringing the song to the rest of the band made it what it is today,” Grzywacz said. “With each show and rehearsal, we added more and more to it until it became a piece of our own.”
Its title, inspired by the poignant first line of the chorus, "I need the sound of your voice," encapsulates the ache of longing for someone in its purest form. Norcross said he wrote “Your Voice” about his girlfriend, Ava.
Beyond the melodies and harmonies, the band draws listeners in with music that aims to express the intangible and articulate the unspoken.
Each of Boxing Day’s live performances caters to a wide variety of devoted listeners, showcasing their adaptability. They tailor setlists to suit each venue and show, creating an intricate blend of older originals, covers and new material.
During their show at the High Noon Saloon on Sept. 3, the band covered “Scott Pilgrim vs. My GPA” as per their friend Arthur’s recommendation. It was an instant hit with the crowd, who knew every word.
“We enjoy playing shows and playing for other people and want them to have fun and dance and sing to our music,” Maxey said. “The topics of our songs are far-ranging and relatable so that anyone can find solidarity within the Boxing Day world.”
Boxing Day’s passion and unwavering dedication to their music, both live and recorded, is something they hope reminds listeners that music is meant to be experienced collectively — and serves as a testament to the power of shared experiences and the emotional depth of human connection.
Moving forward, the band plans on tracking and producing music themselves, including their next single, “Bluff,” and an upcoming debut album.