Lonely the Brave: an interview

[Published in Latitude Lookout magazine in 2016]

Hey Mark! So, the album you just released came out on the 1st September. How’s it going so far?

Mark – Yeah, it’s been amazing really. If you had told me a year ago that we’d have an album that’s sitting at number 14 on the UK chart and number 1 in the rock chart, that’s bonkers, I wouldn’t have believed you!

Awesome, really happy for you guys! You played Reading last year didn’t you?

Mark – We played Reading this year as well. We did Reading and Leeds two years in a row, Download two years in a row as well, I mean Reading was a special one for us, it is probably the one we’d be going to anyway if we weren’t playing it because we all used to go to Reading so to get invited back two years in a row is a real honour.

Would you class yourself as a festival band?

Mark – We love both, it’s amazing to be able to go and play in front of 10,000 people and then go back to the smaller, more intimate shows so it is amazing, we like both of them.

How did the name Lonely The Brave come about?

Mark – We were all in different bands in and around Cambridge and when we decided to become the band we are now we had to take some pretty strong action in terms of leaving the bands that we were all in and we figured some people would be pretty upset with that but it was the right decision and the right thing to do for all of us, and we knew that would isolate us from some people we knew as well. It sounds a bit cheesy but it came from there, we had to be ‘brave’ to get on with it because it’s what needed to happen. We also like the idea of names meaning more than one thing, one of our favourite bands are called Poison the Well, which has a similar feel to Lonely the Brave, so it’s cool that it means more than one thing.

And you recently got signed to Columbia, is there a lot of pressure from the label as a band?

Mark – No I don’t think so, I mean there in it for the long haul as far as we’re aware. They’ve been great to us and they see it as a building process, so we’ll go from there really. It’s our first record, the first thing we’ve ever released apart from our EP so hopefully they’ll stay on board with us for a while and keep putting records out.

You’ve been on the road for a while now, what’s a day in the life like?

Mark – It can be quite varied, actually it’s not, it’s very much the same, over and over again! So generally you get up at silly o’ clock and get in the bus, play Fifa for about three hours whilst in the van, stop, pee, probably smoke, get back in the van, Fifa for another three hours, soundcheck, show, repeat. Touring is really good fun, I’m not going to say it’s not, it’s a great time and not only with the guys in the band, you know, we’re all really close, but with our crew as well so it makes it so much better.

So who’s the Fifa king?

Mark – Thats probably Dave, yeah he’s big time into his Fifa, I’m getting better but, Dave’s the guy.

Who are your influences?

Mark – It’s a really weird one. We’re all into really different music, which I guess comes through in our sound and there’s only a few artists we all agree on. So the ones we actually agree on would be Deftones, The Boss, can’t beat a bit of Springsteen, The National, Pearl Jam, a band called This Will Destroy You that we really like. There are a couple of new bands that we really like too, like Defeater. That’s probably about it though because we’re all into such different music so they’re about the only ones we can agree on. I guess a lot of them could be seen as influences, but we’ve never sat down and thought about how we want to sound, I just don’t think you can help but be influenced by the people you listen to.

Your lyrics can be pretty dark, would you say that’s a fair judgement? What’s the inspiration usually for the writing?

Mark – Life, life is the inspiration! I don’t think they’re all dark I mean the album is called The Days War, which I guess if you look at it that way you know, life isn’t always easy, we all have stuff to deal with. It’s kind of funny when we write, we always think we’re writing really depressing songs but when we listen back to them there’s always this really strong element of hope in there so, you know, there is some dark subject matter, but I don’t think they’re actually that dark, there’s just layers to them, some of them are really obvious as to what they’re about, others not so much, the message is probably a bit more hidden.

What’s the best venue you’ve played so far?

Mark – Oh god, that’s a difficult question! We’ve been really lucky man, we’ve played some incredible places, I mean we played Paris with the Deftones, that was incredible, and generally in mainland Europe you get looked after so well so to say one venue over another is really hard. We really like Koko, thats amazing. This place is also pretty cool, we’ve played here a couple of times and it’s good fun. We played Lockersee festival in Belgium with Neil Young, that was pretty awesome, we got really looked after. But in terms of venue, you know, it’s hard to pick one.

So what’s 2015 look like for Lonely the Brave?

Mark– Well at the moment we’ll just be touring for the foreseeable future, might be lucky enough to get out to the states next year, there will be at least another headline UK tour, we’re literally playing everywhere! We’re also going back to the studio next week as well just to start recording some ideas down. In terms of firm plans we’re just playing and playing, so we won’t be home much for a while!

Last question, do you have any advice for aspiring musicians?

Mark – Man, it’s the cheesiest answer in the world but it is the gospel truth, don’t ever give up. Mate, if you believe in what you’re doing just don’t give up, we were the same and we came close you know, we were going to self release our record at one point because no one wanted it but you know, our manager got Hassle involved and they got Columbia involved and now we’re all over the world you know, number one rock album, so just don’t ever give up, if you believe in what you’re doing just keep at it and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise, because you’ll do those gigs to one person and his dog if you’re lucky on a Thursday night four hundred miles from home, it happens, but just keep going. If you believe in it, you will do it, that’s all I can say… And don’t be a dick!