It’s a cold and miserable November day when we sit down in Amsterdam’s Backstage Hotel with Lonely the Brave’s Gavin Edgeley and Mark Trotter. The pair, whose band sold out the Melkweg later that evening, are just rounding up a day of travelling and interviews before they take to the stage for the second of three Dutch shows. These three shows were some of the final ones the band played in support of their debut album (and subsequent Victory Edition release) The Day’s War.
Following the success of The Day’s War, the band decided to re-release a Redux version of the record. According to guitarist Trotter, the reason behind this release was due to the many requests they received to put out songs which has only been played live before. If they hadn’t done this, “it would’ve been a seriously long time before we had any new music out”. “Most bands go for the acoustic or live versions” continues Trotter, adding that this wasn’t something they were keen on doing. Instead, the band took some tracks from The Day’s War which they subsequently stripped bare and re-interpreted. It made for some interesting reworked versions of songs which the band had toured relentlessly over the last two years, picking up a huge fanbase in the process. On the highlights of the whole album campaign, drummer Edgeley claimed that “the fact that we’re still here doing it now” makes him happiest. “That we’ve sustained this, our life, for so long is great, but it’ll be sad to see it [The Day’s War’s campaign] go as we move on to the next one” continued the floppy haired drummer. During the campaign, the band found time to release a split EP with former My Chemical Romance guitarist Frank Iero. According to Trotter, the idea behind this EP was to do it for their separate appearances at Reading & Leeds Festivals last year. “Frank is one of the hardest working people out there, and when our label rep approached us with the idea it was really a no-brainer” declared Trotter smilingly, adding that you’ve got to respect Iero for his hard graft even if you weren’t a fan of what he did before he went solo. The artwork for the EP was designed by BBC Radio 1’s Daniel P Carter, who has built a strong relationship with both Lonely the Brave as well as Frank Iero.
It’s all and well talking about the past, but Lonely the Brave are currently dead-set on the future: album #2. At the time of our chat, the record was nearly done. Now, though, the record has been completed and is slated for a 2016 release. According to Edgeley, the album “sounds like Lonely the Brave in a way that you’ve never heard them before”, and it’s something which the band can’t wait to get out and tour. During the last touring campaign, the band received a lot of backing from alternative magazines such as Kerrang! and Rock Sound, both of whom are more generally associated with heavier music. Lonely the Brave aren’t necessarily heavy though, with Edgeley stating that they don’t feel as part of one particular scene. Back home in the UK, the band (completed by vocalist David Jakes, bassist Andrew Bushen and guitarist Ross Smithwick) are essentially pigeonholed into that ‘scene’ by the media, and it’s something which Trotter just doesn’t understand. “I don’t get how they work in that sense, because I don’t feel like we fit with any of those bands” he claimed, adding that it’s something which puzzles him regardless of how grateful they are of the support. In Holland, the band aren’t necessarily categorized as anything, with the quintet receiving attention from even the highest echelons of mainstream radio. One band who the heavy associations shouldn’t surprise you with, though, are Lonely the Brave’s tour support Black Peaks. Edgeley namechecks the hardcore troupe as one of his favourite bands of the moment, and it’s not hard to see why. Riff-laden hooks, pounding percussion and vocalist Will Gardner’s piercing howls all intertwine to create a manic combination which has warmed up Lonely the Brave fans across Europe all tour. Trotter claims that they have big things ahead of them, picking them out as one of their favourite new bands of the moment.
When it comes to the visual aspect of Lonely the Brave’s music, there’s always a particular story or message which the band tries to convey. It’s not one which the band thinks up entirely from scratch; rather, it’s their management who reaches out to visual experts who come back with ideas “based on what our song has made them feel”. From that moment on, the band work with the director to help the video achieve what they want it to reach. “Some of the videos we’ve done have been great concepts from the off” begins Edgeley, adding that there’s a fine line between ensuring their videos are treated with sensitivity and done in the right way. “We’d either come across as cheesy, or not very sensitive” states the drummer, before Trotter adds that the band “wouldn’t put out something which we didn’t agree with”. This is all in terms of subject matter and sensitivity, and it’s not hard to see what they mean when you take a look at some of the band’s visual output, in particular the powerful video for Backroads (which Edgeley picks as his favourite). On the subject of Backroads, Trotter claims that “many people might think that we’re trying to come across as political, even though we’re not”, with the video depicting a young group of Ukrainian friends who went through a tough time. When the video came out, this was a very relatable topic for a multitude of reasons. When it comes to other videos, the band do their best to avoid live performance compilations, claiming that it’s something they’ve always battled against. As a concluding statement, Edgeley claimed that “it feels nice to be able to keep music videos alive”. In this day and age, music videos are becoming more important than they could ever be, and this is something which Lonely the Brave completely relate to. They undertake a similar process when they work on artwork, telling designers to simply “listen to the record and do whatever you want”. It gives the artist an opportunity to evoke their own personal emotions through Lonely the Brave’s music, strengthening the emotional connection many fans have built with the band.
Of all the countries outside of the UK in which Lonely the Brave have toured, you could suggest that Holland has received them better than anywhere else. Their Melkweg was show was the second of three Dutch shows which were almost all sold out, with the preceding ten months seeing them play the likes of Pinkpop Festival, Paaspop and performing at Pinguin Radio’s birthday party in the legendary Paradiso. What is it that makes Holland stand out compared to, say, France or Poland though? Trotter and Edgeley both looked at one another and simply didn’t know. “Personally, I just absolutely love Holland and I’d move here tomorrow if I could” claimed Trotter, stating that the Dutch just “seem to get it”. “It’s difficult to pinpoint, but there’s something which Holland has which other countries just don’t, and it’s crazy to see” continued the guitarist, with Edgeley putting everything into perspective. “We’re just a little band from Cambridgeshire, and then we come over here and never have a quiet show. It’s crazy”. He’s right, too. Their first ever show in Holland was upstairs at the Paradiso, before they subsequently played the historic main room earlier this year. Every show they play in Holland is met with massive euphoria and swathes of dedicated fans, two of whom even travelled across the country for all three Dutch shows that weekend. One of these shows was in the small Dutch town of Hengelo, with the room completely packed with fans “singing every single word back.” As Trotter says himself, “I don’t really know what has happened”. And he doesn’t seem to mind, either. Lonely the Brave have worked their asses off to get to where they are today, and now everything really seems to be paying off big time. Come the time that the band put out their second record, you may well be seeing Lonely the Brave’s name lit up in brighter lights than ever before.
Lonely the Brave’s second album will come out in 2016. In the meantime, you can stream The Day’s War: Victory Edition below.