A few years after marking their entrance unto the scene with a bang with a debut album and tours alongside Deftones, UK act Lonely the Brave are back, kicking off this summer with the release of their sophomore record as well as a handful of UK and European dates that will last them until September. The Cambridge-based rock act is quickly making a name for itself and certainly shows no signs or intention of slowing down. Here to discuss their upcoming full-length release as well as their impressive and ongoing rise to popularity, I got to catch up with Drummer Gavin Edgeley and Bassist Andrew Bushen for a quick, insightful interview.
So you’re about to release your second full-length album Things will Matter. First off, could you explain the album title?
Gavin (G): It’s to do with friends, family… people who’re still here and people who aren’t. It’s about not forgetting where you come from, the roots of who you are as a person and what we’ve done all throughout our lives to get this record out. It’s a bit of hommage to the people who’ve been there for us all these years.
Andrew (A): There’s also what’s been happening to us over the past few years since we’ve started touring, how it’s affected everybody… the good and bad experiences within the music industry. It obviously affects what you write as a band and I think you just have to take everything into your writing process. It’s a good cathartic way of getting it out of your system. So there’s quite a bit of that involved in the title.
A: Exorcism. The thinking behind it was very metal (laughs).
Was there a particular idea or goal in mind when writing this sophomore record?
A: Our writing process has pretty much stayed the same. We’ve got our new guitarist Ross writing for us now, he’s been with us for a couple of years, so it’s changed from that point of view. But we really just start from a simple idea, take it into the rehearsal room and keep playing and jamming to see what comes out. It’s been the same sort of method really, there’s no sort of “hard-thinking” behind it. We just keep working until it’s right, which can take two weeks or up to 2 years.
G: Like he says, the key to it was not really having any time off. We were touring so much all over the UK and Europe that we probably could have been forgiven for having two or three weeks off in between tours, but we didn’t. We were aware that another album was pretty much due. We didn’t want to leave it for longer than a year and a half. So were going in on our days off, working and writing songs, whether we threw them away or used them for the record. That was the key to keep busy really. If you don’t have stuff that you’re constantly putting out, you’re going to be slowly forgotten about. There’s an imaginary barrier that you pass where people seem to slowly forget about you a little bit, which leads you to start from the beginning.
A: It seems to happen a lot quicker these days. We’re not too good at writing on tour really either.
G: People do that, they sit at the back of a tiny van with a really fucking annoying acoustic guitar. We don’t do that, it wouldn’t be tolerated.
So you feel some more pressure to follow up with your second release to keep things going?
G: Well I guess yeah, but not in terms of being racked with worry or anything like that. We were aware that we had to make the record, and on the other end of the spectrum we wanted it to be good. There were a lot of songs that we wrote and just chucked away because we didn’t feel like they were good enough. There were other songs so we just kept them in a corner while we worked on some other stuff.
A: I think a lot of the pressure comes from the fact that none of us want to keep playing the same songs forever, and I guess that’s the case for any band. You have to keep progressing and moving on with what you’re playing, otherwise you stagnate and get bored. Fortunately we haven’t got bored of playing The Day’s War yet.
G: I don’t think I ever will, will you?
A: Well I hope not, but I think that having some new songs freshens everything up. It reinvigorates the live set. It almost makes the older songs more exciting as well, seeing how they fit in with the new stuff. So for our own sanity and to keep people interested in us, I think we need to keep getting new stuff out there.
G: We’ll never forget how far that first record has taken us. We went from writing in a shed or someone’s room to various skanky little rehearsal rooms around Cambridge to being able to tour Europe, building up a fanbase all over our homecountry. This all brought us to this second album, which is something I had never envisaged.
A: It still blows our mind really, the thought of what we’re doing. Getting to a second album is an achievements that a lot of bands don’t get to have. Everything that comes along is kind of a blessing really.
G: It seems to be very hard to actually break us, from an outsiders’ point of view. Some people did try over the years, whether it be industry-level or on a personal level, but I think that the only thing that will ever break our band is probably us.
A: We’ll know when it’s time not to do it anymore.
G: You’re always going to have people who don’t like the band or who don’t want the band to succeed. That’s fine. We have to do our thing and not to worry about that sort of thing too much.
Were there any challenges that you were not expecting to run into when you first started getting picked up?
G: I think most of the challenges were personal ones. Being in a band, you’re inevitably going to get criticism and people not liking you for certain reasons. You’re obviously going to run into that, but it’s more about how you deal with it. Sometimes I’m fine with it, other times I do really find it quite upsetting.
A: It can damage yourself.
G: But with this second record we’ve done a lot for ourselves now; we know who to trust, we know the team around us, which is the team we’ve had from the start and that we’ll have at the end as well. I just don’t worry as much anymore though.
A: I think that within the context of the music business, you soon learn that all of the things you’ve ever heard about it isn’t necessarily true. You have to decide who to trust. I guess you can still be involved with people, even if it’s a mutually beneficial thing. It’s a funny business, and I think you need to approach it with a very open mind in terms of what’s going to happen. You never know what’s around the corner.
G: It takes thick skin as well. It’s something that I probably wasn’t really born with but certainly developed.
Could you tell us a little more as to what the album is about?
G: Well musically and lyrically they all mean different things to different people. I don’t know what a lot of the songs are about, I’m still learning a lot of the lyrics and their meanings when I listen to the record now. I’m interpreting them as I see fit, and I’m sure people will do the same. Some of it is heart-on-sleeve stuff anyway, because that’s just what we do a lot of the time. If you’re into things like the breakdown of relationships, regret and struggle, there’s definitely a fair share of that. I’m proud of it from my point of view and from Dave’s point of view.
A: Dave’s lyrics are very personal to him and he won’t sit down and explain them to us or anyone else. You can obviously pick up some things like we occasionally do, but I’d rather not have a complete literal explanation of every lyric, it would take some of the mystery and fun out of it. With that said, I do think the lyrics on this record are a little more literal than on our debut album, which is probably because of all of our experiences we had between the two releases. I’m sure people will understand what they’re saying.
I’ve been reading up on quite a few publications that label you as an “arena-rock” type of band, whereas a more introspective vibe from you guys.
A: I think that sometimes the two can be mutually acceptable. You can have music that is very personal that moves into an arena type of setting because people like it and relate to it. We never had any idea of where our music was going to go, so we wrote it as personal music to us. That’s how it is introspective and it’s very much about our lives and that’s the only way we know how to write music. If it happens to go down in an arena, that’s fine (laugh), but we never anticipated that.
G: I find it incredible that they mention “arena-rock”, “stadium rock” or “epic”… all of those big words that kept on getting used, when our music was really written in a box, which is crazy. Everything was essentially written in one room, people’s bedrooms and stuff like that. To able to take that and play it like we have done in stadiums is just fucking crazy. If people interpret it like that I’ve got no problem with them doing it, but it wasn’t created with that in mind. People can call it what they want. If they think the songs are big enough and think 5 people can push out melodies and riffs that are big enough to be called that kind of thing and transpose it there, that’s great… as long as they don’t think we’re shit I’m happy(laughs).
A: I’m sure someone has said that as well (laughs).
G: We don’t read those ones though, they’re blocked (laughs).
Regarding your beginnings as a Cambridge-based band, could you tell us a bit about the local scene and your involvement in any specific circles?
A: For many years we were all aware of each other. We knew each other from down the pub, we saw each other at gigs. I remember seeing Dave singing in another band when we were about 18 or so and thinking how great it would be to be in a band with that guy (laugh). You grow up watching each other and there was a fortunate moment at one point where Gavin and Dave were playing together and I volunteered to play bass and fortunately they said yes. Mark’s old band had split up so he was available to play guitar and it all fell into place at the right time really. We were really lucky. We found Ross as well a couple of years ago, so the jigsaw is complete, so-to-speak.
G: It’s crazy because it’s been going on for many years and it’s not until Dave came up with the name Lonely The Brave that we started taking it a little more seriously; not that we had any reason to, we just wanted to do any EP, give it away, play punk and hardcore all day… I always wanted stickers, but we never got stickers, we STILL don’t have stickers (laughs)! I don’t know why we continued, we were only doing it for ourselves really, we had nothing to continue for but we still did. We recorded it all ourselves.
A: We never thought it would get released in any way than by ourselves.
G: That was what we had originally planned to do, yes.
A: We were on the verge of doing it, but then then Hassle Records came along and picked us up. At the point we were just thinking about releasing it and then just go back to work on monday.
G: Like he said, Hassle just came in and changed our lives in the best possible way. It’s not always easy but I never complain about it. If it hadn’t been for our manager James, who now co-manages us, there wouldn’t be anything.
A: He convinced us to give it a little more time.
G: It was literally one more chance. Hassle said “I quite like the sound of this, but what are they doing right now?”. We were like: ”Nothing!” (laughs). We had this record but we weren’t doing anything else. So we booked some more shows and then Hassle got behind us. And we’re still here! We’re still alive! That’s something! There’s been a lot of boozin’ (laughs).
Could you name one of your favorite albums, movies and books?
G: My album choice is getting boring and repetitive but I have to say it. It’s Where you been by Dinosaur Jr. Anything mid to late 90’s Dinosaur Jr.
Movies: the first one that springs to mind that I keep getting back to would be Watership Down, which is an animated film about rabbits.
One book that I’m stuck in the middle of that I haven’t finished yet is Scale by Keith Buckley from Every Time I Die.
A: I think my favorite album of the last few years is certainly the Yellow & Green album by Baroness. I was listening to that a heck of a lot while we were writing and recording. It opened my eyes to a lot of things musically.
Film-wise, I like 70s’ films mostly, Dear Hunter is one that I’ve watched again recently. It’s just amazing, a fantastic film.
Book-wise, one of my favorite books is Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell, which deals with old english magic. It’s pretty nuts. It’s got a TV adaptation that was released recently which was pretty good.
Many thanks go out to the guys at HIM Media and to the band for making this article possible.
Be sure to catch up with the band on their website and social media.