To put it mildly, 2014 has been pretty damn amazing for Cambridge’s Lonely The Brave. The release of their debut album The Day’s War has brought the alt-rock hopefuls acclaim from across the board and rightly so. The album delivers in ways rarely heard from such a young band and that is in no small part helped by guitarist Mark Trotter’s haunting chords intertwining with vocalist David Jakes’ soaring vocals. We caught up with Mark during their current tour supporting Deaf Havana to find out just how crazy 2014 has been, and what the future has in store…
You’re currently on tour with Deaf Havana, which must be a great way to end the year. How’s that going?
“It’s been great. Deaf Havana are really good boys. They’re from round our way as well, so it’s nice to be on tour with a band that’s good fun. Not that other band’s we tour with aren’t fun, but we’ve got a lot of similarities. We’ve known Verses for years as well, we played with them for years before we got signed, so everyone knows everyone.”
2014 has been a huge year for Lonely The Brave. What have been your personal highlights?
“I’m just amazed at everything to be honest, it’s been incredible. There’s been so many high points! The ultimate one is finally having our debut record [The Day’s War] actually released and out there for people to hear. That’s the biggest thing for me I guess. It’s a really special thing for a band to get their record out, so that’s number one for me. We’ve played some amazing shows, supported some incredible bands and done pretty much every festival in Europe as well, it’s been bonkers.”
Could you feel that something special was happening when you were recording the album? Did you have any idea how it was going to come out?
“Well, not really. We were proud of what we’d written and we were proud when we finished recording, but we didn’t have any aspirations as to what was going to happen with it. They’re just songs written about what has happened to us as a band and as individuals. You don’t really think about anything else when you’re writing songs, you think about what’s happening at the time and fortunately for us, the album’s done really well and we’re so proud of it. There were no expectations on our end, we just wanted people to hear it and to see what people thought of it and the reaction has been incredible so, we’re really lucky.”
It’s a very powerful record. Have fans told you how much the songs mean to them?
“Absolutely, we’ve had some incredible messages. I mean, we’ve had people come up and talk to us about it, but we’ve also had messages from all over the world. People identifying with the sentiments on the tracks, and that’s what’s really special. Messages about how the songs help them out, or that they remind them of special times. That’s the best thing about music isn’t it? You can take from it what you want. My favourite songs do that for me, so I’m honoured that people find the same with our music.”
Have you had any surreal ‘pinch yourself’ moments this year?
“Yeah, quite a few! We did a show with Neil Young in Belgium, which was pretty insane. Playing Glastonbury was a real honour for me personally as a British musician, especially as we played on the John Peel Stage. We didn’t know what to expect or if anyone was going to come and watch us and to have the tent absolutely rammed was incredible. We’ve had Download, Reading and Leeds, the list just goes on. All the festivals we played across Europe we thought ‘Oh, no one’s gonna know who we are’, then we’d get out there and it’d be rammed. It’s crazy that our little band from Cambridge get people watching us in another country, it’s a real honour.”
Obviously Glastonbury was a huge highlight for you. What have been your other favourite gigs of the year?
“As a band, we had a homecoming show recently in Cambridge. We try and do a show every year in Cambridge and this was our biggest headline show so far as a band, which was sold out months in advance. That was really special because not only did we have family and friends there, but we watched bands on that stage growing up, y’know? I keep using the word but it’s a real honour to go there and sell it out under your own name and your own steam. That was a really special night, it felt like a real crowning glory to what’s been a mental year.”
Is there anything you’ve learned about yourself this year?
“Yeah, touring is a really interesting one. Obviously we’ve been doing it for a while but it’s been more intense this year than it ever has and you learn a lot about yourself in that scenario. We’re all friends in the band but when you live in each other’s pockets day in day out, it teaches you a lot about yourself and how to live with everyone else. The smallest things can aggravate and everyone knows that and looks after each other, which is really interesting I think. That’s the most interesting thing about being on tour for me, how it affects you personally and learning how to look after each other. We’re still learning daily on that front, but it’s a real good thing. It teaches you a lot.”
When this current tour is finished, do you have anything planned for Christmas and New Year?
“We’ve all got a load of Christmassy stuff coming up which is awesome, doing the whole family thing. We’ve also got a bit of an end of year blow out coming up where we all go down our local and lock ourselves in for the day which will be nice. After that, we’re straight back on it, recording on January 2nd. After that we’ve got a 15-date tour coming up in February going into March, then we’re off to Europe for seven weeks. It just never stops, which is amazing. We can’t ask for more and we’re very lucky.”
Sounds like you have a very exciting 2015 coming up…
“We’re really looking forward to getting back into the studio. Our album’s been around for a while, so getting back into the studio and doing things properly will be really good for us. We’re different people from when we wrote the first record so, it’s going to be good fun to get back in there and get new stuff done. We’ve just gotta keep moving, that’s all we can do. Just keep pushing forward.”