Photo: Daniel Ackerley
Interview: Freda Lewko
The UK got the first taste of the track when it got its premiere on Rockest Record on Dan P Carter’s Radio 1 Rock Show. The track marks the band’s first new material since the critically acclaimed debut album “The Day’s War” and its subsequent “Victory Edition” reissue last year.
The result is an expansive, atmospheric introduction to their new sound. Retaining the strong sense of melody and lyricism that has won them such a dedicated fanbase already, “Black Mire” also feels like a natural leap forward musically, from a band hitting their stride and full of confidence after nearly two years in the spotlight. The accompanying AV video, directed by Jordan Martin, features the band’s frontman David Jakes in a rare performance direct to camera.
Lonely The Brave have spent much of these last two years touring internationally and playing with the likes of Bruce Springsteen, Deftones, Neil Young, Marmozets and Wolf Alice, as well as putting in unforgettable festival performances at the likes of Glastonbury, Download and, most recently, the main stage at Reading & Leeds.
The band will put out their highly anticipated second album before the summer.
Further details will be announced soon.
I was very pleased to have a chance to interview Ross from Lonely The Brave:
Congratulations on the recent release of “Black Mire”, an evidently powerful song. What’s the feedback been so far?
Ross Smithwick (guitar): The feedback been fantastic. We were so excited and a bit nervous to get the first new song out there but it’s been such a positive reaction, by our longstanding fans as well as people just hearing us for the first time which is really great. It’s definitely a change of sound to what people have been used to, so to see that people are in to the progression after just one song is really encouraging.
Your second full length album is set to be released mid-2016. What can you tell us about it now, without giving away too much?
Well, we have been writing it for the last few years really, even with the heavy touring schedule we had, we have had time to really work hard on each song before entering the studio. A lot of things have happened and changed within the band since the last record and this has no doubt come out in the music. Once we entered the studio with the songs it was obvious that this album was going to sound different to anything we had done in the past which was and still is very exciting. We had a lot of songs written – I think around 25 which we had to get down to a decent album length, we’re definitely not gonna bash out a double album just yet! That did mean that we could really look at the songs and be picky about what went on the record.
How has the writing/recording process been, working with producer Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, M.I.A.)? What has he brought to the table to help shape the new record, in particular and overall?
Working with Ross was amazing. From the first session we did with him it was clear we were on the same page musically and artistically. We knew what we wanted beforehand but he just worked with that and took it to another level. He has a very hands on approach and we worked closely on the songs to get the best out of each one, and in whatever way that particular song was headed. I think this has given each track on the record its own identity while the album still sounds like a whole piece still.
He really did push us too, which definitely got the best out of each and every one of us. There were some tough moments for sure, but they are the moments that really get the best results. The overall sound is a real mixture of different textures and emotions with lightness and darkness. I think it’s really interesting and different while still holding the essence and heart of Lonely The Brave.
As a band, what has been your personal approach to the formation of the album? If I’m not mistaken, the approach to The Day’s War was sort of a see-what-happens one, with no set goals. Are there goals this time around? If so, what are they?
I think the goal that we always have is to produce the best that we possibly can at that moment, be it writing, recording or playing live and put our heart and soul in to it. If we do that then we will be happy and proud of what we have made.
We went in to the studio for this album not wanting to better the first album so to speak, but to progress from it. I think that should be the goal with any new album, showing that you have grown but all the while keeping what is special about the band . I believe we have achieved this with the new record.
What was the journey like between the release of the last album until now? Touring, writing, downtime, etc… Do you feel you accomplished everything you wanted to with The Day’s War?
It’s been a crazy busy couple of years. From the release of The Days War up the completion of the new album this January we have been working flat out, which is great of course. We now have a little bit of downtime before we start rehearsing again, getting the new songs ready for the next couple of years of touring! In that time we have certainly achieved a lot, with touring the UK and Europe many times over, playing some of the biggest festivals and stages such as Reading and Leeds, Rock Am Ring, Download and Glastonbury as well as continuing to push ourselves on the writing and recording front. For instance early last year we released the deluxe edition of The Days War which featured 4 new songs as well as reworking of some of the album tracks. The later is a side that we loved doing, taking one of our already known songs and completely changing them, giving a new lease of life. This is something that we want to continue to do going forward.
You have produced quite a few music videos – and emotionally powerful ones at that. Can you share any stories of the thought process behind the creation of them, and how they tie into the music?
We have been lucky enough to work with some very talented directors, and we have really given them a lot of room to come up with what they think fits with the song for each video. We then contribute our thoughts to the idea’s to get the finished article. It’s an exciting part of the process for us, handing over a finished song and seeing what a film maker can come with. As you say, we have ended up with some videos that are incredibly emotional and have connected with people on a visual sense as well as a listening sense. The two art forms combined well makes for a very powerful thing.
The lyrics in “Black Mire” are darker than previous songs, which are still dark but yet are uplifting in some ways. What is the lyrical direction of the new album going to be?
Everything Dave writes is completely honest and heartfelt, drawing from his own personal experiences which is why people have connected with the songs so much – it’s amazing to see, especially live when you can see the people in the front row screaming his words back at him.
For this new album it’s no different, with him taking influence from the last couple of years in particular.
I think there are some songs where you’ll know what Dave is singing about more easily than others, but it’s good to have a bit of mystery around some songs in my opinion and we are all very much in to the idea that each listener can have their own perspective on what a song may mean, and relate in their own way. There is a lot of power and emotion in these songs once again.
People that are already fans of Lonely The Brave (including myself) are eagerly waiting to listen to the results of all the hard work put into album #2. What would say to our readers who are new to your band, to entice them to give it a listen?
I would like to think that this new record can appeal to music fans across different genres. We have a lot of different influences within the five of us and I think that all comes out in our songs. This new record is honest, heartfelt alternative rock music with some really heavy moments, some really beautiful moments, poppy songs and some more progressive songs. We write music with a lot of emotion and passion which we hope the listener can connect with and feel as strongly to as we do.
Thanks for taking the time to answer these questions, all the best to you!