After a triumphant co-headline set at Handmade Festival earlier this year, Lonely the Brave are returning to the city this October, touring new record Things Will Matter. We caught up with guitarist Mark ‘Mo’ Trotter to see how they feel about the past and the future. 

Their set at Handmade was one of the highlights of the weekend, bringing a magical atmosphere to the O2 Academy for their Saturday night slot. It’s one Mo remembers fondly;

“Handmade had a good crowd and it was great to hook up with our buds in Deaf Havana, who were headlining our stage. We’ve toured with a lot of lovely people but they’re at the top.”

Now, with their second LP – an intense, refreshing and carefully paced journey through the bleeding edge of alternative rock – out in the wild, and a return to Leicester on the cards, it’s time to look back on their career so far. Mo is pragmatic about their musical output;

“I’m proud of the records but they’re not perfect to me or without fault. Maybe that’s the charm, I don’t know. Whatever happens it’s a nice feeling to know that you’ve left a legacy like this.”

“It was always music over trying to be cool for us.”

The band have bucked the music industry cliche of moving to London in an attempt to take the fast track to success, instead luxuriating in the relative seclusion of the Cambridgeshire countryside. “London can keep their smog and their miserable faces. I like visiting for a night or two but I love leaving more,” says Mo. The alternative, which includes rehearsing in a converted barn, could have been lifted from the 1950’s:

“I live in a lovely little market town just outside of Cambridge. It’s beautiful, it’s got about 20 pubs, me and my girlfriend Hannah swim in the river during the summer and all of our friends are here.”

But it’s not all rose tinted in the Lonely the Brave camp. It’s been an open secret for some time that vocalist David Jakes suffers from debilitating performance anxiety, something he opened up about recently in an excellent piece for The Noisey Guide to Mental Health. With over 75% of musicians experiencing some degree of performance anxiety, it’s refreshing to hear someone speak frankly about the problems, especially when performing in front of thousands of people every night.

Partly in an effort to combat the anxiety, David often performs from the back of the stage, peeking out from under the brim of a trucker cap, arms folded. Yet that’s been par for the course for the band, and clearly a surprise that it didn’t go unnoticed.

“We’ve had the stage plot set up in pretty much the exact same position for our entire eight year existence.” says Mo. “We’d been doing it for so long before we got picked up that it wasn’t unusual to us. I couldn’t understand what all the fuss was about! People really picked up on that and it’s funny to look back on it now.”

“We were never gonna be a style over substance band that did that whole ‘putting one foot on the monitor faux problems crap’ kinda band. It was always music over trying to be cool for us.“

Catch Lonely the Brave at O2 Academy Leicester on 14th October. Their new record Things Will Matter is out now on Hassle Records.

Founder and Editor-in-Chief of Great Central, John has been actively involved in Leicester's creative community for over a decade - promoting shows and releasing records under the name Robot Needs Home. He is a director of Handmade Festival, and ex member of the band Maybeshewill.

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