Anthemic UK rockers Lonely The Brave head into the studio as a five-piece, which promises “a few surprises”…
“We've got about five Les Pauls up here, which is completely unnecessary!” - new guitarist Ross Smithwick is chuckling at the sheer amount of gear the band have brought into the studio to record their forthcoming second album, and those familiar with the gear-hound tendencies of founding guitarist Mark Trotter won’t be shocked at that revelation.
Luxury of choice
But after reeling off a list of guitars and amps that includes a droolsome selection of Custom Shop Les Pauls and 335s, 70s Marshalls and boutique curios, Mark is quick to explain his reasoning.
“Some people get a bit freaked out by choice, but if you know what you want to hear, and you know your gear, you can be, ‘Right, I need that and that,’ and it’s a very quick process.”
Into the studio
Getting their acclaimed first record, The Day’s War, out was anything but a quick process, with myriad frustrating delays, but it gave Ross, who joined the band in during the 2014 festival season, time to bed in and be fully involved in the writing for album two.
“As soon as me and Mark started playing together it was obvious that we worked really well,” confirms Ross. “It’s nice to finally get into the studio, get these new tracks down, and get some of my ideas across.”
“It’s great… it takes quite a lot of the pressure off me compared to the last one!” chuckles Mark about sharing his guitar duties.
“Ross is a really unique guitar player. The way he phrases is very different, and I’m grateful for that. That’s why you have different people in the band, because they bring their own influence and their own style and flavour.”
That style and flavour is a big component in the development of Lonely The Brave’s sound. “It’s definitely going to be a change,” Ross confirms. “I would say it’s a bit darker, less stadium-rocky. There are anthems, but I think we’ve tried to progress and get a few more ideas in. Obviously with two guitar players now, the sound is quite different.”
Going through changes
Indeed, from a writing standpoint, Mark’s been drawing on some pretty big changes in his personal life for inspiration, as he explains:
“I became a dad a little while ago, and a lot of it, certainly from my side, came from that - and the amazingness and fear and trepidation that comes along with it! [laughs]”
LTB might have a guitar shop’s worth of gorgeous axes at their disposal, but Mark’s workhorse is a guitar that TG has lusted after before - a Fender Custom Masterbuilt Stealth Esquire. “It’s all over the place!” Mark enthuses. “Honestly, it sounds like a Les Paul, it’s mental! When you come to record it, it’s like… a Tele shouldn’t sound that big!”
Key to the LTB sound last time around was Mark’s affinity for euphoric post-rock delay, but this time around, the focus is more on layered textures, with film scores being at the forefront of his mind.
“Some of the melodies on that side of things are just mind-blowing,” he enthuses. “And that really excites me, so I just try to transfer that to guitar.”
With an emphasis on adding new textures to the band’s already stocked palette, Mark is sure there’ll be lots for fans to get their teeth into: “You thought the first one was varied… this one is going to be positively schizophrenic!”
Lonely The Brave’s second album will be released in spring 2016.