Brave Rival are:
Ed Clarke: Lead Guitar
Chloe Josephine: Vocals
Lindsey Bonnick: vocals
Billy Dedman- Bass
Donna Peters- Drums
Set up in 2019 just before lockdown, Brave Rival have to be one of the best rock n’ blues bands (with a bit of boogie!) emerging from the UK live circuit in the last couple of years. With a new live album, “Live at the Half Moon,” being released on December 1 (and reviewed elsewhere in the magazine by Stevie).
You can buy the CD direct from the bands website here.
We took the chance to catch up with Chloe and Lindsey and re-enter the exciting world that currently is Brave Rival.
We last spoke to Lindsey about 18 months ago at the time of the release of the single “Guilty Love” (which had this great video, complete with a girl in a bath and everyone playing music around her). But so much has happened since; the band is bursting out of its Southeast England roots and is making an impression now beyond the white cliffs into Europe. We began by asking for any favourite memories of the last year or so.
Chloe: We have done so much; that’s true.
Lindsey: I think one of the highlights for us all as a band was our first international gig in Norway. It was the first time we had experienced flying together and the logistics of taking the band abroad. Going to Norway for our first international show may be the best decision we have made so far. They treated us like royalty. We were treated so well for the festival, and it was a terrific first experience in a stunning place.
Chloe: I remember in our dressing room, we could overlook a balcony, just overlooking the beautiful water. I remember post-gig, we just stood there with a glass of bubbly and looked down; it was amazing.
We have placed a Norway picture of the band lower down in this feature. Brave Rival have certainly hit the ground running this year; they have been out there gaining applause with the sheer desire to play and connect to that growing audience.
Chloe: We have a good team. I think we did maybe 86 gigs this year. But it’s not just the five of us; we have Rupert, the tour manager, and the sound engineer. We couldn’t do it without him; he’s the one who gets us to the gigs. Also, our agent Stephen: He believes in us as much as we believe in ourselves, and it wouldn’t work without us all combined.
The live album was great! We always say at the magazine that the acid test of a live album is whether it is doing more than just replicating the songs on earlier albums. We want a live album to deliver something fresh on the song—a different listening experience. Now, this is a live album quite early in the career of Brave Rival, so why now?
Chloe: The thing is, our first ever album was a live album made just before the pandemic. That was the only way we could get music out, as we didn’t have the funds or the time to get together to make a studio album. We were lucky that we got that album out in January 2020. That was the only thing people had for a while until we could get the studio album out. Doing the live album now just felt so right, as we are doing so much now compared with three years ago. We did this one big headline show, and that was the album we got from it! So, this album shows how strong we are; we are running. I feel you can hear that energy in the album; we are buzzing with the crowd and have a fire within us. You can hear the crowd, the songs, and the passion. It isn’t just us now; we have a little army of Bravians! That is represented not only in the sound of the crowd but also in the way we are performing. There is strength behind us.
Lindsey: I can only add that I was going to say all of that, perhaps not in that order, but she got there first!
The girls have a dual vocal style that splits the songs up, and sometimes we see them sing in harmony. We wondered how the songs were divided up, whether they fell naturally one way or the other or were decided in a fight!
Lindsey: If I’ve written something, then I would usually take the lead. But it doesn’t always work out like that. We have a song called “All I Can Think About” that we fight out on stage most nights! Because Chloe wrote it with Donna and then she sang it, then I sang it one night, then it became a duet, and then we felt it didn’t work as a duet, so we did it individually, and now we just take it in turns.
Chloe: It’s a curve ball, that one, because if someone has written the song, it is more natural to sing lead on it. But because, although I wrote the top line, it is really about Lindsey’s story, So, it makes sense for me to sing it as the writer, but it also makes sense for Lindsey to sing it as her story. I like that we swap it around at the live shows; it gives a different sentiment every time people hear it. Otherwise, we play to our strengths. Singing wisely, you have a chest voice, a mixed voice, and a head voice. The chest voice is more powerful and gravelly. The head voice has the higher notes and a bit more clarity. I have a higher head voice, whereas Lindsey has more of a chest voice, which gives it a rocky edge. Depending on the song, we play to our strengths and then work the harmonies around. We have the best of one voice, but across two people!
With every album, there is a body of work that the artist compiles in a careful running order that is, perhaps, lost when we just stream a random song out of order. Now, with a live album, that is even more of an issue. How did the live order fall into place?
Lindsey- It is all trial and error; if we feel a formula is working for running order, then we will tend to stick to that and maybe move a few pieces around. But on that gig, we opened with “Run and Hide” for the first time, and now it seems to have stuck. Because it has this massive drum intro, it used to go later in the set, but now it goes first. So, we work out the formula and look at the flow, but for every gig, it can change in some way, but for the live album, we see how it sits. We kept the album in order in how we played it, but I love how the album starts.
Chloe: For the live show, you must consider the little matters of flow. Does someone need to change guitar or whatever? So we would get the drum intro there, so there is time to change. Or this track may have a belter of a vocal, so I need a quick drink before this one, so let’s have a song with a longer guitar intro. There are all these little factors to think of.
It was great to see “Guilty Love” still on the set list; we hoped the band still loved that one as much as we do.
Chloe: I think I do, yes. Singing wise, returning to the voice thing, I was never that confident singing chesty strong, and that song is a rough belter. But we have been singing so much that I can kick it now. It is comfortable now.
Lindsey: Back for a moment to the album-running order and the whole Spotify thing. I am one of those dinosaurs who will always come to an album and listen to the order in which it has been placed on Spotify. I recommend that because I know how painstaking it is to make something flow. We know that, and I urge anyone listening to always listen to an album as it is meant to be listened to. Don’t put it on shuffle; it doesn’t work!
One song we really liked here (see review) was the track “Fairytale,” as that was such an interesting track, full of these Alice in Wonderland references to the rabbit going down the hole and so forth. It is so interestingly layered and seems to musically veer into Pretty Reckless territory. We thought it must be a great track to do live.
Lindsey: It’s becoming a firm fan favourite that one. I think it speaks to people in different ways, and I feel a lot of our songs are rocky, but not Pretty Reckless rocky. But it’s nice to cross over to that other side of us, and we can let it out. But it is darker, heavier, riff-based, and it has a great opening that we really worked on. It has an almost eerie edge, which I love. When it was being written, it might have been unconsciously written about mental health. I do write things sometimes without always knowing what they mean; then you analyse them, and it becomes clearer. Going down the rabbit hole is a dark place; it isn’t very up-lifting. But it’s great to do live, and it’s a favourite of mine to sing.
Chloe: It is a fan favourite, and many of our fans will say, ‘Welcome down the rabbit hole,’ which has become a thing.
Lindsey: It is very Alice in Wonderland, and the lyrics are poetic and twist around. It is different from everything else. And Alice is dark; you can just analyse the shit out of it!
A couple of quick fun questions to close on. What album did you last listen to all the way through, and did you enjoy it? For the record, Mark listened to the Britany Spears Circus album, as they have just re-released her back catalogue on vinyl, and he did enjoy it. Lorraine listened to Meatloaf’s ‘Bat out of Hell’ while driving on the motorway and always liked that one!
Chloe: Mine, which I have heard many times before and always love, was Buck and Evans, “Write a Better Day.” I just love that album and always listen to it in order. Every song gives me goosebumps each time!
Lindsey: I have two that I listen to all the time. So, the last one, which I sent a friend to listen to, and then he bought me it on vinyl, was Toto’s “Falling in Between Live,” which is one of my all-time favourite albums in the world! But also, there is a new band I have been listening to obsessively lately called King Herd; I think the album has the same name. If anyone out there wants to listen to something really riffy, catchy, rocky and with epic vocals, then I really recommend King Herd. Some of the songs are so good, and I’m a huge fangirl!
And to complete matters, which singer would you most like to see live that you never had the opportunity to? Mark (Nina Simone), Lorraine (young Elvis).
Lindsey: Queen, I heard them with Adam Lambert, but I would have loved to have seen Freddie.
Chloe: Aretha Franklin.
And a quick look into 2024.
Chloe: We have so many plans; we are like a bullet train; we don’t stop! We kick off January by being locked in the studio to record a new album—a 12-song album, I think. There will be a few surprises for people in there too. Then we have a few European dates on the way.
The band website
Live tickets for the band are available.
By Mark C. Chambers
We really hope you loved the feature. Check out the review section and see what Stevie had to say about the album! We have loads of great features and reviews here for you to explore and great bands to discover. If you like what we do, please do buy us a coffee on the little donate link and check out our merchandise while you are here.