LOST BROTHERS Lost no more

Lost Brothers

Lost Brothers

Lost Brothers are one of the standout acts from a typically diverse and fascinating line up at Fairbridge Festival 2018. The Irish duo have made a name for themselves internationally for their tender songwriting, captivating harmonies and immersive take on folk music. They head to WA following the release of a new album Halfway Towards a Healing that saw them revise their aesthetic, not just musically but on a personal level. BRAYDEN EDWARDS caught up with Mark McCausland from the band to talk about the long desert walks that characterised the new album, which contemporary artists will stand the test of time, and why, like us, they can’t wait to be at Fairbridge this weekend from Friday, April 20 to Sunday, April 22.

What have you been up to since releasing your latest album Halfway Towards a Healing

Since the release we’ve pretty much been flat out on the road. We did a UK and Ireland theatre tour which was great fun. We’ve just come back from the states where we did a bunch of shows including a return to Tucson where we recorded the album. We did a gig there and everyone who played on the album came down and joined us as our band on stage. It was literally the first time we’d seen those guys since we recorded the record, so it was a reunion of sorts. Now we are just gearing up for Australia before coming back home for festivals and more gigs.

For those that might not be familiar with you can you say how the Lost Brothers came to be and is the name somehow reflective of the two of you as a duo?

We formed about 10 years ago in Liverpool where we both lived. Our old bands toured together and it was always me and Oisin (Leech) staying up singing songs til 3am when everyone else had faded. The band formed naturally, it wasn’t forced or even suggested, it just happened. A friend said we were like Lost Brothers and the name just kinda stuck. And here we are 10 years later. We never really stopped to think about it.

You’ve said that you decided to make the lyrics on your new album more direct and less allegorical than in your previous work. What was it that made you want to go that way?

It was actually our friend Glen Hansard who suggested we be more direct with the lyrics. In the past we’ve tiptoed around subjects without ever really saying it straight. We were writing a couple of songs round in Glen’s flat and he said, “lads if your gonna say something, say it!” So he shaped a few lyrics with us and really helped us look at songwriting in a different way than we did in the past.

Lost Brothers

You recorded this last album in Arizona and I’ve heard during that time you would walk for hours in the desert to “get the environment into your system.” Whose idea was that and how do you think that affected the songs you created as a result?

That was the work of Howe Gelb. In the mornings he would take us for breakfast and coffee followed by long walks in the desert. It was his way of getting the spirit of Tucson into our blood, a subtle approach to producing a record. Then it poured out from us in the studio with Gabe Sullivan as the chief engineer wizard and co-producer. They are a great team. The best.

There is a real timeless feel to your music and I can see elements of some of the most acclaimed songwriters in your songs, from Cohen and Nilsson to the more tender and emotive notions of Nick Drake. If you had to pick a major influence that summed up both of your artistic visions the best who would it be?

Hate to sound boring but we do love all the obvious songwriters. Dylan, Van, Leonard, Waits… We would put Nick Cave up there too plus Shane MacGowan and Townes Van Zandt. But we listen to everything. Chet Baker, The Impressions, Chuck Berry. Right now as I’m writing this I’m listening to Dr John.

And say if you had your same appreciation for songwriting but happened to be writing music generations later than now, what contemporary artists do you think you would be inspired by?

Depends on what you mean by contemporary. I am the kind of idiot that still thinks Nirvana is a relatively new band. But Nick Cave is someone we really admire, for his work ethic as much as his songwriting. He’s a machine that never stops ticking. He kind of sets the bar for what an artist should be. He makes me feel like a lazy bastard, which is sometimes the kick up the arse that I need.