Updated: 09/19/02

Previously known as Arise From Thorns, the band was formed by guitarist Scott Loose and drummer Trevor Schrotz. Michelle Loose joined the band soon after providing keyboards and replacing Scott on vocals. In an effort to create a new sound, Brave merged metal, jazz, ambient and progressive rock. Their latest effort is called Searching For The Sun which is now available on Dark Symphonies. The interview is with Michelle Loose, singer and keyboardist for BRAVE...

What does the name Brave signify for you, and how do you feel about the music you made when you were called Arise From Thorns?

The name BRAVE for me has several meanings but I think it is mainly about trying to overcome anything that holds you back. Arise From Thorns also had a similar meaning, I just think that BRAVE is a more mature, complete version of AFT. Musically, I think the only thing that has really changed is our playing, we have drastically improved over the years and I think the recordings that we have done reflect that. I'm proud of all of the material we have recorded - although there are many things I would now change in terms of song writing and production - but I think these are things that you have to learn from experience!

When writing songs, what are some of your musical and non-musical influences?

Musically we all have drastically different tastes. A few of our influences include Queensryche, Fates Warning, Anathema, King Crimson, Tori Amos, Journey, Dead Can Dance, Bjork, Iron Maiden, Sting, Rush, Led Zeppelin and the list could go on and on! We also write based on inspiration from real life events and emotions.

With your music being so hard to categorize, is it difficult finding the right bands to perform or tour with?

Yes definitely!! We have played with everyone from extreme metal bands to progressive bands to pop bands. The funny thing is that we can usually fit in somehow with all of these genres. I think what we create is very musical and fans of music in general can find something refreshing with our sound.

When growing up, where you and Scott ever involved with any other musical projects? What other kinds of projects where they involved with prior to Brave?

I started this whole music thing pretty late in life (relatively speaking) The first time I sang was on a demo for a band called Fell on Within, founded by Scott and Trevor, and I was 21 years old. I never realized that I had any inclinations or talent towards music until this age. I was also very shy, so it took a lot of coaxing for me to sing or play at all! As for the rest of the band, Chris Welborn played in several bands, most notably the band he co-founded called Division. Scott and I have both contributed to While Heaven Wept (doom metal) and I recently did guest vocals for both Power of Omens and Division (power metal). Trevor has also played in several jazz/fusion bands and he does a lot of studio work. Juan was previously in Garden of Shadows and Black Horizon.

Have you ever played out here on the West Coast or plan to do so in the future?

Our goal is to tour and play out as much as possible! I have no doubt that we will play the West Coast and all over the world for that matter! It's only a matter of time J

Where did you get the idea for the album title Searching For The Sun?

Scott actually came up with that title. At the time we were writing, 9/11 had just happened and we all felt a real sense that we needed to search for hope. Our music has always been introspective and at times a bit dark - we really felt the need to find something hopeful.

Are you a big heavy metal fan or do you like more commercial faire? When I interviewed Nightwish, I found it interesting that Tarja's favorite singer was Celine Dion.

I listen to just about everything! A few of my favorite singers include Tori Amos, Lisa Gerrard, Sarah McLachlan - even Celine - she is very challenging to sing with and I like that.

Can you sing like Angela from Arch Enemy if you put your mind to it?

I wish! How cool would that be to be able to sing all sweet and angelic and then let loose the death vocals!? I'd be a happy woman if I could do that!

(Obligatory Britney Spears question) While on tour, if someone from the audience offered you guys $100 to perform Oops I Did It Again by Britney Spears, would you do it?

Sure. The rest of the band might shoot me for that one, but I would do it. :)

Tell me about your new member Juan Somarriba from Garden Of Shadows and what his contribution to the band will be.

Juan is a great guy. He has been playing both keyboards and guitar for us which has been very helpful for live performances! He joined after we wrote "Searching for the Sun" so he did not really get to collaborate on the writing of that, but I hope that he will make writing contributions in the future.

Do you have any messages for those who might be interested in checking out Brave's music?

I would just say that anyone that is a fan of melodic music with female vocals should check out BRAVE! You can visit our web site at www.bravemusic.com and listen to MP3's or find out how to purchase our CD's. Or email info@bravemusic.com for more information.

What are the future plans for Brave?

Touring! We really love playing out and want to make music and touring our full time job! We have lots shows coming up - please check our web site frequently for tour announcements!


Updated: 06/07/01

Brave is a band from the Washington DC area whose unique brand of progressive rock has attracted them a good deal of attention. Formerly Arise From Thorns, Brave is in the process of recording a new album. Their previous effort Before An Audience Of Stars has just been re-released through the Dark Symphonies label (which was recorded while they were still called Arise From Thorns). Confused? Let guitarist Scott Loose explain it all to you…

Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Arise From Thorns, and how long the band has been together. 

My name is Scott Loose and I play acoustic and electric guitar for Brave (formerly Arise From Thorns). I started this band in 1997 with drummer Trevor Schrotz as an attempt to write melodic, atmospheric and diverse music. Shortly thereafter, my sister Michelle Loose joined the band providing keyboards and lead vocals. The music of AFT began to take form as we wrote and recorded our first self-titled CD that was released in 1998. After this release we began to play in and around the Washington DC metro area and established ourselves as avant-garde original music. In 1998, bassist Chris Welborn, who previously played in the power metal band Division, joined us and we became a four-piece band. We then wrote and recorded "before an audience of stars," which was originally self-released in 1999. During this time we were also working with guitarist Tom Phillips from While Heaven Wept, although he didn’t play on the album, he played electric guitar live. Tom did eventually join AFT and he did record with us on our most recent Brave EP release, entitled "waist deep in dark waters," although we have since parted ways. In January 2001, the label Dark Symphonies re-released "before an audience of stars" with bonus tracks from our debut release and a live version of the song "to dance by moonlight." Although we have been through several line-up changes and even a band name change, we have been making music together for 5 years.  

The name of your band is now Brave. What made you decide to make the change?

Scott: In March 2000, we changed our name to Brave in an attempt to distinguish a mark between the origins of the project and the band in its most mature form. We were kind of young when we started the band back in 1997 and felt that we had really grown as musicians since, so we felt a new name was in order. There are some other reasons, although not quite as important, like the fact that people had trouble pronouncing the name Arise From Thorns or that people thought we were a religious or a metal band, neither of which is true. There may be some aspects of metal in our sound and certainly some of our influences are metal bands, but I don’t consider our band to be metal. I like the ambiguity of the name Brave. It’s a name that doesn’t suggest a style of music and I think that is appropriate to our sound.  

Where is the band from and what is the music scene like there?

We live in the suburbs of Washington DC on the Virginia side in a place called Dale City. This place is very transient and very busy, traffic here sucks. As for the music scene, I think what is really popular here is dance music, like house and techno rave music. There are a lot of clubs that don’t have live bands but instead hire various DJ’s to spin. There are some clubs that have live music, most of which have bands that play mainstream music or cover bands. There is a fairly decent metal scene here with local bands like Division, Dying Fetus, Deceased, October 31, While Heaven Wept, Spirit Caravan, etc., although there isn’t a scene at all for progressive music. We usually play with bands that we don’t sound like at all, which has its advantages and disadvantages. We always go over well with the metal audience and yet we are accessible enough to play with the more mainstream bands. Our situation is kind of unique, because no matter whom we play with, we seem to stand out at shows as being different.  

In addition to progressive metal, I sense kind of a 60's, Jefferson Airplane/psychedelic influence. Is this accurate and what are some of your musical and non-musical influences?

Some of my influences are 60’s bands like Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, and The Doors, etc., but most of the music I listen to is more modern. Bands that I consider to have had the biggest influence on me are Anathema, Dead Can Dance, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Fates Warning, Queensryche, and various underground metal and progressive bands. My non-musical influences would include the books that make up the The Lord of the Rings, by JRR Tolkien, dreams, nature, life, relationships, really everything plays a role in how or what we think.  

What made you decide to re-release the Before An Audience Of Stars album?

Dark Symphonies offered to re-release before an audience... and I knew that in doing so we would get more exposure and that it would open new doors for the band. DS did a great job with the packaging and distribution of the re-release and we have since negotiated doing the first Brave full-length with them.  

Is there any Brave music available or will be there be in the future?

Yes, we just released the first recording under the name Brave in the form of a four song EP entitled "waist deep in dark waters." We recorded this EP at a different studio called Assembly Line and the production is really good. The material is based on the style that we achieved with AFT, but it is heavier and has more electric guitars. I feel really good about this latest recording and am looking forward to doing the full-length at the same studio. We are now writing material for the full-length, which as of yet is still untitled, but the material we’ve written so far is much more diverse and more progressive than anything we’ve ever done. We hope to begin recording in the fall and as I mentioned before this will be released through Dark Symphonies.

Your vocalist Michelle Loose has a remarkable voice. What kind of training and/or previous bands has she been in?

Michelle has never had any formal vocal training nor has she been involved with any bands before AFT. She really just has a great ear for music and she really sings from the soul. Her contributions to the writing process are also very intuitive; we’ve all gained a lot of knowledge in terms of arrangement etc., since we started in 1997. We are very fortunate to have such a powerful vocalist, as that is such a crucial part of a band. She is also really amazing live.  

Have you ever played in the Los Angeles area or plan to do so in the future?

So far, our shows have been limited to the east coast. We hope to venture out to different parts of the country very soon. We are now working on a tour strategy that will take us throughout the U.S. Another goal of ours is to play Europe. Our music as always been well received in Europe and I think it would be an amazing experience to tour there.  

Any chance of Brave playing the Milwaukee Metalfest?

I think it is possible that we will be on the 2002 festival. I believe that Dark Symphonies usually get their bands on the billing, but because we are a recent addition I don’t think we will be playing it this year. I might go there to check it out though, especially if Anathema is on it again this year… I’m not sure who’s playing it.  

What are some of the new Brave songs called and what are the lyrics inspired by?

We really only have two working title’s for new songs, which are "falling into bliss" and "escape." The music is a lot more developed than the lyrics, which is usually the case for us. We generally write the words after the music. We are putting more thought into what we want to say lyrically now as opposed to before where it was more intuitive writing. I think that the lyrics will still be very personal but they will also extend to topics that our outside of our personal experiences. The titles of the songs on our recent recording waist deep in dark waters, are "spirit," "dark waters," "lost (in retrospect)," and "to search a soul."  

Is the first Arise From Thorns CD available or will it be re-released?

We do still have copies of the original pressing of "before an audience of stars," but our 1997 self-titled debut release is out of print. I think it is unlikely that it will be repressed since it is outdated and we are now concentrating mainly on new material. The DS re-release of "before an audience..." does have 2 tracks from the debut, "the calling" and "return of the old forest." 

Here is the pressing Highwire Daze question of the year, so please help us with this crucial debate. Who's better anyway - Britney Spears or Christina Aguilera?

Ok, my sister Michelle just walked in the room so I decided to ask her this question. She says, "Christina can sing better but Britney can dance better… but they’re both whores! (laughs)" Personally, I agree that Christina has a better voice, but Britney definitely looks better.  

If there was one thing you'd like someone to remember after hearing your music, what would it be?

I would hope that someone would remember that we are creating honest music that we truly believe in. We write music because we enjoy it and it is great when people appreciate it, but ultimately we do it because it is what we really feel. It’s cool to not have any limitations or any particular genre to fit into because there are no boundaries on creativity. 

Any messages for those who might be interested in checking out your music?

Yes, for any information on Brave/Arise From Thorns please check out our website at www.bravemusic.com. We now have the new Brave EP, "waist deep in dark water" for $6, the re-release of "before and audience of stars" for $10, and new Brave T-shits for $12, add $2 for shipping (checks can be made payable to Brave Inc). To order any merchandise please write to: Brave PO box 1077 Dale City, Va 22195.  


BRAVE: Their official Home Page!
DARK SYMPHONIES: The record label for Brave!
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