- Thu, 2009-10-22 14:10
Formed in 1997, Welsh rock band Lostprophets release their fourth album The Betrayed in early 2010. Follow up to 2006's Liberation Transmission, the band trudged through label and producer problems, holding back what was initially planned as a quick follow up.
However, never fear Lostprophets fans! The wait is now over! With a string of awards and nominations under their black leather belts, both for their music and their live show, the boys of Pontypridd, Wales are making a storming return, headed up by the single It's Not the End of the World But I Can See It From Here.
I Like Music caught up with lead singer Ian Watkins to chat about their new material, why they scrapped a load of songs and wrote a load more, the music he's been listening to recently and why, when it comes to playing live, Reading Festival will always be top of their list.
"I Like Music because music likes me.” Ian Watkins, Lostprophets
ILM: How would you describe the sound of The Betrayed?
Ian: It’s typically Lostprophets. There are a lot of big anthemic songs on there. A lot of heavier songs on there. Lyrically it’s quite a lot different to things we have done before.
ILM: This is record number four, how has your way of working together and making music changed?
Ian: We’ve done it the same as we’ve done with all the other records. We just get in a room together and put forward ideas, or bring ideas forward that we’ve had separately and then just jam them out. It depends on the song.
ILM: I understand a lot of material was written for this album and then scrapped, eventually leading to a whole host of new material being written and produced all over again. What was the old material missing?
Ian: It didn’t sound like us. It was over produced and edited to within an inch of its life, which is not what we’re about. We wanted it to sound organic. We wanted to capture everything that we were about when we were writing the song in the first place. It felt wrong to have those type of songs. The album should be, first and foremost, what we would like to listen to. Looking back, every album we have done we are able to listen back to it and enjoy it. With those songs it just didn’t have that effect. We realised the only way to do it was to do it on our own. For us to produce it. We know what we want more than anyone.
ILM: How did it feel once you made that decision? Was it easy to produce your own material?
Ian: It was quite easy. Everyone knows everyone so well. We produced our own demos before we released our first record anyway, so it was a case of going back to something we enjoy a lot. It was envigorating to be free and not have any other voices around.
ILM: What do you look forward to the most about playing live?
Ian: Interacting with the crowd and having them sing back all the new songs. That’s got to be the best thing. You know you’ve written good songs if you get a crowd singing them back to you, especially if they’ve only heard them once or twice before. Getting a good reaction is the best! Obviously! I enjoy it every time.
ILM: Out of all the shows you’ve played, which have been some of the most memorable?
Ian: We were just chatting about this. It always tends to be Reading! In 2001 the tent was packed, they knocked the barriers down! 2004 was amazing! It’s always a pivotal moment in our career whenever we play Reading.
ILM: What do you think it is about Reading Festival that makes that experience so special for you?
Ian: The crowd that go there are looking for honest music. The fans that get up there believe in what you’re doing and there’s no bullshit. The crowd can see through all of that, I mean, the amount of bands that have been there and been bottled off! If you’re there playing for them, and they’re into you, then you know you’re on the right track.
ILM: What’s your advice to anyone wanting to get involved in the music industry?
Ian: It sounds clichéd but just be yourself. That’s what we’ve always done. We don’t write music to get into the charts or anything like that. We do what we love. We don’t know anything other than being in a band and writing songs together. That’s what we’ve always done. Just be true to yourself. Then whether you get success or not, at least you’re happy.
ILM: Do you remember when you first fell in love with music?
Ian: When I was about three I remember sitting with my dad’s headphones listening to The Police and The Clash and stuff. I remember being about seven or eight and having a tape of Adam and The Ants, which I loved! When I got into metal, that was the biggest thing. I remember thinking “This is for me!” One of my mates lent me an Iron Maiden tape. That changed everything for me. I’ve been on a mission from then on to discover heavy metal, which has led me to a lot of other types of music as well.
ILM: What have you been listening to recently?
Ian: A bit of everything. Quite an eclectic mix really. I just bought the new Megadeath album, which I think is really cool. I really like White Lies, Friendly Fires. All really different stuff. I’ve always loved Queens Of The Stone Age! Everyone in the band is in to quite different stuff, which helps when we get into the studio, everyone brings different influences.
ILM: How about gigs? What are some of the best you’ve seen?
Ian: Any time I’ve seen Metallica! We saw them at The O2 recently. I’ve seen The Cure, they were really, really good. I’m sure there’s more, but quite often gigs are the last place I want to be.
ILM: Really? You don’t like going to them?
Ian: No because it’s like a busman’s holiday, you know? When you’ve just been doing loads of shows, you don’t really want to go and see a show. Unless it’s for a band that you really, really love. But spending my night off in another sweaty, hot venue isn’t really my idea of fun!