Caroline Jones
11:10 28th November 2006

Lostprophets

Chances are if you’ve been within two feet of MTV2 in the past week you’ll have heard the insanely catchy do-do-do-dos of Lostprophets’ ‘Can’t Catch Tomorrow’ and stopped to watch the video which is more than a nod to 70s mod film Quadrophenia. “I love Quadrophenia,” Lostprophets’ guitarist Mike Lewis tells Gigwise. “We were watching it on the bus for like millionth time and we were like, ‘We should rip this off for a video.’ I thought the vibe of it really fits the song too. We actually wanted to do it in Brighton, but we were in the middle of an American tour so we couldn’t. We had to fly into LA to do the video and fly back out on tour.” And that’s how the whole of 2006 has been for the band – a manic year of air miles and tours, with awards and a number one album thrown in for good measure and of course, a few obligatory hiccups.
 
“The US tour was fun,” says Mike. “It was the longest US tour we’ve ever done. We were supposed to do a couple of weeks by ourselves and some shows with HIM. But they cancelled his tour, which left us in a weird spot. We were like well either we just go home or we keep on going and book our own shows. So we did that and when you’re playing a show in a city that’s just been announced like a week before you’re not gonna get that many people out. But some nights were really awesome.”

The band went straight from their three-month US tour into their current and second UK tour of the year, a couple of weeks before which their main support act, From First To Last, pulled out. But that was easily solved in the end too with the Welsh five-piece deciding they’d just play longer, move Bring Me The Horizon up to main support act and let other support acts The Blackout and The New 1920 go on stage a bit later than just after doors open.

Spreading their time flying between the US and the UK is nothing new to the Lostprophets. Mike and bassist Stuart Richardson now live in California, lead guitarist Lee Gaze lives in London, while singer Ian Watkins and keyboardist Jamie Oliver currently claim homelessness. And in terms of shows, it creates a contrast they welcome. “After playing the US it’s nice to come back here and do some big shows,” Mike says. “I always like playing in the UK. It’s my favourite place in the world to play. It’s nice to have that contrast - we go to the US and play like clubs and stuff, so we’re playing to 500 kids a night or something like that then we come back here and place to like 5000, it’s cool to have that difference.”

Rewind back to April of this year though and standing backstage at Earl’s Court waiting to play to 10,000 people before a note of new material had been heard, the band weren’t sure what the reaction to their UK return was going to be. Turns out they needn’t have worried. “Give It A Name was amazing,” says Mike. “It was one of the best shows I’ve ever played. We really didn’t expect that. For us to come back, our records wasn’t even out at that time, like we hadn’t been around for a while cos we’d been doing the record, so for us to go away for a year and then to come back to that amount of support, it blew us away. I remember coming off stage, we came off the back of the stage at Earl’s Court we all just hugged each other.”


Lostprophets

Two months later they were at number on in the UK album charts with their third album ‘Liberation Transmission’ - something else that blew them away. “We finished the album and we were very proud of it,” adds Mike. “We hoped it was going to do well and we hoped people were going to like it but I mean we never imagined it’d be going in at number one.”

While 2006 has proved a hard year to follow, 2007 might just be the year to do so. Straight off the back of ‘Liberation Transmission’ they want to get their fourth album out by the end of next year. But the band want to approach it completely differently, “We’re gonna start writing the next record in February, March time,” says Mike. “In the past we’ve always toured, taken a break to write and record a record and then toured again. But with our next record we’re not gonna do it that way. We just want do the next album very different. The first record was done in two weeks, our second record took a year, our last one was a year, the next one we wanna take it back. Write it in a month, record it in a month and get it out the end of next year.”

Next year will also see the Lostprophets play the biggest homecoming show of their lives - headlining The Full Ponty in Pontypridd in May. “I’m really excited about The Full Ponty,’ Mike continues. “Cos when we booked the arena tour we were all like, ‘We always play Cardiff Arena, we’ve played it a bunch of times.’ So we wanted to do something a bit different. It’s gonna be amazing to play Ponty – and a huge show like that as well. I mean we’ve never really played Ponty, we played there like years and years and years ago, playing in pubs, and then earlier this year we did a warm up show there before Give It A Name, but it’s going to be awesome to go back and play that.”

The Full Ponty 2007 will not only reflect how far the Lostprophets have come but also how far they’ve helped to bring the Welsh rock scene and the credit given to it. Six years ago, most people would’ve struggled to name one ‘rock’ band from Wales. Now you can take your pick – Funeral For A Friend, Bullet For My Valentine, The Blackout, Kids In Glass Houses, Dopamine – and the Lostprophets were the start of all that. “I just think we showed people… we did two things,” Mike says. “We drew attention to Wales. Because until that point the media and record labels saw Wales as, y’know Wales had that whole thing of Cool Cymru: Catatonia, The Manics and the Stereophonics and all of that, which are all good bands. But our roots are in the south Wales hardcore scene. We’re punk kids. I think we drew attention to Wales, that there were good bands coming out of Wales and also we showed Welsh bands that you can do it.  We did it and then Funeral got up and then Bullet, and now you’ve got like The Blackout, Dopamine and Kids In Glass Houses are starting to do really well.

“It’s so awesome for us to see our friends starting to do well. And we feel like we have a weird responsibility to help those bands. This year we took them all out on tour. Cos we got helped out. When we started it was kind of like Pitchshifter and Stampin’ Ground and bands like that took us out on tour when nobody gave a fuck and now we feel like we have a responsibility to help out.”

Just how much Lostprophets grabbed their opportunities with both hands isn’t more evident than when Mike talks about next year’s arena tour. “I’m just excited that we’ve been touring the UK for six years plus,” he says. “We started off playing to 50 kids in Cardiff. And to go from that to Wembley Arena growing and growing, it’s just… we’re chuffed.”