Last week the Lost Prophets single "Fake Sound Of Progress" hit the top 20 with a Duran Duran cover version on the flipside. Its full circle for the band who took their name for a Duran Duran bootleg album. We caught up with lead singer Ian Watkins in the studio while the band were recording the forthcoming single with legendary producer Alan Moulder. Read the full interview to find out what the guys think of those Nu-Metal boy band they've been tagged with, why the British Music Industry never really understood rock music and the contradictions of a straight edge ethics with the rock & roll lifestyle.
Q: The single "Fake Sound Of Progress" was out last week with the Duran Duran cover on the B-Sides taking things full circle (Ed: The band took their name from a Duran Duran bootleg album). Quite a strange thing going on - when you listen to Lost Prophets the first band in your head wouldn't exactly be Duran Duran would it?
A: It was one of those things that was just subliminally there. Just one of those weird influences that you end up growing up on and kind of effect you. We didn't take stuff from them directly, but their idea of cool pop hooks and stuff...I think its kind of timeless!!!
Q: It was strange how it happened for you. Over the last say 6 months its really be taking off for you in the UK, but you actually broke over in America first before anyone took notice here?
A: Yeah, but then again its still kind of breaking over there. We got signed to an American major label so they did notice or first. We've been around a while just playing in bands and stuff though.
I think the British Music Industry has never understood hard rock. Metal or rock - whatever, the UK music industry just doesn't understand it and it doesn't know what to do. They've never seen it as a big money maker even though its always been there. Even though Maiden and Deaf Leopard made it to number 1, they were only ever interested in Indie bands or dance bands or manufactured boy bands or girl groups. Its not on their radar at all!!!!
Metal bands appear and they're like I can't sell this, I need the new Coldplay or Stereophonic's or Starsailor!!!
Q: It is looking a bit healthier over the last few months though. Agree?
A: It always has. Its a country where they've been telling people there's not a big metal audience in the UK, but Slipknot get to number 1 in the album charts. In the US its an integral part of the mainstream, like N'Sync and Linkin Park are in the same category.
Q: The "Fake Sound Of Progress" album was actually released 18 months ago now. Are you getting bored of playing the same old songs each night?
A: Yeah, were tired of milking the same old album as well. But its good because there are a lot of people who haven't heard it yet. I think a lot of people who bought the album first time round are getting pissed off now. Its the same story of sell outs and whatever...when a band is underground they're cool and when they start getting a bit of recognition you just dis-own them.
In a lot of people eyes they might have only heard of us two weeks ago. Were off to America at the end of next week so this single is the last big PR publicity push for us and after that were just going to leave it.
Q: You're just about to head on tour across America with Andrew WK on the MTV 2 tour. I only found out last week that half of you are straight-edge. How do the whole contradictions of rock & roll lifestyle and the straight edge ethic combine in a touring situation?
A: Were just interested in the music, do you know what I mean. We just do the same thing we've always done - play music, watch videos, play video games. Its just like 6 friends on holiday.
The whole idea of rock & roll has changed. Unless you're in a massive band or really famous you just can't get away with chucking TV sets out of windows. Especially at this level, if we do it we then have to pay for it so its like no way.
When we were growing up being straight edge was a total reaction. We wanted to make something of ourselves and get out. And do something a bit more constructive with our time other than work mundane 9 to 5 jobs and get pissed out of your mind at the weekend, end up fighting, eating kebabs and spewing, and shagging round the back of the local Kwik Save. That's kind of the mentality of a lot of people in small towns....not just in wales....its small towns everywhere!!!!
If that's what makes them happy then fine, but we wanted to break out of that circle and make something of ourselves in the grand-er scheme of things.
Q: Whenever you talk to Welsh bands they never do much for the Welsh tourist board. Is Wales really such a bleak place?
A: Its a nice place, its not that its bad. There's far worse places that we've played in the UK and in Europe. It is home, but its just a small town mentality really. I think if you live in London there is so much going on and so much competition. Everybody is in a band and the media is here so after your second gig all the magazines come down to the gigs.
If you're in Wales you just on your own and you've got no one telling you what to do or where to play. You don't know what's cool. Especially when you're a kid you don't know what's cool.
Q: You are in the public domain now. Its not just the NME or Kerrang that wants to feature you. Its the likes of Smash Hits and CD:UK. How do you feel about this?
A: Its cool!!! If magazines want to feature us and they want to feature our views....were saying exactly the same things as we say to Kerrang or the NME. I'd rather people who read Just 17 listen to what I've got to say than some guy from Westlife.
Its not like you have to compromise your integrity. People are like sell outs, but its my opinion and its another outlet for my opinion. So much has disappeared nowadays...no real music shows and Melody Maker went...so if people want to feature us on our terms i'm up for it.
Q: Do you get p**sed off over these Nu-Metal boy band tags you've been given as well?
A: What can you do? I just hope that we can keep our heads down and out grow it. I think longevity is what were after and just build a career. I hope in a few years that people will be like I remember that when people said you were part of the Nu-Metal scene, remember that?
You get a lot of stupid comments about the way you look and the clothes you wear. I'm sorry...I've looked like this since I was born and these are the clothes I've been wearing since I was younger. I look like this on-stage and offstage.
Then you get a band like the Hives and the Strokes and they say nothing!!!
Q: I was checking out your message board. They're obsessed with your sexuality. What's the story?
A: Were gay guys. But gay guys get all the chicks!!!!
Q: You've been in the studio for the past week recording the new single with Alan Moulder. What's the new material sounding like?
A: Its us playing music we like. I guess its a bit more coherent and a bit more anthemic than stuff on the album. This is our first time in a real studio because the first album it was really DIY. We've never been with a cool producer or a really cool studio before. There's still that naive element of throwing everything in, but with a little more panache
Were just doing one song for a new single and hopefully we'll record the new album at the end of the year. A lot of the lyrical ideas are much the same with the stuff I think about and my point of view in a ambiguous sense. But a lot of stuff will be about what we've experienced of people liking you one minute and then hating you the next.
Its weird to be part of a backlash when you still feel like the underdog. Its like I've still got no money and I can't afford to pay my gas bill....its like rock star, there's no star about it - were just rock!!!!
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