Lostprophets interview (2004)

Mike Lewis

Lostprophets guitarist Mike Lewis on breaking the States, covering Rachel Stevens, and what he thinks of Goldie Lookin' Chain.

Last updated: 29 January 2009

You had a signing for new single Last Summer in Cardiff's HMV yesterday. Was it a busy one?

It was crazy. We were there for two hours - there were about 700, 800 people. We didn't expect that much to be honest. Really mad.

How has the American campaign for Start Something been going?

From strength to strength, really. We went over at the start of this year with Hoobastank and IMA Robot, and that was OK. We were playing universities, colleges, stuff like that. A lot of people were coming out because they were at university, so there were quite a lot of indifferent heads.

But we did our first headline tour over there in May, and that was awesome. We did small clubs on the West coast - sold out the House Of Blues in LA, which holds over 1,000 people. And we've just come back from our second headline tour, playing bigger rooms again - selling out 1,500 seaters in DC and Philadelphia. It's unbelievable, really.

Has it helped that you've had a fair bit of radio play?

It's a bit of everything really. A large part of it is touring - every time you go back to a city, it's like your fanbase has doubled. But also, Last Train Home was a hit on the radio, it was played a lot on MTV - and to say that doesn't help would be lying.

You see different kids in the audience - you can recognise the kids who've been there since Fake Sound, or who've heard of it through word of mouth, and then you can see the kids who've picked up on it through MTV. But hey, either's cool.

You've done cover versions of Phil Collins and Rachel Stevens. Were those done in the spirit of mischief?

It is and it isn't. Sure, we do it to mess with people. But at the same time, we do it just to fun. I'm not going to lie to you, the main reason we do covers for b-sides is because we have no time to write new music! We would love to put new songs as b-sides, but we've been on tour since 7 January, straight. We've got ideas on our laptops, but to compose a song together this year has just been impossible.

With the covers, we did Rachel Stevens just because it's a cool pop song and we thought we could put our own twist on it. You know, for us to cover a Metallica song - it would just sound like Metallica with Ian singing... and not played as well! So it's kind of pointless.

Is it true that some of you are interested in setting up music side-projects?

Yeah, me and Stu were trying to set up something last year when we had some time off. We didn't really know what we wanted to do, though - we jammed with some friends, but it never really came to anything. It was difficult to take it seriously, because we knew we'd be off touring soon.

I'd like to do a side-project that's just a straight-up hardcore band, because I love that music. I have done since I was back in Public Disturbance. Something in the vein of American Nightmare, or old Agnostic Front stuff. It's definitely something I miss.

You know, I love what we do... but I listen to so many different types of music, from stuff like The Smiths through to Dimmu Borgir and everything in between.

Me and Stu have been talking recently about maybe just doing something between the two of us, using our laptops - maybe sounding like... well, I don't want to say The Rapture, that's a bit too cool - but just do what we want to do and see how it pans out.

Are you still in touch with what's going on in the Welsh rock scene?

I try to be. I look on the internet, speak to my friends now and again. When I'm at home I try to go to as many local bands as I can. I'm good friends with the guys in When Reason Sleeps, they're cool. I kind of like Of Noble Blood. Just straight-up hardcore - it's where I came from, and it's good to see there are still bands out there bringing it back.

Have you got any plans about when you might go back into the studio?

Yeah, we think we might around February. We'll hopefully finish touring towards the end of this year, take a couple of months off, and then start writing again. So maybe we'll start recording around the summer.

And finally, have you got any thoughts about Wales' new chart heroes Goldie Lookin' Chain?

I think it's awesome! I remember when they did their first demo - I had a copy of it, and I thought it was the funniest thing I'd ever heard. I remember two years ago, we were down doing the Kerrang! Weekender - we were listening to it on our bus, and there was this girl from Warner Brothers with us, one of our friends. She was like 'What is this?' She didn't get it at all.

And she emailed me about a year ago saying 'Was it Goldie Lookin' Chain we were listening to back then? Because we're thinking of signing them!' Personally, I'm just amazed the humour makes it across the Severn Bridge...

Words: Louis Pattison

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