ROCK giants Lost Prophets are heading to Notts this month to take Rock City by storm. Reporter Andrew Trendell caught up with guitarist Lee Gaze about why they’re still going strong.
It’s been two years since the Welsh six-piece released their fourth studio album The Betrayed.
After triumphant tours across the UK and Europe on which they played in front of tens of thousands of people, Kerrang Magazine bestowed the prestigious Classic Songwriters Award on the band - for huge rock tracks like Last Train Home, Rooftops, Shinobi vs Dragon Ninja, Burn Burn, Town Called Hypocrisy and Fake Sound of Progress.
Now they’re back with their new album Weapons Andrew Trendell had a quick chat with guitarist Lee Gaze about evolution and survival.
How would you describe the transition from The Betrayed into Weapons? What kind of mindset were you all in during that interim period?
We were definitely more relaxed. It was all quite stressful during the Betrayed because it took us three years. This time round, we had a lot of songs left over which really took a lot of the pressure off so we had a more laid back attitude, as opposed to the hassles of The Betryayed which was uphill all the way.
Do you think that you can hear that more relaxed approach in the songs on the record?
Possibly, subconsciously. It’s your typical Lost Prophets record – you’ve got your upbeat songs and some heavier moments, I don’t think there’s any great departure in sound. But I’d say you can definitely tell we were in a more positive mindset when we were writing the record.
So where would you say that this album takes your sound from the last one? Are you upping your game and aiming for bigger things?
The last album was quite dark, heavy and angry, whereas this one is a far more balanced record – probably due to our more laid back approach. We were more level-headed and I think you can tell. It’s never contrived and we’re always trying to better our game but we never think about how huge something is going to be – it is what it is.
You guys can sell out stadiums and arenas and you’ve sold so many million records, but when you guys get together to discuss what to do next, what do you all have in mind to achieve as Lost Prophets?
As long as we can remain on the same level without experiencing any kind of decline then it isn’t really a point of discussion. Bands are splitting up every year, but we still get to do this and we just have to be grateful for it.
The first time that I and a lot of other people would have first seen Lost Prophets was back in 2001 when you part of a huge Brit-rock scene. What would you say the secret is to you guys maintaining momentum while a lot of your peers have disappeared and fallen by the wayside?
It’s a combination of things. Determination is one, as is attitude, the way you treat people and just the songs really – they’re the main thing that people buy into. If you can write songs that connect with people and keep an open mind then you’ll go a long way. We just refuse to give up.
Why do you think it’s such a struggle for guitar rock bands to survive?
Music goes in cycles, really. When we started out, things were quite similar to how they are now – there was nothing going on. It was all about indie bands and American rock music. We then became part of a movement, things picked up and now we seem to be back in a period where rock music isn’t cool again. It all goes round in the circles. Arctic Monkeys were big in 2006 and then there was this explosion of guitar bands, then there was a decline. If you aren’t an exciting band trying out something new then no one is going to pay attention. It’s part of why you’re there.
Do you think that there are enough rock and guitar bands trying to push things forward?
I’d say that at the moment, everything sounds the same. We started out because we didn’t want to be like anything else – we wanted to climb on top of it, and that’s exactly we did. Instead of living in each other’s pockets, bands just need to be bigger and better than the rest.
What is it about the way that you guys work that enables Lost Prophets to cover so much ground?
When you finish a record, you listen back to it and think ‘there’s a lot going on there’ – that’s just how it is with us, if you listen to each album as a full body of work. The Betrayed was ridiculous. Putting thrash metal on there shouldn’t have computed, but that’s what we grew up on. A record should be a dynamic and full listening experience. If a band can write a heavier or different sounding song, then of course you should put it on there. What’s the point in buying an album where every song sounds like the single? That doesn’t achieve anything. When I listen to a record I want to be taken on a journey: I want to be beaten over the head with something heavy, I want to be taken away by something catchy and I want to be brought down to Earth with something that’s dark and brooding. Bands should take more risks without limiting themselves and without being contrived.
Did you guys feel any added pressure after winning Kerrang’s Classic Songwriter Award?
It’s pretty surreal isn’t it? We were appreciative of it but we didn’t read too much into it. It’s great to be recognised but some of the other winners have been doing this for 30 years. We didn’t want to overthink it too much. If you do, that’s you start to panic. We go by our own code and try not to let anything else influence us too much.
How does going through moments like that effect you as a group of mates that have known each other since school?
It’s odd. You live in this bubble of thinking about what might happen, then all of this stuff does – some good, some bad. Nothing ever seems real, but the trick is to never get ahead of yourself – whether you’ve got a number one record or if you’re James Hetfield. Just deal with it. Having known each other for so long, we know how far we can push each other and when to give each other space. I think that really helps and is probably part of the secret of why we’ve lasted so long. We all know each other so well, we come from the same place and we hold the same ideals, which I think helps a lot. We all still want the same think.
So you’re all still doing it for the sheer love of it?
It may sound hard to believe, but this isn’t a very lucrative career. We make a living but we aren’t making millions. If we didn’t absolutely love it then we wouldn’t be doing it, because we aren’t raking it in and buying fancy sports cars – I can tell you that much. If you don’t love it then you won’t last.
- Lost Prophets are set to play Rock City in Nottingham on Monday 30th April. For tickets visit www.alt-tickets.co.uk or call 0845 413 4444.
- Keep your eye on this website for review of this and many other shows.