Finding the Lostprophets

How Ian Watkins the lead singer from the band Lostprophets is far from being lost...
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With a heavy Welsh accent that allows a tone of cheekiness and life experiences from council estates to the personal exposure of writing four albums, Ian is an artist who is self assured while being grounded, witty and real! The Lostprophets are gaining much media attention with their new album The Betrayed released in January which headed straight to number three. The Independent of course grabbed the chance to speak to the lyricist and singer about his way with words and the ‘gooey’ man behind the hard exterior!

How is your 2010 tour going so far?

It is going well, we just finished it actually, well the UK part. So yes it went well we are off to Japan next!

How has your new album The Betrayed changed lyrically and musically from your other albums?

It is just me being honest lyrically without a filter or producer. I have covered areas like the conditioning of society my anger towards it, so I suppose I just didn’t want to repeat myself. Producing and writing a darker album lyrically just excited me, something new and something raw.

Where did the title of the new album stem from, was it a personal feeling of betrayal?

No not necessarily, it was more about setting a tone and a vibe straight away, your mind automatically goes to a certain place and that place was exactly where I wanted the listeners mind to go. So it stems from something deeper to provoke more thought and more impact.

You have been on a rollercoaster ride with your new album, your original material was scrapped and re–worked postponing your release date, why was this?

Some of it was scrapped, it was just sub-par, and it didn’t measure up to our standards. Our previous producer was taking it in the wrong direction that was all. I knew what ideas I wanted, and the material we were working on although our producer was like ‘Yes this is really going to work’... Well it was just sh*t and it wasn’t us.

All the members contribute in different ways are you the main lyricist because it is your most prominent creative outlet or because you simply just have more interesting things to say?

(Laughs) Um, no, well to be honest I hate writing lyrics it is painful. I am a very private person.

Well you’re in the right industry then!

Well I’m fine when I’m on stage and I have a mic in my hand ‘blah blah blah’ look at me, that’s all a front, that I can handle. It’s when you start writing lyrics, things that are grounded in truth and that mean something. That is when it becomes painfully exposing.

Your first single from your new album is called For He’s A Jolly Good Felon it is an interesting paradox; good and felon rarely appear in the same sentence.

I know, well that’s me I encapsulate paradox! No, it’s about us growing up on council estates in Wales. It was just about that way of life, I am not condoning it. We were good boys it was just that our environment pushed us. I mean we didn’t have any money so we took part in anti-social activities now and again, being rowdy, causing trouble and petty stealing…

Oh, you have answered my next question, have you ever broken the law?

I don’t think it is breaking the law really. It’s more like on loan, I’ll give it back one day! (Laughs)

Ok so back to your music. The first two albums had a complete different sound to your third album, it almost sounded more Americanised maybe less gritty, would you agree? And if so why was there this change?

Yes, I agree. It’s really weird I suppose we grew up trying to get away from our town, to get anywhere. We wanted to remove our self from the Welsh mentality of going out getting drunk, getting in a fight and having a kebab. We grew up watching these skateboarding videos, American music videos and movies. That was the goal something so different from back home from what we knew. This was why by the third album our music represented that American romantic view that we worked towards. The irony was sadly it was the opposite, it's only till you arrive at this stage and do these videos and take on this lifestyle that you really appreciate where you’re from. Hence The Betrayed being more gritty!

What did you do to entertain yourself as a young lad growing up in Pontypridd?

We were obsessed, among other things (laughs) with music. We didn’t do music because we wanted to be famous but because we loved it. It was a time to hang out that’s why we started a band, I sound so cheesy! Aftermath was our first band with me and Mike (lead guitarist). Just a chance to jam in our back shed. Apart from music we would just I don’t know… steal the odd car!

Is there a softer side to Ian Watkins?

Yeah, I don’t like my soft side! I’m like an After Eight - I look hard but when you bite in I’m soft and gooey! (Laughs)

Good metaphor! Anything exciting Lostprophets fans can look forward to in 2010 except the release of your new album?

Well at the end of the year we will be doing an arena tour. In the summer we will be doing loads of festivals, with loads of spaceships, and loads of fun props, you know boys and their toys! Health and safety… Oh! Who cares about that, unpredictability is what we are going for (Laughs) yea fun!

How would you describe yourself on a dating website?

A walking contradiction!

That probably won’t get you a date! What is your biggest fear?

Fear itself

Favourite band or artist of all time?

Duran Duran … Don’t laugh at me Miss Sarcasm!

Me? Never! So, Ian, what is the most important lesson life has taught you?

F*ck anyone that can’t take a joke!

And with that I laughed, wished him well and I left with a humble reply from Ian "Thanks darling, have a good day".

‘For He’s A Jolly Good Felon’ is out on the 5th of April