Last time we spoke to Lostprophets they were the darlings of the media being hailed as the only British act who had the potential to truly break America. 3 months later it seemed the world had turned against them and barely a week went by without another diatribe written by the same people who'd been kissing their arses just a few weeks earlier. Now with the long awaited second album in the can and a single "Burn Burn" set to hit the Top 20 later this week it seems Lostprophets are in a position to simply speak to the people that stuck by them through the hard times. Designer Magazine caught up with guitarists Lee and Mike (with the random interjection from Ian) to find out how the last 12 months have been for them.

Q: Here on the first night of the tour after being away for so long. There must be a real sense of trepidation and wondering exactly how the fans will take to you again. Is that how you're feeling?
Mike: Were kind of hoping it's going to be cool. It's kind of weird because we've never played these songs in front of anyone before. Were figuring that people who are coming tonight want to hear new stuff, they want a couple of their favourites in there, but they're desperate to hear the new stuff.

Q: It has been a really drawn out process. Getting off the road, recording the album and then getting to the stage where you can play live again with the new material.
Mike: Things took longer than what we first imagined. The recording process took a little bit longer. It took us longer to stop touring and start writing the record than we first initially planned years ago. But don't worry about that now, it's all finished.

Q: How was it for you actually playing the same songs over and over again for the period of time you did. I guess you never imagined you'd be touring for that long?
Lee: No. We didn't image the record would do that well either

Mike: It was cool. I think it was the fact that we weren't stagnant at any time. Even though we were playing the same songs we were playing them in different countries, we were playing to new kids, we were playing in bigger venues to kids who hadn't heard them before. When we went over to the States and did Oz Fest, those people had never heard them before. That was what kept it fresh and then when we did the big UK tour at the end of last year a lot of people hadn't seen us before so it made those songs fresh again.

Q: Were you writing all the time you were on tour or was it a case of you didn't write until the touring ended?
Lee: The frustrations of the road and the amount of time we spent pushed us to make it as good as we made it. We always write on tour and keep bits and pieces. We just have riffs here, there and everywhere recorded. We didn't specifically set any time to write and record. We wrote about 35 songs for the record and stripped them down and put bits from one song into another song and made the best we could. We just did it whenever and got ideas...

Mike: ...and then once we'd finished touring at the end of last year we got into the studio and it was like 'lets start a fresh'. After our first initial inspiration had gone we started to go back to the riffs and ideas we came up with in the road. I think if we had done this record earlier it wouldn't have been as good as what it is now

Q: Last time we spoke to Ian he was talking about going into the studio with Alan Moulder. Obviously the record eventually ended up being produced by Eric Valentine. What happened with Moulder?
Lee: I think he got a pissed off because he was trying to record us and put all his effort into it and we were being dragged off for photo shoots and interviews. I think in the end he just didn't want to do anything with us after that.

Mike: The record company were bringing people forward who were interested in working with us and then we took it from there after speaking to them and seeing what they had done and what was suited to us. I think Eric was far more suited to us than Alan was. Things didn't work out with him really. There were no arguments or bad blood between us.

Q: The whole "Fake Sound..." period with the build em up / knock em down scenario. It was just so quick even by the standard of today's media
Mike: It was kid of retarded really. At one minute the magazine's and the kids were like yeah and then a year late. I think that's something the British press does really well - they build bands up to knock em down and they turn people against them. One minute we were a cool underground band and the next minute we were a boy band.

Lee: How the f*ck does that work? We were the same f*cking band then as we are now.

Q: How did it effect you going into the studio knowing that everyone to be blunt hated you?
Mike: Didn't care. At the end of the day, it's cliché, but we write songs for ourselves.

Lee: I love music and i'd be doing whether we were spent half a million dollars in America or doing it for f*cking three quid in Caerphilly I'd still be writing music so it's totally irrelevant. If we wouldn't have got to this stage we'd still be getting out in a van and playing shows. We've done this since we were kids.

Q: It was the same old things being laid at your door by every publication and every former fan. Did you understand the criticism at all?
Mike: The only thing I understood was the fact that we did tour "The Fake Sound Of Progress" for a long time and I can understand people's frustrations at the fact that kids who bought it were sick of it, they were sick of hearing about us....

Lee: ...but they weren't more sick of it than we were so they should have had some f*cking sympathy for us. Were the f*ckers who had to go and play it every night

Q: The whole boy band thing that got levelled at you. Did you feel like why should we apologize for the way we look?
Lee: Exactly. We've always been the f*cking same. We've been the same since we were kids. Were not going to change so f*ck em. When I was 14 I had my long hair and denim jacket with metal patches...people used to say I looked like this and that then.

Mike: For me the funniest thing I find though is you get these punk rock kids who are f*cking stereotypical punk rock. It's like 'f*ck you boy band, clothes this, clothes that' and they're dressed like a walking cliché. Their whole look was designed by Vivien Westwood so f*ck off and come back when you've got a clue and you're own f*cking thoughts. It's the whole hypocrisy behind it that pissed me off.

Lee: As sad as it may be image is part of what we do. It's part of a package. The music is probably the most important but I think it all has a part to play in being in a band. So whether your dressed as extremo, Justin for the Darkness or tight jeans and t-shirts its still an image. Metallica and Slayer have got an image that they've had for the past 10 years and if it's f*cking good enough for them it's good enough for anyone else.

Q: You guys have always had a pop sensibility though whether it's through the hooks in the songs or the way you look?
Lee:  Some bands try so hard to sound like their favourite bands. To me it's stupid. You don't need to sound like your favourite bands, you're supposed to do something different. Like I can listen to Thrice and not want to go and play that type of music.

Mike: At the end of the day were into pop music, we like pop music. From 80s pop music like Duran Duran, New Order and Frankie Goes To Hollywood, all that early 80s shit. Were all big fans of that, we grew up on it. And then through to current pop stuff like Justin Timberlake and we'll love Michael Jackson forever so obviously some of those pop sensibilities are going to come across in our music.

Q: For example like in "Burn Burn" where you've taken the hook of Adamski's "Killer"?
Lee: People seem to be missing the point with that. It's one bend in a vocal in a 3 minute song. The entire rest of the song has nothing in reference to that song. Why should we change it because it sounds like something else? Since when have we cared what people think?

Q: Copies of the new album are being kept under fairly tight wrap at the moment, but from what we've heard of it the single isn't really that representative of the album as whole.
Mike: No it's not. But in the same way any record we'd have released wouldn't have been representative of the whole album. If we'd have released the single were going to release next it wouldn't have been representative.

Q: Even though you sound nothing like each other how does it feel when the media hails a band like FFAF as the "new Lostprophets". The fact that you're band are now being cited as an influence or a significant band?
Ian: We actually wrote all those riffs. We didn't want them so we sold them to Funeral. Were actually claiming all the publishing. We won't let you in on all the other bands were actually writing for at the moment (laughs)

Word: Alex McCann
Photos: Karen McBride - www.karenmcbride.com

"Burn Burn" is out now with the album to follow early in 2004
The band support Linkin Park throughout November
For more info

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