“My big thing with this album, and I know it doesn’t sound anything like this, but I wanted us to make our AC/DC record. Which is basically, let’s strip it down and be a ROCK band. Let’s get rid of all the pretence, let’s really focus in and make a really tight 10 track record.”
Having spent the best part of 2011 working on the new album, Lostprophets fans, your wait will be over on April 2nd, when their 5th album, Weapons is unleashed upon the world. Lead track Better Off Dead is available for free download currently on the band’s website, so head on over and get your first taste of what promises to be a cracker of an album which follows on from their raw and snarly 2010 release “The Betrayed”.
For Aussie Lostprophets fans, Soundwave Festival 2012 presents you with the opportunity to reacquaint yourself with the Lostprophets on stage, as well as at a handful of Sidewaves in Melbourne and Sydney. Earlier today we chatted with bass player Stuart Richardson, who was literally hours away from putting the final touches to the new album, Weapons. Want to know about the new album? Well read on…
Hey Stu, thanks for taking the time to chat today… So firstly, where in the world do we find you right now?
I’m in Los Angeles right now, sitting at home!
So are you guys all based there now?
Well I’ve been here for about 6 years now and we all were based here at one point and then our singer found himself in some trouble, so he got out of here! The trials and tribulations of L.A got a little too much for him!
So April 2nd, your new album Weapons will be unleashed on the world… Where are things at with that right now, is it all completely finished down to the last thankyous in the liner notes and ready to go?
Well actually today is the final day. We’ve spent the last week arguing over the tiniest, most trivial little thing. Which means you are finished with a record when you are arguing over a fucking snare head! So we kind have gone dudes, that’s fucking enough!!! So right now we are mastering, so hopefully this will be the only mastering that will happen! There are 6 of us in the band…and we’re all fucking assholes (laughs). So we will see where we are tomorrow, right now we are on course. We literally had to put down a release date and book a tour just to get us finished.
Otherwise you would still be arguing over that snare head this time next year haha?
Yeah, pretty much!!
When you first sat down to chat about writing and recording Weapons, what were the general thoughts on what you wanted to do with this album musically in comparison to The Betrayed?
Well I produced the last album and I started to produce this record and a lot of bad memories came flooding back. We started and we did about 4 or 5 songs together and it was going pretty well, but I just felt we needed some outside perspective. It was just starting to sound too easy and to me that was scary. I just felt like we were resting on our laurels too much. Luckily a couple of songs made it on the album from those sessions so it wasn’t a complete waste of time. We are one of those bands that will write 5 songs and keep 2, that’s the kind of band we are. My big thing with this album and I know it doesn’t sound anything like this, but I wanted us to make our AC/DC record. Which is basically, let’s strip it down and be a ROCK band. Let’s get rid of all the pretence, let’s really focus in and make a really tight 10 track record. All those old AC/DC records are 10 tracks, that was my initial vibe and that’s what I was aiming for. I’d say for the most part that’s what we’ve done, there are a couple of parts though where we’ve veered off course a little bit however. But I think that’s for the better and not for the worst. I always like to have some kind of idea what we are doing and that was the kind of record I wanted to make…a really passionate and honest record. Our last album was really abrasive and stripped back to the point there was almost bones showing!
So was this then a more enjoyable album to make for you personally, not wearing the producer’s hat as well?
It was cool, I was able to kick back and really focus on writing songs you know. It doesn’t matter how well your record is produced, if your songs suck, then your songs suck! It was real good to be able to take it all in on this album and look at things from a different perspective compared to the last album.
“Better Off Dead” off the new album has been available for free download now, that’s a massive sounding track, how would you compare that to the album in general?
Musically, that song is pretty representative, but lyrically Ian’s really pissed off in that song. He ended up actually changing some of it because he felt bad. He was so fucking pissed off that he felt it was too much. I was like dude don’t be silly, but he stepped back, and whilst he’s still raging on the song, he dialled the intensity back a notch. Basically with that song,..we all chip in with little demos and we chuck it in the pot and Ian picked out these 4 chords that Luke had put in. Ian thought he could sing a really cool melody over those chords and so we sat in a room and jammed it and wrote the song in an hour or two. Ian started doing that vocal delivery on it which none of us expected and we were kind of freaked out by it at first, as it didn’t sound like something we would do. But the more we made the record, the more it felt right.
Being your 5th album and following on from The Betrayed, did you feel any major expectations from outside influences such as fans, media, record label/management etc?
You know what, there’s a point in every record where that really, really becomes a focus but then you just really just chase your tail on it and you can make yourself fucking sick as you can’t predict tomorrow. You’ve got to sit down and go…why are we doing this? That’s getting back to the whole AC/DC comment earlier…what’s the point of being in the fucking band? “Because we love it…”. So why do we care what the fuck anybody else thinks? Now that’s not to be disrespectful to our fans or anything, but if you write what other people want, then you’re only going to be second guessing yourself. If you are second guessing yourself on stage, people smell bullshit and I honestly believe people smell bullshit a mile away. You know, there could be a band that might be the biggest band on radio this week and watching them is like watching fucking wood! I don’t want to be cynical, but it’s pretty easy to just write a pop song if you really want to and of you have the right backing behind you…
Well yeah you could become the biggest band in the world, but if there’s not that belief there, it is easy for bands to come across as fakes!
Exactly! We are at the point now where we know how to write songs now. When you start as a band you don’t know how to write songs. As you go on you start learning how to write and in a way there’s almost a certain formula you could be following to tick all the boxes. It almost becomes boring in a way and you could disappear up your own ass and turn into like a prog rock band, or you’ve just go to be honest with why you are doing it. So long as you are honest for the right reasons… Like AC/DC again.
Well yeah, they’ve stuck to the same thing for over 30 years…
Exactly, that’s kind of where I’m coming from right now. Raw honesty. The last record was just raw and honest. I didn’t want it to sound as much that way on this record, but I wanted the intent to be the same.
“Weapons” is the title of the album, what can you share about the inspiration behind that album title and maybe the lyrical themes (if any) that are throughout the album?
Well it’s just a play on words really. Anything can be a weapon. It’s such a vague term, basically in your own head you will see something. It’s such a provocative word, so that’s why we picked it.
In about 5 weeks now, you will be headed out to sunny Australia….you’ve certainly picked a good year to be on the Soundwave Festival, it’s a massive lineup!
We were over about 8 years ago for the Big Day Out and that was one of the best things we’ve ever done. Then we were over a few years ago and we hadn’t been there for 6 or 7 years and people turned up to see us! We were like “holy shit, we’re on the other side of the world and people know who we are”! It’s so humbling and those shows we’re awesome too. So hopefully this time will also be a really good tour, having a lot of fun. We are a pretty crowd friendly band and involve people as much as possible, so hopefully it will be fun times all round!
Can we expect to hear a bunch of new songs in the setlist, or haven’t you thought about that yet?
Yeah well probably play about 3 off the new record. I don’t want to be that band that is like “we have a new record coming out and we are going to play a whole bunch of songs from it”…. It never really translates live anyway. It’s going to be great to really get behind this new album and tour our asses off. We haven’t really had a chance to do that since 2004. We’re excited to have a label behind us, we have new management behind us. So it’s going to be great to really give this record a good shot and support it.
Well I certainly look forward to hearing the album and more importantly check out the show at Soundwave in a few weeks!
Awesome, thanks man!
Band members: Ian Watkins – Lead vocals, Lee Gaze -Lead guitar, Mike Lewis -Rhythm guitar, Stuart Richardson – Bass, Jamie Oliver – Synth, turntables, samples, Luke Johnson – Drums, percussion (2009–present)
Latest Release: Weapons (April 2, 2012, EPIC Records)
Sidewave Show Dates
TUESDAY 28TH FEBRUARY SYDNEY, THE METRO– LICENSED ALL AGES
THURSDAY 1ST MARCH MELBOURNE, BILLBOARD– 18+
Presented by Soundwave Touring