By paul

Ian! How’s it going? First up, every man and his dog has a clothing line nowadays. So how come the world needs Made In Hell and what sets you apart from all the others?

I think the whole point is that the world DOESNT need Made In Hell. It doesnt need it at all and would probably be a lot better off without it.

You’ve made a big issue out of keeping things DIY – have you ever been approached by ‘the man’ to do something like this before? Why have you decided to keep this low-key rather than doing something bigger – after all, as Lostprophets have such a big fanbase it would have made you a quick buck, right?

I wouldnt say ive made a big issue of it, just that i have made a point of letting people know. If i didnt then the majority would assume it was some big corporate set up running behind the scenes, cause thats what people always assume when it comes to us. Most of the time they couldnt be further from the truth. Ive always done all the merch, album art etc, cause id rather feel that sense of accomplishment myself. So i guess thats the reason for doing it myself.

Was there any specific issue or thing that happened to you which inspired you to start Made In Hell? I know you’ve always had a hand in designing LP’s artwork and merch, but there’s a big difference in designing and starting your own company…

I had no outlet for a lot of the stuff i was doing. It wasnt right for LPS merch, and it was nice to be free to design without any set brief or aesthetic set to keep in mind. To be honest it was a hell of a lot more work setting it up than i thought it would be, and we still havent started shipping yet.

So I want to buy a shirt – give me the hard sell…

Nope. I’m not going to force these on anyone because there’s no need. They are all limited so they will all sell at some point, and when they do they will never be reprinted. There’s simply no need to give anyone the hard sell, other than would you like to own something that only 500 other people in the world own.

What inspires you as an artist? Are there any specific artists you are particularly inspired by?

As cliche as it is to say now, Banksy was the first of my generation of artists to really re invigorate my interest, while i was doing my graphic design degree. This was way back in the day before he became a household name though, and I was lucky enough to get some of his work before it blew up. From there i just kept collecting stuff, and discovering new artists etc. People like Micallef, DeFace, Pure Evil, Eine, Paul Insect, Faile, Blek Le Rat….

You’ve described the project as an ‘experiment’ – other than t-shirt design do you envisage doing anything else with it?

Yeah, definately. I didnt want to call it Made In Hell ‘clothing’, which is why i took it off the press release. We are going to start doing art prints. Jamie is an incredible fine artist and his stuff goes for thousands in galleries, so we thought it would be cool to offer limited prints of his original art, at decent prices. There are basically no set boundaries. It’s whatever I want it to be, or become. Ultimately as an outlet for whatever i feel like doing.

Speaking specifically about the designs you’ve made available on the myspace page, there’s a distinct 80s vibe with the lips shirt – are the 80s as a decade a huge influence on you as a designer and as a musician (bearing in mind your love for Duran Duran…)

Definitely an influence, not sure about ‘huge’ though. As with everything, once people start jumping on that bandwagon, something that you have had a genuine love for over time, becomes cheapened. So yeah they are an influence, but i draw it from everywhere. The next set will be completely different.

You’ve mentioned about collaborating with other artists on the project – are there any who you have confirmed? If the world was your oyster, who would you love to work with?

There are a lot of people who have said they are up for it, but obviously nothing confirmed yet cause i want to get it up and running first. Some may happen some may not, but so far Faris Rotter, Sean Smith, Bori Mischief, David Bray and a bunch of others have been into the idea. I’d love to do something with Hedi Slimane or Frank Miller too.

I hear demand has been crazy – but you must have expected it to do ok…

I never really expect anything, cause the minute you think something is a sure thing, then you get fucked and drop the ball. But yeah, we are almost sold out on just pre orders which is amazing.

But as predictable as the demand for shirts has been the inevitable internet backlash. I know you’ve already addressed the issue on Punktastic’s forums, but do you pay much attention to what kids say on messageboards?

I pay attention if they are spouting ill informed rhetoric. Im not really bothered if people dont like the designs, firstly because they will change with every set, and secondly because everyone is entitled to their opinion, even if it is based on the fact that they hate my band. I speak up when people miss the point, like some guy saying how the statement was pretentious, yet all i was doing was explaining where the idea came from. Like i said, a lot of people, especially on forums with the word punk somewhere in the url, wont like it just cause its me. Which is fine.

If Top Shop come along and say ‘Ian, we’ve made millions off marketing your look over the years (thanks!) and we want to make a million more by having you design some shirts for us’ what would you say?

I’d say, damn fucking right you have, you cheeky cunts. As for doing stuff for them, its hard to say cause it all depends on the context, it could work, it could be tits. The fact that i dont have any agenda means everything is flexible. But MIH will always only be made in limited numbers.

First Mega Lolz, then Made In hell – what’s next?

Haha, i think MIH could spawn a lot of cool ideas and vibes. Maybe promote a new band with every new set of designs, give away a CD or an mp3 of a new unsigned band with every order. Knowing that its endorsed by us, i really like that idea and i think its something we are going to do, if we establish MIH. Ideally i would love to also do clothing as a spin off, not just designs, cause i can never find stuff i want or that fits properly, but who knows.

Just a couple of Prophets questions – how’s the new album progressing? Done yet? When I spoke to you last year you said it would be finished for Reading Fest – what’s the hold up? Is it still “a lot heavier, angrier, arrogant and sarcastic”?

Without giving too much away, we finished the album but felt it wasnt quite there, and a lot of the ideas we had, we didnt have time to realise. So we took a gamble and went back in to finish the ideas and ended up doing a totally new record.

This is the question where I try and trick you into giving us a world exclusive and the album’s name…

For a second there you almost had me.

What was it like working with John Feldman? He’s known for producing big, fat juicy rock records with a slick edge – was there a specific album he’s worked on you’d heard that made you want to work with him?

He’s an awesome guy and we had such a laugh. There wasnt one specific album, more the vibe of doing something opposite to what we had done before.

How was Download? Do you change the set to tie in with the crowd you’re playing to? (Bearing in mind you’re playing V Fest later in the summer…)

Download was incredible, and yeah we alter the vibe of the set to suit the surroundings. Obviously DL was a lot heavier, and V will be a lot lighter but its all us. Download was mindblowing though. It was our biggest ever gig, and our first big festival headline slot. After everything that was said, and the polarised opinions of people, it was rewarding and really humbling that not one bottle was thrown, and those who were unsure gave us the chance to win them over. Then to see everyone into it by the end of the set, was something il never forget. It was also the first time we have used pyros and lasers, which enabled me to live out my Bon Jovi fantasies.

Are emos to blame for all of the world’s ills? Do you think the mainstream media has got it all wrong and overreacted or are kids nowadays taking things all a little too seriously?

I dont think you can pluralise the word emo. Thats what annoys me the most.

And finally – give us all one reason why we should buy, and not illegally download for free, the forthcoming Lostprophets album…

Nah, if you dont want to buy it for whatever reason then cool. I understand that not everyone has the money to buy albums. I didnt when i was younger, i had to tape them off my friends and then nick the covers from Woolworths. Id much rather people listen to it for free than not at all. But if you steal it and like it, then come to a show and support us, or wear our teeshirts, or find some way of helping us carry on what we are doing. Even if its just telling friends and passing on CD’s or mp3s.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]