By paul

I had a transatlantic chat with Lostprophets guitarist Mike Lewis earlier this week to talk about his new clothing label, fashion, his beloved Everton and new LP material…

Hey Mike, how are things?

All good thanks mate, busy as hell but everything is great.

How did Dead Heroes come about? Is there any relevance to the name?

My old bandmate, Sean, came to me last summer and told me him and one of our other friends, Pete, were thinking of starting a clothing label and did I want to be involved. This was something that i had thought about doing for about 7 or 8 years so i jumped at the chance. The 3 of us met up and went through what we all wanted to do with the label and the style, aesthetic etc and we were definitely all on the same page so it worked out perfectly. The name has been the most challenging part of the whole project to date.. it’s just like being in a band… you write 15 songs but still cant think of a cool name. it took us ages. In the end it was inspired by the phrase β€˜all our heroes are dead’. I looked back on all the huge influences in my life and figures that have influenced culture, fashion, music, politics – and most of them are not around anymore. Be it Joe Strummer, George Orwell, MLK, Karl Marx – all massively influential people who have all passed on. I feel like the days of true revolution and counterculture are gone and the name pays tribute to that and them. Saying that I don’t want to do a label where all the shirts are tributes to all these great people, it’s really just a name, although in our first run there are a few nods to some legends that are no longer with us. This will not be a running theme.

How much of a say do you personally have in terms of the design process? Do you design the shirts themselves, how does that side of things work?

The first series of designs all came from ideas and concepts i had. I took all these ideas to the other guys and we ironed out the kinks together..It was a collaborative process between me, my partners and our designers. Our artists we worked with on the first series were wicked. I would spit shit out and tell them my grand ideas and then they would come back to me with mock ups or tell me it was load of bollocks. Like a proper meeting of the minds!

What influences you in terms of design? Are you inspired by culture (as you live in the States), music, art…?

Design-wise I’m influenced by all things around me, past and present. its definitely been from my/our backgrounds and the things we grew up with. Big influences are thrash metal, pop art, skate culture, punk brashness and mod aesthetics. Being a musician it’s hard not to be influenced by music and art.. these 3 are intrinsically linked, always have been, always will be whether people like it or not. i think the States has its own culture to offer, especially to people like me and you… growing up skateboarding was huge to me, so the whole Venice beach/dogtown vibe was always cool. also i’ve always been a comic nerd and that’s definitely present in these shirts.

Has their been any inter-band banter between you and Ian about your respective brands? To those who have seen Made In Hell but maybe not Dead Heroes, how would you say the two differ?

He busts my chops cos I don’t actually draw or use photoshop and he’s a graphic designer but its all jokes.. we were talking last week about doing a collaboration between the two brands which i think is gonna work out very cool. MIH is definitely about cool designs but also a big part of it is Ian, he does it all limited with certificates etc whereas DH is more just about the clothes and a clothing brand. i would say DH is a little more punk rock looking but that’s more my background coming through.


How would you describe your own personal style?

Right now it’s pretty mod, has been for a while actually.. loads of fred perry, ben sherman, skinny jeans, dr martins..

You’ve started with t-shirts, for the next wave of clothing do you see yourself branching out into other items? If so, what and why?

Hopefully yes. we’re planning the winter range right now and coming up with loads of cool ideas but it’s tough to do when starting out small. I’d love to do denim, shirts, polos, shoes, everything.. it’s just building it up to point where we can do those things. for winter i think we’ll have some extra items but what they are yet im not sure.. maybe zip ups or jackets.. cardigans would be pretty cool. i think we’ll have some more accessories too.

While music and fashion has always been linked, whether it be Sex Pistols or the Beatles, Lostprophets were one of the first ‘modern’ bands to seemingly influence the High Street. At around the ‘Burn Burn’ -era it seemed as though Top Shop and the like were ripping off your style. Did it frustrate/annoy/make you laugh at the way you seemingly inspired a trend?

We all found it pretty funny actually. we would get slated for dressing like boy bands or shopping at Top Shop whereas to us it seemed like they were all ripping us off. That part was frustrating but ultimately I suppose it was a little flattering. we didn’t pay much attention though and just did our own thing. we would have dressed that way whether we were in a band or not. like you say though, music will always influence fashion and vice versa.. now you can walk into top shop and can walk out as any band you’d like.

You’re known for being a big football fan and regularly tweet about your beloved Everton. How do you rate Everton’s chances for the season ahead? Are you impressed with the signings David Moyes has made?

It’s gonna be the toughest premiership season for a long long time if not ever. if we can keep hold of all our players i think we have a squad and a manager thats good enough to break into the top four, although i think the top 4 is about to become the top 8. jermaine beckford could be great, we got him on a free so we cant really lose, just depends on how he adapts to the premiership, hes looked good in pre season. i would have loved to have seen moyes splash out Β£15m or so on a class striker. the most important thing to me is we keep arteta, pienaar and jagielka.

Who do you think will win the title this year? Are Man City now part of the ‘top 4’ with the signings they have made?

Man City made some huge signings last year but i dont think its all about how much money you spend or even what great players you have. england proved that in the world cup. i cant help but be frustrated by it. its chelsea all over again, any club could do what they are doing if you have someone throwing unlimited cash around. its tough to call whos going to be in the top four this season nevermind whos gonna win it.. but im gonna go with the toffees!! you have to believe right?

Being an Evertonian does it please you to see Liverpool’s slump and the apparent split behind the scenes between the board, the management, players and fans?

Yes.. of course. just cos i hate Jamie Carragher. i think it’ll do them good to have a few rough years. sorry snoz [The Blackout] haha. i was bummed when they fired Rafa, it was like a soap opera over there for a short while.

A couple of LP questions to finish things off – Ian recently played a ‘new’ song from the John Feldman sessions which has made it’s way onto the internet, are there any plans to make more/all of these available for fans to hear in some way?

Maybe. we also said no way, never, but we’ve just been going through a lot of that old stuff that never made it out at theres some good shit in there. we’ll see what happens.

Is it right you’ve already started work on new material for the follow-up to ‘The Betrayed‘? Does this mean we can expect a new album much quicker than the last one?

Yes we’ve been writing and demoing some new stuff recently. i think we’ll get stuck into it properly in the autumn. i would hope we would get the next record out a lot quicker than it took for the betrayed.

Are there any new bands, or new records that influencing you both as a musician and as a music fan?

My top albums/eps this year are LCD soundsystem, japandroids, trash talk, KIGH, young guns and the deftones.. im loving cerebral ballzy, proper old school. polar bear club are pretty solid too, reminds me of HWM and stuff i used to listen to touring FSOP. i am very excited for the new JEW record tho, Bleed American and Clarity are two of my all time favourite albums.

Try these three interviews

Interview: Greywind [Reading 2016]

Interview: Arcane Roots [Reading 2016]

Interview: Trash Boat [Reading 2016]