Top Welsh band Lostprophets have come home from Los Angeles to launch a new phase of the high-profile ‘The Valleys Heart and Soul of Wales’ campaign.
The four Pontypridd rock musicians kicked off the ‘Valleys Homecoming’ initiative with a private gig at Hawthorn Secondary School, where they performed their brand new single aptly titled ‘Where We Belong.’
It is the first of a string of flagship events across the region as part of ‘The Valleys Heart and Soul’ campaign. The high-profile initiative aims to persuade people with Valleys links whether they were born there, have lived in the area or have family ties – to visit the region and see how they have been transformed in recent years.
Valleys Homecoming celebrates some of the great contributions made by Valleys people to sport, music, arts, comedy – as well as promoting the area’s rich culture and heritage.
People with links to the Valleys are being encouraged to take part in an online ‘VQ test’. Devised by Welsh comedian Chris Corcoran, the quiz can tell you just How Valleys you really are.The quiz can be found at www.valleys.co.uk. NEED TO INSERT A QUOTE FROM CHRIS
Lostprophets, founded in 1997 by vocalist Ian Watkins, are using Valleys Homecoming to urge others with Valleys links to come and visit the area. The message is being relayed not just in Wales and the UK but to people all over the world.
In the spirit of ‘Homecoming’ the band returned to Hawthorn Secondary School in Pontypridd, where several band members attended, to give pupils the first chance to hear songs from their fourth album ‘The Betrayed’ released on the 18 January. The group has toured the world over the last decade, headlined festivals and enjoyed many hit singles and number one success with their last album, ‘Liberation Transmission’.
The band wrote their new single, ‘Where We Belong’, in Wales after taking a break from Los Angeles, where they have been recording. Ian Watkins, lead singer said: “After spending a lot of time in a studio in LA, we came back to Wales and our roots to start the second version of this album our current single ‘Where We Belong’ is our love letter to being home.
“All of us in the band are extremely proud of the area we’re from. It’s been a great base from which to write many of our songs. Having toured the world we can honestly say that there is no place like home and to come back and play to a home crowd to celebrate Valleys Homecoming has been fantastic.”
Valleys Homecoming is part of ‘The Valleys Heart and Soul of Wales’ which was launched in October of last year. Aimed at stimulating economic activity and increasing tourism numbers within the region, the campaign has been empowering Valleys residents to say what makes them proud about being from The Valleys. These messages are being exchanged the world over to let people know what it is that makes The Valleys so special.
Welsh Assembly Government Deputy Minister for Housing and Regeneration, Jocelyn Davies, said: “This new decade will see The Valleys playing host to some fantastic and world famous events. We want people to come and see for themselves how this area has changed so much for the better. Events in south Wales such as the National Eisteddfod, Ryder Cup and music events like today, are planned to showcase the region and once again put The Valleys firmly on the map. “Whether you’re Welsh or you just love Wales, 2010 and the events that are planned present a fantastic year to come home.” Minister for Heritage, Alun Ffred Jones, said at the launch: “Valleys Homecoming is an opportunity for people to come and see for themselves that although the environment of The Valleys has changed them greatly since the days of coal and steel, local people have not lost their sense of culture, heritage and pride. The Valleys will always give a warm welcome to visitors whether or not they have links to this area.”
The website, www.thevalleys.co.uk holds everything you need to know about the valleys where to stay, where to go, where to eat and what you can do when you are there.
‘The Valleys Heart and Soul of Wales’ is a three year campaign led by partnership organisations from the Western Valleys, Heads of the Valleys and Valleys Partnership. The aim is to change perceptions of the Valleys and bring long-term economic benefits to the area.
The Heads of the Valleys regeneration programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund, together with match funding from the Welsh Assembly Government and other partner organisations. The 3-year campaign aims to bring economic benefit to Blaenau Gwent, Torfaen, Merthyr Tydfil, Caerphilly, Rhondda Cynon Taf, Bridgend, northern parts of Swansea and Neath Port Talbot and the eastern Valleys of Carmarthenshire. Aimed at changing perceptions of the Valleys both to local people and outsiders, the campaign will encourage more visitors and attract potential investors. www.thevalleys.co.uk
‘Where We Belong’ is the brand new single from Lostprophets. The single is taken from the bands forthcoming fourth album ‘The Betrayed’ – they head out on tour throughout February. The Pontypridd group wrote the track “after spending too much time in a studio in LA, we went back to Wales and our roots to start the second version of this album … this is our love letter to being home.” The single will be released on limited edition 7”, CD and digitally with an exclusive new track ‘Sunshine’ the band described it as “too good to be a b-side but the album was full, sorry no more passengers…close the doors.”
‘The Betrayed’ was recorded in several locations and studios in Los Angeles, with a few false starts where the band scrapped various recordings with different producers. Eventually, a trip back to their native Wales and original rehearsal rooms in Cardiff saw the group re-invigorated and energised and on their return to the US things came together quickly. Bassist Stuart Richardson took on production and mixing duties (alongside Justin Hopfer with whom he’d previously worked with on Welsh rock act Attack Attack) for the first time and the band have created their most ambitious and accomplished album to date.
Lostprophets are made up of guitarist Mike Lewis, frontman Ian Watkins, Lee Gaze (guitar), Stuart Richardson (bass), Jamie Oliver (keyboards, programming) and new drummer Luke Johnson and recently headlined the Radio 1/NME stage at Reading and Leeds and sold out a Q Awards show at the Forum in London. The band are playing a couple of shows in November including their debut appearance at the Little Noise Sessions. These gigs are held every year in the Union Chapel In London and curated by DJ Jo Whiley with acts as diverse as Editors, Alexandra Burke and Taio Cruz all set to appear this year. A very special show with a few surprises is planned.
New Single 4th January 2010: ‘WHERE WE BELONG’
New Album 18th January 2010: ‘THE BETRAYED’