In an industry now known less for its innovation and more for its conformity and commercial appeal, rock music and the record labels that produce it continue to struggle with releasing fresh and appealing albums.

British pop/punk band Lostprophets are proving to be a rare exception in today’s rock scene, as the group combines different musical backgrounds and influences to establish themselves as rising players in music’s landscape with their hit “Last Train Home” off the album Start Something.

With most of the band getting their start in England’s intense hardcore music scene, Lostprophets carries an edge to their music that most pop-punk bands don’t possess. After years of going to show after show, lead guitarist Mike Lewis formed his own thrasher band called Public Disturbance. The band never gained commercial success, but made some waves in the U.K. underground.

Through Public Disturbance, Lewis worked off a base of hard riffs and heavy, fast paced music. Through touring, he eventually met and was invited to join what is now Lostprophets.

“I think once you’re a hardcore kid, you’re always going to look at things differently,” Lewis said. “I mean, we are never going to think we are big rock stars. It’s not how we act because once you go through hardcore you get an appreciation for music and what it takes to perform on tour. It’s a certain mentality that we all have. Sometimes you almost forget you are performing for punk rock kids.”

A small trace of hardcore is still evident in Lostprophets when Lewis plays his guitar as the lead rhythm, something more common in hardcore and heavy metal acts such as Agnostic Front or Metallica in the mid-80s. Lostprophets, however, is essentially a pop/punk band, a label that the band never seems to get used to.

“I definitely miss some of the shows,” Lewis said, referring to his hardcore roots. “I think with my old band we had a different mentality, we had so much aggression. That is one aspect I miss was the live atmosphere.”

Regardless of what music fans think of Lostprophets, they have to respect the band’s creativity. Not many pop/punk bands are so well rounded in the different styles of rock, and even fewer continue to keep that freshness alive in their music once they sign to a major label.

What separates Lostprophets from most bands is that they have their own unique sound. Combining heavy riffs, lead guitar rhythms and medium-to-heavy vocals, Lostprophets is not a copycat band and is quickly building a wide following.

“I think there are so many bands out there that just copy something else and try to make it their own,” Lewis said. “There are a lot of good bands out there that haven’t made it or don’t want to and they often get exploited.”

“A band like Glassjaw, which is a real cool band, never really got very popular, and now there are 10 bands that are trying to sound like Glassjaw,” Lewis said. “With us, it doesn’t matter. We don’t have to make a song for radio, and we don’t have to make a heavy song. We just do what we want.”

Another element of hardcore Lewis continues to implement in his lifestyle is being straightedge, a belief that has many interpretations but mostly refers to a musician or fan of hardcore who does not take drugs or alcohol. Lewis said he drank heavily in his late teens and one day decided he had enough.

“To me it is such a cliché,” Lewis said. “That all of a sudden now that we move up a bit that we have to get blasted every night and have sex with a thousand groupies. I don’t need alcohol to have a good time. I don’t wake up with a hangover, which helps my performance, and I don’t spend money on it. It is something that I think would be more popular, but it’s so ingrained in our culture that it is difficult for people. But me personally I despise it.”

As a pop/punk band that continues to carry its hardcore musical roots and lifestyle influences, Lostprophets is a breath of fresh air in a musical style that is currently dominated by radio-friendly fakes such as Good Charlotte and Avril Lavigne. With a creative sound that goes deeper than most, Lostprophets will continue to increase their reputation as a rising band in rock music.

Their next single, “I Don’t Know,” will be released shortly as they continue touring the country. The tour includes stops in Minneapolis Oct. 14, Milwaukee Oct. 15 and Chicago Oct. 16.