Despite fiercely refusing to compromise in a bid for commercial success, The Prodigy have still sold more records than any other act in dance music. With the technical wizardry of Liam Howlett and the raw punk performances of Keith Flint and Maxim, few bands are as explosive on stage. They say you should never meet your heroes, you’ll only be disappointed. Bugger that I say, The Prodigy don’t do disappointment. They’re playing the Big Day Out and some sideshows in January. Don’t miss them.
Your new album Invaders Must Die is out soon. What’s it like? That’s a hard question. I’d say exciting, all band encompassing… can’t wait to take it on stage… fuel for the band… Prodigy music that you know certainly goes back to its earliest roots. But without a doubt does not regurgitate the past. We’ve always tried to make our music more melodic. But you know, melodic and that tough, incessant kind of Prodigy sound… It’s hard to achieve, but we’ve definitely achieved it on this album. Without a doubt it’s a fresh sounding album that we’re incredibly excited about. It doesn’t just feel like we got there in the end. We are like really fuelled by this album. Which is what’s important for a band. This is what takes us out on the road, and that’s what we love, the band is a live band. It needs the bangers behind it. I’m as excited as a fan as much a member of the band.
And is it true that Dave Grohl, of Nirvana and the Foo Fighters, features a fair bit on the record? Yeah that’s right, I think he’s on three of them. Basically Dave got in contact with Liam and was just like, “hey man what’s going on?”. Right back in the day he made it known that he was a fan of the band, and you know, you do countless tours and you get to know a guy. You know, we’re not all smoozing with our rock ‘n’ roll buddies, but he’s a good guy, we’ve shared a tequila with him.
It’s almost 20 years now since you rode the crest of the rave movement. What was it like being in the middle of it all? I’m really proud to be part of a true British youth culture movement. When something grows from the underground, that no-one knows about it, the record companies don’t understand, the radio stations don’t understand, it just evolves, this raw underground culture, when it comes out like that… It has its own sound, its own music, it own look. I’m really proud to have truly been a part of that. It wasn’t a fake movement, it was real, it was renegade. When you look back at some of the mayhem that went on, it was really something, it was one of the great movements of our time. I look back at it with great fondness.
It must be pretty mad for you looking back, thinking it all started by dancing to some rave tunes? Totally. My role was to dance on stage to tracks that Liam had written and to get into clubs for nothing and to have a laugh. People said to me then, “enjoy this year ‘cos if you get a year out of it then good luck to you”. It’s like I’m still living that year. But the funny thing is we didn’t expect anything, we just wanted the next gig, another night out. That’s all we wanted, another night out. And suddenly we found ourselves representing a scene that we looked up to. All that was mad. We’re still living that one year.
You’re famous for your wild looks. Is that something you work on? I’ve got one life and I’m going to live it. It’s about trying to get a “fuck the world, I’m not answerable to anyone” syndrome. You just do what you want, you just express yourself to the full. I am my own boss, it’s just a natural process. Full on expressionism, you know what I mean. You realise you’re on stage and it’s like, “yeah I fucking am”. You stand on stage and you want to be as loud and proud as you can. It’s a very natural thing.
Do you ever seek controversy? No. Anything that happens naturally, you can’t choreograph it. Out of that comes a bit of controversy. We don’t mind controversy, but we never court it.
You’re heading Down Under soon yeah? Absolute buzz, we really love doing the Big Day Out, it’s a really important thing for us. We know we’re gong to rock it, it’s going to really kick off. We’re so at home there. I know it seems like the right thing to say but hey man we love it. The thing I love about the Big Day Out is that all the bands travel on the whole thing together. It’s kind of like this big freak show on the road that grinds it’s way around Australia, that’s what I love about it, that’s why I’m in a band. It’s just awesome. It’s really exciting. It’s a big behemoth.
See the Prodigy at this year’s Big Day Out. Tickets are still available for Auckland (Jan 16), Melbourne (Jan 26), Adelaide (Jan 30) and Perth (Feb 1), plus sideshows. Visit www.ticketmaster.com.au or www.bigdayout.com