The Prodigy get festive Down Under
The Prodigy bring their own festival Down Under for Future Music, writes Cameron Adams
GENE and Ace regularly hassle Liam Howlett about the overdue album by his band The Prodigy. They’re not impatient members of Kiss, although Gene Simmons did record The Prodigy’s Firestarter, which Howlett called ‘‘awful, terrible’’ at the time.
Howlett, a Kiss fan, called his son Ace and his brother-in-law Liam Gallagher’s son is called Gene.
‘‘Gene keeps asking me ‘Have you got any new music’,’’ Howlett says, noting it’s nearly four years since The Prodigy’s last release, Invaders Must Die.
‘‘When Invaders came out my son Ace and Gene were sorted out with Prodigy merchandise – T-shirts, rucksacks, the lot. They were running around in Prodigy gear much to Liam’s dismay. He was trying to get them to wear his clothing line Pretty Green.’’
The kids are realising what the rest of the world has long known – The Prodigy work at their own speed.
They may release a new song by the time they play Future Music Festival in March. Or maybe not.
‘‘The main thing is we are coming with new material to play live,’’ Howlett says.
‘‘There’s no point coming with the greatest hits show again. We’ve done that so many times.’’
This time, The Prodigy will stage their own festival within the Future Music Festival. The Warriors Dance Arena, which ran as a stand-alone festival in Tokyo, Serbia and London, will be housed in a noisy tent at Future. As well as The Prodigy playing live, they’ve curated a bill that includes Boys Noize, Feed Me, Zeds Dead, Kill the Noise, DJ Fresh and Zane Lowe.
‘‘It’s taking control, giving people a party from our point of view. It’s The Prodigy’s party,’’ Howlett says.
‘‘You’re coming in to celebrate with us. And we can tell you for sure the sound in our tent will be the best sound in the festival, it’ll be all about the bass.’’
The Prodigy also hope to bring their resident tattoo artist to ink fans with the band’s ant logo.
‘‘One guy got the ant tattooed on his head. Some people are crazy,’’ Howlett says.
The Prodigy are busy working on a new album, with the working title How to Steal a Jetfighter.
‘‘You always know what you’re going to get with us. It’s always going to have the beats and the bass. We’re pirates,’’ Howlett says.
‘‘We take what we like from whatever’s happening in the electronic music scene and make it our own. ‘‘People think we’ve gone dubstep. We haven’t. ‘‘In England, that music isn’t happening so much anymore. It’s like a phase. We stick to our guns. We know what we do. If a new Rage Against the Machine album came out I wouldn’t want it to sound different, just to sound fresher.’’
Howlett wasn’t amused by Muse’s recent dubstep flirtations.
‘‘I love Muse, but I like them as a rock band. It seemed like they were a bit late. When Korn did it with (Dubstep act) Skrillex, even though it wasn’t received very well, it seemed they were ahead of the time.
‘‘It was like Muse missed the boat a bit. I don’t think Muse needed to change. I always get suspect of that. I’m sure they don’t do what they’re told but it seemed like a jump on the bandwagon.’’
Howlett, who says hits Breathe, Firestarter and Smack My Bitch Up remain popular with advertisers and film makers, licensed Breathe for an Aussie beer ad last year – with nocturnally migrating deer.
‘‘That ad felt worthy of the song. You have to protect the tunes. Loads of offers come in but it’s important it’s something of quality. I don’t put them on everything. They’re classic tunes,’’ he says. ‘‘The anthem for Prodigy is Smack My Bitch Up. ‘‘I hear that when I go out. DJs still drop it and it still sounds big and fresh.’’
The album that features those songs, The Fat of the Land, turns 15 this year and is being reissued with young US electro acts remixing their favourite tracks.
‘‘Fifteen years seems a long time but this job keeps me young. When you’re in a band it’s like you’re in a time warp,’’ Howlett says.
The Prodigy play Future Music Festival, at Doomben Racecourse, Brisbane, on March 2.
Future Music Festival stars The Prodigy (from left) – Maxim, Keith Flint and Liam Howlett.