Smack my DJ up! The Prodigy get nasty
Techno-punk rockers The Prodigy, who took the world by storm with their angry lyrics and controversial videos in the 1990s, want to be viewed as a British “national treasure.”
Having released their first album in six years earlier this year, The Day Is My Enemy, the Londonbased trio insist they have been as influential to dance music as Britpop was to guitar rock.
“The Prodigy — what we did for electronic music — is as important culturally as Blur and Oasis,” Liam Howlett, the band’s composer and main writer, told AFP in an interview in Tokyo.
“We’ve always been for upholding the British sound and we should be looked upon as a national treasure.”
Perched on armchairs in a hotel suite and sipping green tea, the middle-aged ravers look every inch rock-and-roll royalty. But they have lost none of their belligerence, strafing contemporary DJ culture with an abrasive new record which draws on their rave roots and packs a punch with fierce cuts such as Nasty and Wall of Death.
“There was a real determination for it to have zero compromise,” said vocalist Keith Flint, he of the spiky hair, tattoos and nose piercings who frightened children with his appearance in the video for the 1996 smash Firestarter.
“There really needed to be an antidote to the DJ scene, which made it quite brutal.”
The track “Ibiza” delivers a scathing attack on mainstream dance music.
“We don’t really care that much but we’ll slag it off when we can,” smiled Howlett. “There’s no creativity behind it. (‘Ibiza’) is a bit of vicious fun really. It popped up out of a conversation.
“Our lighting guy was working for somebody and had this CD and he says: ‘Here’s bla-bla-bla’s set. It’s pre-mixed, it’s his set for the summer.’ I just couldn’t get my head round it — he’s a DJ!”
The Prodigy can barely hide their contempt for the Spanish party island, although the three snigger conspiratorially about recently playing there, just to unleash that tune.
“I don’t like Ibiza at all,” snorted Howlett.
“I don’t like what it represents. The whole electronic music sound has been kind of hijacked really by the pop world. There’s no bands making the harder end of electronic music and we just think it’s our job.
“People are just getting fed this shit,” he added.