‘Giving it all through dancing’

They are known as the enfants terribles of dance music, genuine representatives of the generation of repetitive beat. They define themselves as «electronic punk» and continue to excite their audiences by balancing between the harshness of a deafening rhythm and the feeling of brotherhood which defines electronica music parties. The Prodigy consists of «mastermind» Liam Howlett, Keith Flint, Leeroy Thornhill and Maxim Reality. In view of their new album «Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned,» as well as their upcoming performance in Athens this Friday, Kathimerini spoke to Liam Howlett. In a review of your new album, I read that it was «more punk than punk itself.» How do you relate to this musical genre? I was 7 or 8 when punk exploded, too young to realize what is was all about. Later on I felt its spirit, however, this sense of street art and adolescent energy, elements I later encountered in hip-hop. I never treated punk as a trend, but as an inspiration and an urge to do what I had in mind, even when I had very little means. From hip-hip to acid You were brought up in Braintree, Essex. What was your adolescence like? I was a hip-hop fanatic, trying to become a good DJ. I reacted strongly when my friends started going to acid house parties in London. They finally talked me into it and I went along one day and there… I lived through an amazing experience, something I had never seen before: deafening nervy music combined with a sense of unity and globalness which filled our souls. On the one hand, there was this explosive energy of punk and on the other was this friendly feeling and comradeship. That’s what happens at the party: The audience becomes one body, a colorful carpet vibrating to the rhythm. If you’re looking to describe our music, you can say that it’s equally divided into punk, hip-hop and electronic dance music. We are not a political band talking about big and important things, we do have a philosophy, however: giving it all through dancing. Do you still go clubbing? I go clubbing, I go to concerts and I also go to the local pub for a beer. Of course I’m not into house music and I avoid big, commercial clubs, but I will always be turned on by the underground scene, real, strong music in small places, known only to the initiated. And since London is the place of pioneering sound, you just have to look a little bit to come across the most exciting things. Life of music What do you in your spare time? Music, music and then some more music. I live for music and the only place where I feel great is the studio. I do have a six-month baby to take care of as well… And are you good at that? I’m neither the first nor the last busy father. I’m looking for the right balance between recording, the concerts and my son. The fact that I became a father doesn’t mean that I will cease to be who I am; on the contrary, it will become an inspiration and lead to new music. Is your music more appropriate for clubs or for concerts? Both. We have dance tracks but at the same we’re a band going onstage, as opposed to DJs who prefer to hide behind the decks. There is no central character at parties, the public is the center of attention. We want our audience to see us, to look at us straight in the eyes. You’ve been to Greece a number of times. Do you like it here? European audiences are always fantastic. We have the best memories of Greece. Why did you choose the «Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned» title? Simply because even though we hadn’t actually released an album in years, we are still the best band around. Oasis How did your collaboration with Oasis’s Liam Gallagher come about? We often saw each other at festivals and we had decided to work together at one point; five years went by, however, before we could put something together. The new album is 50 percent my work and 50 percent collective work – both the band’s and our guests. One of the songs, «The Way It Is,» is based on a sample of Michael Jackson’s «Thriller.» Is this some kind of tribute or perhaps a sense of irony? Who are Prodigy? A group of thieves taking notes from others and creating new music. In any case, music is an anarchistic art form, where anything goes, provided you come up with some kind of feeling. «Thriller» was the most popular pop album of the 1980s. We broke it down, we pulled it apart, we destroyed it and put it back together again. We looked for the various elements in order to come up with a new piece of music, a little bit like a collage made up of old photos. Politics There is a lot of talk in Britain on the subject of Tony Blair’s policies in Iraq. How do you feel about these governmental choices? We use our music to bring people close. I wish we could go to Iraq, we would make people forget, we would give them a break and make them dance like crazy. I wouldn’t like to make political statements like Bono does – he is so famous he thinks that he could change the world through his statements. He might change it, then again he might not, and besides, that’s his problem. Did you watch the Olympic Games? First of all, I would like to congratulate the Greeks. I kept reading the worst commentaries in the British press before the Games: that nothing was going to be ready, that the country was unsafe… What I saw on television, however, had nothing to do with all that. The facilities were fantastic and the venue where the kayaking took place was something else… Actually, how are you planning to use this stadium from now on? The Prodigy appear at the Rodon club on Friday, October 1. Rodon, 24 Marni, tel 210.523.7418 and 210.524.7427. Concert starts at 9.30 p.m. and admission is 35 euros. The interview was translated from the Greek text.

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