The Prodigy History


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The Prodigy story starts with a 12" EP called What Evil Lurks, the four tracks of which were taken from the youthful Liam Howlett's first demo tape. The EP was enthusistically received on the then-massive rave scene, and it remains a hardcore club anthem to this day, as well as being one of the most sought after pieces of dance vinyl of all time. On the back of the EP's underground success, The Prodigy gigged extensively throughout the UK, and were able to make their first trips [what sort?] abroad. In Italy they were hailed as pop royalty and mobbed by ecstatic ravers.

On August 12 1991, The Prodigy released their second single - the legendary Charly. There was a huge buzz around the track months before its release, and that excitement was justified when Charly shot to Number 1 in the National Dance Charts and to Number 3 in the Gallup Top 40. "Charly" inspired a string of copycat records, and triggered the notoriously heated "Is Rave Dead?" debate. Amid all the furore it was easy to miss the facty that Charly was one of the most successful dance records of the time, and far better than any of the opportunist tunes that came in its wake.

Twenty-four year-old Liam Howlett is the musical force behond the Prodigy sound, although there are three other members who contribute to the live performance - Maxim Reality, Leeroy Thornhill and Keith Flint. Liam was once the DJ for the London rap act Cut To Kill, but he became disillusioned with the rap scene's aggressive attitude after experiencing the "Love, Peace and Happiness" vibe that dominated the rave scene.

Liam is also a classically trained pianist, whose ambition once was "to get a record deal and put out a few tunes". That goal was achieved very quickly, so Liam is now concentrating on maintaining his status as the most successful hardcore underground act, blending his unique sound of hip-hop beats and manic house music, and, most importantly, keeping the crowds happy.

Extract from the New York Times, Sept. 22, 1994
IT'S A JUNGLE OUT THERE
And Liam Howlett of Prodigy, a best-selling techno group here, said: "We just did a festival with a guy from the American rap group Wu-Tang Clan, and he was in his bus with his crew listening to jungle. All it's going to take is for one person from his scene to get a jungle remix of one of their songs, and it's going to be all over America, too."


Liam Howlett Interview (MTease)


If you want to renew the tax disc on your car, you need Form V11, unless you want the disc to run from a later date, in which case ask for Form V10 at any main post office or Vehicle Registration Office. If you want to renew your insight into the techno-pop psyche, start here. This month: Liam Howlett of The Prodigy.

Prodigious Liam and The Prodigy have four hit singles and an album Experience behind them, and have just completed sellout tours of Japan and Greece. The autumn will continue te live presence in Europe and America, with UK dates already confirmed. A new EP One Love is scheduled for release in September, followed by a single and a brand new album by the end of the year.

1. What was the first synthesiser you ever played?
"Moog Prodigy."

2. Who is your favourite musical pioneer?
"Pink Floyd."

3. What's the difference between Take That and Stravinsky?
"Stravinsky wrote good original music. Anyway, who cares?"

4. What's the difference between a drum kit and a drum machine?
"Size!"

5. Playing live: why bother?
"You may not think so, but I feel a dickhead miming in front of a crowd"

6. Which record says most to you about music technology?
"Any Aphex Twin tune, because he creates his own technology"

7. What does the word multimedia mean to you?
"What does the phrase 'Bad Boy Don Gorgon' mean to you?"

8. How do react to hearing a sample of your music on someone else's record?
"Depends who it is. Someone respectable, it's OK. 2 Limited - I'm getting paid in full."

9. What is the next piece of equipment you would like to buy?
"A Casio home keyboard with pop/rock/disco preset rhythms."

10. Will technology become invisible?
"No, but it has already become too easy to write music."

The column above is taken from and is copyright MT - The Music Technology Magazine, Issue 83 - Sept 1993.