PRODlGY ARE llO'l‘TER than most Firestarters can cope with these days. Such has been the sense of anticipation surrounding their recently released and long- overdue album The Fat ()f The Land that publicity is the last thing they need. Press and public alike are gagging to see Prodigy in the flesh.
So when they grant one print interview this side of the world. and Keith and Leeroy walk through the door of an Essex hotel. the atmosphere is electric.
Both band members humbly accept that thousands of their fans would kill to be in this room with their idols. and they agree to lead those fans by the hand into The Far Of The Land. Songwriter Liam l-lowlett promised that Prodigy intended to ‘melt some brains’ with this album. which would be more ‘out there‘ than Music For A .li/Ied Generation. Is it‘.’
‘This album is a total reflection of the live show at the moment. bang tip—to—date in terms of what the Prodigy is about right now.‘ says Leeroy. "l‘here‘s no track that‘s just techno. it‘s a collection of real hard stuff so maybe it is further “out there“ in that way.‘
Keith agrees. ‘Something like "Fuel My Fire“ has got to be the furthest we‘ve ever pushed the punk side of things and I know the press will get on our case about that. because it‘s so far removed from anything else we‘ve done. Fuck ‘em. I‘ve no worries about the crowd because when we do it on-stage. they love it.‘
Leeroy also stresses that the testing ground is the band‘s fanbase. look at something like “Firestarter” and look at one of our earliest things. “Charly”. Anyone who‘s followed us down that line knows what the band‘s about. And they probably are
as I'll! usr 22—28 Aug 1997
open—minded and look forward to where we‘ll go next . . . We‘ve kept our identity along the way. It‘s expanded a bit. gone off in different directions. bttt basically come back to where we started.‘
Keith rejects any suggestion that the
‘If people take the piss out of how I dress and look, that’s just because they haven't got the balls to express themselves this way.’ Keith
‘really heavy punk vibe‘ on The Fat Oj'T/ze Lam! means Prodigy have sold out on their dance base. '
‘Liam and Maxim might say that this album is a return to their dance roots. but not me.‘ he says. ‘I was there. had tne lino. broke me neck a couple oftimes trying to spin on it. enjoyed the beats. the scratching. the vibe. but I wasn‘t personally into the hip hop scene. I was into anything. from whatever angle. that had a vibe. rhythm. drive. had some soul.
‘I hung out with a lot of people from the hip hop thing but a lot of my friends went in a different direction. ended up involved in violence. prison: "street". but that‘s not my thing. waste of your life. I went for hangin‘ out. smoking draw. ridin‘ me motorbike. going to festivals. But I found mesclf not being able to dance. It wasn‘t until someone explained the dance scene to me. with a passion. and said: “If you‘re not there you‘re going to miss out“. then I realised “eh. I can come here. be me. hang out. dance. express myself as I want“. That was a good release.‘
Our fans definitely don't need to be doing drugs to enjoy our music. It'd be great if we could turn an audience inside out, straight, with just the music.’ Keith
Left to right: Liam, Maxim, Keith and Leeroy
Keith‘s words neatly sum up the basic appeal of Prodigy to many fans. The band represent a vibe that has far more to do with self-expression than purely music — particularly Keith. whose crazed lead singer persona has al'ready been parodied in the current TV ad for Lucozade.
‘When you‘re on-stage the music makes you want to let go. you don‘t control that, it‘s something that just happens.‘ explains Leeroy. ‘So when people say during photo shoots. “Pull faces. get scary. do this. do that“. you can‘t. because that is something that is natural. It‘s not manufactured. You don‘t say: “Oh. this is my scary face.“ it just happens when the music comes on.‘
Keith shrugs at the media hype that equates his manic stage persona with the real thing. ‘l‘m not scared that people are going to think I‘m scary all the time.‘ he says. ‘l‘m not going to sit there. throwing my food at you. spitting at you. so you‘ll go back and write how mental I am.‘ He laughs and begins to tttck into his lunch. which is something far less exciting than fried rats or mashed human skulls. ‘As much as that may be me. you can‘t go on living that 24 hours a day.‘
He adds: ‘lf people take the piss out of how I dress and look. that‘s just because they haven‘t got the balls to express themselves this way. I‘m not frightened to extend my personality to how l look. on-stage or off.‘
Prodigy always claim they are driven by a core craving for ‘the buzz‘. which they say only hits its peak when they are performing. Does this buzz supersede the rush that can come from drink. drugs. fast vehicles or sex‘.’