The Prodigy invade America with new album

BMS talks with MC Maxim about the group's new album

, Staff Writer

British techno/rock outfit The Prodigy, after nearly twelve years, have released their newest album as a full group. Regarded as a return to form for the band, Invaders Must Die has been garnering a lot of attention.

The trio recently kicked off a tour of the United States, following a wildly successful arena tour in the UK. MC Maxim was kind enough to speak with us about The Prodigy’s return to the scene, as well as what it’s like being in a band so popular even over a decade later.

Boston Music Spotlight (BMS): First off, congratulations on kicking off a successful tour. How does it feel selling out all those arena gigs after a lengthy period of relative quiet?

Maxim (M): I love it – it’s the best thing ever. It was so unexpected, the turnout, and seeing all the new kids coming out and supporting us. It was a total buzz, this whole album – creating it, touring it in Australia, through to Europe, and now coming to america. It’s an amazing, big rollercoaster ride. Good times all the way.

BMS: How has the live show changed since Fat Of The Land, as far as both technology and crowds go?

M: We’re just a much tighter unit, as a band. Looking back at how we used to tour, it was a rollercoaster. I mean, we just toured continuously until 2002. We got sick of each other, and that’s why we stopped touring then. This album is like, we’re all kinda reinvigorated and tighter than ever before. It’s just fun, whereas before it seemed like more of a chore. This time around we’re much tighter. It’s just fun, being in the band, and that’s what it should be about: having fun, playing your music and really enjoying it, [which is] exactly what we are doing now. I think that’s really reflected on the album, the togetherness.

BMS: So can the road take its toll on a performance? Are you ever just not “in it” on stage?

M: It’s very rarely that we don’t feel it. Every gig is good. Yeah, we get really tired, but we go in with the mindset that we’re going to rock a show. There’s no halfway – every show is an adventure and every show rocks. That’s how we see it. Kind of like now, we’re peaking to the point where everything is firing. The show, the towns…the album is mad, as you know, and we’re just in the best spot we’ve ever been in

BMS: Invaders Must Die has been called a bit of a “return to form” for The Prodigy. Were there many growing pains having the three of you back in the studio together after Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned?

M: We’ve put it all behind us, some of the things that went on during the album. We weren’t talking after we came off the Fat Of The Land tour – we all wanted to do different things. I spent some time with my kids. You know, I’d just had a new child then, and I didn’t want to spread myself between my kid and the band. When Liam [Howlett] was starting to write, I didn’t want to get back in the studio, nor did Keith [Flint]. Everybody’s headspace was in a totally different place.& It wasn’t a tight unit.&

BMS: How do you guys feel about Always Outnumbered, considering how little you and Keith had been involved in its creation?

M: Outnumbered was necessary. We didn’t want to do Fat Of the Land part two, “Firestarter” part two, whatever. That was the best thing for the album, to not feature us. It took folks away from Fat of the Land, kinda reset the band. Once we toured that album and we sorted out our differences, we did the singles album after that. Our contract [with XL Recordings] was ending, and it said we had to do a singles album. When a band does a singles album, it kinda signifies the end of the band, you know? But that wasn’t the case for us. Obviously they felt that the band could go, and weren’t willing to resign us, so the conflict came to an end.&

We started touring again, all friends again. And now there’s a new audience. We checked out what we had done over the last eighteen years and thought “Wow, we’ve accomplished so much.” And once we did that album and put it out and toured it, we were like, “Man we wanna do another album. But we’re not in a deal, and [now] we have the freedom. Let’s get to a studio and start writing.” It was exciting – all friends again, fresh-minded, clear heads and open hearts. That was a good thing. That was the starting point. A new chapter in our career.

BMS: How smoothly did the recording process go?

M: Looking back, there was a learning curve on this album, and we went in with quite open minds. We said “Look, let’s go in and put our ideas down, no matter how silly or trivial they might sound.” So we recorded everything. If I came up with an idea, like a cat and a mouse, la la la, running up the hill, not being afraid to let it happen. And if we felt like it didn’t work, cool, let’s move on. We experimented in many ways, got a couple friends in who played guitar. We tried all these different approaches, but it took 4-5 months for us to really like, realize what we were all about.

BMS: You’ve said that “Warrior’s Dance” was the turning point of the new album. How different is your approach writing a song for a live setting, the way that song started out, versus thinking of things in terms of the studio?

M: We were doing a twenty-year celebration of acid house gatecrasher party, and we said “Let’s forget about the album”, so we wrote this as a live track. [We wanted to] go back to how we used to write things in the early 90s –when the track was written, it was a trigger point, like, “Okay, this is what we used to do, let’s go back to this.” It kinda kick-started something that we forgot. Liam used to create the beats, the energy, the vibe, and [Keith and I] would feed off of that, and that’s how tracks used to be created. Once we did that, the album kinda took place really quickly.

Obviously, we’re a live band, so it’s important with anything we create that we can take it live. If you look at Outnumbered, yeah, we took some of it live, but we had to rework the songs to inject a bit of ourselves in that. Some of the collaborations on that album you can’t take that up live. But this new album here we can take 100% live, because it features all of us, you know? There aren’t as many collaborations on there. It’s definitely 100% a band album. I mean, the previous albums are band albums, too, but they didn’t represent the full like this one does.

BMS: Where do you think Invaders Must Die stands relative to the rest of The Prodigy’s work?

M: I see it as more a triumph than an album. “Invaders Must Die” is the title track, which like sums up what we’re about. When he says “We are The Prodigy,” it’s like, yeah, we’re back. Not in a cocky way, more like “We are Prodigy, check this out. We’re back to form.” It’s definitely a fist in the air, triumphant album. Every track represents something. There’s no filler. You could take track 9 and put it at the beginning, take track 3 and put it at the end, and they will still flow and rock and stand up.

BMS: You guys have got a lot of steam built and are continuing to record, from what has been said in other interviews. Can we expect a smaller gap between Prodigy releases?

M: I mean, you’re getting inspiration all the time, you know?& We’re not even thinking beyond this album at this point. It’s just been three months that this album has been out. We’re in America now, and we wanna spread this noise across all the places we can get it. Thinking about other material is not even in our heads. It’s so far down the line. We’ve got some killer tunes and want to focus on playing those as best we can right now.

The Prodigy played at the House of Blues last night. A full recap of the show will be following shortly.

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