Suicidegirls

Liam Howlett interview

It’s hard to believe that it’s been ten years since The Prodigy broke into the mainstream with their catchy techno-like hits Smack My Bitch Up and Firestarter. Well now before The Prodigy releases new material on us later this year enjoy a collection of all their hits with Their Law: Singles 1990-2005.

Daniel Robert Epstein: What are you doing today, press?

Liam Howlett: I’m in the studio.

DRE: What are you working on?

LH: New album, side projects, different shit.

DRE: A solo album?

LH: Not a solo album. Production on another vocalist.

DRE: Can you say who?

LH: It’s top secret.

DRE: What made you decide to put together Their Law?

LH: The record company decided for us. Clause number five in the contract shall be this collection. We didn’t want to do it because we’ve got material that excites me back in the studio to use for new records. But they told us we had to do that next. If we had to do it wanted to do it creatively. So we did things like make it a double album. I’m proud of it but if we waited for another album we would have had a lot more material.

DRE: Even though it is the singles, do you consider it a greatest hits?

LH: I don’t refer to it as the greatest hits because that makes it sound more contrived in a way.

DRE: How involved were you with the DVD?

LH: Everything you see and hear is always a decision by the band members. Through all the videos we’ve done we’ve always directed, co-directed or wrote. We’ve made some good videos and some bad ones and I think it’s important for fans to see everything, one package for people to get what the bands about.

DRE: Do you feel pressure to write something as popular as The Fat of the Land?

LH: Not really. But any band that has a big record always has a certain amount of pressure, maybe more from other people. It was a difficult album to write but the good news is that we’re through that, and we’re in the experimental stage, we’re much happier. It was about three years ago that I was in that state but I’m onto new things.

DRE: How did you to get that pressure off?

LH: If you don’t have pressure you’re not working hard enough. It shouldn’t be easy, it’s never easy. So we’re under pressure and we put pressure on ourselves to make whatever we’re doing the biggest sound, or the angriest beat, to make sure we don’t slack off.

DRE: So Their Law is you getting everything out there so you can move onto new stuff.

LH: Exactly. We can move forward, try different things, try new sounds and we’re back together as three people now. For the last album I didn’t use Keith Flint and Maxim in any vocals. But for the new album, the band is back in the studio.

DRE: So “Wake the Fuck up” is a new track?

LH: Yes. That track was written because we gave a big tour in England, and that track was written as a brand new track to play live for that tour. Since the tour was all about old records we wanted to play some new songs. We didn’t want to carry it over to a new album so I ended up putting it on the compilation album.

DRE: Have you all made up?

LH: Yeah man, we’re all friends again.

DRE: Who made the first call?

LH: None of us did anything wrong to each other, it’s just the pressure of life. We stopped communicating and then paranoia came in and if you’re paranoid about something, the longer you leave it, the more you imagine things are happening when they are not. We decided we wanted to go back and do some gigs and play live and we sorted it out in hotel rooms for the next three or four months. We talked until till three or four in the morning, sorting out all the problems and it’s all cool now. Those guys are like my brothers.

DRE: How experimental will the album get?

LH: We literally just started it so we’re messing around with different ideas. There’s certain criteria this band needs to fit, the main thing is writing tunes that we can play live and that don’t have less energy than the other ones. Songs have got to have the same impact live so the album won’t be too abstract. When we play the new stuff and the old tracks, it has to have the same or more energy. When I’m writing songs, I visualize it on stage.

DRE: How do you do that?

LH: You can picture the energy, the crowd’s response, the dynamic of the tunes, the impact and how it explodes on stage. It’s more of a personal thing between the band members, we just know when it feels right. When that certain beat hits, when that lyric comes out you just know it’s going to really take control.

DRE: What made you decide to cover Dolly Parton and ELO?

LH: The whole of the record is based around what I’ve been playing in my house and these are the tracks that we played. I’ve never been into country western music I remember the effect of this Dolly Parton at a party. So I wanted to capture that within the album, capture that vibe.

DRE: Are you voting for Dolly at the Academy Awards?

LH: No, I just like that track. I don’t know anything about it her.

DRE: Well, you know she has giant breasts, right?

LH: I know what she looks like, yeah. My wife actually sang with her on an English chat show. My wife’s a member of a famous girl group in England [All Saints] and she sang with Dolly Parton on this show, so I saw her there.

DRE: What did you think of the Method Man remix?

LH: It is good. I wanted to be in the studio but it didn’t work out that way. That’s how it is with these compilations. .

DRE: Do you and your wife collaborate?

LH: No, strictly relationship only.

DRE: Why?

LH: I really believe that things should be left separate, that’s the fun of life. We’re both into different things, my wife’s more pop sound and I’m into sort of like the dirt.

DRE: How is your crazy hair going?

LH: I’ve just had the hair that’s a mess and that’s the way I like it. I’m actually proud of never having been to a hair salon. I cut my own hair.

DRE: I can’t cut my own hair. How do you do that?

LH: Just be creative, when it’s messy it doesn’t matter. Just chop it off when it gets too long.

DRE: When do you start touring in the US?

LH: We’ll be coming across this month then and hopefully in July we’re going to do west coast.

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