The Times of India
Liam Howlett, singer and songwriter of the band The Prodigy speaks to us from London about performing in Delhi at the Invasion music festival on January 15.
First time yeah, we've never been to India before. We heard like we have a few fans over there. Over the years we have been trying to come to India, we are excited about it, and the fans can expect it to be explosive and everything that they are hoping to be. We are coming to raise the roof, just come rocking you know.
Very much so. We have always been... it's me who has always had an interest in melodies and the kind of notes that come from India... to me it's kind of magical and totally different from anywhere else. And I like that sound. I've always put that in our music. "Smack My Bitch Up" and five other songs have had a slight Indian influence and that type of sound.
Don't know anything about the pop or rock music scene out there at all, but I'm interested in learning about that. It's like... is it Asha Bhosle? In the 70s, her music in the movies in India... I love that sound... it's got kind of a distorted energy about it. And that's where the inspiration first started, that kind of mad sound she created. I don't know anything about the modern music scene in India. Indian classical is another thing. I like the sound of it... it sounds on the edge.
Umm... that would be exciting. We want to stay a while and hang out and kind of go around and soak up the atmosphere of the country. Like I said, we have been trying to come to India for probably about 10 years. We have been trying to make it happen for 10 years now because we just hear from different people that maybe our fan base isn't massive, but people like us over there (India), so we really wanted to come.
I don't know (laughs). You know... it's promoters and you know it gets difficult at times to get things together. But we have always wanted to go there.
We hope to stay here for a bit and travel around. I wanna figure out a plan. When I go to America or Russia, I'm not really interested to go sightseeing. In India it seems like... there is a lot to see there, and it's exciting for me, so I'd like to see it.
Everything. We will play old stuff, new stuff, and stuff that might not have been released. We kind of like playing different versions as well. People like to listen to classic tunes as well, but we have made tiny little remixes and things like that. And people would like to listen to the live version of The Prodigy 'coz people can buy the record if they want to listen to the studio version, but if you want to see us live then it would be slightly different you know.
It goes hand in hand. We write music to play on stage, that's what we do. We have always been a band that has been about playing live and performing on stage. We are proud of the fact that we write music that would end up on stage. We are not really interested in writing music for any other reason, or rubbish. It's our release and it's written to end up on the stage. I love being in studio 'coz I know at some point my music will be played on stage. If we didn't play our music live then our music would probably be different.
Yea, absolutely. Just all the gigs we have done this year, people have really responded to new material. And we have got young people into our music and if they are excited and they respond and they have a good time, and they kind of go "wowed and mad" then... that gets us excited. We always do our job to get people excited... and if they just stand there they might as well go to some other band.
(Laughs)We won't be subdued. We don't carry around big stage sets. Don't know whether you hear this, but basically we don't really use props or live things like this. The focus is on the band and the music. Bands like Iron Maiden, may need huge things on stage to make them more exciting. But for us, the band is about the energy from us and the music. We don't need cheap props and the screams and all that nonsense, you know. We have lights, to light up the stage, but try to steer away from anything that takes you away from the music. We just keep it low. We like it to be raw... like raw experience and energy. We are not interested in... like choreographed or planned out. We don't know what song we are gonna play next; we change the order of the songs around us as we go along. It's spontaneous and keeps it exciting.
Of course, I'm always interested to hear what the kids are doing because what the kids are doing is what might happen next. Like in England, I'm always listening to what's happening, what's coming out on the street, you know... There might be one young producer who has the key to a new sound. I think as a producer you always want to know what's going on, and I would definitely be interested to hear any thing new
We don't class our self as techno. The thing about The Prodigy is that we have steered clear of any labels and we're not a purist band, and all our influences are kind of like... well my influences came from the Sex Pistols, Public Enemy, hip hop and the Beasty Boys and some techno. And all of this stuff mixed together make our sound, which really isn't techno. Techno is for the purists and we are not purists. We are kind of like...a mish-mash and it's a lot of different stuff.
It's difficult. We have always stayed away from major record companies because they want to control all, but at the end of the day it should be the artistes dictating where it kind of goes to... It's difficult coz it's getting much more hard, and that's why it's important for bands to play live and get noticed. Record sales are damned for all bands. Record companies are always looking to make money...so we have always kind of tried to stay with small record companies that can be really quick with decisions and move around quick and do exciting things quickly rather than be part of a big machine like big record companies... this is not for us.
The band has never been pure, like I said before. We didn't want to be labelled techno. When we play live we are like an electronic rock band. And the music has the aggression and attack, that's designed to play it live and be in your face. And if people are more into 'stop the dance music and all the nonsense', then The Prodigy is for them.
Just a new experience. When the guy said that we were booked to come, we said 'Nah! That's not going to happen' coz this has happened before... where we got our hopes up and nothing really happened. But this time it is happening. We are really excited and really don't know what to expect. In India, it's like an exciting new challenge...and I hope to be inspired.