The Electric New Paper

We're musicians not celebrities - Brit band The Prodigy will be one of main draws at next year's Big Night Out

FOR the record, Liam Howlett does not consider himself a celebrity.

Speaking to The New Paper in a phone interview from London, the founder of Brit band The Prodigy said added: 'At least, in the UK, a celebrity is someone you see on TV and that person has neither talent nor depth.

'I'm a musician. It's my job. And it's written on my passport. But you can also call me a professional noise maker.'

Apart from Howlett, The Prodigy also consist of vocalists Keith Flint, 39, and Maxim, 41.

The band, which has sold more than 16million records worldwide, plays music ranging from rave to punk to hardcore and industrial.

Known for its energetic live performances, The Prodigy will be performing at Fort Canning Park in Singapore next February at the inaugural event Big Night Out, organised by LAMC Productions.

The concert is held over two days - one in January and one in February - and will also feature UK duo The Ting Tings.

Homegrown bands Force Vomit and Electrico will be the respective opening acts.

Director of LAMC, Mr Ross Knudson, 44, who is American, told The New Paper: 'There will be four to five hours of entertainment each night. Going forward, Big Night Out will feature predominantly UK acts, because we feel the UK is the heart of the music industry.

'You can say that it is a take on Australia music festival Big Day Out which has been around for 16 years. Big Night Out's annual date here will coincide with that of the Australian event.'

Big Day Out started in Australia in 1992 and has been held in Sydney, Adelaide, Melbourne, Gold Coast, Perth and, outside of Australia, Auckland in New Zealand.

Held yearly in January, the festival features international and local acts performing various music genres. In the past, groups such as Nirvana, Blink 182 and Silverchair have taken part.

Dismissing the celeb tag, Howlett, 37, said he was happy to let the other Liam in his family take the spotlight. Liam Gallagher, that is.

Howlett and Gallagher, 36, are brothers-in-law - the Appleton sisters and ex-All Saints members, Natalie and Nicole, are their respective wives.

Howlett said: 'We hang out all the time. And I always think it's funny when the paparazzi surrounds Liam and Nicole. Natalie and I just bomb off... Maybe there was a little frenzy when Natalie was in (All Saints). But the media doesn't do anything to me now.'

All Saints split in 2001.

Howlett married Appleton (Natalie) in 2002. The couple has a 5-year-old son, Ace. Appleton, 35, also has a 16-year-old daughter, Rachel, from a previous relationship.

Howlett said: 'It helps that Natalie is also from the industry. She understands aspects like touring and managing media attention. That's why we're good together. I'm lucky.'

The Essex native who resides in London confessed that fatherhood did not appeal to him initially.

'I'm not very good with babies. I wasn't interested (when they were) in the baby stage.

'But (when they were) around the age of 2, you started to see the kid's personality. That was when I started enjoying the process.'

To the father, there was no question about Ace's resemblance. Howlett joked: 'He definitely takes after me. He's good-looking like me.'

Even though Howlett and Appleton hail from music backgrounds, the family does not listen to music at home. They watch films.

Howlett said: 'I spend all day listening to music at work. My life is chaotic enough, so when I get home, I just want peace.'

He was also quick to dismiss reports in UK paper The Mirror of Appleton banning daughter Rachel from watching The Prodigy's videos for fear 'they'd freak her out'.

Howlett insisted: 'Rachel is the biggest Prodigy fan. She's also into underground stuff and electronic music. She actually introduces me to new material.'

Critics such as US National Organization for Women had accused the band's hit Smack My Bitch Up (1997) of encouraging misogyny.

Its graphic music video, which was directed by Jonas Akerlund, shows a club-goer indulging in drugs and alcohol, fighting with men, abusing women, and having sex with a lap dancer.

At the end of the video, the mystery person is revealed to be a young woman.

The Guardian reported that MTV aired the video only between 1am and 4am in the UK.

The Prodigy will release its latest and fifth studio album, Invaders Will Die, on 2 Mar next year. It is also the first album to feature the act's founding trio since the much-acclaimed album, Fat Of The Land, in 1997.

Like brothers

Howlett said: 'The band never split up. We're all brothers and, like family members, we do disagree with each other. We weren't speaking for a while, but we've patched things up and returned to touring again. It's been great since.'

The new Prodigy album also features guest drummer Dave Grohl of Foo Fighters in Run With The Wolves.

Howlett said: 'I've known Dave since Foo Fighters began. We last saw each other at UK's V Festival three years ago.

'One day, he e-mailed me and said he wanted to record in the studio again. He didn't know I was working on Invaders. He sent some drum samples and we wrote Run in two days.

'Dave is seldom featured on his own and usually covered by the guitars. So this is rare.'

The upcoming Singapore gig will be the band's first-ever performance here.

Howlett said: 'To be honest, I have no idea what to expect. It's always exciting to play on unfamiliar grounds.'

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