Just A Minute With: British band The Prodigy

Wed Feb 25, 2009 11:30am EST
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By Alastair Himmer

TOKYO (Reuters Life!) - Controversial British dance band The Prodigy, who came to fame with hits such as "Firestarter" and "Breathe" a decade ago, are back with a new album which draws on the group's techno-rave roots.

Known for their incendiary lyrics and dark videos, the band's fame peaked with the 1997 multi-platinum album "The Fat of the Land," featuring the notorious track "Smack My Bitch Up."

The song was banned by some radio stations while TV pulled the plug on its video, which showed strip clubs and drug use, but this has not stopped the group from becoming the biggest-selling dance band of all time with record sales nearing 20 million.

The Prodigy's three core members -- Liam Howlett, Keith Flint and Maxim Reality -- spoke to Reuters after a one-off performance in Tokyo to launch their fifth studio album "Invaders Must Die:"

Q: The Prodigy are used to playing huge arenas. What was it like playing an intimate Tokyo venue?

Howlett: "We just came from Australia where we did the "Big Day Out" festival in front of about 20,000 people. We love both."

Flint: "We played an old U-Boat factory in East Germany once and that was massive -- 35,000 people. Nowadays you can be reached in any context on the Internet -- private life, the music, imagery, anything. But exclusivity comes in being able to see a band and almost be able to touch it. It's the last domain of reality, to bring it back down to those intimate environments. What I like about Japanese venues is that the front barrier is right up against the stage, so when you're bending over, they're right there in front of you. In some European festivals, they're so paranoid, you need a taxi to go and touch the crowd!"

Q: Liam, you made the album "Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned" without Keith and Maxim in 2004. "Invaders" is proper 'old school' Prodigy. How did the new album come about?   Continued...

<p>British techno group "The Prodigy" Maxim (L), Keith Flint (C) and Liam Howlett pose in front of a night view of Tokyo's Roppongi district after their interview with Reuters in Tokyo February 6, 2009. REUTERS/Toru Hanai</p>