(This is a repost of my EDMTunes feature article about The Prodigy. Show them some love for giving me the platform to write about talent that either no one’s heard of yet, or no one cares about anymore. Here’s to hoping I’m right and The Prodigy remind everyone in 2015 why they’re the best at what they do. The Wolverine of the Main Stage as it were.)
We’re at the precipice of another major shift in EDM. No, it’s not big room finally dying, or progressive house returning to center stage. It’s a little more base, a little more primal than that. The Prodigy are releasing a new album, and with it, an entire industry will pivot, as they say it will “wipe the floor with dance djs.” It’s easy to forget how crucial The Prodigy is to American EDM. Whether they’re headlining Lollapalooza (1997), Coachella (back in 2002) or being one of the biggest acts to play Ultra Music Festival twice (2006 & 2009), all the way back when it was only a 1 Day/weekend festival, most DJs you hear today draw inspiration in one way or another to The Prodigy.
In case you need a refresher, The Prodigy was formed by Liam Howlett in 1990. Maxim & Keith Flint are two of the more visible faces of the group (the two guys yelling and having crazy body modification in every video). This group was one of the ones there, pretty much at the beginning. To note, MDMA had been illegal for less than 15 years when this group showed up on the burgeoning UK open air & warehouse rave scene. They pioneered a sound called “big beat” which is the genre you’re thinking of when you think of The Prodigy, Fatboy Slim, Chemical Brothers & even The Crystal Method. This hard-hitting, aggressive & at times, terrifying (especially if you lived in the UK/US suburbs) sound was essentially the brostep of the 90’s. This sound, roughly approximating the halfway point between a rave and a soccer riot, took the UK by storm. This early work didn’t make it over the pond, but as they got bigger, they moved decidedly toward the soccer riot end of the music spectrum.