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Interview Liam Howlett
Liam Howlett has been using Live for his Prodigy shows for some time now. The multi-million-selling artist and dance music legend reveals how the software has slotted in with his setup and gives an update on the new Prodigy album.
Liam Howlett has been making music as The Prodigy for nearly two decades, defining and redefining several musical genres along the way. In the early 90s his rave track Charly became a massive hit and from then
on tracks like Everybody In The Place and Voodoo People became anthems for the dance (or even jilted) generation. But it was the album Fat Of The Land that would lead to international superstardom, with tracks like Firestarter and the controversial Smack My Bitch Up – helped by Keith Flint’s unique look and sound – gaining the band a level of notoriety that could only help record sales.
2004’s Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned maintained the momentum, along with the Their Law: The Singles from 2005. Since that time, Howlett’s been working on a new album and trying out several tracks live.
As well as being at the cutting edge of music, Howlett is also a keen technology user. In fact, in the early days of the band he squeezed more out of a Roland W-30 keyboard than anyone before or since, while, of course, the band’s name comes from the Moog Prodigy synth. He has also embraced software and Ableton Live has become integral to the live Prodigy experience.
It was the 1997 Fat Of The Land album that really put Prodigy on the world stage, playing massive venues around the world.
KIT LIST ■ Ableton Live ■ Clavia Nord Lead ■ Various Korg
Electribes ■ M-Audio
controllers ■ Roland
TR-808/909 ■ Roland TB-303 ■ BOSS guitar
pedals ■ Moog Prodigy ■ Event monitors ■ Toa monitors
Ableton Live allows Liam to ensure that no two Prodigy live shows are the same.
“For me, Ableton Live is just really fast for trying ideas out and to see if things can mash together.” Liam Howlett
“Neil McLellan, my producer, made me aware of (Ableton Live) years ago,” recalls Howlett. “But I took one look at it and told him I was into writing music not rocket science. I didn’t pick it up again until a year later and by then I understood it was just a different way of doing something.”
So when he finally got his head around the concept, what was it that attracted him?
“There is nothing out there like it,” says Howlett. “For me it is just really fast for trying ideas out and to see if things can mash together.”
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With album sales of around 18 million, The Prodigy has become one of the biggest dance acts of all time. A new album is expected in the near future.
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