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A Sit Down With DJ Prodigy

15:48 Mar/21/2018

The Prodigy’s journey started over two decades ago. The UK based electronic music trio were among the pioneers of the big beat sound that dominated the ‘90s and 2000s. Even in 2013, the band continues to deliver a matchless live show full of energy, punk vocals, and of course their no-nonsense approach to electronic instrumentation – all of the elements that give The Prodigy their unique imprint in the music scene


"A DJ is someone who just plays other people’s music."


How was it when you took Prodigy over there for the first time?

The thing with touring with a band is it’s a totally different thing to DJ’ing. I don’t really think they understood the band and where we came from. I think it’s only now that they really understand what dance music is, coming at the peak of the moment.

Coming from your background as an MC with tying in the hip hop with the electronic, what do you think the correlation is between hip hop and electronic based music?

Quite a lot. I’m quite a traditionalist, I suppose is probably the word to use. I kind of know the history of music. That’s just me personally. I don’t think a lot of kids in the electronic scene know the history of music and where certain things come from and certain styles. Dance music has been influenced by funk, reggae, [and] hip hop – even the beats like funk and soul, rare groove, and blues as well. It’s kind of like all those influences are in trap music [and] in electronic music. A lot of people don’t see that. They just think electronic music was just born out of nothing. It’s funny, I was just doing an interview the other day and I was trying to explain to the interviewer where specials, like dubplates, [come from]. For instance, say Skrillex has a track and he has a MC like – I used Chuck D– if he used Chuck D and said “Yeah, this is Chuck D representing for Skrillex” and he wrote that on a track and put that out. I had to explain where that came from. That came from reggae sound systems doing specials and dubplates. He didn’t understand. He was like “Oh, we just call that drops here.” I said, “Well, its got a foundation and that comes from reggae sound systems.” A lot of people in electronic dance music don’t understand where certain aspects of electronic music comes from. Those hip hop tracks, vocals, emceeing – it’s all from hip hop. Actually, hip hop got it from back in the day when people were scatting, people were rapping, people were emceeing in Jamaica and on the streets of New York and so forth. So, its all got foundation.

Fans want to know, how long have you been DJing? When did you first start and is it something you did at home, parties, etc.

The first time on the decks was about 6 years ago, and the first gig I played was in Berlin 5 years ago.
I have decks at home – so I’m always on them – but my kids hate it.

So, you went from touring with The Prodigy to doing a solo set behind the decks. What do you think will be your biggest hurdle DJing solo?

Lack of performance.

Do you see yourself doing more DJ’ing or more with the band in the future?

The DJ’ing fits around the band. The band will always come first. I’m never sat around twiddling my thumbs, I’m always doing something creative such as DJ’ing, or painting, or art, but the band always comes first. DJ’ing doesn’t have the same kind of performance, that spontaneity of performing your own tracks and the energy that you create amongst yourselves. It’s not the same as bouncing to your own tracks and watching the fans bounce to the tracks you’ve written.

How do you maintain your fitness? You’re always looking in great shape on stage. Do you train with Royce Gracie often?

I’m at a stage where fitness is very important to me. I’m all about mental and physical fitness. I work out regularly with a good friend called Toby Rowland. When Royce is over in the UK, then I might have a session with him. He’s a personal friend, so we hang out too.

You’re a British artist conquering the states as a DJ for the first time, how do you think they’ll respond?

I’m quite open minded really. I am playing a lot of Trap music. Trap music is going down well there, but I don’t really know how receptive they are to people from the UK. It’s quite a hard nut to crack over in the US, it’s down to the luck of the draw. I don’t really understand the States to tell you the truth!

Trap is a new genre really, or rather a blend of other genres. What do you think the future holds for it?

I think at the moment it’s quite a good time for electronic music. There is a lot of creativity about where as 4 or 5 years ago it was a bit stagnant. I just like what ever comes about really, I’m not into the names…Modestep, Brostep, all these different kind of steps. I just look for tracks that excite me. I don’t care what genre it is, I just look for creativity in music. People always say “Trap’s not going to last” or “Dubstep’s not going to last”, but I don’t get caught up in “I’ve got to keep it”. Music will always evolve and people will never stop going out and partying. There is always something new that everyone will listen to. I’m not bothered about the next wave that comes a long, I just enjoy finding new tracks that excite me.

Electronic music has changed immensely over the past 20 years – especially in accessibility. What would you say have been the pros and cons of that?

The pros are it gives kids and people the freedom to write their own music, to express themselves, [and] get their music out quicker – people on Facebook or however. It’s taken out of the hands of the record label. That’s the pros. The cons are you get so much shit out there. (Laughs) Good music always prevails and always comes through. Yeah, you get a lot of rubbish out there. I get sent quite a few tracks through companies and so forth and through friends. I get so much trash, like ‘What is that? What is that?’ to sift through. You get one gem. It’s got its pros and cons. Technology has helped feed the masses, but some rubbish as well.

Are you planning to do more paintings in future, any plans for more exhibitions? Some fans missed out on purchasing your work. Would you consider selling poster prints on The Prodigy Online Store?

Yeah! I love painting. It’s a good release for me when I’m not doing gigs or DJing. I will be doing another exhibition in London, hopefully, at the end of the year. I only sell the paintings now. I did do a few prints a while ago, but I didn’t think they did my paintings justice – so I stopped. The majority of my paintings are with MK gallery in L.A. at the moment, but check my website MM-Gallery.com to see the work!


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