////MAXIM REALITY (THE PRODIGY)////MAY 2005////
Throughout the nineties you would’ve had to have been dead to not realise the impact that ‘The Prodigy’ had on both the UK and the rest of the world. Both musically and culturally they had an as big of an effect, partially due to their direct reflection of youth rebellion which could be found packed into their musilc, kind of similar to that of The Sex Pistols’ in the 70’s and early 80’s. Starting out with such old school classic’s ‘Charly’ and ‘Out of Space’ they progressed to singles from the highly acclaimed ‘Music for the Jilted Generation’ such as ‘Poison’, ‘No Good’ and ‘Voodoo People’. All this even came before the global effect of ‘The Prodigy’ was evident. The mid-nineties saw Blur and Oasis battling each other and living out the Brit Pop dream, but in the mist of this ‘The Fat of the Land’ was released. The UK was stopped in it’s tracks. With video’s such as ‘Firestarter and ‘Breath’ shocking the ‘Top of the Pop’s’ audience, homes across the country were outraged. Images of Maxim and Keith Flint seething anarchic chants, changed the music scene forever and cemented the Prodigy as of the most exciting and energetic bands in history. Last year saw the release of ‘The Prodigy’s’ 4th album ‘Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned’, which again went straight to into number one in most oxygen breathing countries of the world. MC Maxim took some time out to exclusively speak to Outline, to fill us in on what’s been going on with both ‘The Prodigy’ and on the release of his 2nd solo album ‘Fallen Angel’.
Hey Maxim, how has ‘The Prodigy’ tour been going?
It has been great to get back on the road as we have had a long break and its really inspiring. Big respect to the fans who have come to our gigs and supported us.
Do you still get the same feeling performing live as you did 10 year’s ago?
Yes I get the same feeling being on stage. I can understand why the Rolling Stones still perform, as the adrenalin whilst on stage is like a drug and I can’t get enough of it.
Can i ask how you prepare for these hugely enrgetic shows?
There isn’t much preparation for shows, I just keep my mind totally blank and don’t think about the show until I am getting changed. The shows are always good for us as every show is different. Now I am a lot more prepared and organised, I focus more on the performance than ever. I always want to better myself and put on a good show.
You had less of a vocal roll on ‘AONO’ than on previous albums. Does this effect your performance when doing these tracks live?
No it doesn’t effect my performance as we re-worked some of the tracks to fit into the live set so new lyrics were written and incorporated into the set.
With such a massive back catalogue with The Prodigy, which tracks do you most enjoy performing live and why?
For me Smack My Bitch Up and Poison are the tracks I most enjoy live. Poison is the oldest track in the set but the fans still love it so it has to be in there. SMBU at the moment is the last track of the set and the crowd explode, its like it drains the last piece of energy out of people, so you have to participate you just can’t hold back.
Are you excited about the release of ‘Fallen Angel’?
Yes very excited! This is my 2nd solo album and it is definitely a step forward from my previous album. I feel I have challenged myself as far as production and experimenting with different vocal styles, rather than doing styles that people expect from me.
From conception to release, how long has the project taken?
From conception to finished record it took approx 12 months. After I had completed the first 3 tracks and I found my direction, the rest just flowed. I had contacted several producers but finally decided to produce it myself in my studio with a friend of mine John Fortis who is an up and coming producer and musician. He was playing guitar on some of my tracks and I asked if he would be interested in producing the record with me…the rest is history. I learnt at lot to do with production by doing it myself, so it was a big learning process.
On ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ (your debut solo album), I’d read that although it took around ten years in total, the final stages and release came about because the Prodigy were taking a break. With such huge commitments to the tour at the moment, I wondered why now for the release of Fallen Angel?
Hell’s Kitchen didn’t really take 10 yrs to make, but it was 10 yrs before I was ready to release a solo album. Fallen Angel was written while Liam was writing AONO. Even though we weren’t involved in the vocals on AONO we still had contact and went down to the studio regularly to listen to what he was writing and how it was developing.
What was the idea behind the name ‘Fallen Angel’?
Initially I was gong to call the album “She’s Got Its” I was telling a friend of mind and he said it sounded like “She’s got Tits” he suggested ‘Fallen Angel’, I lived with it for a while and decided yes that’s a good title. The album is all about the ying and yang the good and the bad, and fallen angel is an angel who has fallen from grace so it fits well. All the songs are about fictitious people and stories but it represents life and some of life’s experiences.
Please tell us a little bit about the album regarding both its sound and depth and some of the inspiration behind the music?
I wanted to create a heavy sound, which had beats and bass, and on some tracks also guitars without any one sound dominating the others. I like to create music, which you can turn up loud on a good system and really feel the power the music creates. I always use sampled bass and snares from records as I find you get a dirtier sound than drum machines. I didn’t want to do a repeat of Hell’s Kitchen that’s why the tracks are 31/2 and 4 min songs with traditional song structures and more melodies. It was definitely a challenge writing in this way and I have learnt something new writing this album. Get ready for the next one!
Your lyrical background has always been quite political. Does this carry through this release? Also subject matter’s are dealt with?
On Fallen Angel there is not really any politics as such. The lyrics are more tongue in cheek, but they cover good and bad situations in everyday life.
E.g. Nouveau Riche, this song idea came to me while I was watching a documentary about people with new money via .com businesses. Temptation talks about how people deal with everyday temptations. But I also like to write lyrics that are not so straightforward and simple like Violator. Even the other songs I have just mentioned the lyrics are twisted and take you to different places.
In the past you have collaborated with Skin, Sneaker Pimp’s and bandmate Liam Howlett. Are there any collaboration’s on this album?
I decided not to go for the big names, as I wanted to do something a bit closer to home and personal. So I used people around me who I have known for a long time that had talent, which would enhance the album. The artists on the album are not all direct collaborations but I brought them in after I had finished the tracks. E.g. Heart Sing and Fallen Angel are songs which I wrote and sang but decided to use female voices (Heart Sing – Saffron from Republic and Fallen Angel – Audra Nishita) as I found each song painted a different picture with a female voice on it. I brought in my cousin Porsha, as I knew she had the talent to bring something new to my album. We wrote I Don’t Care together and she features on In 2 U. I didn’t want to go down the old vocal route of straight MC’ing so I used a friend of mine Ill Matrix on Jump Spread Out just to bring that old flavour back out.
If you had the opportunity to have anyone you wanted to appear on the album, who would it be?
I would love to have Gill Scott Heron perform a song. Obviously the music would be harder and more up-tempo but I like the sound of his voice. Also NAS I just think he is the ultimate MC at the moment.
Will there be any chance of seeing a solo Maxim UK tour, when your commitments to the Prodigy calm down a bit?
I plan to do some intimate shows of about 300 capacity when I get time, but my commitments with the band are quite demanding at the moment. So I am probably looking at 2006, but it does mean I will be able to perform some Hell’s Kitchen tracks as well.
So apart from all the musical stuff over the summer, what other plans have you got?
I plan to write some music for Porsha for her solo project and I have another couple of musical projects I am helping people with.
When you do eventually find time to relax, what do you like to do?
I like to go to art galleries and exhibitions but I do relax by doing abstract painting myself. I have been asked to do an exhibition so look out for that!
Finally, in an ideal situation, where will Maxim Reality and The Prodigy be in 12 months from now?
Hopefully by next year we will be touring a new Prodigy album and I would have finished another solo album. So 2006 looks like it will be a good year!!!