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The Prodigy – All about the band and the musician: biography and facts

About the legendary electronic band...

The story of The Prodigy and the sad end of Keith Flint...

The Prodigy is an electronic dance music band formed in Braintree, Essex in 1990. The band went global with the singles "Firestarter", "Smack My Bitch Up" and "Breathe"! They are credited with all sorts of titles, like "The Godfathers of Rave" and the like! And they really are! Their albums as a whole have sold 25 million copies... Dozens of prestigious awards, success! And... losses. The full story of an iconic band!

Composition

The Prodigy (early photo)
The Prodigy (early photo)

Liam Paris Howlett is the driving force behind the band's sound. The founder of the world electronic project was born in 1971 in Braintree, Great Britain. He was educated as a classical pianist, and his passion for music started growing in high school... At that time Liam adored Ska and Two Tone. In high school, hip-hop culture caught his attention. So, before long, Howlett was burning with the desire to perform his own material.

After earning the necessary amount of money, Liam bought two cheap turntables. He soon joined the local hip-hop band Cut 2 Kill as a second DJ. Soon the group signed a contract, however - without Liam. And this despite the fact that the guy managed to create a cool track, which, in fact, drew the attention of Tam Tam Records to the work of the band ... Yes, life is often cruel. And realizing this, Liam became disillusioned with the music business, and in particular with hip-hop culture ... So, in the summer of 1988, Howlett first experienced betrayal by his "colleagues".

Fortunately, within a few months, Liam has established himself as a DJ at rave parties! Soon he became a famous face of the Essex scene! And - met Keith Fleet ...

Keith Flint
Keith Flint

Keith Flint dropped out of school without passing his exams. For some time he worked as a driller, after that he traveled around the Middle East and Africa! Flint was a James Brown fanatic. He also came under the influence of such bands as Led Zeppelin and Floyd. Returning to the UK, Keith found himself on the street: he was kicked out of the house. One night the guy slept at the pyramids in Cairo, and the next on the banks of the river in Braintree. One of Kit's comrades, an avid ravers, invited a friend to stay with him. So one night they went to an acid house party...

It was through the coincidence of all the circumstances that Keith and Liam met. The latter's music impressed Flint. Soon a band was formed that included Sharky, Flint's girlfriend.

Getting started…

The Prodigy (Maxim Reality, Keith Flint and Liam Howlett)
The Prodigy (Maxim Reality, Keith Flint and Liam Howlett)

Shortly thereafter, they booked their first PA at the Labyrinth in Dalston, East London, where a promoter told them, "I've only had two PAs before and they were both blown out in five minutes." Liam felt that an MC was needed to perform and contacted Maxim Reality, a reggae MC who has spent the last few years in Nottingham. Maxim got into MC when he was 14 years old, inspired by his brother (MC Starkey). Once in Nottingham, Maxim began a musical collaboration with his friend, with whom, after three fruitless years of cooperation, he broke up ... After that, Maxim went on a short trip to relax and think about his future ... Realizing that music was his first passion, returning to England Maxim moved to London. Soon a mutual friend introduced him to Prodigy:

“I just remember being put in the middle of a dance scene with four people I had just met, and I was just standing in the back with a microphone and chatting a couple of times… And then I realized that I want to do it again!”

Soon Maxim joined the group forever!

The Prodigy Band
The Prodigy Band

With this lineup, the Prodigy began to perform extensively. Their early concerts were sometimes unattended, such as their fifth concert at Hatfield College, where only nine people, including five staff members, showed up. Conversely, their twelfth concert was at Raindance, a massive rave attended by 12,000 people! What made the band exceptional was that their show was live, unlike most of their contemporaries...

Career, success...

Keith Flint on Stage
Keith Flint on Stage

The musicians were moving along a tightrope, balancing the artistic merits and popularity of the mainstream with more flair than any electronic band of the 1990s. In doing so, they leaned toward the spectacle of arena rock and punk theater... Despite the diversity of electronic music and rapid development during the '90s, Howlett changed the sound only moderately: replacing rave-whistle effects and ragga samples with metal chords and chanted vocals proved the only significant difference in the band's evolution from their debut to worldwide breakthrough with their third album, The Fat of the Land in 1997! Prodigy proved a steady presence on the British charts, with more than a dozen consecutive Top 20 singles...

In the early 90s, The Prodigy released the single "Charly", based on an excerpt from a public service announcement for children. It peaked at number one on the UK dance charts, then crossed over to the pop charts, only stopping at number three. It was followed by "Everybody in the Place" and "Fire/Jericho".

The Prodigy showed they weren't a single anthem marvel in late 1992 with The Prodigy Experience, one of the band's first LPs. The combination of short breakbeats with vocal samples from Lee "Scratch" Perry's legendary dub break and Arthur Brown's "Crazy World" propelled him into the top 10 and go gold. Already with Maxim Reality, the single "Earthbound" was released, which made it clear: the DJs who wrote off Prodigy were wrong ... At the end of 1993, the commercial release of "One Love" entered the top 20 singles for the seventh time in a row (in the history of the group .

After several months of track work, Howlett released the next single, "No Good (Start the Dance)." Although the lead single was accelerated vocals (one of the staples of early rave), the next album Music for the Jilted Generation provided the band with a transition from piano-driven pieces and rave-sounding tracks to more (singles with integrated guitar, such as "Voodoo People"). The album also continued a commitment to breakbeat drum'n'bass: although this style has only recently become commercially viable (after a long period of maturation in the dance underground), Howlett has been using it since the beginning of his career. Music for the Jilted Generation topped the British charts and went gold in its first week of release! The album was also nominated for the Mercury Music Prize as one of the best albums of the year.

The Prodigy spent much of 1994 and 1995 touring the world, and performed brilliantly at the Glastonbury Festival in 1995, proving that electronics can sound fabulous in concert venues. The band had already moved from club/rave to more traditional rock venues and the Glastonbury show confirmed the fact that they were no longer just a dance band. Flint's newly emerging personality - the consummate punk showman and master of ceremonies for digital-age crowds - became a starting point for rock critics who were reluctant to cover Howlett (whom they saw as a celebrated keyboardist).

In March 1996, the single "Firestarter" was released. The track was number one in Britain, but the video was actually banned due to complaints about fixing arsons ... Some Top of the Pops viewers also complained that Keith Flint scared their children!

Flint's can't-miss guitar hook and vocal antics -- his first recordings -- made him a quick worldwide hit, and while "Firestarter" wasn't a big hit in the U.S., its high-profile spot on MTV's Buzz Bin introduced the band to many Americans and helped fuel the major labels' desire for electronics over the next year (though Prodigy turned down offers from David Bowie, U2 and Madonna to collaborate).

In early 2015 the band announced their sixth studio album, The Day Is My Enemy. Shortly thereafter, Howlett announced his intention to stop releasing albums and only release EPs, promising that new music would emerge the following year. However, no EPs ever came to fruition. Instead, years passed until 2018, when the band announced that they had signed with BMG Rights Management and would eventually release another album. The set was announced with the singles "Need Some1" and "Light Up the Sky." No Tourists appeared in November of the same year and marked a return to a more synthesized, less "rocky" but no less aggressive sound. Their sixth consecutive UK chart topper, No Tourists, was backed by a short international tour that included plans to go to the U.S. in 2019! On March 4, however, Flint was found dead: he was 49 years old...

Losing Flint...

Keith Flint (the Prodigy)
Keith Flint (the Prodigy)

Keith Flint last performed with the band in early 2019 at the Trusts Arena in Oakland. In March of that year the musician was gone... The cause of death was... hanging. And the musician did it purposefully... All scheduled concerts were cancelled. And although the investigation had no good reason to draw such a conclusion, Flint's relatives repeatedly said that Keith liked to play with fate... It became known that Flint took the break-up with his wife Mayumi Kai, a Japanese model and deejay, hard.

Mayumi Kai and Keith Flint
Mayumi Kai and Keith Flint

Keith Flint was a great guy, very kind and sensitive ... And absolutely everyone was talking about this, right down to his neighbors. Jay Kay, leader of the Jamiroquai, said:

“This is terrible, damn terrible news… He was a great guy! I hope there is a fast bike for him up in the sky! Keith adored speed…”

After the tragic death of the musician, speaking at the Glastonbury Festival in the summer of 2019, Liam Gallagher dedicated Champagne Supernova to Flint ...

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