The Prodigy have announced details of a 2023 UK tour, as well as telling NME about the band’s plans to “continue to ignite, uplift and destroy”. Check out dates below, along with our interview Liam Howlett.
The band suffered the loss of frontman Keith Flint when he took his own life back in 2019, aged 49. Last year, the surviving members of the band hit the road for their first live tour since Flint’s death – incorporating a tribute to the icon during ‘Firestarter‘ in their high-octane set.
“We really felt the crowd were there to support us and give us the energy back and we are eternally grateful for that,” Howlett told NME. “It was highly emotional and very special. Flinty will never leave us; he is embedded deep in the soul of this band and his energy will be felt in the music and through us onstage. That’s what i know and feel.”
In a five-star review of their gig in Liverpool, NME wrote: “Uniting a misfit crowd of ravers and metalheads alike to celebrate life and legacy, their flame is burning brighter than ever. Not only are The Prodigy back, they’re here to reclaim their throne.”
Now, off the back of a long run of comeback shows and international festival headline dates, the rave rock legends have announced the ‘Army Of The Ants’ tour – a run of winter UK shows in Glasgow, Manchester, Leeds, Brighton, Cardiff and Birmingham and London, where they’ll be supported by Soft Play (formerly known as Slaves).
As we look ahead to what’s next, The Prodigy’s Liam Howlett answered some questions for NME about honouring Flint, their new stage show, their legacy, and what to expect from new material.
Hello Liam. How have you found the recent shows and the audience’s reaction?
Howlett: “It was better than we ever hoped it would be. It took a lot of heartfelt discussions between me and Maxim to get to the point of getting back on stage. Sometimes we wanted to, then we didn’t – but ultimately we felt it was fukin’ important to us, however hard and emotional it was gonna be, it had to be for the right reason. We wanted to honour our brother Keef but do it in the right way. The whole tour was epic for us. It was so emotionally charged, uplifting, sonically violent… Everything we love.
“I wanna personally say thank you to everybody that came to those shows. I spoke to people that came from Australia just to see us, all over the fukin’ place. I respect you all for the love and support. You made it great.
“As for the future, The Prodigy is bigger than just the band: it stands for something, the people know this, we know this …. even more after playing live again. I’m energised by that and we are back in the studio writing new tunes. The prodigy will continue to ignite, uplift and destroy just as we always did.”
What can you tell us about the sound and energy of the new material, and when can we expect to hear it?
“I think I finally realised that I can’t write new finished Prodigy music unless we are doing gigs and [are] out there submerged in it. The best time to write for me is after I come off stage – that’s when the clearest vision is. The sweat and peoples faces are fresh in my mind, the feeling is present – know what i mean ?
“So yeah, I’ve been in the studio writing loads of beats and pieces but now we are back on tour it’s easier to feel what is the strongest shit and smash that into new tunes. I always write Prodigy music with a strong vision of us playin’ it live onstage .. nothing else comes into it.
“Keef always used to say, ‘In the studio the music is 2D, but when it hits the stage it becomes 3D. Playin’ it live brings it to fuckin’ life ’ – and he was right.”
What are you planning for this next tour to shake things up?
“Whatever we do, we will always make sure we fully represent what we have always been about: integrity, respect and to bring maximum ruckus… That’s what this band exists for.”
Why did you choose Soft Play as support?
“Because they are fucking great – simply that.”
You recently celebrated the 25th anniversary of ‘The Fat Of the Land’. What do you remember about the mood in the camp when you were writing and making that album?
“We were touring a lot so we were always busy, bizniz as usual, just writing the album.
‘Firestarter’ did come out a while before the album, but I had already written most of it. We were just getting on with what we were doing and staying focussed.”
Did you sense that you were making a game-changing record?
“I knew ‘Firestarter’ was something that people hadn’t heard before for sure, also ‘Breathe’. We were just on fire really and properly on the attack.”
How would you describe the character or spirit of the record?
How did it feel to be so at odds with Britpop, but embraced by the likes of Oasis and the music media at large?
“It fuelled us, we thrived off it. We always loved to be the underdogs because we knew we could destroy any band onstage – but much the same as Oasis were always ‘The People’s Band’, so were we too on our side of the fence. That’s what we always knew.”
Full dates for the UK ‘Army Of The Ants’ tour are below, with tickets on sale from 9.30am on Friday June 16 and available here.
Thursday 16 – Glasgow OVO Hydro
Friday 17 – Manchester AO Arena
Saturday 18 – Leeds First Direct Arena
Monday 20 – Brighton Centre
Tuesday 21 – Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
Thursday 23 – Birmingham Utilita Arena
Friday 24 – London Alexandra Palace