Sonisphere headliner discuss festival slot and tease their new album
Michael Baggs

12:05 20th May 2014

Where's that new album then, eh? The Prodigy have been teasing new music for several years now, but never has it looked more likely, with the band back on the festival scene this summer to perform a string of huge slots across the globe. For UK fans of the iconic band however, the essential place to see the 'Firestarter' legends will be this summer's Sonisphere Festival, where they'll headline the massive Knebworth event alongside Iron Maiden and Metallica.

The three-piece (Liam Howlett, Keith Flint and Maxim) are no strangers to playing Knebworth, however, having last performed a massive show on the hallowed grounds in 1996 when they supported Oasis. Now, eighteen years later, the band are back and hoping to cause some serious damage when they top the bill this time around.

"Sonisphere will be fucking louder and a lot more pushing and shoving I hope," Howlett tells Gigwise, speaking exclusively about their headline slot, before coyly mocking some of the other bands who performed at the Oasis gig, who perhaps haven't stood the test of time.

"We played under Oasis but way above Ocean Colour Scene and the rest of them," he adds. "It was incredibly hard to go on after Kula Shaker but sometimes you just have to hope for the best."

Prodigy headline the Friday night at the UK's Sonisphere festival, topping the bill ahead of Limp Bizkit, HIM, Band Of Skulls, Gary Numan and more. The band last played Sonisphere in Germany in 2009, with an explosive show that had thousands of fans going mental as the band rattled through their back catalogue of mind-blowing rock and rave anthems. Howlett jokes that the crowd's reaction was due to 'magic dust', leading to festival chaos from early in the set.

"By the opening of 'Breathe' it erupted," he says. "Third tune in."

"We just sprinkle a bit of magic dust on the stage and kick the shit out of it."

But while the band have picked up a reputation for one of the most brilliant festival bands on the planet, their live shows aren't for the faint of heart, and Howlett recalls one gig in particular where the danger levels were ramped up by a violent attack from a gang of rival concert promoters, leaving the band and their audience in danger of serious injury.

"We played a gig in Greece years ago in a quarry," he says. "Halfway through, a rival promoter gang started to throw rocks at the crowd from high up above this quarry and we just kept seeing people all fucked up with blooded faces.

"We thought 'what the fuck is going on here?' This crowd are loving it but violent. Then a load of rocks landed on the stage. That was mildly scary."

The Prodigy will headline Friday night at Sonisphere 

The band will be on safer territory at their Sonisphere gig, playing to a home crowd who have grown up to the sounds of 'Everybody In The Place', 'Smack My Bitch Up', 'Voodoo People' and 'Charly' since the rave days of the early nineties. Indeed, Howlett admits that the worst thing about the UK is missing breakfast in hotels when the band are on tour. "Fucking muppets. Throw on some toast or something," he grumbles.

The big question surrounding The Prodigy's headline slot at Sonisphere surrounds that long awaited new material, however. The band released their Invaders Must Die album in 2009, and announced new record, How To Steal A Jet Fighter, in May 2012. Two years later, no further plans have been announced - despite the band having performed new tracks titled 'The Day' and 'Rockweiler' at live shows in 2012 and 2013.

Watch The Prodigy perform 'Rockweiler' at Rock Am Ring in 2013 below

Howlett is keeping tight lipped on the new album's progress, but when quizzed on what is his favourite release from The Prodigy's history, he leaves us on tenderhooks when he answers simply by saying "The new one you haven't heard".

The Prodigy headline Sonisphere at Knebworth on Friday, 4 July 2014. Tickets for the festival are on sale now. For more information, visit Gigwise Tickets.

More about: