Tomorrow night, the Prodigy hit NYC for a sold out show at the Nokia Theatre. We recently had a chance to holler at one of their MCs, Maxim Reality, and chat for a minute about his takes on grime, "greatest hits", and more. Check it out after the jump.
Doing this “Greatest Hits” sort of tour, how does it feel to play songs that you wrote a decade ago?
I’ve never thought of it like that, because a lot of them are quite current. The oldest track, which we play in the set, is “Out of Space.” That’s the oldest track, which is off our first album. You know, all the other tracks we still play currently anyways, its not like we just revamped a lot of songs just to bring to the U.S. But we only play the songs that give us a vibe in the set that’s still uplifting and is still working for us. If it’s not working for us, we don’t put it in the set—so it’s not like we’re just going through the motions, we enjoy what we do.
There’s a lot of routes for an MC to go in the UK, especially in the last few years. Have you been satisfied staying with the Prodigy?
I mean, I did two solo albums, I write a lot of solo music myself. But no, I enjoy the vibe of the band, I enjoy the energy. There is an element of writing lyrics, which I do as a solo artist, and writing lyrics, kind of poetry, on that kind of level, for songs on a solo level. But being in the band, it’s not just about MCing, its about the energy of being on stage and the energy that the crowd gives you. I haven’t seen that energy or experienced that energy in any other scene or any other stage show, even before the band. So it’s the full package for me.
What’s your take on grime and this new wave of rap artists?
Obviously there’s an energy there, but its not the energy I relate to. I’m not from that scene so I can’t really relate to that. The Prodigy is a more confrontational energy, more direct, in your face. Bam! Here it is, you can’t refuse it, its just loud, in your face, its brash. And that’s our energy. The whole grime thing is a totally different energy, but you know I respect it, it’s a long time overdue for young British kids to have a scene of their own, because too many years they’ve been looking to America for hip hop. And American hip hop relates to people in America.
You’re working on your fifth studio album with the Prodigy, how are you structuring it? More in the vein of the old stuff?
We’re always trying to do something different, upping the ante. It’s gonna feature Keith and myself, and its gonna be more melodic. Obviously its gonna be in the vein of the Prodigy, but totally different. It’s going to be hard. More vocals. We’re gonna just try and take it to another level. It’s hard to describe something that you’re currently writing.
So its going to be more lyrical than stuff in the past?
And it’s definitely going to have you and Keith on most of the songs, as opposed to the last album?
Oh yeah, a lot more. Obviously, there’s going to be an element of samples, cause samples and beats are the foundation of the band. So you can’t forget the foundation and where you come from, obviously you’ve got to have the element of that, but you just put a twist on it. So its not like we’re gonna try and do a punk album, with a live drummer and full-on punk lyrics, you know? Because that’s kind of taking away from who we are and what we’re about and where we come from. So there has to be an element of realism in it, it has to be 100 percent real. So we’re gonna inject more lyrics and try to make a lot more melodies and a lot more chord changes and things like that. It’s gonna be a lot more melodic.
Are you planning on debuting any songs on this U.S. tour?
Well, the reason I say that is because, as far as piracy – we’re planning on releasing the album next year. And obviously we’re gonna play some new tracks, but they’re probably not gonna be featured on the album. We’re trying to release the album next year, around this time. But as you know, if you play something in America, its going to be in Japan, the next day. And that obviously defeats the purpose of a new track.
A lot of British groups that were big in the 90’s aren’t matching their sales from that time with their new material. Are you all worried about that at all—are you doing anything to try and reconnect with your old audience or connect with a new one instead?
Well we don’t really aim to go out after a commercial market, that’s not really what we’re about. Our aim is to make a good album. And obviously the last album wasn’t received properly, because a lot of people were misled by what they wanted to hear. They wanted to hear Fat of the Land, Part Two. They wanted to hear “Firestarter” Part Two. But obviously we didn’t want to repeat ourselves. So when Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned came, a lot of people were disappointed. But like I said, we’re not going out to please people. First and foremost, we’re out to please ourselves. This next album is going to feature Keith and myself, but we’re doing it for ourselves, we want to do an album, 100 percent of what represents us. When we’re listening to it we’re like, “Wow, this album rocks, this album bangs, wow, check this album out.” That’s the bottom line, and if everyone else can tap into that, than that’s a bonus. We’re not gonna write an album to try and be commercial.