Neko: So Liam how have things been going? According to
your diary entry on your website youre still hungover
from New Years Eve?
Liam: Hahaha, is that the last time Ive put something
on there? Fucking hell that is like 6 months ago!
8 months ago. Shit. Yeah, good, I forgot we had a
website. I dont know, just havent done anything. Ive
been writing music, that is the most important thing,
So is there any new material?
There is loads of new material.
Ive done like, maybe, for this record I am going to
record 30 tracks. Ive done like 18 so far. Then were
going to pick the best ones. We havent done many vocals
yet, ive just done a lot of music.
I am going to do 30 tracks and then were going to
hone it down and choose
like the 10 or 11 best ones and some of the other ones
might be b-sides or whatever, you know.
"None of the tracks youve heard so far are going to be
on the album!"
So what does the new stuff sound like?
Fast, scary and raving!
Are you still going down the more melodic route that you
were talking about earlier?
Hmm, [thinks] Maybe.
I mean, its quite different. Some of it sounds quite
60s inspired, garagey you know. Its cool, really cool.
But in other tracks, Ive done like a Ska track that is
really fucking great.
Its quite varied so far, but its hard to get an
overall picture of what it is going to be like at the
moment, because I am kind of still writing and still
enjoying writing. And it will all change again when the
vocals get on it.
On the last record [Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned]
you wrote mostly on your own and you didnt play live at
the time, whereas now youre obviously on tour and
youre together with the other guys most of the time.
How does that influence your writing?
Its wicked, its back on the road, getting inspirations
from the gigs, you see clearly what has to be done when
you play live. It kind of reminds you of what youre
about. But we havent been playing any new stuff just
because of the Internet thing.
And the other thing is we usually play in sound checks,
but we havent been at any sound checks because they are
festivals, so we havent had the chance to play any of
the new tracks, which is a shame. It is going really
well, it is going much better, much quicker than the
last record. And were really enjoying it, its not
difficult so far, it has been really fun.
You said because of the Internet thing youre not
None of the tracks youve heard so far are going to be
on the album!
Does that include the Hurricane Heatwave?
Yes, everything! Dead Ken beat maybe, dont know Maybe
How come Dead Ken Beats, for example, cant make it on
the album, is it just not working in the studio?
No, I wouldnt say that. Maybe that is one of the few
tracks that were all. It might elevate into something
else but so far we havent been able to put any vocals
on that that made it the good track that it deserves. So
I havent decided what I am going to do with that track
I love it!
Yeah I know, I love it, its brilliant!
How about Warning, youve been playing that live for
almost 2 years now?
Warning is a good live track, Warning instrumental is
going on a film which I cant talk about yet. It is an
in-between albums track. Ive put it on a film, really
cool. It is actually a British film with American actors
in. Its about all these hitmen that are trying to
attack this place at one time. But it is still under
wraps so I cant tell you much about it really.
And that Heatwave track that you played at Brixton once
[December 2005] and another time at Download Festival
[June 2006], how come you decided not to include that?
It sounds dated! That track sounds dated now, so that
wont be going on. May tear it apart and use the best
bits on something else.
You mentioned youre quite concerned about website
downloads and all that. In the last interview we did
you mentioned that you were going to upload quite a lot
of old demos, like trigger instrumental and even much
I am definitely going to do that. Hahaha! People dont
believe me anymore do they? But I am going to do it for
sure. I am going to put all the old demos up. Yeah, why
not put it all up?
Youre probably aware that there was an old tape around?
I dont know nothing about that. Hahaha.
It was real, it is basically like, it wasnt the
original demo tape. It was some unreleased stuff that I
wrote maybe during 1991. That guy basically used to live
with Keith and he fancied himself as a bit of a fucking
bongo player. And him and another guy played at a rave,
I think it was in August or September in Cambridge with
us. Somehow, and I dont know how cause I didnt say he
could go on there, but somehow he ended up on stage with
us and Leeroy gave him that tape with some unreleased
tracks, maybe 4 tracks or something and the rest of the
Charly EP. That was basically like his rehearsal tape
with Leeroys handwriting on.
I am not angry with him selling it. Its up to him I
cant do anything about him selling it, its his tape,
its unfortunate. But I wish that Id been quicker in
releasing all the demos before he had a chance to make
money out of us.
So does that mean youre planning also to get some more
old stuff on your website?
Yeah, I am going put all the old demos up! Yeah, all of
them! There are some really old ones that people havent
heard yet. They are fucking shit, but if people want to
hear them, they can hear them. Obviously they are not
released because they are shit, that is the reason they
didnt come out, you know. But if people are interested
in them they can hear them!
Within a month all the old demos are going to be up
I am not going to write that!
Mark my words, mark my words. It is true, honestly!
What were some of the names on that tape? Dr. Zupan
was that on it?
One was Manic, I think
No, I dont remember that. Id been interested to know
what that isit might have been Maniac, but not
[Note: the actual tape does list Manic as a track]
They are all old; they are all tracks I did after the
first EP, sort of like Pandemonium time.
The new album in the making, have you got like a
timeline when it is should be ready, or when you think
it may be released?
I want to release it for summer next year ; that
is my plan. Its feasible at the moment, anything that
fucks up with that is like If it was the matter to
deliver it to the record company and it could be out in
a month then that would be fine but they want 3 months
notice, they want 3 months lead time to promote it, so
thats the thing that could delay it if
it went over.
It seems to be written quite quickly at the moment. When
I write an album it has to feel like its got like some
kind of connection between tracks, that it has got an
angle, its got a sound. But lots of tracks Ive written
so far are kind of like one is pulling in one direction,
one is pulling in another. I dont think Ive written an
integral track that is shaping the whole album yet, that
is why I am carrying on writing. Ive written some good
tunes but I am still fighting for the track that is
going to be the leader, you know what I mean? Or the
shaping tune, the tune that shapes the album.
When I wrote Spitfire on the last record I thought,
yeah that gives the album [Always Outnumbered, Never
Outgunned] the kind of element, the edge and aggression
that I wanted. Firestarter was obviously the one
before [The Fat of The Land] and Poison was maybe the
one on the other one [Music for the Jilted Generation].
Because we havent finished tracks with vocals yet, I
dont think weve come across that track for this record
So you havent done any vocals yet or you havent
Weve done a few vocals, were still doing it, were
still writing. It is a long process, it is not quick. It
is also hard to get everyone in the studio at the same
Are you planning on doing collaborations again on this
No, I dont think so. Maybe, maybe, but Ive got no one
in mind at the moment. Definitely not doing any rap
collaborations, no Kool Keith on this record! Maybe
there might be collaborations in smaller ways, some
musicians and stuff like that. I dont really want any
Are there any specific influences for this record, you
mentioned it was more garagey, 60s
Some of it is quite psychedelic in a way, not in a
Chemical Brothers way, but more in a 60s kind of way. I
cant really explain, it is fast, really fast! It sounds
like a band. It is definitely not breakbeat or
drumnbass or any kind of thing. It just sounds like
Are there any specific bands that influence you?
No, not really. There are bands out there that I really
like but Ive been listening to old stuff you know.
Youve been playing a quite similar setlist for a while
I apologize about that! Haha!
are really dying to play the new
Would it maybe help you write new material if you
started playing more new stuff or varying the setlist?
We are really dying to play the new shit, Ive got to
tell you we are! It is such a pain in the ass.
So you wont play them until the new album is out?
No, no, no of course not. Were doing Creamfields as you
know. I think I did an interview when I was pissed.
Yeh, I was going to ask about that one
Yeah, forget about that, I lied because I was drunk, I
got excited! So basically we are not playing any new
tracks there. That is the last gig were playing in
England so the next gig we do in England well be
playing new stuff. Thats the last time of people seeing
us like this. Maybe well put some other tunes we
havent played in a while in. Might put Rhythm of Life
in or shit like that, I dont know yet.
Were definitely not playing any new material. No way. I
just get really
people like if we havent finished a track yet and
were just trying these ideas out and we used to be able
to do that and it used to be no
backlash, but now things are torn apart and I
fucking hate that. It is not good for a band.
Once we are 95% finished and we are really sure of it in
our heads and we know it is going to be out within the
next few months then that is the time to drop it and
were going here we are, that is it!. If like tiny
things have to get changed like arrangements or shit
like that, you know that is fine. But like not when we
are just trying things out. Maybe there might be few
little beats and shit flying around but nothing major.
Not yet, it is too early, no point in playing a year
ahead of when the album is coming out you know with new
tracks, that is silly.
Do you think the new material that youve been writing
is as compatible with your live show?
It is always designed for live, maximum impact is live.
The album is fucking going to be exciting. I am really
excited about it, do you know what I mean? It is going
to easily piss on the last album!
Basically this is to inform people were still fucking
alive and we still give a shit, you know? Weve been
working our asses off and when youre writing a record
it is like were totally in that mode You kind of go
into selfish mode and not thinking about anyone else. It
is like we should actually have someone run our website
who keeps people updated and gets quotes of us up every
month of what is going on and that type of shit. So
that is what we intend to do.
We are probably going to take the website down in about
3 or 4 months and then have a new one so it builds up to
the new album.
Its hard talking about a record when its so far in
advance. We are in the studio, were hearing it all the
time, its shaping itself as the months go by. Last
month Ive been in there quite a bit, the month before I
was on holiday, now we are on the road and other shit
going on. Its like some months it slows down. A Prodigy
album takes a fucking long time to get written, it does.
It is not like a band goes and writes and records. Since
its mostly me doing it, if I dont go in there, it
doesnt get written, that is that!
Are you going to keep playing live until the album is
No. By November people wont see us for a while. There
is no point in playing until we have the new shit
prepared and then we get back out again.
Because otherwise well just
be doing shit gigs, no point, do you know what I
How have you been enjoying recent festivals or are you
missing the small shows?
I like doing the small shows
because you can get to try things out in the sound
check. You can hear straight away whether you think if
its going to be rocking or not, make some adjustments.
It is different than in a studio, you start getting the
perspective of it.
Festivals have been cool. I think as a band we feel
really tight. This last couple of years it feels really
tight. I checked some of the shows, some of this
recorded stuff from years ago. We are much better now
than we used to be. That is what I think.
Any recent shows that stood out for you?
Download was pretty mad. Isle of Wight and Download were
two completely different gigs. Isle of Wight was really
middle of the road. I was like fucking hell! There is
one stage with 50.000 people in front of it. That was
pretty like, I thought this is going to be hard to make
It was a great show. It felt like middle of the road,
when I was walking through checking people out and you
know it wasnt like Download where it was fucking
hardcore or Glastonbury, it felt like a lot of normal
people were there, you know what I mean? Download was
completely insane. I really love that, the chaos of it
We dont want people to get fed up with it. Because
weve been lucky to be able to come back after wed done
this record [Their Law The Singles]. I didnt want to do
Did you in the end enjoy it at all?
Yeah.I kind of fell out with the record company about
it, because I didnt want to do it, but they kind of
made us do it and then we got into it and said lets do
it. But we were honest about it; we told everyone we
didnt want to do it and then just made the best of it.
But at the end of the day, you know, the tracks were
proud of, and if we wouldnt have done that, personally
the relationships between the band members wouldnt have
been as tight as it is now. We wouldnt have been able
to go back into the studio have such a buzz with lots of
ideas with such momentum and drive. So thats good.
Did revisiting your history inspire you to come up with
Not really, no. Doing the gigs is the biggest
inspiration really. Its really easy to see what has to
be done. Playing the tracks really shows what works and
whats good about the tracks and you get reminded of
dynamics in songs and all that and then when youre in
the studio its important to remember all that.
So whats a typical day in the studio for Mr Howlett?
Erm, usually get there about 12 and leave at about 9,
sometimes working late. People ring me up all day so
usually only at about 5pm the phone stops ringing, and I
stop getting e-mails, shit like that. And then when Im
on a real roll I work late but usually leave about 9
oclock. And just, write really loud music all day long!
How do you start a track?
All different ways. Sometimes Ive got a guitarist in
the studio and we lay shit down, sometimes we have no
beats at all and done sessions where its just guitars
and vocals and writing songs in a more traditional way.
Sometimes that works, sometimes it doesnt work. Its
really easy to change things, so if we just try and
figure out what a vocal is doing if its with guitars
and we may want to throw the guitar away again later and
change it for something else. Ive done that on a few
things and its been really good.
Other times, Ive been in studios in Ladbroke Grove and
Ive been walking around going to loads of record shops
down there. So Im in there probably a couple of times a
week, buying tunes. But old shit, old weird 60s records
and 70s type shit and whatever. I was in there and I
heard this record, it was like this Mexican kind of
track and I made it into a ska tune.
So, different ways for different tunes!
When do the vocals get written?
Yeah, were starting to think about that now. There are
certain tunes I write for Keith, certain tunes I write
for Maxim and certain tunes I dont write for either.
Because the sample side of things is still important,
you know, we still have respect for the roots and DJ
culture. We wont do a full vocal album, some tracks
wont have any vocals on, some will have samples, some
will have both or one or two of them.
Is Reason still a part of the writing process?
[Liam quoted this software as major help for AONO album in
first nekosite interview]
Im not fucking promoting them anymore!
They havent done anything wrong, Im just fed up
withyou know, I still use it, but I also use Logic,
Protools, I use Ableton, I use whatever is there really.
Reason is good for getting shit happening quickly, but
it doesnt sound like Logic or Protools, they sound
So either way, it ends up on Protools anyway.
Is Champagne still a major inspiration as well?
Yeah, Ive moved on from Moet now, moved on to Veuve. I
love Veuve, I dont drink anything else! In the studio
actually, weve got a bit of a collection. I have to put
a picture on the web site so people can see, its
actually quite funny.
Were hoping to get the album out next year, it wont be
early summer. Lots of things affect when an album comes
out. All that is totally out of my control. When it is
delivered, then I have done my bit, its up to the
record company to do their bit after that.
[Interview is finished, but Liam doesnt believe I have
no more questions]
Okay then, favorite Big Brother housemate?
Hmm Shabbaz! hahaha! No, I dont watch it, I
watched it when it
started. I cant be bothered with it. Does my brain in.
I am more into Love Island hahahaha!
by Andrea Schnepf aka neko
17th August 2006,
Backstage at Gampel Festival (Switzerland).
Thanks for help with transcribing to 'ant4000b'