||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (June 2013)|
Liam Howlett in Germany, 2005
|Birth name||Liam Howlett|
21 August 1971 |
Braintree, Essex, England
|Genres||Alternative dance, techno, big beat, dance-rock, dance-punk, electronic, rave|
|Instruments||Synthesizers, keyboards, turntables, bass guitar programming, drums, drum machine|
|Associated acts||The Prodigy, Cut 2 Kill|
Life and career
Howlett was born in Braintree, Essex, England.
He was trained in classical piano from childhood. At the age of 14, he mixed songs recorded from the radio using the pause button on his cassette player. He was first influenced by hip hop music and culture when he began to attend school at Alec Hunter High School in Braintree. He learned breakdancing alongside his crew called The Pure City Breakers, and DJed in his first band Cut 2 Kill. After a fight at a gig of the band, Liam left Cut 2 Kill and started to write his own music.
He became connected to rave music and he reportedly went to his first rave in 1989.
On weekends, he went to all the raves and when the clubs closed down in the early morning those ravers went on to party on the beach while Liam played a compilation of the latest rave tracks out of a van. One day, Keith Flint approached him and asked whether Liam could do some mixes for him. When Liam had done the mixes he would pass it to Keith. One night, when Keith and Leeroy Thornhill were returning from a rave, they flipped Liam’s tape onto side B (which was titled "the prodigy" in reference to the Moog synthesizer used) to find some of Liam's own tracks on it and got completely hooked. They decided to approach Liam and ask him if he wanted to play on stage with Keith and Leeroy dancing at the front of the stage. Liam agreed, and The Prodigy was born. The Prodigy name came from a synthesizer called a Moog Prodigy which Liam used in his tracks. Howlett signed to leading UK rave label XL Recordings on the strength of several tracks played to XL boss Nick Halkes and in 1991 the debut Prodigy single was released.
Liam used to purchase records from a record shop owned by Tim Palmer, although Liam did not know this prior to the XL meeting. The shop was mainly staffed by Tim Palmer's mother. Liam and his friends would travel into London, where the shop was located, and ask for the most underground of dance tracks, the ones only a dedicated specialist dance DJ would know of, simply to test Tim Palmer's mother. Time after time they would be amazed as she acknowledged the track and handed it over for them to listen to.
Other musical projects
In 1998, Howlett was offered the chance to do a mix for Mary Anne Hobbs' radio show. He dug out some of his old favourite tracks again and this prompted him to release an edited (due to some copyright issues) version of the mix in February, 1999. It was the first material which was recorded in his new home studio "The Dirtchamber", so accordingly the album was to be called Prodigy presents Dirtchamber Sessions Volume 1.
In the end of January 2006, a compilation album titled Back to Mine: Liam Prodigy was released. It was a collection of Howlett's favourite tunes, including an exclusive Prodigy track called "Wake the Fuck Up", which is often performed as an intro in The Prodigy's live concerts.
In his spare time, Howlett is fond of snowboarding. He is also a fan of horror films. Howlett once owned a McLaren F1 supercar, chassis #23 of the 106 ever manufactured. He later sold it to former F1 driver and team owner Paul Stewart, as he found the McLaren too terrifying to drive.
- "Prodigy Interview w/Keith Flint, Liam Howlett". NY Rock. Retrieved 2013-06-19.
- Claustrophobic Prodigy Page > Liam Howlett > Profile. Brainkiller.it (21 August 1971). Retrieved on 2012-04-16.
- "McLaren F1 – The Cars' The Star". Youtube.com. Retrieved 2013-06-19.