Along with the Chemical Brothers, Fatboy Slim, the Crystal Method and other acts, the Prodigy have been credited as pioneers of the big beat genre, which achieved mainstream popularity in the 1990s and 2000s. They have sold over 25 million records worldwide. The group has won numerous music awards throughout their career, including two Brit Awards—winning Best British Dance Act twice, three MTV Video Music Awards, two Kerrang! Awards, five MTV Europe Music Awards, and have twice been nominated for Grammy Awards.
The group's brand of music makes use of various styles ranging from rave, hardcore techno, industrial, jungle and breakbeat in the early 1990s to big beat and electronic rock with punk vocal elements in later times. The Prodigy first emerged on the underground rave scene in the early 1990s and have since achieved popularity and worldwide renown. They have been called "the premiere dance act for the alternative masses" and "the Godfathers of Rave". According to Howlett: "the Prodigy should be seen as an important cultural band. When you trace the lines back to the Sex Pistols, the Clash, we are in that line".
Liam Howlett created an initial 10-track demo, put together on a Roland W-30 music workstation in Essex, England. XL Recordings picked up the demo after Howlett played several tracks to XL boss Nick Halkes in a meeting, and an initial 12" pressing of "What Evil Lurks" was released in February 1991. The Prodigy's name was chosen by Liam as a tribute to his first analogue synthesiser, the Moog Prodigy.
An excerpt of the song "G Force (Energy Flow)" from Kaos Theory Volume 1 compilation.
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The Prodigy's first public performance, with Howlett augmented by dancers Keith Flint and Leeroy Thornhill, was at the Four Aces in Dalston, London, then home to "Club Labyrinth".
"Charly", released six months later, became a huge hit in the rave scene at the time. The release reached number 3 in the UK Singles Chart, catapulting the band into the wider public attention. The Kaos Theory compilation series featured "G Force (Energy Flow)", from their third single, "Everybody in the Place".
After the release of the successful single "Charly", the charts included various "hardcore" rave tracks that contained cartoon samples, to which speed and ecstasy-fuelled clubbers would dance, but which did not appeal to reviewers from publications at the time. Examples were tracks such as Urban Hype's "A Trip to Trumpton" and Smart E's (as in Ecstasy) "Sesame's Treet", instigating death-by-publicity to the underground "hardcore rave" scene, according to a number of critics associated with the scene. As a result, "Charly", amid being titled after a contemporary reference to cocaine, with its memorable sample of the "Charley Says" children's public information films, saw the Prodigy briefly identified by critics as "kiddie rave" or "toytown techno". Critical reception to the single was generally mixed.
On 18 March 2010, the Prodigy announced a showing of World's on Fire, a film consisting mostly of footage of the Warrior's Dance festival from July 2010, for one night only in selected cinemas across Europe. Recorded before 65,000 fans, World's on Fire is the debut live film of the Prodigy, documenting their biggest concert to date. The CD, DVD, and Blu-ray of World's on Fire was released on 23 May 2011. On 16 November 2010, Liam Howlett announced that after their American tour with Linkin Park, the Prodigy were to re-enter to the studio to record new material.
On 6 August 2011, the Prodigy headlined the Przystanek Woodstock in Poland, while at their two final shows of 2011 in Brazil, they premiered two new tracks: "A.W.O.L" and "Dogbite". They headlined the 2012 Download Festival on 8 June playing a regular setlist, with the addition of three new songs, "Jetfighter", "Dogbite" and "A.W.O.L", accompanied by on-stage imagery of jet aircraft. Liam Howlett has confirmed this album will not be dubstep, but that it will feel "fresh" whilst darker. In April 2012, to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the release of their third studio album The Fat of the Land, the album was re-released alongside a remix EP, The Added Fat EP, featuring remixes from multiple recently successful groups such as Major Lazer, Noisia, and Zeds Dead.
On 3 May 2012, the Prodigy announced the working title of their new album How to Steal a Jetfighter. In December 2012, a new track titled "The Day" was debuted at Warrior's Brixton and in June 2013, a new track titled "Rockweiler" was debuted at Rock am Ring. The band headlined the Sonisphere Festival at Knebworth in 2014 On 2 July 2014, the band revealed their upcoming album would have a different name and a "violent sound". In August 2014, they signed to the Three Six Zero Group for the United States, returning to Warner Music for the first time since 2004. Maxim indicated in September 2014 that the new Prodigy album would be released in the first quarter of 2015. It was later announced on January 6, 2015 that the next Prodigy album would be releasing 30 March 2015 and that it had been given the title The Day Is My Enemy.
On 12 January 2015 the Prodigy released "Nasty" as the lead single off their upcoming album along with the title track on January 26, 2015. Howlett found that "violent is the word that keeps on coming up" when describing the album. The entire recording process took almost six years taking in a number of studios and a few restarts to establish that "angry, energetic sound”. Unlike previous efforts The Day Is My Enemy became a band-album where Flint and Maxim worked in tandem with Howlett. This created a degree of friction although Flint noted that “four years ago we sat down and talked about where the next album was gonna go, and we knew we had to bust out the most ‘band’ album we could create".
The band will play at Future Music Festival Australia in February/March 2015, tour Germany and France in April 2015 and the UK in May 2015. They will also perform at the Rock Werchter, Rock am Ring/Rock im Park, Benicàssim and Isle of Wight festivals.
On 23 February 2015 the Prodigy released "Wild Frontier" as the third single off their upcoming album The Day Is My Enemy after announcing it three days earlier. The Stop-motion animation was directed by the Dutch filmmaker Mascha Halberstad and animator Elmer Kaan The Cover Art was designed by Austrian artist and designer Moritz Resl.