Inquisitive music producers have long been keen to know how The Prodigy’s Liam Howlett created the sounds used in his band’s most famous tracks, and now YouTuber Alex Ball has provided some answers. What’s more, he’s done it using the original hardware.
Step forward the Korg Prophecy (1985), Roland TB-303 (1981), Roland JD-990 (1993) and Roland U-220 (1989). There is one slight caveat - Ball uses the plugin version of the Prophecy. However, given that this comes from Korg itself and Ball does have a proper Prophecy in his studio as well, we’re inclined to let him off.
Which are the sounds that are being “taken apart and put back together,” though? That’ll be the riff and lead patches from Poison, the riff sound from Smack My Bitch Up, the 303 line from Claustrophobic Sting, the riff sound from Voodoo People, the breakdown effect from Firestarter and the string sound from Out of Space.
There are some big, very distinctive hitters in that list, but to our ears, Ball does a pretty good job of recreating all of them. In some instances it’s a case of tweaking a preset; in others the sound design has to be done from scratch.
Back to the present, and The Prodigy recently confirmed their Army of the Ants tour, which will see them playing shows across the UK in November 2023. They’re also working on an eponymous feature-length documentary telling the band’s “raw, uncompromising and emotional story”.