RS: Speaking about working with the different people, how difficult was it to clear that Michael Jackson sample?
Liam: Well basically what happened is, I found out that Michael Jackson didn't actually write Thriller. It was written by Rod Temperton who luckily lives in London. I sent him the track and then I had a meeting with him in his penthouse. He'd went out that morning and bought The Fat Of The Land, my last album, and we had the most bizarre conversation. He said that the music was quite aggressive and "Smack My Bitch Up" sounds X-rated. I explained the idea was the nostalgia thing of taking the record, tearing the ass out of it and spitting it out as something else. He said to me that since you write melodies, why don't you recreate it. I thought well that's not really it, that's getting round the situation and the point really is the nostalgic trip of using the original piece of music and then tearing it up and just kind of spitting it out as something else. Once I'd explained it to him he kind of understood and he gave me permission to use the publishing side of the sample. Then we could actually recreate Thriller. We spent over a week in the studio and it was very hard to recreate but we recreated the actual sample ourselves. He certainly wouldn't let us use the original recording.
RS: Talking about nostalgia, I hear a definite 80s electro sound throughout the album, where is that influence coming from?
Liam: It's my childhood. I think I had to look back a while with this record to find the music I like that inspired me. My influences, you could write them down, The Specials and The Sex Pistols, Grandmaster Flash and The Wheels of Steel, the whole electro thing, in to Public Enemy, Ultramagnetic MCs, that's been the path of all my inspiration. So I had to look at myself and look back to what I was into. I didn't want it to sound retro, I wanted to use the inspirations and then bring it into what we're doing to make it sound fresh again. On the album, "Flip Side" comes on as the first track and it's kind of like the traditional Prodigy big beats and aggression, and when you think you've put your finger on where this album is going, "Girls" comes in and it's more electro, kind of dancey, seems like an electro punk track.
RS: I've got to ask you a geek question. You work on your laptop a lot, what software do you use on your laptop?
Liam: For this album I used Reason. It's a consumer-based product, that's very kind of like low-fi and just perfect for what I wanted to do. I started off on this Roland W30 and I've kind of ended back on the equivalent of what the W30 would be now, which to me, is Reason, a self-contained program. Obviously you can't record vocals or actual audio into it, so when I wrote all the demos on Reason and then we shifted across to ProTools and it went up another gear. That's basically how I wrote the record, all on the laptop.