Thursday, 1 November 2018

Exclusive Interview with Martin James (We Eat Rhythm The Prodigy Story Part 1)

(Interview & Editorial by GL0WKiD)

Professor, Music Journalist, Doctor, Author, Editor, Writer, Musician, Blogger and a very shinny personality, the man like Martin James from UK, has just released his 3rd book about The Prodigy, which is his best work so far and truly an essential book to read for every fan and supporter of the greatest live band in the world (who have just released their 7th studio album entitled "No Tourists'')
Martin talks exclusively on the Strictly Nuskool Blog about the large progress for his anticipated book, plans for a second one and sharing some of his thoughts within the music scene.

GK: Can you share with us how all started with your third and indispensable book about The Prodigy?
More specifically how you came up with the idea to write a new book about the band and the whole 3 year progress till its release to date?

MJ: I always wanted to do another version of the book because I didn’t like the original versions. I thought I could do a much better job that fans would appreciate.

A part of the motivation was that no one got paid for the last version. That includes me and all of the photographers. The publishers advised me that only 1000 were sold but I know that a lot more than that were shipped and none were returned!

I started looking into the idea of self-publishing about ten years ago but it was too expensive. It’s only in the last two or three years that technology has made self-publishing a cost effective approach. After chatting with one of the band’s fans I decided to go for it and launch the campaign.

To be honest I was going to drop the idea because it had been so long and some of the message boards had pretty negative comments about the planned update e few years earlier.

GK: Are you happy with the response on the campaign you've set about the book?

Ever thought of that achievement?

MJ: I was really blown away by the response. When you’re backing a project on Indiegogo there is no guarantee that it will actually happen. Sometimes projects just fall apart. So people were backing a promise which showed they believed in me. That was a great motivation.

GK: How many books have been printed and what kind of exclusive content is it featured inside?

MJ: There are 1000 copies total and it includes new interviews with people like Sharky and Gizz. It also includes never previously seen photos from magazine shoots and also some from personal collections of people close to the band.

GK: As you've already announced, there will be a second part of your new Prodigy book, which will be titled "We Live For The Beats" a hashtag used a lot the last couple of years by Liam. Is this what the band wanted as a title?

MJ: The band haven’t been a part of the decision to call it that. It may change but until Liam says he doesn't want me to use that title I’ll keep it.

The book was spilt into two books at the request of the band and management so as not to clash with any of their campaigns.

I hadn't expected Liam to drop "No Tourists" at the same time as the book!

GK: Can you give us some good info, an insight of what's coming up next regarding your forthcoming Prodigy book? Any thoughts releasing it via shops?

We Eat Rhythm is only going to be available online via my Facebook pages and website. It’ll never go into shops or Amazon. I want to keep it personal. It would also increase the price considerably.

I will be doing the same with Part 2, which I’m aiming to finish by this time next year, will cover AONO to "No Tourists" and will include loads of unpublished interviews with Liam. It will also include a lot more fan stuff – in fact the final chapter will be dedicated to the fan story which has taken on a new life.
I’m currently talking to photographers about getting new unseen shots for the book.

GK: Since this interview is mainly focused on your new book about The Prodigy; do you remember your first ever interview with the boys back in 1994? How was the whole Jilted era, their dreams back then, any words or interesting facts to share? 

MJ: So, I first met Liam at a rave before I ever interviewed them. I was there with a mutual friend and he seemed like a nice lad. My first interview was strange because the music press were still seen as outsiders by the rave community. I immediately got on with Leeroy though and me and Liam kind of bonded over hip hop.
But it took a white to gain trust. I try really hard not to come over like a journalist who wants great quotes. I tend to make conversation and find stories within that.

My most memorable interview was actually in 1997 in Paris. While I was backstage with the boys and people like Zak from Rage Against the Machine I got a message that my wife was about to have our baby. I flew back to the UK with the band and they made sure I got home in time.
Ruby Blue is 21 now – but still very much a Prodigy baby.

GK: You're next to the band over the last 2 decades.
How can you describe each one of the boys? (Leeroy included) 

MJ: Liam – can be serious, can be moody, can be fucking funny. Always honest and loyal and expects that from people. And his love of music is deep. 

Maxim – quiet, contemplative, thinks about things but is also up for a laugh. 

Keith – Excitable, energetic, lightning fast wit, funny as fuck but also sincere – he always aks about Ruby J 

Leeroy – friendly, practical joker, stoned, loyal and oh my god just so damn funny! 

GK: What's your top favourite all-time Prodigy album and why? 

MJ: This isn’t a popular choice but AONO. I think it’s such a creative album.
There are no limitations on it and Liam is just throwing ideas around. It is the great transitional album where all of the sounds and ideas to come were being explored. It’s a truly funky record and full of punk-styled chaos, but without the chanting choruses. I know Maxim and Keef aren’t on it but that shouldn't be an issue.
I also know Liam finds it hard to listen to because it reminds him of bad times, but if he hadn't have made that album The Prodigy would never have made the records that followed.

It’s also the album that reminded them why they were in the band in the first place. As a record it flattened the ego battles and reminded everyone who The ‘original’ Prodigy was. BUT, my other favourite is Jilted because it just rocks from beginning to end. And it has my favourite track on it - "No Good". 

GK: As far as I've read before, your first gig ever was Pink Floyd, but I'd like you to share with us your most unforgettable ever attended?

MJ: That’s really hard to say. I’ve seen all of my musical heroes from The Clash and the Sex Pistols to Bowie and Iggy Pop and on to the entire electronic music generation. I have to say I love The Prodigy live.

I’ve seen them almost as many times as I’ve seen Iggy Pop (over 200) and still get a buzz. Still look forward to the gigs. I love Underworld live too. They have a truly immersive sound that reminds me of raving so much. I just get lost in their music. The Clash were electric… you felt like you were a part of a revolution when they played.

GK: You're a distinguished leader I'd say in the world of music journalism.
What's the success key of a music journalist?

MJ: You’ve got to love writing, or making podcasts and vlogs. You have to feel a need to do this work. You also need a massive knowledge of all kinds of music – not just the music you like. Oh, and you also need to get on with people. In terms of writing I would say it’s too easy to slag people off so if you need to criticise make sure it’s well thought out. But you have to be honest.

I’ve always been honest with Liam and I think that’s one of the reasons we get on. I had worries about the title of the new album and how it could be misunderstood by nationalists and told him. He didn’t mind, just made it very clear what he actually meant. Always best to speak your mind and ask the artist – just in case you’ve misunderstood. Make it clear and let the artist have a chance to explain.

GK: Did internet revolution and digital platforms kill paperback music magazines?
Do you think that music journalism is on a healthy level at present?

MJ: There’s an interesting revolution having in magazine publishing just now. There are more niche music magazines now than ever before.
NME may be dead, but there are loads of others taking its place. A lot of blogs are really good and sites like The Quietus still encourage great writing. So I would say the Internet has changed things. Initially for the worse but now for the better.

GK: What would you advice someone who has currently started entering the music industry by blogging or expressing himself via music writing/reviewing?

MJ: My advice is always: write, write, read, read, write some more. Make engaging podcasts every week, create vlogs regularly. But make sure you read, read, and read some more and then write just as much. Then, when you have a portfolio of work on your blog use all of the social media platforms available to raise you profile. In the meantime though, you should write a 100 word review of every gig you go to, immediately after the gig!

Then send it to reviews editors straight away so they have it in their email in box the next morning when they start work. An editor wants journalists who are dependable and will hit deadlines. So show them how good you are at this from the very start.

GK: Professor James, I'd like to thank you a lot for this interview and wish you all the best to you and your family. This book seems like gold just before the Prodigy's new album and it's highly recommended to every Prodigy fan, especially those who're still stuck in the Oldschool buzz. Any shouts out to anyone or anything to add?

MJ: Shout out to all of the fans who have backed this project… I owe everyone.

We Eat Rhythm: The Prodigy Story – Part 1 (Prestige Edition)

Martin James (State of Bass Publishing)
isbn: 978-1-912419-35-7
Cost: £45.00 (plus p&p – UK £10, RoW £15)
DoP: Sept 1st, 2018

  • Hardback cover with foil block
  • 210 x 210mm
  • 210 pages
  • 128 images including fan artworks, previously unseen photos and snapshots from personal archives
  • Previously unpublished interviews with Sharky, Gizz Butt and more.
  • Limited run of 1,000 only

Direct order via PayPal to:
(Click friends & family and put your address in the message box)

You can catch up Martin James on Sunday 11th November @ The Principal, Manchester talking about his new book, whilst self-publishing and more essential bits & pieces through his journey into words (More info here)

We Eat Rhythm facebook
We Live For Beats facebook

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