Fight Fire With Fire • Champions Of LDN

On 13 April 2019, Recordstore Day saw the release of the double 7″ gatefold vinyl of Fight Fire With Fire / Champions Of London — the only single physical media release on the No Tourists era so far. It turns 5 years old in 2024, so we’re going to tell you everything we know about these two tunes. Here we go!

On 1 March 2019, Liam Howlett posted the first release announcement on his Instagram, along with the tracklist and a photo of the release. The vinyl was announced just 3 days before Keith Flint’s passing — on the same day as the release of Teddy Killerz‘ remix of We Live Forever.

Liam Howlett: Yo we are putting this limited edition 7inch double vinyl out to support record store day on 13th April , There u Fukin go ….. 🕶

It’s worth remembering that, according to Howlett, Fight Fire With Fire was the first track completed for the No Tourists – in 2017, Liam recorded a remix for American hip-hop duo Ho99o9 and later wanted to save the resulting tune as a standalone full-length banger for The Prodigy. Initially, Howlett didn’t think about how the track would be released and just enjoyed the process, which became more and more fascinating as time went on.

Ho99o9 at the LA studio for Red Bull Radio show Bruh with Awful Records
© Jeremy Deputat/Red Bull Content Pool

Speaking to journalists from various media, Liam has always said that Maxim was the first to hear about Ho99o9 – he went to their gig, the band seemed interesting to him and he told Liam about the guys. In the Australian X-Press Magazine interview (winter 2019), Howlett shared his impressions in detail: in his opinion, Ho99o9’s sound is very different from what is being done in America now, where similar tracks just copy-pasting each other. In 2018, The Prodigy mastermind considered ‘Fight Fire With Fire’ to be his best collaboration, and also indicated that Ho99o9 was the main group he wanted to work with for a while.

Shortly before the ‘No Tourists’ release, Ho99o9 themselves spoke to The Flow (Russia) about the creating of the track. We translated the original article.

Yeti Bones for The Flow: We were in the right place at the right time.

theOGM aka Lil Booth for The Flow: What it was like – we were working on some music with a mutual friend, Liam found out about it and emailed that he wanted to write an instrumental for our album “United States of Horror”. I got excited and told him we had two weeks before the deadline, so the sooner the better. He ended up sending three tunes. I heard one of the beats – I realised that was it, and figured out what to do with it. We went into the studio and put together all the emotions we had at the time. I sent him the idea for the track to let him know about working on the song and get his opinion before recording. He listened to it, he liked it, he wanted to keep it for The Prodigy album. I’ll be honest, at first I was upset as I didn’t like the way it had gone down. However, I realised it was the right thing to do in the long run. And here we are.

The tune was originally released as a one-track digital single and was unveiled on 11 October 2018 at 17:00 London time: it was available on iTunes, YouTube and other music streaming services, becoming the third single from the album ‘No Tourists’.

The day before the release, Howlett posted a short DIY-looking promo video on Instagram, literally put together with his own hands – the comments were immediately flagged by Leeroy Thornhill himself, praising the fat sound and perhaps referring to the spirit of The Fat Of The Land.

Simple but effective VHS-esque video accompaniment for YouTube was created by Eugene Riecansky (Rockstar team) – apparently he also helped Howlett with his Instagram post. Eugene also worked on the music video for Light Up The Sky!

It may be recalled that there was also a ‘clean’ version of ‘Fight Fire With Fire’ with no explicit lyrics (all the provocative lines were played in reverse) – it was only broadcasted on UK radio stations and has not yet appeared on any promo releases.

Ho99o9 themselves have also occasionally performed the tune at their solo gigs, as seen in the video above – at a show in Paris on 19 April 2019.

Six months later, on 13 April 2019, Recordstore Day, a special double seven-inch gatefold vinyl of ‘Fight Fire With Fire / Champions Of London’ appeared in independent music stores across the UK: in addition to the original tracks, each side contained instrumental versions of them. Almost immediately they appeared as unofficial uploads on YouTube.

Digital single cover (left) / vinyl cover (right)
Design: Luke Insect

Interestingly, the single cover originally used for the digital one-track single has been slightly updated for the vinyl release, adding a ‘dirty’ grungy adjustment layer to the entire image and moving the title down a bit. As with the rest of the 2018-2019 releases, it was designed by Luke Insect, who has been working with The Prodigy since Invaders Must Die.

The shot of London’s Alexandra Palace used on the sleeve artwork was taken by Rahul Singh, the band’s photographer and a long-time friend of the boys.

Speaking of design, you may remember the ‘Champions Of London’ print by Nick McFarlane – this artwork adorned Leo Crabtree‘s drums during the first ‘No Tourists’ live shows and was also available on t-shirts sold at the shows and from the band’s official online shop.

Originally one of the 165 rejected designs for The Day Is My Enemy album (when it was to be released as Rebel Radio), the print has nevertheless found its way into the next era! It was obviously inspired by the legendary New York punks The Ramones, who emerged in the mid-70s. The original logo was created by designer Arturo Vega in the 70s, and Nick wove the monkey and logo of the British Parliament into his interpretation of the artwork.

Original artwork by Nick McFarlane |

While there is much to be said about ‘Fight Fire With Fire’, less is known about the second track on the record. It is known that most of the album’s demos were written on tour, travelling from city to city and country to country, something the guys had never done before. Howlett remembers working in hotels in St. Petersburg and Moscow, Russia, – it’s quite possible that the rough ideas for Champions of London were recorded there too. We also know for sure that the vocals for the track were written in Belgium, also in a hotel room. It was definitely a new experience for everyone.

Liam Howlett for Billboard: We worked on the road a lot, we recorded Keith’s vocals for the track ‘Champions Of London’ in a hotel room in Belgium. This was much freer. Not being based in one place, we could set up the studio anywhere and got it rolling.

Check out the definitive story
behind the No Tourists
production, concept,
demos and promo stuff:

In conversation with NME Liam also talked about the track being a kind of ode to the tension of the cities. Howlett gave this interview just a few days after the release of the album and revealed a lot of interesting details.

NME: There’s a line on the ‘Champions of London’ where you go like ‘Civil unrest, grab the bulletproof vest’. And I wondered if that’s just like an evocative line that creates a mood or if it means something specific?

Liam Howlett: That does mean something. It’s talking about territories in London or any city. When borders of different territories, different areas come together and people crossing over those borders. I live in London, it’s just a lot of tension, you know what I mean? That’s what that track is about.

Interestingly, until our article, no one had ever mentioned that the ‘Champions Of London’ line had actually been with the band long before ‘No Tourists’: the leather belt with this inscription had been an almost integral part of Keith Flint‘s stage image since 2008, a few months before ‘Invaders Must Die’ was released. The belt came in several colours (white, black and brown) but always had a stylish oval ‘Champions of London’ patch on the back. Liam Howlett carried one of these belts on his shoulder at Keef’s funeral on 29 March 2019.

‘Fight Fire With Fire / Champions Of London’ back cover designed by Luke Insect

The Economic Times: In ‘Champions of London’, the serrated beat is like a caught zipper. The mastery that big beat has over blood becomes clear as the track frenetically ferrets about both physical and sonic spaces. ‘Bassline drama cuts through your armour / Dobson to Brixton, the friction’ may sound dated as a call to arms, but it still has a red bull in Chinatown charm about it.

Headmaster: Split
Additional thanks to: Sixshot


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