FAT25 · 4th track: Funky Shit · Mixes
Here we go with another article dedicated to the 25th anniversary of The Fat Of The Land, this time about the magnificent Funky Shit. We will break down all of the demos, pre-final mixes and edit versions of the track, and will cover some rare details behind Mulder’s remix, — All Souvenirs team had chatted with him back in the days. As always, we’ve also shared an exclusive re-chamber from our team…
Even though this article is called ‘4th track: Funky Shit’, in fact, this track was the first one for ‘The Fat Of The Land’ LP. It was produced in 1995, roughly two years before the release of the album. As a matter of fact, 1995 can be called the ‘post-Jilted era’, Liam has said this many times himself.:
Liam in interview for an Icelandic magazine: So I created such a “… retro, techno, instrumental” song that we play among others tonight, also I did one song with Maxim. Yes, this is the continuation of Jilted Generation.
Of course, the very first version of ‘Funky Shit’ which was played live in 1995 was a bit different from the one released on the album. First, it’s worth pointing out that the main bass synth sounds not as pronounced and compressed as it does in the album version. Besides, there are some additional percussion elements, the ‘attention all personnel’ sample which was very popular among the 90s fans, and the ‘Shining’ ending.
By the way, even though the beta version was played for 2 years up to 1997, it was changed gradually. The very first version is available only on recording from the Glastonbury festival ’95.
It’s worth mentioning that in licensing catalogues the first title of ‘Funky Shit’ was Don’t Ever Say Good Bye Again; moreover, along with Beastie Boys, LL Cool J was listed as a co-author of the track. It’s unclear whether it was an additional percussion loop (which eventually was removed from the track) or some other sample taken from LL Cool J.
It’s possible that there were some copyright problems with that ‘mysterious’ sample, but it’s great that Liam could sort everything out with Beastie Boys, otherwise the track would’ve lost one of its main features. By the way, according to rumors, Liam had to shell out about £6,000 for Beastie Boys sample (approx. 10.000 pounds nowadays).
We made the reconstruction of ’95 version – it’s not finished yet, but already sounds great.
Liam himself said on multiple occasions that ‘Funky Shit’ is the result of his passion for the late 80s breakdance and hip hop. The track was meant more for Leeroy than for Keith and Maxim.
Liam to VOX magazine: It’s got that sort of retro breakdance feel to it. I would have like to break to this then i was younger. Something I do when I’m writing music is to picture Maxim or Keith performing to it, and with this track I pictured Leeroy doing his breakdancing-type stuff.
As mentioned above, the track was being changed gradually, so during late ’95 and ’96 a slightly different version was played.
As a result, the track made it to the album and became one of the 10 bangers without which the album would’ve sounded completely different. It’s interesting that the full unmixed version of ‘Funky Shit’ is only available on the ’97 vinyl first pressing and (possibly) on the 2000 Virgin reissue. The thing is that some tracks on the CD rendition of ‘The Fat Of The Land’ are mixed together. The outro of ‘Funky Shit’ is mixed with the intro of ‘Serial Thrilla’. On vinyl though, these tracks are recorded on separate sides of the plate, so the outro of ‘Funky Shit’ is clean.
You might have a question: why is the clean ending only available on the first pressing? All the reissues starting from 2006 also have ‘Funky Shit’ and ‘Serial Thrilla’ on separate sides! The thing is that since 2006 XL Recordings have been using the CD master track, that is the one which has some tracks mixed together. The mixed tracks were separated again and the leftovers of transitions were masked with ‘fade-ins’ and ‘fade-outs’. On the ’97 vinyl, at the very end of ‘Funky Shit’, there is a faint one-second sound resembling a field recording of an actual police siren. It’s unknown if it’s a rendering error, a first-pressing artifact or something else, — you can clearly hear it in the rip above.
After the album was released, the track wasn’t forgotten. The band played it live regularly for 4 years. In 1998, an official remix and a promo containing an edited version appeared. If you’ve read our previous articles, you might think that it’s time for some rumors about alleged ‘Funky Shit’ single. Still, as far as we know, the release of remix & edit spawned no such rumors.
FRENCH PROMO EDIT
The promo CD was released by a French recording company Delabel. The edited mix was a sloppy job and presumably made by Delabel, so Liam has nothing to do with it. We had racked our brains for a while trying to figure out why there was a need of a short version of ‘Funky Shit’.
But it turned out that this case is the same as with Maverick’s release of ‘Mindfields’. ‘Funky Shit’ was part of the official soundtrack for the movie Event Horizon. Even though the movie was released in 1997, its French release took place on 6th May 1998, so a promo CD was released.
Liam in interview to DJ Ron Slomowicz:
RS: How do you feel about having your track ‘Funky Shit’ be the end credit music for the film ‘Event Horizon’?
Liam: I thought it was completely out of place. I liked the film, but I thought that the soundtrack should have been more consistent.
By the way, it’s also worth mentioning that apart from the pink promo CD, the edited version of ‘Funky Shit’ ended up on the compilation Virgin Sound 6 released by Delabel in France.
As for the official remix produced by Mulder, the case is not as simple as it might seem. There were some rumors on the web that the remix was meant for the 4th single – either ‘Narayan’ or something else. But having contacted Mulder himself, we’ve found out that initially the remix was a bootleg produced by Mulder to play it during his sets. He used the album version to build his remix upon. Aphrodite, a famous sound producer, upon having discovered Mulder’s remix, suggested that Mulder should finalize it and send it to XL. The label was happy with the remix, so XL Recordings bought rights for it and released it on Mixmag compilation The Takeover Bid, making it an official remix.
Mulder for theprodi.gy: It was just something I did for myself originally, and it was very rough – made on one Amiga 1200 and OctaMed software. Once Aphrodite heard it, he said let’s put a slightly better demo together and send it to XL. It was easy to source the samples from either the CD of the album or from original sources, so we never asked for the samples to be sent. Liam H heard it and XL bought it, but then came the Mixmag compilation.
But the story of the remix wasn’t over yet. The thing is that said compilation was released on both vinyl and CD: the vinyl issue had tracks unmixed with each other, the CD issue contained a DJ mix where all tracks were mixed together. When Mulder submitted his remix for the vinyl issue, he mistakenly sent its demo version; when he realized it, it was too late to fix that mistake.
FUNKY SHIT (MULDER EXCLUSIVE MIX) | Demo Version:
The version of The Prodigy “Funky Shit” (Mulder Exclusive Remix) on this vinyl version of The Takeover Bid, is an early demo version used to submit it to XL Recordings for approval. This was given to Mixmag by accident and it was too late to change it by the time the test presses came back and the mistake was noticed. On the CD Aphrodite used the correct version from his dubplate in the mix. I guess the fact it was on a compilation put XL/Liam off of putting it out on a 12″. They haven’t issued it in any other format either.
As a result, on two different issues of the compilation both the demo version and the final version can be accessed. It’s worth clarifying that the final version used on the CD rendition of the compilation doesn’t have clean intro and outro (they are mixed with adjacent tracks). The full version of the final mix has never been released.
The next one on the list is ‘Diesel Power’. Stay tuned and keep following us on social media!
Headmasters: SIXSHOT, Canyon Hill
Additional thanks to: Split, Allen Doe aka Mulder