‘Girls’ turned 18: story & visuals
The Prodigy’s ‘Girls’ was released a week after the ‘Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned’ album came out: the single showed up on August 30, 2004. ‘A delicious red herring of electro and breakbeats’, as Pitchfork described this oldkool tune back in the day, still sounds fresh and relevant in 2022. Today we’ll share the most complete story of the track, its recording and visuals. What’s more, we chatted with the designers’ team and got a bunch of exclusive details that had never been shown to the public before…
‘The vampires that landed from space and created the culture of Ancient Egypt were also very into electro club music. They decamped to Miami and continued to dance’ — that’s how the Intro UK team describes their ‘Girls’ promo. It was art directed by Anna Bergfors & Julian House with the invaluable help of Nikki Hildesley and produced by Intro UK.
INTRO UK is an independent creative agency with a longstanding reputation for producing ground-breaking work across all media. Established in 1988, Intro pioneered cross-media working: they were one of the first studios to do everything under one roof. This way of working is now more relevant than ever and allows the company to deliver high-quality creative solutions across every medium. They worked with Depeche Mode, Primal Scream, Placebo, Oasis, Can, and dozens of other great artists. Back in 2004, they created an album design for The Prodigy’s ‘Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned’. As well as designing the album packaging and sleeves for three single releases, Intro created a ‘Girls’ video and a TV campaign to promote the album. Julian House & Anna Bergfors were responsible for art direction, and Nikki Hildesley also made a huge contribution to the work. But first things first…
Produced by INTRO | intro-uk.com
Directors: Anna Bergfors & Julian House
Producer: Nikki Hildesley
Production Assistant: Alice Javor
DOP: Pete Bateson
Art Department: Henry E Jones
All post-production: Anna Bergfors & Julian House @ INTRO
The music video grew out of the album visuals for ‘Always Outnumbered Never Outgunned’, and the idea was initially to bring the album sleeve to live. It uses a variety of film techniques, including stop-frame animation, 3D modelling and live action. Wikipedia states that the music video was made in late-2003 and early 2004, but that’s not too precise. Anna Bergfors recalls that the delivery would have been in September 2004, and the production must had started in Spring 2004.
Liam Howlett recalled back in the days: ‘I like the ‘Girls’ visuals, it suits the song, it’s kinda rock’n’electro, trashy. I’ve actually got that drummer doll from the video in my studio there, it’s rock memorabilia!’. Liam also lamented that Audio Bullys had ripped some ‘Girls’ ideas for their video ‘Shot You Down’, released in spring 2005.
Produced by Intro | intro-uk.com
Compiled by Eugene Riecansky & Rockstar | intro-uk.com
INTRO: Did technology play a big part? Well, technology is essential to finally composite the work but all maner of handmade and older production methods are used in the process, we find the hand made nature of the technique lends a raw and human quality to it. Don’t think that software updates are the answer.
The recording process
There’s not really much to say about the recording process, but we’ve dug some details anyway. In an interview for MTV2’s Gonzo, Liam Howlett spoke at some length about how it all started. Actually, ‘Girls’ was the second track Liam Howlett wrote on the record (‘Wake Up Call’ was the first one for ‘Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned’). It originally had just the old ‘84 Broken Glass sample for it. It was one of the few tracks where Liam actually with thinking about ‘Yeah, I want to use the sample’ and then create a track from that.
Moreover, during the conversation with Neko, it was mentioned that Kool Keith had originally participated in ‘Girls’ as well as in the ‘Wake Up Call’! His vocals were actually placed at the end of ‘Girls’. It was basically all the beats of ‘Girls’ all slowed down and Kool Keith came in and did like one verse of lyrics. But in the end that didn’t work, so this idea got shelved.
As you all may remember, the final single release contained the banging alternate version of the track — ‘More Girls’, and actually, Maxim rapped some lines from the legendary ‘Nuclear’ there! During the live sets, Liam often combined both mixes and played the acid mixture of two versions.
By the way Liam even planned to make a ‘Girls’ remix competition, however, the idea was not fated to become a reality. But we decided to implement this idea and made a hidden page with a competition where we posted an acapella of ‘Girls’ for your remix!
Also some special DJ-edit with duration of 5:27 can be found on the web. It was mixed by Mark Roberts: the track has been heavily re-structured, and a straight 4/4 drumbeat has been added at the beginning and the very end to make it easier for DJs to mix it together in their sets.
Additional thanks to: Sixshot, Anna Bergfors, Nikki Hildesley