‘Invaders Must Die’ tune turned 15!

On 26 November 2008, the Invaders Must Die tune was released as a free download on The Prodigy’s official website. Of the follow-up to 2004’s underwhelming Always Outnumbered, Never Outgunned, this track marked a completely new direction for the band. With all the ambiguities between the guys resolved and the fresh tracks banging, a new and perhaps the most eagerly anticipated period for The Prodigy since The Fat Of The Land began.
Photo by Paul Dugdale

We have already covered the events leading up to the release of the single in sufficient detail: the band did not discuss the new material extensively prior to its release, and the exact release date of the album, originally planned for 2007, remained undisclosed until the last moment. However, in early November 2008, Howlett revealed the title of the new album and announced 2 March 2009 as the premiere date of the ‘Invaders Must Die’ LP. The title track was recorded with James Rushent of Does It Offend You, Yeah? whose influence is quite palpable. Wikipedia states that the tune was recorded in New York, but it is not yet possible to confirm or deny this information.

Liam Howlett: All fucking bands say their new record’s their best, but this just feels really triumphant for us. It’s on fire. It’s all about the three of us together and what we can do. You know what we deal with – it’s beats in a predominantly electronic style and it’s full of fucked-up guitars.

via Guardian (November 2008)

Roland.com accurately points out that ‘Invaders Must Die’ embodies all the signature elements of a classic The Prodigy tune: a scorching synth hook that evokes the nostalgia of old-school hardcore, thrilling guitar riffs, quirky vocal snippets, and the punching smack of the Roland TR-707. What’s intriguing is that in 2011, Howlett auctioned off the very same 707, autographed by the band, which he used to create the drums for ‘Invaders Must Die’. The money raised from the auction was donated to support the victims of the devastating tsunami and earthquake in Japan.

Check out the complete PRE-Invaders story:

Artwork for the tune. Designed by Luke Insect

The track premiered on UK Radio 1’s Zane Lowe Show on 26 November at 7.30pm London time and was also uploaded to the band’s website at the same time. The track was also released on a limited edition promotional CDs which were not available for sale. And 2 days later a full length music video was released on The Prodigy’s YouTube channel!

The Prodigy Website Blog: Here we go crew — ‘Invaders Must Die’ is coming to you as a free download after Zane has played it (on Radio 1, England at 7.30pm, Wed 26 Nov) from theprodigy.com for a whole 7 days. And from Friday at 12 noon you can view the video to go with it from theprodigy.com or download an HD version from X-box live channel.

via theprodigy.com

The music video was shot a month and a half before the premiere, in October 2008. It was directed by Paul Dugdale, and basically it was his first big job. According to Hypebeast, he got The Prodigy by showing producers a video he shot using a DV Handycam. The visual was scratchy at best, and featured his rowdy friends at a 2000s indie night getting drunk, stage diving and throwing up. There were no professional intentions behind the creation of the video; it was filmed to capture a messy night, but it ended up playing a pivotal role in the director’s career.

Paul Dugdale: The band put a huge amount of trust in me at that time, as I hadn’t made anything that big at that point. That was a big moment for me. Good party after too.

via theprodigyfanboy.com

The actor Noel Clarke played the lead role in the video — many may remember Noel as Mickey Smith in the legendary Doctor Who and as Wyman Norris in the British series Auf Wiedersehen Pet. He also directed the films Kidulthood and Adulthood.

Maxim, Keef, Noel and Liam while shooting the video.
October 2008. Photo by Paul Dugdale.

Let us briefly outline the plot. A somewhat dishevelled man, portrayed by Noel Clarke, leaves a house with signs saying ‘Keep Out’ and ‘Let No One Take It’. He wanders aimlessly, leaving behind an ant – The Prodigy’s symbol – in various forms, from graffiti to Indian dreamcatchers (the ant appears almost 20 times in just over 3 minutes!). Suddenly, the band members appear and, after a brief ‘persuasion’, our unnamed protagonist destroys everything he has created. The video ends with him on a tower in the open sea… Well, what’s the point?

The band subtly hints that others are gradually taking their place. By appearing in the video, they restore some kid of ‘justice’ — the fruits of the protagonist’s labor are destroyed, and the ‘invader’ is isolated on a tower in the open sea. That’s the essence. ‘The Prodigy are back; welcome them with open arms’.

If you look closely, you can see references to most of The Prodigy’s iconic releases in the Invaders Must Die video: toy soldiers from Girls, playing with fire from Firestarter, the dead rat from the back cover of Poison, the bright yellow frames from the Out Of Space video, fish heads from Breathe cover artwork and many others.

With all these tricks, did the band manage to convey their idea of “return” without being misunderstood? After the release of the track, some of the old guard of fans began to accuse the band of repeating themselves and copying the sound of Justice and Pendulum, who were at the top at the time — but the successful tours that followed the release of the album (almost the most popular period after The Fat Of The Land) proved that The Prodigy were doing what hundreds of thousands of fans all over the planet wanted to hear. Seemed like they were really fucking back.

In fact, it was one of Dugdale’s first collaborations with The Prodigy and in many ways opened him up to a wide range of artists, from, for example, Green Day to U2 and The Rolling Stones.

Via project-redsand.com

The Prodigy filmed some scenes at the Project Redsands sea fort off the Whitstable coast. Skipper Alan Littlewort took the film crew out to the fort on Thursday morning aboard his boat the X-Pilot, but admitted knowing little about the band’s work: “I’m a bit too old for their music, but I have been told that Firestarter was a big hit for them”. “We regularly take film crews out to the fort to do filming for TV programmes, but it’s the first time we’ve had people shooting a music video there”, he added.

Noel Clark: I’m a huge fan of The Prodigy’s work having grown up listening to their earlier stuff. One of the guys in the group approached me about appearing in the video and I couldn’t turn it down. It’s a great location to shoot a video and the journey there and back on the boat was pretty calm too.

via KentOnline

The band’s producer Cordelia Plunket explained why they chose the forts: “It fits in well with the theme of the video as from a distance they do look like aliens climbing out of the sea. We’ve painted a huge Prodigy ant (the group’s logo) on top of it and we also had a helicopter out there buzzing over the top to get some aerial shots too. It’s been a huge success and we’d like to come here again”.

@pauldugdale: 14 years later. I’m back. (11 March 2023)

Project Redsand: Don’t worry, the bug on the roof is only theatrical paint and should get washed away on the first rainy day!

via project-redsand.com

Remarkably, after the shoot, the band even used photos from Fort Red Sands on their own official merch! The photo of the commemorative T-shirt, signed by all three members of the gang and with thanks to the Fort staff, can be seen on the Redsands project website.

Listening Ears near to Greatstone-on-Sea, Kent, Great Britain.
Shot by Paul Russon

Amongst other scenic locations, a few episodes were shot at Denge, a former RAF base in Kent, England, on the banks of an abandoned sandpit. It is best known for its experimental acoustic mirrors from the First and Second World Wars, which are captured in the Invaders Must Die video.

A few months later, the band was about to release one of the biggest hits of their career, drop a new album and embark on their busiest tour since the late 90’s…

Headmaster: SPLIT
Additional thanks to: DMTRPTPV

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