Chemical Brothers: 'We wanted to thank Keith Flint at Glastonbury'

5 July 2019, 15:39 | Updated: 5 July 2019, 16:44

The Chemical Brothers have told how important it was for them to pay tribute to Keith Flint at Glastonbury, saying it was a thank you to the star for his music.

The Prodigy were due to play at this year's festival, but were forced to cancel following the frontman's death in March.

At the end of the Chemical Brothers' set on the Saturday night, fans cheered as photos of Flint appeared on the stage-side screens, alongside the message: "In memory, Keith Flint, 1969-2019."

Speaking at the Silver Clef awards in London, the electronic dance duo - Ed Simons and Tom Rowlands - told Sky News they wanted to remember Flint at the event.

"He was a friend of ours and was always really kind to us," said Simons. "Glastonbury was a big place for The Prodigy.

"It just felt like giving people an opportunity to give him a round of applause, to mark his memory and reflect on the sadness of what happened, and to say thanks."

In 1997, The Prodigy became the first dance act to headline the famous Pyramid Stage, paving the way for The Chemical Brothers to do so in 2000.

Simons and Rowlands have now played the festival five times, but say it still amazes them when they look out at the crowd to see tens of thousands of people dancing in front of them.

"We loved it," says Simons. "We had a few moments where we were wondering how it was going - you always worry - but it was brilliant.

"We've done it quite a few times and each of them have been quite different - it seemed like a great Glastonbury generally, people seemed really happy to be there, a year off the mud, fantastic line-up, everyone happy. We were just very glad to be part of it.

"It's fantastic to see so many people up for it and wanting to see the new show and enjoying their time together.

"I watched it back on the TV and I think that's the best - we know what the show looks like and sounds like but when you see the way it's affecting people, and see people hugging their friends and just being in the moment, it's amazing.

"It's a gift to be able to give that experience to people."

The duo were honoured with the award for innovation at the Silver Clef Awards - a timely tribute following their Glastonbury set, which showed off their incredible, often surreal live visuals to their full potential.

As much a part of their act as the music, the Chemical Brothers' live show takes a lot of work to co-ordinate.

"It's like an ongoing project," says Rowlands. "We work with the same collaborators, and we've been working together for 25 years, really, from the start… to get where we are today it's been an onward progression.

"So there's a lot of work that goes into it but it's also the cumulative thing of time spent playing concerts, being on tour, working on ideas and rehearsing, and that's where we've got to now."

The duo also spoke about the upcoming 20th anniversary reissue of third album Surrender, featuring hits including Hey Boy Hey Girl, Out Of Control and Let Forever Be, featuring Noel Gallagher.

"That's been quite a fun thing to put together, digging through the old boxes of music," said Simons. "It's 20 years since Surrender so seemed worth marking.

"We've tended to avoid that kind of nostalgia, anniversaries have been and gone; I think we both feel very proud of all the music we've made but particularly that album. It marked a moment in time where I think we really distilled a lot of the things we were doing and worked with so many great people. It seemed a good thing."

The Silver Clef Awards are in aid of the Nordoff Robbins charity, which provides music therapy for people with life-limiting illnesses or disabilities.

Other winners at the annual awards included Dua Lipa and Sam Smith, who picked up the prizes for best female and male, while Gary Numan was named the ceremony's music icon and Ed Sheeran was given the O2 Silver Clef award for his outstanding contribution to music.