Keith Flint was a revolutionary artist and riveting performer who brought a fierce element to electronic dance music that captured my imagination and young artistic heart.
Growing up in a strict religious household where non-Christian music and listening to secular radio were closely supervised by conservative Brethren Church leaders and generally frowned upon by my parents sparked a rebellion in me that had a platform to be expressed through Keith’s relentless energy and devilish appearance. I was entranced as a teenager by the lyrics of Smack My Bitch Up and got hooked on Firestarter whilst I listened to the songs privately when no-one else was at home.
I loved the guilty pleasure of cranking up the volume and dancing with frenetic and wild abandon to The Prodigy, Fear Factory, Body Count and NWA when I was left to my own devices. In particular, something was able to get out through the elements of the angst and aggression in the beats and the sound of Keith’s voice that I could not find a way to express in other ways.
He was a conduit for my own frustration to be released, like the valve of a pressure cooker at boiling point, year upon year of living like the good Christian girl from childhood to my teenage years began to take it’s toll because I was essentially living out a double life, presenting myself as pristine and conservative when I needed to be and letting my hair down and swearing, even experimenting with cigarettes when I was not at Church or around my well-meaning parents.
This tumultuous life became harder when I was excommunicated from the Church for not complying with their values and soon after I reached tipping point being hospitalized with psychosis. It was a slow path to recovery but music was a life-line the whole way through to the point of meeting my music producer and husband, Tonestepa, who had also been excommunicated from the Brethren and was a massive fan of The Prodigy.
The standpoint the band had and Keith’s persona on stage brought me relief and reprieve, to this day I know the fire he started will burn in my heart forever.
Text: Priscilla Silcock (Sapphira)