The Prodigy

Artists That Are Named After Their Favorite Pieces of Gear

The bond between artists and their gear can sometimes be seen as a rear phenomenon. Some praise their equipment to heaven and some are showing their love by smashing them to the ground. These artists took their relationship to a higher level by naming themselves after a piece of favorite gear.


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The Prodigy

The British dance act, formed in Braintree, Essex, originally consisted of 4 members: Liam Howlett, Maxim, Keith Flint, and Leeroy Thornhill. As the band gained recognition, worldwide, through their mixture of electronic beats, British rave, metal, techno, and breakbeat, they started to put their stamp on the music industry. Their chart-topping hit records such as Smack My Bitch Up, Firestarter, and Breathe are defining the Electronic Music scene, still up to this day. The musical qualities that are blasting out of every speaker all around the world go hand in hand with the tools they used while creating these records. Liam Howlett mentioned that the band’s name arose because he shared a cassette with the members including audio of the Moog Prodigy. He had scratched the word “Prodigy” into the cassette which ultimately became the name of the band. If that audiotape had never been shared, who knows what the iconic band’s name would be?


808 State

Graham Massey, Martin Price, and Gerald Simpson formed the English Electronic Music Act that’s iconic for a combination of Acid House, Techno, and IDM. The group secured commercial success through the song “Pacific State”, included in their debut album, Newbuild. The extravagant artist called Aphex Twin re-released the album back in 2005 mentioning the following: “It was the next step after Chicago acid, and as much as I loved that, I could relate much better to 808 State. It seemed colder and more human at the same time.” A total of 12 different albums have been made by the band, supported by non-other than David Bowie and Brian Eno. The band mainly used the Roland TR-808 drum machine while creating their striking records. The fact that they used the drum machine in almost every record, made them decide to change their name to the well-known tool.


Aphex Twin

Richard David James is the mastermind behind the ego named Aphex Twin. The Irish-born musician started out making music in 1991 followed up by his first records and a fully-fletched album a year later. The composer’s extraordinary music production techniques made the artist one of them, maybe even the most prominent Intelligent Dance Music (IDM) artist. His record label called Rephlex Records pushes boundaries by introducing new bands/artists such as 808 State to the world. His tools collection consists of the most unique production units that are featured in his records. A range of synthesizers, pianos, turntables, drum machines, sequencers, and samplers gave him a hunch about his stage name. Aphex Systems is an audio signal processing equipment brand that intrigued Richard, eventually leading to him using the name. The second part of his moniker is in reference to his older brother.



This musical act originated in Leeds, England, with 2 members Mark Bell and Gez Varley. The British companions released their debut LP, Frequencies, back in 1991, which was well received by the highly praised artists within the scene. Varley, being one of the two faces, decided to split ways at which Bell continued solo. He managed to release a second album, Advance, in 1996 and a final studio album, Sheath, in 2003. The band is considered being the pioneer of bass-heavy Techno music of the 90s. Their musical identity could be contemplated as a mixture of different genres, Techno and IDM. Laser-like oscillators, tight percussion, sub-heavy material, and unique arrangements made the electronic music act stand out from the others. The famous American Online Database, AllMusic, said the following: “One of British techno’s most important, agenda-setting groups.” The fact they used a lot of envelopes and low-frequency oscillators, causing their signature sound, made them decide to name themselves LFO.


Thomas Dolby

This English producer, composer, musician, teacher, and entrepreneur made his entry into the charts by releasing his famous records “She Blinded Me with Science” and “Hyperactive!”, back in the 80s. His chart-topping albums including one of his most famous singles “The Golden Age of Wireless” reached No. 5 on the acclaimed Billboard Hot 100 and No. 13 on the Billboard Album chart. Besides his own successful career, he presented himself as a producer, session musician, and music director for TED Conferences. Since 2014, he took on the role of leading Peabody’s Music for New Media program, starting as a teacher. Thomas Morgan Robertson was a multi-instrumentalist and an explorer when it comes to new technology. In the early 1970s, Thomas came across Dolby Laboratories, which processed noise reduction for audio recording and playback. The fact that he was always experimenting with different gear made him stumble across the company’s name.


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Image Credit: Andrew Cotterill

- DJ/Producer from the Netherlands. - Graduated from the Conservatory in Amsterdam. - Currently working as the technical writer at We Rave You