The oldest member of The Prodigy, Maxim under the alias MM, recently launched his first art exhibition titled LepidopTerror. Immersing viewers in a sensory experience of sight, sound and scent at the INC Space, London, the show incorporated between 12 and 15 large-scale paintings, including many from his butterfly series. With the exhibition now closed, we caught up with MM to find out a bit about his life away from the music and what lies beneath LepidodTerror.



Have you always been interested in art?

Yes. I do go to art galleries a lot, but my interest has grown tenfold now I’m doing art myself.

Is it important for you to get recognition from the art world?

Well, it would be nice, but I will still continue doing art regardless of what happens outside my studio.

The title of this exhibition – LepidopTerror – where did this name come from?

Because the majority of the paintings in this exhibition are butterfly-based, I called it LepidopTerror. The story started from about three years ago, when I caught a moth in my music studio. As I was letting it out the door a thought came across me. What was the moth thinking? Was it thinking get the fuck off me?

So I had the thought of empowering the butterflies and giving them swords and machetes. Lepidoptera is the large order of insects that include moths and butterflies, so changing it to LepidopTerror bought the meaning somewhere else.

Are you feeling excited or nervous about the reactions you will get on your exposition?

Yes I am nervous because it is my first exhibition. But I’m confident in my work so the nerves won’t last long.

At what age did you start painting?

I started painting about 11 years ago when I needed some art for my walls at home. I went to a few art fairs and what I saw didn’t inspire me. So I decided to create my own art. From then on I haven’t looked back.

Which artists inspire you and why?

There isn’t a particular artist that inspires me, but I like Basquiat, and I like Thomas Doyle who creates scenes in glass domes.

What do you do to get inspiration for a new art piece?

Inspiration comes from many places, mostly films. When I get an idea, I plan it out in my head and picture what the outcome will look like.If it doesnt go to plan normally burn them and move onto a new idea.

Are you intrigued by the ‘dark’, sinister side of life?

Well, when you say dark I’m not into the evils that men do! But I like fictional, dark imagery in films etc.

Do you feel you can expose a part of you in your art that you could not in music?

Yes. Painting a picture can say so many things – you can get the story straight away. In music it might take the whole song to build the picture.

Butterflies play a big role in your work. Can you explain why?

I think I answered that in question 3 but my next phase of work will be totally different.

What kind of creative process are you going through when you’re making a painting?

It all starts with a strong concept and I’m not the kind of artist that doesn’t see the end. I plan out every step, even down to the colours I use.

Do you have personal rituals in your process of making art?

No ritual as such – but I love drinking  green tea when I work.

Does your art relate to your music?

Not at all! Obviously it’s all part of me, but it’s another rose bud on the rose bush.

What do you listen to (if anything) whilst creating artworks?

I have my iPod on shuffle when I paint, but I love listening to Rage Against The Machine. The best live band ever, apart from The Prodigy.

How do you find the time to pursue both a life of art and of music? How do you find the balance?

It’s easy! Music is my first passion and art slots into the times I’m not doing music. But it’s not a constant thing, it happens when I get inspired – I never force music or art.

What are you trying to communicate through your art? Do you want to ease, thrill, frighten?

I let the individual get whatever they want from my art, but I always build up images that make people think. Nothing is ever that straight forward, with my work it’s all thought-provoking.

The exhibition is curated in a ‘room within a room’ – where elements such as darkness, warmth and low frequency sound is intensified. Can you explain why you choose for such a presentation?

The reason I did this is because I want people to leave having had an experience they wouldn’t normally get from an exhibition.  I’ve been to many exhibitions and it’s always the same thing – paintings on white walls – nothing else… Maybe I should do what everybody else does and not go against the grain.

What next?

Watch this space! I have a million and one ideas in my head. I’m slowly leaking them out for the world to see!


I let the individual get whatever they want from my art, but I always build up images that make people think.


Images: Courtesy of MM