Grammy Preview: Prodigy And Other Electronic Acts Get Nod

Electronica nominations potentially usher in new era for awards.

Though it might be easy to grow accustomed to the musty smell emanating

from the list of Grammy nominations each year, remix master Armand Van

Helden sensed something good was going to come with this year's slate.

"I'm not shocked because I saw it coming," Van Helden, 27, said by phone

from New York. In Van Helden's eyes, the nominating committee at the

National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences had no choice but to

recognize trend-setting bands such as Prodigy who, along with the Chemical

Brothers, were nominated for Best Alternative Music Performance.

Sure, mainstays such as Elton John, Aerosmith and Fleetwood Mac appeared on

the typically conservative list of potential winners - but so did

groundbreaking electronica acts such as Prodigy, the Chemical Brothers and

Daft Punk. Sneaker Pimps remixer Van Helden, himself one of five artists

nominated in the new Remixer of the Year category, represents the more

forward-looking nature of this year's awards.

"The thing about it is, it's what was going to happen regardless -- the

kids out there determine what's happening," he said. "It just

happens to be that Bon Jovi doesn't sell like it used to -- but Prodigy

sure the fuck does."

But what does this acknowledgment of music outside the pop/commercial vein

mean?

"If anything, it's letting people know that shit is changing, and you

either fucking get on while you can or get left behind," he said. "That's

what the Chemical Brothers and the Prodigy are telling people."

Van Helden -- who was nominated for his work remixing Sneaker Pimps and the

Rolling Stones, among others -- said he doesn't measure his own worth by

awards such as the Grammys. Nonetheless, he said he's glad that his craft

is being recognized by the rest of the music industry.

"It's about time that 'remix' - the word, the category -- is getting

recognized," Van Helden said. "If anything, it's giving more power to us

to be more creative.

"Now that there's a remix category, people can be taken more seriously," he

added. "The remixers can be open to do more experimental things, instead of

[thinking], 'Oh, I have to please the label people, I have to please the

band.' Now remixers can be hired, and [label executives] go, 'We're hiring

you to do what you do.' " [Mon., Feb. 9, 1998, 9 a.m.

PST]