TF Archives

Underworld - Beached As

Author: Rezo/Ghostwriter Killah
Monday, December 1, 2008

Most famous for that track in the Trainspotting soundtrack, UK electronic luminaries Underworld are one of the biggest dance acts in the world. It’s going to be a pretty special night on New Year’s Eve, then, when they join the Presets and Eric Prydz on Bondi Beach.

Underworld has its origins all the way back in the early ’80s, with Karl Hyde and Rick Smith forming The Screen Gemz, heavily influenced by Kraftwerk and reggae, whilst studying together at art school. Apparently the two are quite good visual artists…

“We’ve actually done two major exhibitions: one in Tokyo and one in New York,” Hyde says. “We’ve also curated an event in Japan as a precursor to other events we wanted to get done in the future.

“Rick and I actually setup Tomato – an art collective in the 1980s – so we’ve done that side of things for the last 20 years. It’s only recently that we’ve begun taking it a lot more seriously and injected cash into it while bringing in another artists and to promote their work. And this is not only visual artists but artists who are releasing on independent record labels as well.”

So what’s driven them over all these years-

“There really is no magic formula,” Hyde admits. “We just enjoy what we do and we keep moving with our tastes and the tastes of the times. Our view is that if things are eclectic then it is also timeless and that goes with every record were produce.

“Our radio show has been part of our repertoire for over eight years now so we get quite a lot of music sent to us from artists and independent labels and that helps us keep our finger on trends. More so, I actually still love buying records; every time I go into a record store I walk out with a bunch of records. That’s what we want to continue to do; we want to continue taking Underworld higher and higher.”

In doing so the duo have openly embraced technology.

“We even did three albums that were download-only via the internet. It was a great way of people getting used to our stuff very quickly. We were doing three-hour live shows and we didn’t have to wait for an album to come out; with the internet your music becomes common knowledge and it’s liberating knowing that there was stuff out there written virtually in front of an audience while we were on stage and on tour.

“Rick and I have loved technology and electronics since the days of Kraftwerk and dub reggae; these elements were at the core of what we loved doing along with our other stuff. Every time we strip things down, we evolve the electronics in there and tie it in with the human element. We love beat-driven music but throw in influences from classical and jazz; this should give you an idea of what turns us on. It’s just that ability to incorporate elements from different areas that helps your music touch more people – they can relate to what they know, if that makes sense.”

So what can fans expect from their upcoming Australian shows-

“We can’t wait. All three of us are hyped and spontaneous as ever,” Hyde admits. “Our show is completely improvised and any consideration for what we play happens on the night! From the decisions about the lights to the video projection and the music itself we feel the crowd and respond to what they want us to do. It’s as simple as that!”

WHO: Underworld
WHAT: Play Shore Thing NYE at Bondi Beach
WHEN: Wednesday 31 December