Underworld | Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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In Flux

Dec 14, 2010 Underworld Bookmark and Share

Underworld is a fluid entity. At its core are Karl Hyde and Rick Smith, but revolving around the two is a number of influences, and emanating from the duo are countless products. From Darren Emerson and Darren Price, to Brian Eno and Danny Boyle, Underworld’s staple ingredients of fluttering synth lines, mind-melting loops, and stream of consciousness lyrics have been treated, molded, and decorated. Whether it has been defining the film Trainspotting, or enhancing Eno’s Pure Scenius Project, or being re-imagined in the group’s download-only Riverrun series, Underworld has maintained a niche for itself at the forefront of progressive dance music. They’ve even just remixed David Lynch.

For its latest full-length, Barking, Underworld enlisted the talents of notable dance producers such as Dubfire, Paul van Dyk, High Contrast, Mark Knight & D. Ramirez, and Appleblim & Al Tourettes. These musicians’ individual styles make Barking bubble with character yet remain singularly identifiable as Underworld.

Lily Moayeri: What spurred the decision to involve outside producers in the creation of Barking?

Rick Smith: Throughout our musical career we’ve always [worked] with other people. We just wanted to freshen things up a little, challenge our ways of working, and make things more interesting for ourselves. Everyone brings something new to the table and you can never stop learning, which is great.

The musical diversity of your collaborators stands out. How did you decide whom to pick?

We picked people we thought would work with the material we were writing, nothing more complicated than that. We try and keep up with cutting edge dance music in many genres. Over the years we have gotten to know who might be a good fit for what we do.

How did you decide which tracks to give which collaborators?

It was a case of listening to the tracks and imagining the producers’ signature sound working around the material. The stuff at drum ‘n’ bass tempo needed to go with a producer from that genre and the big dancefloor stuff wasn’t going to go to a dubstep guy.

Did the collaborators have any say in which tracks they would like to work on?

Some of them heard a number of tracks and got to pick what they wanted to do, but they weren’t picking from everything we had written, just the stuff we thought was suitable. Other tracks we had specific people in mind from the start.

How interactive was the collaborative process?

It was different in every case. We tried to be as flexible as possible and allow people the chance to do their thing in their own way. We worked in the studio together on a number of tracks and others were done over the Internet, some of the tracks, it was a mixture of both. If the track had a strong direction when we gave it out, then we all tried to stick with that at first.

Where there songs that changed dramatically from your version to the reworked version?

All the songs are our version. We worked on all of them right until the mastering was finished. Some of them changed greatly from the original idea or demo, some didn’t. But we were part of that change and don’t really look at the songs “our” versions and the “reworked” versions. We are used to material changing, developing, and evolving. A version of “Born Slippy” that we would play live now is nothing like the one we would have done in 1996, or like the record for that matter. For us, there is never really a moment when a song isn’t in a state of flux.



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