As Underworld, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith have been at the vanguard of British electronic music since their formation in 1980. However, it was Dave Emerson joining in 1991 that propelled the outfit into the public eye.
Before Emerson joining the ranks, Underworld was a moderately successful electro-rock-pop act, influenced by the likes of Kraftwerk and Prince. However, Emerson took them on a darker journey, “celebrating the underbelly”. Haunting bars and underground clubs, notebook in hand, he’d record snippets of conversation and even pick up sex-workers’ business cards from phone booths to act as inspiration for tracks.
Underworld’s breakthrough song was Born Slippy NUXX. Best-known as part of the soundtrack to the seminal 1990s film, Trainspotting, it became one of the biggest dance tracks of the decade.
Despite Emerson’s departure, Underworld continues to record and perform live sets. Their most recent album, Drift, is an eclectic mix of old and new works.