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Karl Hyde and Rick Smith started out in 1983 as members of the band Freur which became become Underworld in 1986, making quirky new-wave pop. The original Underworld lineup disbanded in 1990.

British DJ Darren Emerson made their acquaintance in 1992 and helped them refine their sound into something more sleek and beat-oriented, yet still shot through with tinges of blues, rock and spoken-word streams of consciousness. After several releases on Junior Boy's Own as Lemon Interupt, the three of them re-adopted the Underworld name. The trio's first full-length, Dubnobasswithmyheadman, was released in 1993 to rave reviews and is still considered a landmark piece of work today. It spawned several hit singles (Dark & Long, Cowgirl, Dirty Epic) and was followed a couple years later by the Born Slippy single and sophomore album Second Toughest In The Infants. Underworld's well-praised remixography also continued to grow, including Björk, Saint Etienne, Simply Red, Massive Attack and Leftfield, among others.

After licensing a remix of "Born Slippy" out for the 1996 cult classic film Trainspotting, Underworld gained instant worldwide fame and found themselves touring worldwide. Their fame continued to run high into the release of Beaucoup Fish (1999) and Everything, Everything (2000), after which time Emerson left the group to concentrate more on his DJ career. The album A Hundred Days Off followed in 2003.

In addition to their music, Karl and Rick are also members of graphic design company, Tomato, which has done high-profile work for clients around the world as well as providing art for all of Underworld's releases. In addition, Karl Hyde, along with John Warwicker, have published two typographic journals, the first being "Mmm… Skyscraper, I Love You" (1994), the second was "In The Belly Of Saint Paul" (2003).

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