Discover: Underworld Exclusive Interview

Underworld performs at On The Beach Saturday July 20th

Photo (above) by Isy Townsend


Discover Brighton chatted to Underworld, aka, Rick Smith and Karl Hide who gave us a rare interview ahead of their gig at On The Beach Brighton, July 20th 


You just did a collaboration with Kettama with Fen Violet and G-Town Euphoria, what drew you to make music with him? Are there other producers out there that you’r into? How do they influence your music?

R: KETTAMA is a force of nature – I remember when we first met him we were so struck by his energy and his talent, he was just so up for it.

K: Yeah we were at the pigshed, and the way he approached the day, writing and jamming with us it gave us energy – that’s one of the big things that inspires us – working with these amazingly singular artists.

R: It’s fun to collaborate, it’s a game with no rules. That’s the reason it’s worked with us two for 40-odd years. There’s another person there to bounce off of. Having the permission to experiment and see things from a different point of view – it’s absolute gold dust.


Tell us your favourite place/s in the world to perform and why?

K: Spaces that offer their own story and history are usually the most interesting to us.

R: Yeah we love transforming them into techno caves…like when we recently performed three nights at the Sydney Opera House, I mean you can’t get more non-rave than an opera house right?!

K: Exactly! But we managed to turn it into another dimension with the smoke, the lights, the darkness – you just get lost in the best way, you can feel the music and the journey you’re on, the audience are right there with us the whole time.


What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?

K: ‘You are enough’.

R: ‘Music’s never finished, it just gets ready.


Have you ever visited Brighton before and if so, what do you love the most about our city?

K: We used to live in Bexhill so we went to Brighton quite a lot.

R: Back in the 1800s!

K: We could sit here and say “oh the pier is amazing” / “oooh fish and chips!” But really it’s the people in Brighton that make it such an exceptional city.

R: Absolutely, there’s nowhere else like it.


Have you got any upcoming projects you’d like us to mention to our readers?

K: Next year is a big anniversary for us…

R: So expect some fun.

Editor’s note – next year marks the 30th anniversary of Born Slippy 

Your recent tour saw your visuals, production and lighting taken to a new level, how did this come about?

R: We’re so lucky to have an amazing team of creatives that we travel the world with – we’ve known and loved them for years so every time we go out on tour, we’re all just trying to have as much fun as possible.

K: This time round we got this amazing colour web to sit at the back of the stage, and it gives the stage so much dimension. That combined with the fantastic video and lighting – it means the show is new every night.

R: yeah every night we try and find something new and share something different.


Your latest tour saw you play two sets per night with an interval for the first time since the Second toughest tour. How did this compare to playing a single set and did it inspire any changes to your approach for summer shows such as On the Beach?

R: The two sets thing, it came about purely because we wanted to take everyone on a complete Underworld journey in one night. Our albums and some of our records are almost genre-less, so giving space to be able to play everything from slower tempo stuff to high energy tracks was really fun for us.

K: yeah like we have this song, Trim, that we’ve never played live before. We were only able to do that because we had that two set format.

R: Saying that, the Brighton show won’t be like that, it’s gonna kick off pretty quick and hopefully leave everyone in a techno haze. Can’t wait.



Here’s your chance to win 2 x VIP tickets to see Underworld in action at On The Beach on Saturday July 20th. All you need to do is answer this question and email it to –

‘What are Underworld celebrating 30 years of this year?’

Good Luck!

Steven Graham
Author: Steven Graham

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