Underworld’s Rick Smith and Karl Hyde send the quick-fire question machine haywire with their ‘Drift’ project

‘Drift’ is a “precisely one year inside the minds of Underworld”?

Rick: “It was about being in the moment and trying to communicate where our minds and bodies go… it’s quite a large window isn’t it, a year?”

Starting on 1 November 2018. A year is 31 October 2019… 

Karl: “‘Drift’ was the will of these people.” 

If the Minds Of Underworld was a pub, what would it be like?

Rick: “Lots of Lego, lots of technology, lots of knobs and cables. And a room where all of the cables were really tidy.”

Karl: “And a cupboard full of people you could collaborate with.”

The project started with ‘Another Silent Way’. Why that track?

Rick: “Our lighting director got us interested in the motor racing drift community. We’ve always got a lot of tracks that are in various states, ‘Another Silent Way’ was one of the ones in play. I tried an experiment with it, cutting footage of the track to drift car racing. It all seemed to make sense.” 

What was the plan following that track?

Rick: “We wanted to respond in the moment, there was a strong model in Karl’s daily diary on the website…”

Karl: “There wasn’t a map, a target. There wasn’t an idea of an end. The plan was just to get something ready for the next week.”

The result is a seven-disc boxset, with Blu-ray and 80-page book!

Karl: “There was no intent for it to be any particular size or shape, but it tested traditional systems and ways of thinking that we’ve used for 40 years.” 

Is the boxset everything the project generated? 

Rick: “Some bits of music didn’t get finished, but the releases, the films, the artwork… that’s all there. Something Karl and I have thought about for years is how wonderful it is to leaf through and contemplate sleevenotes. So with that in mind, the text in the boxset is not insignificant.” 

Tell us about ‘STAR’, it’s the new “shouting lager” in our office

Rick: “It started with an interest in children’s rhymes, from a songwriting perspective. Back in 2014, Karl took one of these classic rhymes, ‘Each Peach Pear Plum’, and we played a game where were changed the names of the celebrities from those in the rhyme to our choice.”

Karl: “It kicked off a whole journey about personal heroes, unsung heroes. It connects to Manchester Street Poem, the idea of telling stories of positive contributions that go unnoticed or unthanked.”

You offer up a car for sale in ‘This Must Be Drum Street’… 

Karl: “Strangely, I am wearing a coat that I bought in a skate shop in Paris that I saw for what it really was – a proper East End car salesman jacket!” 

Rick: “That lyric just cracked me up, it was Karl madness that just worked.” 

What’s next? A regular album will be like a breeze in comparison. 

Rick: “Series 2 is next and we’ll see how that manifests… not being judgemental, but for us, that word ‘regular’ isn’t very inspiring is it? Danny Boyle rings up… ‘Hey boys, I’ve got this really regular idea I want to talk to you about’, it’s just not going to get you going is it?”

What if he rung up with an irregular idea? 

Rick: “Much more interested!”

Karl: “If you’re continually challenged, it’s exhausting, but it’s also a bit like heaven. Can I have a rest? No. OK, fantastic!” 

Rick: “I’d argue that, right now, I really, really want a rest.” 

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