Underworld member/co-founder Karl Hyde recently released his debut solo album Edgeland. The vocalist takes a moment to talk with VIBE about his music, which he describes as “journeys through soundscapes at the edge of town”, and what great things lay upon Hyde’s horizon.
VIBE: Why have you decided to go solo?
Karl Hyde: Weirdly, I never thought of it as going solo, more like going parallel. Life in Underworld had been busy for twenty years…evolving new challenges year after year. Then I was invited by Brian Eno to be part of his Pure Scenius ensemble. It reminded me of how Underworld used to be on stage (and in the studio), and I wanted more.
How will your own music be unique and differentiate from your productions with Rick Smith? Could you give us an example?
The music of Edgeland has it’s roots in Underworld’s sound, inspired by the tracks that have always existed between the more heavily beat driven sounds that the band is best known for. Tracks like ‘Tongue’ & ‘Mother Earth’ have explored a more intimate sound, and on other albums these tracks that nestle between the dance grooves have reflected our love of Dub, film scores, soundscapes & tones that were more suited to the chillout of the after party.
Where did the title Edgeland derive from?
It came about after the album was finished. I wanted to call it, ‘It’s Not the End of the World’ or ‘Dark Country’, but after throwing it open to the U/W family what came back was their observation that I had shifted my fascination for gathering my lyrics from the inner city and taken up wandering around the edge of town where it’s run down, broken, dirty & beautiful in a different way.
Is there a a fluid message/theme to your debut album?
It’s still me wandering streets, documenting my journeys, overheard conversations, landscapes, architecture, broken discarded things left like trails of breadcrumbs for me to follow. However, on this record I wanted to join the fragments together, give people a clue as what I was singing about, and write about how I was feeling as I travelled around the edge of the city.
What do you hope fans/music enthusiasts will take away from listening to it? Or feel while listening?
To me these songs are the soundtracks to journeys and films, the things that I see as I move in and out of the city. They’re the stories of the people I met and the places I found them in, the landscape on the edge of town and the rhythm of the tribes who live in it.
Will you still produce music as Underworld while pursuing a solo career?
Underworld is Rick and me, and I never intend to stop.
Working in the dance music industry for over two decades, what are the biggest changes you’ve seen in the past five years? The worst? The best?
The best? It’s finally come home to America. That’s a smile, a thrill, to see the huge audiences dance music is connecting with in the USA is a deep joy. The worst? Leave that with me…
Do you have advice for the budding producer?
Strive to make your own sound, take inspiration from everywhere, don’t limit your influences to any one genre, but don’t be a follower. Cut your own path and believe in it.
Who inspires you the most?
Artists who make their own sound and aren’t swayed by trends.
If you had to create a dream collaboration project using only: a rapper, a DJ and one live-apparatus musician (drummer or guitar or bass) who would they be and why?
– Tony Buck (from the Necks) on drums: I can’t live without a groove and Tony has a fantastic feel that he builds out’ve stuff you wouldn’t believe anyone could turn into rhythm
– Missy Elliot rapping: Love the sound of her voice and the way she grooves around the beat
– Richie Hawtin producing: Great vision, master of soundscapes, love the way he locks his music to the groove, the way he builds his set, the journeys he creates & takes us on