Karl Hyde and Rick Smith started out in the mid- and late-1980's as the band that would eventually become today's Underworld, making quirky new-wave pop. 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 1994 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 their second album, Second Toughest In The Infants (1996). Underworld's well-praised remixography also continued to grow, including artists such as Björk, Saint Etienne, Simply Red, Massive Attack and Leftfield. After licensing a remix of "Born Slippy" for the 1996 cult classic film Trainspotting, Underworld gained instant worldwide fame and found themselves touring furiously, presenting their renowned, high-energy live act worldwide. Their fame continued to run high through the release of Beaucoup Fish (1999) and Everything, Everything (2000), after which time Emerson left the group to concentrate on his DJ career. The duo continued on, releasing the album A Hundred Days Off in 2002 and an anthology release, 1992–2002 in 2003. From 2004–2006, they took a break from the traditional album/tour cycle, and focused on soundtrack work and online digital EP releases as part of The RiverRun Project. They added DJ Darren Price to their live lineup during this period. In 2007, Underworld released their latest album, Oblivion with Bells, and embarked on a world tour.
In addition to their music, Hyde and Smith are also founding members of a 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. Hyde, along with John Warwicker of Tomato, has published two typographic journals as Underworld Print: Mmm... Skyscraper, I Love You (1994) and In The Belly Of Saint Paul (2003). Underworld Print began publishing the monthly Book of Jam in October 2007, which focuses on a different theme in each issue.