1.Underworld's Karl Hyde

1/13

From their earliest moments as a band, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith of electronic act Underworld have been about more than just the music. Underworld has always been a multimedia experience, from the custom-made video projections to unique stage dressings to detailed album artwork -- much of which are conceived by Tomato, the U.K.-based art collective in which the duo are partners.

Hyde also documents all of his travel experiences with photography and poetry -- so we asked him to capture the group's recent weekend trip to Italy for a performance at the Italia Wave Festival Livorno, exclusively for SPIN.com. What follows is a compendium of his images, verses, and quotes from a post-festival interview.

Underworld's new album, Barking, arrives September 14.

Photos and poetry by Karl Hyde
Interview by Peter Gaston
Photo editing by Eric Nowels

2.Underworld's Karl Hyde

2/13

From their earliest moments as a band, Karl Hyde and Rick Smith of electronic act Underworld have been about more than just the music. Underworld has always been a multimedia experience, from the custom-made video projections to unique stage dressings to detailed album artwork -- much of which are conceived by Tomato, the U.K.-based art collective in which the duo are partners.

Hyde also documents all of his travel experiences with photography and poetry -- so we asked him to capture the group's recent weekend trip to Italy for a performance at the Italia Wave Festival Livorno, exclusively for SPIN.com. What follows is a compendium of his images, verses, and quotes from a post-festival interview.

Underworld's new album, Barking, arrives September 14.

Photos and poetry by Karl Hyde
Interview by Peter Gaston
Photo editing by Eric Nowels

3.Wandering in Pisa

3/13

"When we were in Pisa the other night, I was just kind of taking off between courses and wandering around the alleys to explore," Hyde tells SPIN.com. "And then I'd get back in time for the next course to arrive."

Tonight
In the ancient city
The alleys smell of piss & sweat
The air sticks to your skin
& when you breath you inhale in lumps

Primal Scream
On the stereo
A dim bar
Calling to me from another street corner

But we're in the Jazz Restaurant
Where food gets eaten late
& Dark
& Hot
& Sticky
And art comes cheap
Cardboard & instant Basquiat

4.Reading Cities

4/13

Says Hyde: "I've developed a way of reading cities, where I can look at a street or an alley and kind of go, 'That looks interesting.There's something interesting up there. You know, there's just something about the architecture and the marks on the walls and the way that the traffic goes up the street."

5.Human Marks

5/13

"I'm really interested in the marks that people leave as they pass through cities. You know, the marks on walls. The styles of graffiti. The way that people will mark a wall by, you know, writing on it. The way people will mark a wall by driving a truck up it.The way people scuff their feet up a sidewalk. Those kind of things really interest me."

"They're what I call 'beautiful marks' you leave for me to find.Everything from kind of political marks on the walls, to just the general passage of human traffic as it moves through a city."

6.A Decaying Stadium

6/13

"The gig was at a football stadium, a kind of a second division football stadium, so it was a little decayed, which I like very much. Looked almost predatorial. A lot of the walls backstage were loose and marked with heavy looking graffiti."

"It looked like football used to look [in England] in the 70's."

We enter soundcheck through the backwoods
Beneath the stadium seats
Crumbling concrete
Beautiful decay
Ragged graffiti covers the walls like blood
Black & Red
Clusters of CCTV cameras
Windows & barricades like riot shields
Crowns of barbed wire
Football in another country

7.Old Men Sitting on Concrete

7/13

"Our driver got out to ask directions, and it's just these old guys sitting on lumps of concrete, in the shade of some other kind of concrete tenement. I'm thinking, 'Wow, you know, there's a story here.'"

"And we've just come into their lives and gone back out again. They're probably going to be sitting on that piece of concrete today, you know, just staying out of the sun."

8.Parallel Lines and Cameras

8/13

"I started using a camera around '93 because I had this technique, which I still use, of collecting text -- words, you know, to sing. I'd go out into the streets and write down the fragments of my journey. 'Cause I believe we all see the world as a series of fragments. And then I thought, 'I wonder if I can do this with a camera.'"

"Here I'm using a Lumix, which is, like an equivalent of the Leica. And the other one is a cheap little Japanese digital camera that I picked up a couple of weeks ago in Tokyo, which I absolutely love. And that's my favorite, cause there's an energy to that that is just beautiful."

"I've always loved parallel lines. Here's a room with just a glass wall with parallel lines and I'm just thinking, 'Wow, fantastic.'So, you know, I just started snapping away and looking at the rhythm."

9.Mad About the Mouse

9/13

"I took an alleyway past the backs houses and into this square. And as I turned around to go back, there was that graffiti on the wall and I saw it. But I walked past it."

"Then, right next to that was a bicycle with a Mickey Mouse balloon -- a load of balloons and the Mickey Mouse balloon is amongst them. I've been seeing things in twos a lot recently, so I thought, 'Okay, I've got to go back and photograph the other one.'"

10.Italian Film Noir

10/13

"I know that one of the things I like about Italy is that you can go out at night and the cities are kind of dark, dimly-lit.They're very film noir in a way."

At night
Small things scream en-masse
Out in the tall grass
On the flatlands surrounding our hotel

Imagine tiny lizard-fish
Mating amongst the mosquitoes
Making music for the girls who work the night along the road

11.Past Turns to Future

11/13

"All these buildings were decaying, but then you'll see an amazing Gucci shop, or another fantastic designer sunglass place. It's this fabulous combination of decay, things just about hanging on, and then something which is just completely out there into the future of design. I love that about Italy."

12.The Gig

12/13

There's a big crowd tonight
Happy & joyous
Smiling
Waving
Dancing
Celebrating

Half way through
A football flare goes off
People dance around the flicking pink fire

Everybody happy

The boys get their tops off
Tattooed backs on display
Arms in the air
Up on the crash barriers
The girls watch them
Smiling
Glancing up at the stage
Waving

The body twists & jumps
The heart pumps blood
The lungs suck in air
& the skins sweats rivers down my back
Rick & Darren & me
Glancing & grinning
Nodding,
"Come in here"
"Are you OK?"
"This crowd is great!"

13.Departure

13/13

"These songs were written on the road over the past three years," Hyde says of the material on the new album, Barking. "And, so they were written with the audiences, written in front of audiences, informed by the audiences."

"Taking the new songs back out again -- it's worked fantastically.And it actually feels like being in a new group. In rehearsals for the first shows that we did in Australia a few weeks ago, I stood at the front of the band thinking, 'I'm gonna turn around and see a completely different bunch of guys behind me.'"

Hyde says American shows will happen "before the end of the year," but can't reveal exact dates just yet. In the meantime, before Barking hits Sept. 14, Underworld will play throughout Europe, and a new exhibition of Hyde's paintings will go on exhibit in Japan in late August.

For more info, visit Underworld's official site. You can watch the video for Barking's lead single, "Scribble," below: