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Rick Smith (Underworld)

Richard Smith (born 25 May 1959) is a Welsh musician. He is a founding member of British electronic music group Underworld and an acclaimed composer, having collaborated extensively with director Danny Boyle,[1] most notably as the musical director for the London 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony,[2] alongside Underworld's Karl Hyde.[3] He is also a founding member of the multi-discipline design and film collective Tomato.[4]

Rick Smith
Rick Smith.jpg
Smith at the Roundhouse with Underworld in 2016
Background information
Birth name Richard Smith
Born (1959-05-25) 25 May 1959 (age 59)
Ammanford, Carmarthenshire, Wales
Genres Electronica, house, trance, progressive trance
Occupation(s) Musician
Instruments Electronic
Years active 1980-present
Associated acts Underworld, Freur


Smith left a bank clerk job in Llanelli to do an electronic and electrical engineering degree, and was handy at fixing amps; he dropped out during his finals after being asked to join Hyde’s band The Screen Gemz.[5] In 1983 they formed a second band with a proto-electroclash, New Romantic sound, whose name was a graphic squiggle but which was soon given a pronunciation; Freur, and recorded two albums for CBS Records International. Freur’s biggest success was the 1983 single, "Doot Doot" (UK No. 59), however they disbanded in 1986.

In 1987 members of Freur created the band Underworld and tried a more guitar-orientated funky electropop sound on two albums for Sire Records, with minor hits in the US and Australia. The Underworld of that period is now often referred to as "Underworld Mk1",[5] however this version of the band disbanded in 1990 and then became the Underworld we know today. Smith founded Underworld along with Karl Hyde, and the pair are the longest and only original serving members of the musical project, still performing together today.

Smith has been working with director Danny Boyle for two decades after the director used the band's music in his 1996 film Trainspotting. As part of Underworld, Smith scored the soundtrack for Boyle’s stage production of Frankenstein in 2011, and in 2012 undertook a solo venture creating the soundtrack to Boyle’s film Trance.[1] Smith was appointed the musical director for the 2012 Summer Olympics opening ceremony which was directed by Boyle. Smith worked with Boyle on his 2017 follow-up film T2 Trainspotting.[6]