Running all of 13 years now, Neopop is undoubtedly Portugal’s prime festival for discerning electronic music. Set in the stunning Viana do Castelo in Northern Portugal, this year’s event features some absolute titans of the house and techno world, including Dax J, Jeff Mills, KiNK, Laurent Garnier and more. Even with all the latter names on offer, it’s saying something that Underworld still boasts headline status like no other. The English duo (consisting of Karl Hyde and Rick Smith) have been at the forefront of live electronica for over two decades now - and show no sign of letting their hair down any time soon. With all this in mind, and in advance of the festival kicking off on the 7th August (and running all the way through until the 10th August), we asked 5 DJs playing about their favorite Underworld track and memory. As you might imagine, with so many great tunes in their locker, their picks were suitably diverse. Here’s what The Advent, Alessandro Adriani, Andre Simao, Chris Liebing, and Rui Vargas had to say…
The Advent picks… ‘Rez’
Underworld brought techno to a bigger stage, and they stand for me for what the 90s stand for; everything in techno was still so new and euphoric. There are a few favourites, like the obvious ones ”Born Slippy', but my favorite Is ‘Rez’.. We performed together at the very first Cocoon event in Frankfurt for Sven Vath; Underworld performed ‘Rez’, and the crowd was going for it. I remember hearing this track for the first time in Belgium, at some record store in Antwerp, and it immediately caught my attention. When mixed at the right time in a set, that trippy intro can create a great feeling on the dance floor... positive vibes..
Alessandro Adriani picks… ‘Born Slippy’
“It was 1996 and I had just turned 16. Trainspotting just came out in the cinema and a group of us wanted to go to see it. But of course, it was prohibited to the under 18s. So, in typical Italian fashion, we all snuck in! Well, when Born Slippy started we all just started raving in the theatre chairs like crazy motherfuckers. Unfortunately, the security guy at the back of the cinema saw us, didn’t approve of our presence and kicked us out. I had to wait for the VHS edition to come out to finish the movie!”
Andre Simao of Sensible Soccer picks… ‘Rez’
"Even if it’s a pretty obvious choice, Underworld is to blame for ‘Rez’, which is one of the most exciting dance tracks of all time. When Second Toughest came out, Portugal was waking to rave culture and contemporary dance music. We were kids at the time, and Underworld made the perfect album to work as some kind of magic gate to dancefloor psychedelia. It mixed hardstep beats, a Pink Floydish progressive approach and enjoyable pop hooks. I first saw them live, circa 1995, in a small club near Oporto. I guess every soul in the room had that Renton (from Trainspotting) smile and soon started seeing dragons (real ones, not GOT CGI stuff). ‘Rez’ works as a kind of Kraftwerk’s Europe Endless reprise, with a tribal feel and a circular arpeggio that could go on for hours. And still can."
Chris Liebing picks… ‘Moaner’
"Hey kiss me I kiss you
Kiss me I kiss you
I know about you
I've been told about you
I've been waiting for you…."
“The first time I heard this track I was simply blown away by its energy. I mean, we all love and know many incredible songs by Underworld and I could also list the likes of “Cowgirl”, “Rez”, “Born Slippy” and many more. But somehow when I first got my hands on the 12” of ‘Moaner’ at the end of the ’90s, it was a blueprint for me for what an amazing techno track needs to have. Crazy build ups, amazing sounds, energy, breakdowns, emotional pads… and not forgetting one of the best basslines ever in techno history! And of course those vocals, that can only Karl Hyde deliver in his special style. It still sounds as fresh as if it were produced yesterday. Boom Boom.. I can’t wait to catch them at Neopop!”
Rui Vargas picks… Two Months Off
I heard this one briefly in a record shop when it came out back in 2002. The same night I dropped it in a packed club and it was magical. Every time I play it (and I leave it for special nights) is intense. The most memorable one was in Lux Fragil during the late-night hours. I played it and asked the guys in the club to open the doors of the club (in front of the river Tagus). The dancefloor was invaded by a gorgeous golden light from the rising sun. Smiles everywhere. Electricity… And the chorus: You Bring Light In, You Bring Light In, You Bring Light In, You Bring Light In…” Magical!
Neopop Festival runs from 7th - 10th August