Hyde, a former arts student trained in the Fluxus philosophy of artistic process over finished product, and Smith, an amateur photographer-filmmaker, were founding members of the design collective Tomato.The collective established its reputation in the 1990s working across print, film, installations and advertising. Both also exhibit photographic work on the band’s website, while Hyde paints, sometimes as an alternative to music; sometimes as a spark for it.
“When I start to think too much in one discipline, I move to another,” he said.
Since ‘Born Slippy’ famously featured in Trainspotting, they’ve individually or together collaborated on mixed media projects with director Danny Boyle, scoring his stage adaptation of Frankenstein, his London Olympic Games opening ceremony, and his film Trance.
In 2007, the pair created a mini festival of music, art and cinema in Japan, The Oblivion Ball, which was a live painting performance of a fifty-by-ten-metre wall. A year later a broader exhibition of Tomato’s work was exhibited in New York
“It’s odd that somebody from a relatively poor, working class background feels comfortable in an art gallery, but I do,” said Hyde in an interview with Print. He built his 2013 solo album Edgeland in part on the evocative, elusive photographic images he collected on his travels.
“I remember being in art college and being pilloried by the head of painting because I was using kids’ crayons and cheap paper from an office equipment place. And that tickled me. So I use pencils, I use big chunks of lead and graphite, chalk, generally mineral white stuff.”