With the break-up of Noiseworks, ex-members Justin Stanley and Steve Balbi formed the production and recording venture known as Electric Hippies. The duo's first release was the CD EP It's Cool (featuring the track `Jonny Courageous' which was reputedly a swipe at former Noiseworks frontman Jon Stevens) (October 1993). The CD singles `Greedy People' (#29 in June 1994) and `I Believe in You' (September) preceded the album Electric Hippies in October.
The album mixed Revolver-era Beatles melodies with a Ziggy Stardust-period David Bowie glam rock aesthetic. There was also a limited edition version of the album which featured three-dimensional artwork à la The Rolling Stones' 1967 psychedelic album Their Satanic Majesties Request. `Jonny Courageous' was then reissued as a CD single in December 1994. Electric Hippies issued a fifth CD single, `Didn't Mean to Make You Cry', in early 1995. Electric Hippies have produced records for Pearls & Swine, Vincent Stone (the `Sunshine' and `Best of My Love' CD singles and the Vincent Stone album, all 1993), Juice, Jenny Morris and Nikka Costa (the excellent 1996 album Butterfly Rocket and its single `Master Blaster').
In early 1997, Balbi unveiled his new band, Universe which comprised former X drummer Cathy Green on bass, Big Bird (real name Matt McCormack, guitar; ex-Starworld), Jim Denley (flute) and Cath Synnerdahl (drums; ex-Wrecking Crew, Mother Hubbard). Synnerdahl's previous band, Mother Hubbard, played a powerful blend of rootsy blues, Southern soul and hard rock. In 1996, the band issued the CD EP `Pain', the full-length album You Me Him She and the CD singles `River', `Two Weeks' and `Running Away' on Festival's Outlaw label. Universe issued its debut CD EP, Above Water, on the Phantom label during September.
The debut Universe CD EP, Above Water, led to a new record deal with Festival. Joining Cathy Green, Steve Balbi and Big Bird on the new CD single, ‘Be my Gun’ (October 1998), were new Universe members Ilan Kidron (flute) and Angus Diggs (drums). The single was lifted from the forthcoming debut album, Present.