Big-beat electronica project Junkie XL was largely the work of Amsterdam-based remixer Tom Holkenborg, previously known for his work with acts like Nerve and Fear Factory. Beginning his career at the age of 14, Holkenborg initially played in area funk and reggae units, later switching to alternative rock. While working in a music store, he began experimenting with synthesizers and technology, and in 1996 won the Grand Prix of the Netherlands as best house music producer. After completing Junkie XL's 1997 debut LP Saturday Teenage Kick, a blend of electronica and rock, he enlisted rapper Rudeboy (an alumnus of Urban Dance Squad), DJ Frankie D., drummer Baz Mattie, and guitarist Renee van der Zee to transform his one-man studio project into a working band.
Big Sound of the Drags, released in 1999, was the first album from the lineup. More than two years later, Holkenborg masterminded the first (legal) remix of an Elvis Presley song, "A Little Less Conversation," as heard in a Nike commercial to coincide with the 2002 World Cup. Released as a single, it hit number one in Britain by June. The track landed on his 2003 album Radio JXL: A Broadcast from the Computer Hell Cabin, which also featured vocals from Chuck D, Robert Smith, and Gary Numan. His 2008 effort Booming Back at You featured vocalist Lauren Rocket on a cover of Siouxsie and the Banshees' "Cities in Dust," along with a guest appearance from fellow producer Steve Aoki. Synthesized, from 2012, included guest appearances from Datarock, Tommie Sunshine, and Tears for Fears member Curt Smith. By this time, Holkenborg was established as a composer of film music, and often collaborated with Hans Zimmer. During the early and mid-2010s, he was especially prolific in this regard, with work on The Dark Knight Rises, Paranoia, Man of Steel, and Mad Max: Fury Road, among other feature films. ~ Jason Ankeny