“We wanted our band to be like an elephant in your living room” says Jesse F Keeler, one half of Death From Above 1979 “that’s why we gave ourselves trunks.”
Of course there have been two piece bands before, the two-piece is engrained indelibly in the lexicon of rock, Simon and Garfunkel, the Chemical Brothers, The Carpenters, Sonny and Cher, the list goes one. It is fair to say though that none before have managed to make as much noise with as little instrumentation as Death From Above 1979. Death From Above 1979 is a two-piece, two friends who met in prison; Jesse F Keeler and Sebastien Grainger that live in a funeral parlour in Toronto. To hear them on record, it is hard to believe that the only instruments being played (with the exception of the odd flute sample or moog oscillation) are the bass and drums. It’s a bit like how queen used to write “no one played synthesizers” in the sleeve notes of their early albums, well with Death From Above no one plays guitars “we don’t need them, and besides why would we want to put anyone else on the payroll?”
So where does this almost militant attitude to the guitar come from? Clearly Death From Above 1979 is a band that rock, really, really, really rock, but they also understand dance music. “We have both always listened to dance music, it runs along the same road as rock music. Most hip hop and dance music is made just with bass and drums so we wanted to see how far we could go with just those instruments. We wanted the music to be stripped down…and sweaty”. Death From Above 1979 are trying to make as much noise as possible without compromising that ideal, or compromising on anything else for that matter “we’re not very good at restraining ourselves, but we have tremendous will power”.
“We have very primal ideas about everything” explains Sebastien “our music is an expression of those primal ideas. Ultimately we want our songs to make people completely lose it.”
Constant road warriors the band spent the last year completing 4 tours of the U.S., 5 tours of the U.K., 3 tours of Japan, 3 tours of Australia, and 4 tours of Canada playing shows with The Killers, The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, The Futureheads, Anthrax and My Chemical Romance among others.
Kerrang Magazing captured the vast appeal of the band when they said “...their bass-heavy melodies have attracted metal fans and pop fans, hip-hop aficionados and hipsters in equal measure.” And Playboy Magazine described the new album “You’re a Woman, I’m A Machine” as “...deranged disco samples, creating a lean, muscular album of angry guitar and thudding drums.”
The debut album by Death From Above 1979 entitled “You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine” is in stores now on Vice/Atlantic Records.