It's been a tumultuous decade for Death from Above 1979 .
Following the release of their acclaimed first album in 2004, the dance-punk duo, composed of a bassist and a drummer, have behaved something like an L.A. celebrity couple: They had a rocky break-up, a sweet make-up and a successful second marriage. Now, they're set to finally release their second album, The Physical World, next month.
Drummer and vocalist Sebastien Grainger says that despite his and bandmate Jesse F Keeler’s best attempts at stay apart, “No one ever stopped asking about” the group, he says.
“For a long time that was difficult,” he continues, “because we were both trying to start something new. But [Death From Above 1979] was clearly the winner. We couldn’t get away from it.”
They broke up in 2006, but five years later they dusted off their egos for a string of shows, including a main stage performance at Coachella. But the concept was easier on paper. “Honestly, the biggest challenge in the whole reunion was just talking, because we hadn’t spoken in five years. After that was just kind of like getting back on the bike.”
This reunion was an “experiment” — a term thrown around at least a dozen times during our interview. But apparently it was a successful one. After Coachella, Death from Above 1979 played several headlining dates in the UK, all of which sold out almost instantly. Grangier explains that “there were people just singing along at full volume. If we didn’t have that experience we wouldn’t be here today.”
With bruises healing, Grangier and Keeler have buried the hatchet. The Physical World maintains enough of the band’s unique formula to remain a compelling listen, but seems likely to also work on a broader, more mainstream scale.
Above all, Grangier seems excited to be playing live again. “We have an incredible amount of fun playing these songs and we want people to have the same visceral, exciting experiences that made us who we are. If someone could come to our show and forget about their shit for even 10 minutes that would be great. No texting, no photos, no tweets. Just enjoy it for 10 minutes.”
Death From Above 1979 play the Troubadour this Thursday August, 14