By Robert A. Frezza, Contributing Writer
Toronto’s punk rock duo Death From Above, consisting of drummer, vocalist Sebastien Grainger and bassist Jesse F. Keeler, debuted on the scene in 2001 and released their first EP Heads Up the following year. They quickly grew to become one of Canada’s most beloved punk dance rock duos. The duo added the 1979 moniker to its name later following a legal dispute with United States label, DFA records. Now the band is back to being known as Death From Above.
The band scored some major press for their debut album, You’re a Woman, I’m a Machine in 2004. The duo toured extensively in support of the album with Nine Inch Nails, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Queens of the Stone Age in tow. Their non-stop touring schedule wore the duo out, which led to one of the reasons for their 2006 break up. The two stopped talking to one another and Keeler’s drinking spun out of control all while on what was their last tour. “The time away from the band was necessary. Implosion was inevitable,” Grainger admits.
The duo regrouped close to five years later after their manager reached out to them about playing an opening slot on Coachella Music Festival in Los Angeles. The duo started where they left off, feeling like they hadn’t missed a beat. “I would say maybe that the band has both evolved immeasurably while regressing into its purest and most essential form,” says Grainger.
Death From Above’s new album, Outrage! Is Now, which was produced by Dave Sardy, was released in September and the duo concentrated on the actual songs rather than how it will sound live in front of an audience. “We started with making all the same mistakes we always make. We then hit the breaks and re-approached the whole record in a new way. We deliberately took the songs out of the ‘jam-space’ to see how they held up as songs rather than as performances. Aside from that, we just plugged everything in and made a killer record,” Grainger says.
The band’s first single “Freeze Me” is about the tough spots in a long-term relationship and how to get through them. “When there’s a chill in my relationship it manifests itself as a lack of humor and laughter. That is the worst thing. I can extrapolate that out into the world as well and say that the ideologies that I despise the most are the ones that don’t appreciate humor,” Grainger says.
The video for the song acts out in a mansion full of body builders, as the duo are butlers that serve up corn dogs as the apocalypse hits. “The video is at once an absurd bit of film that means nothing, as well as a joke about how serious everything is. You can watch it and have a laugh, or watch it and have a think. It’s up to you,” Grainger says.
Grainger continued on to say that the music industry could cease to exist within the next decade unless someone comes up with a brilliant idea for a new platform. “People’s focus is so fragmented between all the options for media. I see the industry continuing to fragment and dissolve. Regardless, we will still be playing awesome music.”
Death From Above play Brooklyn Steel on October 25.