M83 is the electronic music project of the French artist Anthony Gonzalez. He and former member Nicolas Fromageau founded the group in 2001 in Antibes, France. M83’s style owes a lot to the shoegaze genre, in that there is much emphasis on tonality, extensive use of reverb effects and often softly-spoken lyrics at times submerged in instrumentation. M83 was named after the spiral galaxy “Messier 83”.
For the third album released by M83, Before The Dawn Heals Us, Gonzalez decided to part from Fromageau (after an emotionally distressing tour for Dead Cities). This recored is essentially his brainchild, and he resides in the seaside town of Antibes, France. Like its two predecessors - the eponymous debut (Gooom, 2001) and it's follow up, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts (Mute, July 2004) - it's a huge and epic attempt to use music to transport its audience well beyond their immediate environment.
The double album Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming will be released on 17th October 2011, through Naïve, produced by Justin Meldal-Johnson (Beck, NIN, The Mars Volta, Goldfrapp) and including contributions from Zola Jesus, Brad Laner (from 90’s band Medicine) on guitar, and Saturdays = Youth vocalist Morgan Kibby. The album was preceded by the track “Midnight City” released in July.
In the wave of bands that followed Mogwai (who themselves were hardly the first to provide epic soundscapes in which their audience could lose themselves) it was the guitar that was king, swathes of effects-laden noise creating an aural opiate haze for rock fans. Across town you could find fans of dance music indulging in similar activities, except that they were losing themselves in machine and pill induced trances. M83 are arguably the first band to successfully cross that divide, using the kinds of cheap synthesisers that propelled dance music alongside the guitars that they grew up with as fans of Sonic Youth and My Bloody Valentine.
Since the recording of Dead Cities, M83 have achieved significant acclaim from both the media and the public at large, most notably in their homeland of France, the UK - where their debut show took place at the legendary Victoria & Albert Museum - and most recently North America, where they sold out New York's Bowery Ballroom and LA's Knitting Factory, as well as performing two shows in one night in Chicago when demand for tickets became overwhelming. The album sold considerable amounts there on import until it received an official release in the summer of 2004 from Mute North America. The current line up of M83 continues to be based around Anthony Gonzalez, but Nicolas Fromageau - who collaborated with Gonzalez on M83's first two albums - has left to pursue his own musical projects (also due for release on Gooom). Before the Dawn Heals Us was recorded largely by multi-instrumentalist Gonzalez himself, with only bass and drum duties handled by others.
Although Gonzalez makes no secret of his admiration for Fromageau, especially his skills as a guitarist, it's clear that the freedom he found in the studio working alone released a rush of creativity that has resulted in M83's most complete work to date. Fusing different technologies in dramatic fashion, whilst never losing sight of the human warmth that engages us emotionally, this music can be whatever you allow it to be.
M83’s song “Unrecorded” from Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts was used in the trailer for the American release of the Russian movie Night Watch, and the track “Teen Angst”, taken from Before The Dawn Heals Us, appeared on the trailer for the film adaptation of Philip K. Dick’s novel “A Scanner, Darkly”, which was released in 2006.
M83 produced the remix of the track “Pioneers” on the British rock group Bloc Party’s 2005 album Silent Alarm Remixed. M83 also collaborated with other Gooom Disques artists in a collaborative LP, under the name Purple Confusion.
Just after the Before the Dawn Heals Us US tour, Anthony Gonzalez decided to take M83 in a more ambient direction (as heard on some earlier M83 tracks) and started to write and record a collection of ambient works. The relevance of digital music (from creation to sharing), gave him the idea to call the project Digital Shades Vol. 1, and to make the album part of an ongoing series.
M83’s 2008 album Saturdays = Youth, released on Mute, was recorded with the help of Ken Thomas and Ewan Pearson. Four singles were released from the album: “Couleurs” in February 2008, “Graveyard girl” in April, “Kim & Jessie” in July, and “We Own The Sky” in December.
In December 2008, M83 supported Kings Of Leon on its UK tour. In January and February 2009, M83 supported The Killers across USA tour dates and toured with Depeche Mode on its Tour of the Universe in Italy, Germany, and France. M83 will also be playing Fun, Fun, Fun Fest in Austin in 2011.
M83 is set to release Midnight City Remix EP on September 26th (27th in the US). Available digitally, the EP features an impressive set of remixes for the new single "Midnight City" by Trentemøller, Big Black Delta, Man Without Country, and Team Ghost.