Sebastien Grainger Explains DFA 1979 Reunion

One night in the early years of the Naughties two guys from Toronto met at a Sonic Youth concert and a fire was ignited, and Death From Above 1979 was born. In 2004 that fire capitulated in the form of a single studio record: You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine before fizzling out irrevocably – or so we thought. On January 19 of this year the blogging community felled a collective swoon upon hearing the news that Death From Above 1979 duo Sebastien Grainger and Jesse F. Keeler were reforming for Coachella in April.

In 2006 the band broke up citing creative differences as the trigger for the split. The official announcement came via the band website with an angsty, honest post from Keeler (bass, synths), who wrote:

Over the last 3 years of touring, Sebastien and i had grown apart to such an extent that the only real time we spoke was just before we would play and during interviews. We both changed so much that the people we were by the end of it, probably wouldn’t have been friends if they were to meet for the first time again. It’s a totally normal function of growing up. Like how your high school bf/gf that meant so much to you would probably be the last person you would date at 30, ya know? That’s where we got to. It’s not sad.

It would be more sad if we stopped changing and growing and kept playing the same songs for 40 years like the rolling stones. For me that would be a nightmare.

Bring on the nightmare.

Their one and only album was a concentration of furious energy – Keeler’s crunching bass riffs, blistering drumming and the untamed vocals of Sebastien Grainger perfectly captured the essence of the dance-punk movement that became the centre of a scene within which bands like Liars, !!!, the Rapture and Test Icicles emerged.

I watched the band play in Texas in March of 2005, and it was the most vicious, terrifying, brutal, awesome racket I’ve ever heard and one of the most raw performances I’ve seen. I couldn’t decide whether to hide in a corner and call for my mum, or punch someone out and start a fire, or take off my shirt and french the nearest person. There was a lot of raw sexuality in that show. The crowd was made up of first wave Emos, huge rock bros with black t shirts and impressive beards, beautiful indie girls, and preppy sweatered college kids. All losing their shit in the horny, sweaty haze of the linoleum dance floor.

This was that show.

So what is the Death From Above experience going to be half a decade down the track?

We hope, we think, it will be the same as it was back then.

A blog post written by Grainger turned up on the band website this morning, explaining the reformation and promising some hectic shit when they do take to the stage again. Here it is, one of the classic the music is bigger than us statements:

February 4th, 2011

It’s been 5 years since Death From Above 1979 played a show, 10 years since Jesse played me the first demos & 11 years since we sat in his parents basement and played so loud we knocked the china off the shelves upstairs. 11 seems to be a YES number for me. Though I am usually a pretty rational guy, if I have something on my mind and I see an 11 somewhere, I know I’m on the right path. It’s one of my last remaining superstitions. 2011 has a nice ring to it & if you’re so inclined, it may be the last year ever! So why not say YES? Why not say YES to Coachella? Why not say YES to playing the music we designed to be an undeniable source of power? Why not say YES to stirring up a writhing pit of sweaty humans? YES to riots! YES to heavy music! YES instead of maybe, and YES to make death your adviser and remind yourself always, that this is not a dress rehearsal. This is the big show.

Jesse and I have decided that what we can do together should not be denied.
Together again, as was always the intention, as a collaboration.
The collision of two different worlds.
As this all takes shape, we will reveal it to you.
All of it happening, as it always has, in our own way.
Thank you all for sharing in our excitement!


So get ready for the announcement of more DFA 1979 tour dates. Rumours are floating that they will play Splendour In The Grass this year. Watch this space…