M83 - Biography
By Marcus Kagler
Even people in their native country of France hadn’t really heard of M83 until their second album, Dead Cities, Red Seas, & Lost Ghosts (2003-Mute) exploded onto the world stage as one of the most innovative albums of the year. Not only did M83 gain essential notoriety but their French label, Gooom, also became a tastemaker for the indie-rock-electronic-dance hybrid bands. Named after a random distant galaxy, M83 is the brainchild of keyboard enthusiast Anthony Gonzalez who formed the group in 2001 in Antibes, France with childhood friend and guitarist Nicolas Fromageau. The duo composed epic instrumental synthesizer pieces with some of Fromageau’s guitar work thrown in for good measure that resembled the shoegazer movement of the early 90’s. The only difference was Gonzalez was using keyboards instead of guitars to develop a thick swirling ethereal sound unheard from the instrument before. Think Manheim Steamroller only on a lot of psychedelic drugs and you’re a little closer to the sound of M83.
The group released their debut self titled album, M83 (Gooom) to little notice in 2001. After numerous European tours the band gained a significant fan base. When they released their long over due follow up, Dead Cities, Red Seas, & Lost Ghosts (Mute) in 2003 it not only garnered critical raves but increased their audience world wide. Filled with dense electronic textures and heavy reverb melodies the album made many critics album of the year lists, however, it would be the last M83 release to feature Fromageau who left the group to pursue solo work. Gonzalez soldiered on and released M83’s third full length, Before the Dawn Heals Us (Mute) in 2005, which was the first album to feature vocals and outside session musicians. Gonzalez then focused on the more ambient side of his electronic music, releasing Digital Shades Volume 1(Mute) in 2007. In 2008 the band released Saturdays= Youth, which was followed up by Hurry Up We're Dreaming in 2011. In 2013 the band recorded the soundtrack for the Tom Cruise Sci-Fi vehicle Oblivion.