Few bands can sustain a loyal fanbase quite like M83. More than ten years have passed since the release of their self-titled debut album, but through five other LPs, dozens of A-list remixes, and high-profile record deals, the shoegaze pop group has continued to demonstrate a palpable originality, compounded by their willingness to evolve.
The Antibes, France project — the brainchild of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist Anthony Gonzalez — was formed in 2001, and named after the galaxy, Messier 83. These days, it’s mainly Gonzalez’ project, though he often solicits the help of bandmates — including his brother Yann. His blatantly 80s-influenced albums have mostly met with critical acclaim — and some attention from noteworthy peers. Through the years, he’s remixed Goldfrapp, Midnight Juggernauts, Bloc Party, and Daft Punk, while touring with Depeche Mode, Kings of Leon, and the Killers. His debut album landed him a deal with Mute Records, and his second album, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts garnered him a Virgin/EMI contract. Through the juggernaut label, M83′s 2008 album Saturdays=Youth landed at #4 on Billboard’s Dance/Electronic album chart.
M83 is known for its hefty reverb and epic, dreamy electronic ambience. You’ll recognize those warm, washed out, 80s-tinged vamps on the 2008 hits “We Own the Sky” and “Kim & Jessie.” Conversely, M83 is also the mastermind behind the Active Child-esque, avant-ambient “Too Late.” Then again, you’ll also relish M83′s more candy-coated, Cut Copy-style synthpop beats on “Midnight City” off the brand new album, Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming. But through all of their different breeds of sounds, it’s safe to say that — way before Neon Indian, Memory Tapes, and In Ghost Colours — M83 was one of the first groups to use shoegaze pop so passionately.
Photo by Anouck Bertin