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In 2003, Frenchmen Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau enjoyed international acclaim for the album Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, a luscious blend of shoegaze aesthetics, ambient pop, and progressive textures. But M83 had been releasing material for several years, having issued their self-titled debut through the tiny but taste-making French label Gooom in 2001. The success of Dead Cities, Red Seas brought attention not only to M83, but also to the Gooom label, which helped fuel the popularity of other glitchy, sleek, and vaguely psychedelic artists like Cyann & Ben. Fromageau departed the lineup after the second album, looking to pursue solo work instead, and Gonzalez returned to the studio for a follow-up record. When Before the Dawn Heals Us appeared in January 2005, the addition of vocals and more consistent rhythms made it M83's most cohesive album yet. After finishing the subsequent tour, Gonzalez recorded Digital Shades, Vol. 1, a set of ambient songs inspired by Brian Eno and Krautrock that arrived in 2007. Gonzalez then worked with producers Ewan Pearson and Ken Thomas on the critically acclaimed Saturdays=Youth, which was released in April 2008. After extended touring in support of that album, Gonzales collaborated with producer Justin Meldal-Johnsen, Medicine's Brad Laner, longtime vocalist Morgan Kibby, and Zola Jesus on the sprawling double-disc set Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, which arrived in October 2011.
M83 is a French electronic/shoegaze band from Antibes, formed in 2001 by Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau. The band is named after the spiral galaxy Messier 83, and its musical aesthetic is influenced by shoegaze in its extensive use of reverb effects and lyrics spoken softly over loud instrumentals, although M83's songs employ considerably less guitar than most shoegaze bands.
Gonzalez and Fromageau parted ways shortly after touring for their second album Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts, with Gonzalez now recording primarily on his own, often with the help of his brother Yann Gonzalez, vocalist/keyboardist Morgan Kibby, and drummer Loïc Maurin. In 2011, Gonzalez posted an open audition on the M83 website for a multi-instrumentalist who could join the band. 19 year-old Jordan Lawlor won the audition.
In spring 2001, M83 released its self-titled debut album. The release did not attract much attention outside Europe until September 2005, when Mute Records reissued the album for a worldwide release. M83's second album Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts followed in spring 2003 (and summer 2004 in North America) to widespread critical acclaim. After worldwide touring for Dead Cities resumed, Nicolas Fromageau left the band. Gonzalez returned to the studio to record the group's third studio album, Before the Dawn Heals Us, which was released in January 2005. The same year, M83 provided a remix of "The Pioneers" by Bloc Party, which was also included on Bloc Party's remix album Silent Alarm Remixed. M83 also remixed Placebo's "Protège-Moi," Goldfrapp's "Black Cherry," Depeche Mode's "Suffer Well," Van She's "Kelly," and The Bumblebeez's "Vila Attack." Similarly, M83's songs have been remixed by Gooom labelmates Montag and Cyann & Ben.
In 2006, after the Before the Dawn Heals Us US tour, Anthony Gonzalez continued to explore a musical direction already heard on earlier M83 tracks and began writing and recording a collection of ambient works. The album was recorded primarily at his home studio with the assistance of Antoine Gaillet. The resulting project was called Digital Shades Vol. 1, and was released in September 2007 with a sleeve illustrated by Laurent Fetis (known for his work with DJ Hell, Beck, and Tahiti 80). It is intended to be part of an ongoing series of ambient works.
Saturdays = Youth, M83's fifth studio album, was released in April 2008. It was recorded with Ken Thomas (known for his work with Sigur Rós, The Sugarcubes, Boys in a Band, Cocteau Twins, and Suede), Ewan Pearson (who has also produced for Tracey Thorn, The Rapture and Ladytron) and Morgan Kibby (of The Romanovs). The album features a more focused approach to song structure and form, and Gonzalez stated that the main influence of the album came from music of the 1980s: "I think that ’80s music is such a brilliant period for music history. It was the occasion for me to do a tribute to this ’80s music, but [it was] also a tribute to my teenage years because the main theme of the album is being a teenager, and being a teenager means a lot to me." 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. Redbull and Snowboarder Travis Rice used "We Own the Sky" as the opening song in the 2008 snowboard film "That's It That's All". M83 also appeared on a limited edition split 7" single with Maps in 2008; M83 remixed Maps' "To the Sky," while Maps provided a remix of M83's "We Own the Sky."
In December 2008, M83 supported Kings of Leon on its UK tour. In January and February 2009, M83 supported The Killers across United States tour dates and toured with Depeche Mode on its Tour of the Universe in Italy, Germany, and France. In July, M83 appeared at the Fuji Rock Festival in Japan. In July 2009, M83 appeared at the Wexner Center in Columbus, Ohio. There was an altercation between Gonzalez and a Wexner Center security guard, while on stage. M83 later apologized to its fans for the incident.
In Spring 2010, M83 composed the score of French director Gilles Marchand's film Black Heaven. On 5 July 2010, the Black Heaven Soundtrack was released, which included two new songs by M83 called "Black Hole" and "Marion's Theme," along with five tracks from his back catalog. The soundtrack also includes songs from the score by Emmanuel D'Orlando, Moon Dailly, and John & Jehn. However, his feelings towards the record were largely negative, leaving him depressed.
In 2011, Gonzalez started working on a new batch of songs for an album slated for release later in the year. He described the tracks as darker and "very, very, very epic". Speaking with Spin, he said of the new album "It's a double album. It's mainly about dreams, how every one is different, how you dream differently when you're a kid, a teenager, or an adult. I'm really proud of it. If you're doing a very long album, all the songs need to be different and I think I've done that with this one." He plans on recording again with Morgan Kibby as well as others, including Medicine's mastermind Brad Laner, Nine Inch Nails bassist Justin Meldal-Johnsen and Zola Jesus.
Hurry Up, We're Dreaming is Gonzalez's first double album, which he has dreamed of making ever since he heard The Smashing Pumpkins' Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. "I wanted to make a very eclectic album but also something not too long. Making a double album was a dream of mine for a long, long time and I felt ready to make this move,” he explains. Discussing the sound and process of creating this album, Gonzalez says it was "written like a soundtrack to an imaginary movie with different ambiances, different atmospheres, different tempos, different orchestrations and different instrumentation....When I make an album it's always about nostalgia, melancholy in the past and memories."
On 19 July 2011, "Midnight City", the first single from Hurry Up, We're Dreaming, was released for streaming and free download on the band's official website. Beginning in October, they toured North America and Europe to promote the album; Active Child supported the US leg of the tour.
The album notably placed 3rd in Pitchfork's Top 50 Albums of 2011 list; the single "Midnight City" was placed 1st on the Top 100 Tracks list.
On 26 January 2012, M83 came in at number 5 on the Triple J Hottest 100 with the single "Midnight City".
On 5 August 2012, the band performed at the Osheaga Festival in Montreal.
On 31 October 2012, the band performed at the Astra Kulturhaus in Berlin.
M83 music in films and television The first Only God Forgives trailer uses "Sister" as its background song."Midnight City" is the opening and closing song on Series Two and Series Four of the E4 reality television programme Made in Chelsea. It has also been used in the final scene and closing credits of the HBO television series How to Make It in America (Season 2, Episode 5) as well as in a Victoria's Secret commercial. In addition, the song was used in the HBO special series 24/7 about the Philadelphia Flyers and the New York Rangers in the last scene of episode 2. The track has most recently been used by the BBC in its advertisements and trailers for their coverage of the London 2012 Olympics."Just a Fragment of You" also featuring Brian Reitzell is in the 2011 movie Red Riding Hood.Cyann & Ben's remix of "In Church" was featured in Stranger Than Fiction."Unrecorded" was featured in the trailer for the international release of the Russian movie Night Watch."Gone" was used in the trailer for the British drama trilogy Red Riding.Superpitcher's remix of "Don't Save Us from the Flames" is heard throughout the sex scene in the movie Donkey Punch."*" is featured in MashSF, a film documenting the Fixed Gear cycling phenomenon in San Francisco; used as background score for the 2011 Red Bull World of Red Bull Commercial."Teen Angst" is featured in the trailer for A Scanner Darkly and the British channel E4 series Sugar Rush, and Nic Sauve's part in the snowboarding video "Forum or Against 'Em"."Lower Your Eyelids to Die with the Sun" during the credits on Britney Spears' 2008 documentary, Britney: For the Record; as the opening song for the 2007 skateboarding film Fully Flared for Lakai Shoes by Girl Films; was used as the background music for the first advertisement for the Palm Pre smartphone (link); was used in the advertsment for Pedigree (Pedigree Catch); and was used in the HBO special series 24/7 about the Washington Capitals and the Pittsburgh Penguins."By the Kiss" was used in CSI: Miami's episode "Seeing Red" (season 7, episode 25), in the finale of the chapter and the season finale."We Own the Sky" and "Moonchild" were used in the 2008 movie That's It, That's All starring snowboarder Travis Rice."We Own the Sky" is in a trailer for the video game Stoked."Kim & Jessie" was used in an E4 advertisement for the American TV series 90210."Too Late" was used in the "The Debarted" episode in season three of Gossip Girl."Highway of Endless Dreams" was used in Kai Neville's 2009 surf film Modern Collective."Moonchild" was used in the World Rally Championship Highlights from the 2005 FIA Gala."Graveyard Girl" was used in "The Last Song" featuring Miley Cyrus."I Guess I'm Floating" was used in Massy Tadjedin's Last Night."Intro", "My Tears Are Becoming a Sea", and "Outro" were used in The Art of Flight, a snowboard movie presented by Red Bull.Various M83 songs and remixes have been used in numerous episodes of Top Gear"Outro" was used in the season 17 episode 7 India Special of Top Gear and in 11th episode of the season 5 of Gossip Girl."Outro" was also used in the extended trailer and various TV spots for the 2012 science-fiction film, Cloud Atlas."Outro" was used in a season premiere trailer for the TV show, Once Upon a Time on ABC."This Bright Flash" was used in the credits of the 2012 film Chronicle."Wait" was used in: the 14th episode of season 5 of Gossip Girl; the 9th episode of season 1 of The Secret Circle; the 14th episode of season 1 of Revenge (TV series), and Step Up Revolution."Another Wave From You" was used in the penultimate episode of Chuck."My Tears Are Becoming a Sea" and "Outro" were used in Red Bull commercials highlighting athletes that the company sponsors."Raconte-Moi Une Histoire" was used in an Expedia commercial."Too Late" was used in the movie Prom."Midnight City" is played at the end of the movie Project X."Coloring the Void" was featured in the Teen Wolf TV Series."My Tears Are Becoming a Sea" was used in the UK trailer for the 2012 Belgique film Rust & Bone."Midnight City" is used in various cutscenes and commercial breaks on the San Antonio-based channel, KCWX."Outro" was used in Part 4 of the Feynman Series by Reid Gower"Steve McQueen" introduces the character Samantha Morrison in MTV's The Inbetweeners episode “Reading Gives You Wings”. The song plays from approximately 1:48 to 2:27."Wait" was used on the 2012 edition of Turner Classic Movies annual tribute to movie professionals, "TCM Remembers.""Outro" was used in the 2013 BBC Television Series "Africa" by David Attenborough. It was used in episode 2 at approximately 55:46 to 57:25.Composers for Oblivion, which opened April 19, 2013, sci-fi thriller starring Tom Cruise."Midnight City" was used in the 2013 film Warm Bodies."Midnight City" was used in the Sydney 2013 NYE TV broadcasts, during the fireworks."Midnight City" was used in two scenes in the season one finale of The Mindy Project.