"We wanted our band to be like an elephant in your living room" says Jesse F. Keeler, one half of Death From Above 1979. "That's why we gave ourselves trunks."
Of course there have been two-piece bands before. The two-piece is ingrained indelibly in the lexicon of rock: Simon and Garfunkel, The Chemical Brothers, The Carpenters, Sonny and Cher...the list goes on. It is fair to say, though, that none before have manged to make as much noise with as little instrumentation as Death From Above 1979. Death From Above 1979 is a two-piece; two friends who met in prison - Jesse F. Keeler and Sebastien Grainger - that live in a funeral parlour in Toronto. To hear them on record, it is hard to believe that the only instruments being played (with the exception of the odd flute sample or Moog oscillation) are the bass and drums. It's a bit like how Queen used to write "No One Played Synthesizers" in the sleeve notes of their early albums. Well, with Death From Above no one plays guitars. "We don't need them, and besides, why would we want to put anyone else on the payroll?"
So where does this almost militant attitude to the guitar come from? Clearly Death From Above 1979 is a band that rock...really, really, really rock, but they also understand dance music. "We have both always listened to dance music. It runs along the same road as rock music. Most hip hop and dance music is made just with bass and drums so we watned to see how far we could go with just those instruments. We wanted the music to be stripped down...and sweaty." Death From Above 1979 are trying to make as much noise as possible without compromising that ideal, or compromising on anything else for that matter: "We're not very good at restraining ourselves, but we have tremendous will power."
"We have very primal ideas about everything," explains Sebastien. "Our music is an expression of those primal ideas. Ultimately we want our songs to make people completely lose it."
Death From Above 1979 recently completed a remarkable debut visit to the UK that involved tours with The Killers and The Futureheads, three headlining shows on one night and one indescribable date in a fan's front room. Even the neighbours popped 'round to see what the noise was all about...
Death From Above 1979's debut album on Last Gang Records is "You're A Woman, I'm A Machine."