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November 2018

Death From Above: "We wanted to strip things down"

One of the most instantly recognisable and most well-loved duos in rock, Death From Above have returned with another monster of a record.
Published: 9:03 am, September 13, 2017
Death From Above: "We wanted to strip things down"
Death From Above are back. "We would have like to have had this record out a year ago," says singer and drummer Sebastien Grainger. "But with the nature of our process - how we work, how we write, and also how careful we are with what we put out - it ended up taking just a little bit longer."

Not wanting to tarnish their hard earned mystique by simply churning out record after record, Death From Above work in the shadows.

The first look at ‘Outrage! Is Now' - the follow up to 2014’s comeback album ‘Physical World' - came in the form of surprise single, ‘Freeze Me'. Seventeen years on from their incendiary debut, and the duo are still pushing themselves forward. "I feel like we've expanded our palette a little bit wider,” Sebastien notes.

"Despite us having to pretend there was no record, we couldn't ask for anything better than it has been,” continues bassist Jesse F. Keeler. “I mean, you make songs that you're happy with, and then you hand them off to other people not knowing what will come of it, and you're surrounded by people who are excited."

"The record label is excited, and the people who are intimate with the record are excited. That's as far as I ever expect a positive response."

While they didn’t feel any pressure surrounding what to create, there was a bit to get the record out. “We actually had tours booked where we were supposed to have it out,” Sebastian laughs. “The tour with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club that we did last fall was supposed to be for the new record.

“We were both supposed to have new records out, but neither one of us had finished, or in our case, even started the record!"

"I think the only very concrete idea was that we wanted to strip things down,” Jesse explains. "That's the one thing that we absolutely knew because early on we had thought okay, we're going to make a punk record. It'll be really stripped down; it's just going to be the sound of our band. That's it.

“That's sort of a reaction to years of being asked, ‘What could you add, what could you add to the band sonically?'"

"pull" text="It’s opened the doors on my brain for the next record.

While they consider this effort stripped down, when it comes to Death From Above that doesn't mean it's rife with acoustic guitars or a barren landscape of sound. There's still an absolute barrage of drums and crunching, striking, bass riffs.

After finishing up 'Physical World', an album that they have mixed feelings about ("It's like we had to get that one out of the way") they knew that as long as they kept doing what they were doing, new ideas would appear.

"It's all a learning process,” says Jesse. “I feel every record, ‘Physical World’ included, we tried a bunch of things and learnt that we could do them. For a lot of them, the progression in the music, or the changes in the music, are a result of us realising the things we can do.

“‘Outrage! Is Now', or ‘Freeze Me' for that matter, are songs that we wouldn't have known we could do had we not made ‘Trainwreck’.”

As long as Death From Above keep doing what they're doing, there should be no shortage of ideas. “It’s learning that, ‘Oh wait we can do this other shit, let's apply it’. Even since we finished this record and have been learning this record and how to do it live, that's opened the doors on my brain for the next record."

Looking to the future, Jesse’s excited about their potential. "It's like, ‘Oh shit, we can do this now!’ or ‘Oh god, I've got fifty ideas based on this!' so it will always evolve as we learn more - hopefully, there'll be one or two fans around!”

Taken from the October issue of Dork, out now. Death From Above’s album ‘Outrage! Is Now’ is out now.

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