M83 is a French electronic band from Antibes, formed in 2001 by Anthony Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau. The band is named after the galaxy of the same name, and its musical aesthetic is characterized by extensive use of reverb effects and lyrics spoken softly over loud instruments.
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 26 February 2014, a new single titled "I Need You" was released off the Divergent (film) Soundtrack.