M83 is now essentially the solo project of Anthony Gonzales, Nicolas Fromageau having left the group after their second album Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts (2003). Distributed by Virgin in France, this was the album that really broke through the frontiers. "Six months after its French release," recalled Anthony Gonzales, "we discovered that quite a few people had bought the album on import in the U.S. and the U.K. And several journalists had also given us a good write-up."
The group's second album came out in August 2004 in the U.S., and they immediately followed the release with a tour of the main American cities: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc. A word-of-mouth buzz quickly built up and audiences grew as the tour went on. "It was our first tour, and we didn't have much time to prepare for it," recalls Anthony Gonzales, "but we realised we had a public in the United States. From teenagers who listened to My Bloody Valentine to fortysomethings who were maybe Pink Floyd fans."A curious-minded public
Tom Windish, M83 American tour organiser, also manages artists like Boom Bip, Keren Ann and Télépopmusik. "They a have a pretty large fanbase," he says of M83. "It almost seems like more people go see them play than buy their albums. There was a strong buzz on the band in the USA and therefore a lot of people were curious to go see them play live." A highpoint of the tour was the Coachella festival in California, where they played to 5,000 people.
Close to 25,000 copies of Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts have been sold in the United States and 30,000 copies of the latest album have recently hit the record stores. That's compared to only 6,000 sold in France! Which is why their focus remains on the States, with their third tour kicking off there in September 2005. A tour of Japan is also under consideration, since their American imports there are selling well. "It's a matter of a little luck, we just struck it lucky," Anthony Gonzales concludes modestly. "Very few French groups get to tour America, although plenty deserve to. We've been successful but on a small scale, especially considering the size of the country. Right now, what I'd like would be some success in France." As the saying goes, no one is a prophet in their own country!
M83 Before the dawn heals us (Goom/Virgin) 2005
Translation : Hugo Wilcken