Death From Above 1979 Documentary Shows How To Put A Rock Band Back Together

TORONTO, ON -  JULY 29:   Jesse Keeler(right) and Sebastien Grainger of Death From Above 1979, who've become very big since b
TORONTO, ON - JULY 29: Jesse Keeler(right) and Sebastien Grainger of Death From Above 1979, who've become very big since breaking up after just one album nearly a decade ago and have now decided it's time to bury the hatchet and make a second one. (Vince Talotta/Toronto Star via Getty Images)

On the day of Death From Above 1979's sophomore album release, Sebastien Grainger and Jesse Keeler had seen better mornings. It was a muggy September day and the duo had been stuck in rush hour traffic trying to get from Brooklyn to Midtown Manhattan. "I may still be drunk," Keeler said before devouring a Starbucks lemon loaf. "I just want bog water -- some green juice," Grainger added.

The night before, they played an intimate show in Williamsburg to celebrate "The Physical World," a follow-up album to their 2004 hit, "You're a Woman I'm a Machine," that only came to be after a brutal breakup and reconciliation. It's an exhausting rock record, dotted with fits of destruction and resolve. "This record is probably the most pure version of the band," Grainger said, after chugging his "bog water" in the Warner Bros. office.

After the first album, a massive tour, and a bitter, public breakup, the two musicians did their own things. Keeler formed MSTRKRFT while Grainger produced and recorded solo records. But in 2010, after five years of not speaking to each other, Grainger extended Keeler an olive branch via email. "I got this sense that if this band would still work, we’ve gotta do it now," Grainger said. "Had we made another record soon after the first one, I think our form and what we do would have been compromised a bit." Keeler added, "We didn't appreciate our band until other people appreciated our band."

On paper, it's a story made for a rock documentary. In reality, Eva Michon -- a filmmaker, editor of Bad Day Magazine and Grainger's wife -- began planning a film about the band, their break up and the new album soon after Grainger and Keeler decided to make new music as Death From Above 1979. "I remember thinking, if we're going to get back together, we need to treat it with respect. Part of that was like let's document it," Grainger said. "My wife was already there and had full access to us, so we started working on it from that point."

Michon had been around Death From Above 1979 since their first tour and took their first press photo when she was 16. She had documented their after-parties, pre-parties and non-parties. It was a no-brainer. "It's the story of us two and how we got together and why we did what we did," Grainger said. Featuring found footage from the past decade and interviews with members of Justice, The Strokes and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the documentary, "Life After Death From Above 1979," aims to answer the big question fans -- and Michon -- kept asking: "She was trying to figure out why our band broke up," Keeler said.

"What she ultimately wanted to do was represent the feeling she has when she's hanging out with both of us," Grainger said. "She wanted to show people who we are, the version she sees that she loves. She always says, 'When you're not together you're so boring.'"

Watch a clip of "Life After Death From Above 1979," debuting on HuffPost Entertainment:

Here's the full trailer for the documentary:

"Life After Death From Above 1979" is out Oct. 7 and can be pre-ordered at DFA1979-movie.com.



Death From Above 1979