James Murphy (electronic musician)

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James Murphy
James Murphy by Sachyn Mital.jpg
James Murphy DJing at the CBGB Festival 2013.
Background information
Born (1970-02-04) 4 February 1970 (age 44)
Princeton Junction, New Jersey[1] United States
Genres Dance punk, post-punk revival, electronica, disco
Occupation(s) Singer-songwriter, DJ, record producer, writer
Years active 1988–present
Labels DFA Records
Associated acts Falling Man (1988–1989), Pony (1992–1994), Speedking (1995–1997), The DFA (2001–present), LCD Soundsystem (2002–2011), The Juan MacLean (2002–Present), !!! (1996–present), Out Hud (1996–2005)
Website DFA Records
LCD Soundsystem

James Murphy (born February 4, 1970) is an American musician, producer, DJ, and co-founder of record label DFA Records. His most well-known musical project is LCD Soundsystem, which first gained attention with its debut single "Losing My Edge" in 2002 before releasing its eponymous debut album in February 2005 to critical acclaim and top 20 success in the UK.

Early musical projects[edit]

Murphy has cited his influences as Liquid Liquid, B52's, Talking Heads, The Fall, Siouxsie and the Banshees, The Velvet Underground, Yes, David Bowie, Daft Punk and Can.[2] He grew up in Princeton Junction, New Jersey,[3] and attended West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South.[citation needed]

Murphy was a member of Falling Man from 1988 to 1989, Pony from 1992 to 1994, and Speedking from 1995 to 1997. He was also the sound engineer for Sub Pop band Six Finger Satellite. (Former Six Finger Satellite member John Maclean is now on Murphy's record label as The Juan MacLean.) He has a degree in English from New York University.[4] At age 22, Murphy was offered a job writing for the sitcom Seinfeld which was then little-known. He did not expect the show to be successful and chose to continue with music instead.[5]

Starting in 1993, Murphy used the name Death from Above when DJing, a nickname that was given to his signature PA setup while he was the sound setup for Six Finger Satellite. In 1999 he formed Death from Above Records (later abbreviated to "DFA Records") in New York City with Tim Goldsworthy (formerly of UNKLE). The name "Death from Above" led to a dispute with a two-man Canadian band also using the same name. In response to a legal threat, the Canadian group changed their name to Death from Above 1979.[6]

LCD Soundsystem (2001–2011)[edit]

Main article: LCD Soundsystem

In 2001 Murphy started the electronic dance-punk band LCD Soundsystem. The band first came to attention with its first single "Losing My Edge". The band released its first album, self-titled LCD Soundsystem, in 2005 to critical acclaim.

Murphy's second LCD Soundsystem album, entitled Sound of Silver, was released on March 12, 2007.[7] In its aftermath, he quipped to Mojo: "You don't have to work very hard to write an article about us. "Just use the words 'unlikely frontman', 'bear-like', 'unshaven', 'Talking Heads', blah blah blah..."[8]

In October 2009 Pitchfork Media named the track "All My Friends" off Sound of Silver, the second best song of the decade, and a week later, Sound of Silver was ranked at #17 in The Top 200 Albums of the 2000s list. He also has a CD in the Fabriclive CD series, Fabric Live 36, made in collaboration with LCD Soundsystem drummer Pat Mahoney, released in October 2007.[9] In late 2008 Murphy also announced he is to play bass guitar in Free Energy, a classic rock band, with LCD Soundsystem drummer Pat Mahoney and friends Scott Wells and Paul Sprangers,[10] although this was later refuted by Murphy as a misinterpretation.[11]

In late 2009 Murphy moved into film scoring, writing music for Noah Baumbach's film Greenberg.[12] The soundtrack was released on March 22, 2010. LCD Soundsystem's third album This Is Happening was released on May 17, 2010 in the UK and May 18 in the US. The album was recorded over the course of 2009 and early 2010 in the famed Mansion. April saw the release of the first official single "Drunk Girls" with an accompanying music video directed by Spike Jonze. The album is dedicated to Jerry Fuchs (1974–2009), who had performed drums live with the band on occasion as well as having a big part with other associated DFA acts.

Murphy announced his retirement from LCD Soundsystem with the release of This Is Happening, and made his last television appearance under that name on February 14, 2011, on The Colbert Report. His last concert at Madison Square Garden was simulcast streaming on Pitchfork Media's website on April 2, 2011.

In July 2012, Shut Up and Play the Hits, a documentary film about James Murphy and LCD Soundsystem's final concert, received a limited theatrical release in the US and subsequently in UK cinemas and on Blu-ray and DVD. The film follows James Murphy over a 48-hour period, from the day of the band's final gig at Madison Square Garden to the morning after the show.[13] The film also features intermittent segments from an extended interview between Murphy and pop culture writer Chuck Klosterman.[14]

After LCD Soundsystem[edit]

He recorded a song with Gorillaz and OutKast's Andre 3000, called "DoYaThing", for their Converse collection. It was released on 23 February 2012 [15] Murphy also appeared in The Comedy with Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim. He worked with Arcade Fire on their fourth studio album, Reflektor, which was released in October 2013.[16]

Murphy also directed a short film about two brothers in Japan entitled "Little Duck" for Canon's Project Imaginat10n.

Murphy was listed as a producer for Yeah Yeah Yeahs' 2013 album, Mosquito.

In late 2013, Murphy released a remix of the track "Love Is Lost" from David Bowie's latest album, The Next Day.[17]

He is said to be working with the Klaxons on their new album Love Frequency.

In April 2014, a live album called "The Long Goodbye", containing the entire final Madison Square Garden concert, was released on vinyl as well as digital download.


  1. ^ Biography: James Murphy & Pat Mahoney – Fabric London Press Website[dead link]
  2. ^ Owens, Dylan (30 May 2013). "James Murphy talks influences and favorite songs, releases DJ set". Reverb. Retrieved 2013-10-02. 
  3. ^ "LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy on Bringing Back New York's Disco Days -- New York Magazine" "Murphy grew up a suburban punk-rocker in Princeton Junction, New Jersey, where he stayed for a year after high school to train as a competitive kickboxer".
  4. ^ The Guardian, "LCD Soundsystem's last stand", 24 April 2010
  5. ^ "'I speak as a lifetime failure' | | Guardian Unlimited Arts". London: Arts.guardian.co.uk. 
  6. ^ "Pitchfork Feature: Jukebox: James Murphy". Pitchfork.com. 2005-05-09. 
  7. ^ James Murphy talks exercise, new LP, future plans[dead link]
  8. ^ Mojo, date unknown
  9. ^ FabricLive.36 James Murphy & Pat Mahoney[dead link]
  10. ^ Sean Michaels (October 21, 2008). "LCD Soundsystem announce 'classic rock' side project". London: Guardian. 
  11. ^ "DFA Board: LCD Soundsystem's James Murphy in new band". Forums.dfarecords.co.uk. 
  12. ^ Adams, Sean (2009-11-24). "10 Questions: LCD Soundsystem". Drowned in Sound. 
  13. ^ Emami, Gazelle (January 11, 2012). "'Shut Up And Play The Hits': LCD Soundsystem Film Trailer Released". Huffington Post. Retrieved January 12, 2012. 
  14. ^ Ian Buckwalter. "At His Zenith, An Unlikely Rock Star Bows Out". NPR. Retrieved 2012-07-27. 
  15. ^ "Gorillaz guests a shoe-in | The Sun |Showbiz|Bizarre". London: The Sun. 2012-02-09. 
  16. ^ "Yes, Arcade Fire Are Working With James Murphy | News". Pitchfork. 2012-12-07. Retrieved 2013-06-14. 
  17. ^ Geslani, Michelle. "Listen: David Bowie’s “Love Is Lost” remix by James Murphy". Consequence of Sound. Retrieved 11 October 2013.