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Archive are a musical group based in London, England, whose music spans electronic, trip hop, avant-garde, post-rock and progressive rock. Over their twenty-year history, the band has released ten studio albums and enjoyed established success throughout Europe, while remaining little-known in their native Britain.
Archive was formed by Darius Keeler and Rosko John in 1993. Shortly thereafter, Danny Griffiths, who had worked with Darius before in the UK breakbeat act Genaside II, joined the group. In 1994 after having created a sound, they were in search of a vocalist, and met female singer Roya Arab who joined them to sing on the demos Mother Records had paid for. Within weeks various record labels came knocking. The band released their first album Londinium on Island Records in 1996, a mix of dark trip hop (in a similar vein to Massive Attack), electronica and, naturally, their breakbeat and hardcore roots, but with the unequivocal match of string arrangements and almost baroque and classically influenced songwriting. The album received moderate critical acclaim and in Q magazine Peter Gabriel was quoted as saying, "Londinium was one of my most favourite albums of the year", but due to artistic differences, the band split up later that year.
Take My Head:
In 1997, Keeler and Griffiths continued Archive with another female singer, (Suzanne Wooder). In 1999, Archive released their second studio album, entitled Take My Head: a mix of pop and symphonic trip hop, far more melodic than its predecessor. Due to differences of musical taste with an undisclosed number of producers that Darius and Dan tried to work with on this particular album, the band have described this album as their least favourite of their albums.
Walker phase: 2000-2004:
In 2000-1, Darius and Dan began to demo new tracks for further studio production. After establishing a new sound to work with, the boys placed an advert in Mojo magazine, looking for a new lead singer. Craig Walker answered the advert and immediately began working with the band and singing on the tune that Darius wrote, entitled, "Again". Between 2002 and 2005, the band released three studio albums with Walker to further growing popularity and critical acclaim, including an advancement in an already established following in France and Poland. "You All Look The Same To Me" (2002), "Noise" (2004), and "Michel Vaillant" were albums that marked a turning point of the Archive sound that gradually turned away from their roots in electronica and trip hop and towards more of a psychedelic and progressive style. One of the three composed albums was the soundtrack to the French film Michel Vaillant, released in November 2003.
In November 2004, Archive began their European tour without Walker, posting on their website that Walker would not be joining the band as he has left Archive due to personal differences.
Collective phase: 2004-present:
In autumn of 2004, Archive announced that Dave Pen (BirdPen) would replace Walker on the Noise tour. During this same tour, Keeler and Griffiths met the singer Pollard Berrier (formally of the band Bauchklang) at one of their shows in Vienna, Austria. Pollard had given Darius a Demo CD of his own written material, with the intention of starting another project with Dan and Darius. Because of the latter circumstances, the three began writing and rehearsing together, and were recording in Southside Studios, London, by September 2005. A new modern era for Archive had begun with Darius, Dan and Pollard all writing and co-writing seven tracks and Dave Pen co-writing three, on the album, "Lights". Maria Q sang on three (including backing) tracks. From this point on, Archive was no longer a "front-man-band", but a "collective" of individual artists contributing to what is now an established sound. The album "Lights" was released in May 2006 and received high critical acclaim in France, Switzerland, Greece and Poland. Archive enjoyed predominantly sold-out gigs on their "Lights" Tour, as well as high acclaim at festivals around Europe.
In May 2009, Archive returned to release their most acclaimed album to date, "Controlling Crowds I-III". It reached number one in the French charts for a week, number one in Greece, number two in Switzerland and number 5 in Luxembourg. The single, "Bullets", was their most acclaimed single to date and reached the charts in Greece, Poland, Switzerland, France, and Germany. It has also been featured in the teaser trailer for Cyberpunk 2077. The biggest surprise of this album was the return of Rosko John, who adds an unforeseen depth to the seventh studio album. In September 2009, the follow-up album "Controlling Crowds: Part IV" was released, along with single "The Empty Bottle". Archive continued their "Controlling Crowds" tour, having already sold out some fifty concerts from September 2009 - February 2010, up to and extensively for the 2010 Summer Festival Season.
In 2010, Keeler and Griffiths produced 3 tracks for French singer Mylène Farmer. Leila, Light me up and Diabolique mon ange featured in her 8th album Bleu Noir, released on 6 December that year.
With Us Until You're Dead:
Archive have worked on their eighth studio album (excluding Michel Vaillant) in London and Paris; under new management, having finished their deal with Warner Music - This has enlivened hopes in their home country of an official release at last. As early as November 2011, short samples of new works featured on the band's official website.
In May 2012, the band confirmed via the website that the album, titled With Us Until You're Dead, would be released on 27 August from their own label Dangervisit Records. It was accompanied by a European tour starting in October, to which a London show was promptly added. Fusing orchestral, electronic, soulful, progressive and emotional elements, Keeler describes the new material in comparison to previous works as "more personal - love songs basically. But coming at the subject matter in that non-formatted Archive way." Fans heard a new song, Violently, featuring new vocalist Holly Martin, which was released as part of the Wiped Out / Violently EP on 2 July.
In November 2013, Archive announced details of their most ambitious project to date, a forty-minute short film and accompanying album set for release on CD, Vinyl, Download, DVD and in Cinemas May 2014. The album, titled Axiom, was officially released on 26 May 2014.
On 20 October 2014 Archive announced their upcoming album Restriction which was released on 12 January 2015. Videos for the tracks 'Black And Blue', 'Kid Corner' and 'Feel It' are available for viewing on the official website.
Darius Keeler - songwriting, synthesizer, piano, programming, arrangements,
Danny Griffiths - songwriting, synthesizer, samples, programming, arrangements,
Pollard Berrier - songwriting, vocals, guitar, programming, arrangements,
Dave Pen - songwriting, vocals, guitar,
Maria Q - vocals,
Holly Martin - vocals,
Steve Harris - guitar, backing vocals,
Jonathan Noyce - bass,
Steve ("the menace") Davis - bass,
Smiley / Steve Barnard - drums,
Mickey Hurcombe - guitar, keys,
Tom Brazelle - harmonica,
Craig Walker - songwriting, vocals, guitar,
Rosko John - songwriting, vocals, MC,
Matheu Martin - drums,
Suzanne Wooder - vocals,
Roya Arab - songwriting and vocals,
Lee Pomeroy - bass,
Mickey Hurcombe - guitar, songwriting,
Dale Davis - bass