Godspeed You! Black Emperor



Godspeed You! Black Emperor:
Members:
Efrim Menuck – guitar, keyboards
David Bryant – guitar, tapes
Mauro Pezzente – bass guitar
Thierry Amar – bass guitar
Aidan Girt – drums, percussion
Bruce Cawdron – drums, percussion, keyboards
Sophie Trudeau – violin, film production
Norsola Johnson – cello
James Chau – keyboards, harpsichord, guitar
Former members:
Roger-Tellier Craig – guitar
Mike Moya – guitarJohn Littlefair – film projections
James Daytron – guitar
Grayson Walker – keyboards
Thea Pratt – French horn
Gregory Borys - Bass

Godspeed You! Black Emperor (formerly punctuated Godspeed You Black Emperor!; abbreviated to GYBE, GSYBE or GY!BE) is a Canadian post-rock band formed in 1994 and based in Montreal, Quebec. One of the first musical acts to publish their albums through the Constellation Records label, they have since released three studio albums and one EP.
The nine-piece group is well-known for working on a near-orchestral scale, utilizing such techniques as wide dynamic ranges and prepared guitars with altered timbre—typically achieved using a screwdriver (a technique originally used by Sonic Youth)—to reach their often brooding sound. They are also known for their lengthy songs, which are composed in a classical manner with multiple movements.
The band has been on an indefinite hiatus since 2003 with no foreseeable plans to reconvene. A misquoted interview in February 2008 reported the band had broken up, but this was later confirmed as false
History:
The band took its name from God Speed You Black Emperor!, a 1976 Japanese black-and-white documentary by director Mitsuo Yanagimachi, which follows the exploits of a Japanese biker gang, the Black Emperors. The band is most commonly classified as post-rock, but they exhibit influences from a range of styles including progressive rock, punk, classical music and avant-garde. Each record consists of a few fairly long tracks (mostly between 15 and 25 minutes, but some as long as 29 minutes and some as short as 6), divided into "movements" which are sometimes specified in the record sleeve.Efrim Menuck playing for GYBE in November 2000.
The band formed around 1994 with three members, but its lineup has changed frequently. The band has had as many as twenty members at one time, but has tended to settle down to a group of nine. The instruments played vary with the lineup, but the music tends to be based around electric and bass guitars, strings and a percussion section. Other instruments such as the Glockenspiel and the French horn make more occasional appearances. The music on some of their records is accompanied by spoken samples recorded by the band across North America, including an apocalyptic street preacher from Providence, Rhode Island, an announcement at a gas station, a group of children talking and singing in French, as well as many recordings taken off shortwave radio.Mauro Pezzente playing bass.
The band members have in the past been reluctant to give interviews, and have expressed their distaste for the mainstream, corporation-owned music industry. This has given them a reputation as shadowy, even unfriendly figures, and not a great deal is known about them personally. They did, however, become considerably more widely known after appearing on the cover of British music magazine the NME in 1999.
The member who interacts with the press the most is Efrim Menuck, and for this reason he is sometimes presented as a front-man. However, he has strongly repudiated this label. In an interview conducted by Insound, Efrim and former band member Roger-Tellier Craig have a strong showing of their political views on corporate media.
Although various members of the band are often pinned down as anarchists, no one in the band has explicitly subscribed to this label; however, there is a strong political component to the band's music. For example, the liner notes to Yanqui U.X.O. describe the song "09-15-00" as "Ariel Sharon surrounded by 1,000 Israeli soldiers marching on al-Haram Ash-Sharif & provoking another Intifada," and the back cover of that album depicts the relationships of several major record labels to the military-industrial complex (image can be found at Constellation Records). Several of their songs also incorporate voice samples which express political sentiments, most notably "The Dead Flag Blues" (on F♯A♯∞) and "BBF3" (on Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada).
Members of the group have formed a number of side projects, including Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, Fly Pan Am, Hrsta, and Set Fire to Flames.
The band released the CD versions of its first two albums on the Kranky record label, and released the LPs through Constellation Records. The LP and the CD of Yanqui U.X.O. were produced by Constellation after their contract with Kranky ran out.
In 2004, long-time guitarist Roger-Tellier Craig left the band on amicable terms to devote more time to Fly Pan Am.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor announced an indefinite hiatus in mid-2003, and have no plans to reconvene in the immediate future.
The group was once misconstrued as being a band of terrorists. After stopping at a local gas station for fuel in the town of Ardmore, Oklahoma, during their 2003 tour of the United States, the station attendant working that day believed the group of Canadians to be terrorists. She quickly passed a note to another customer also getting fuel to call the police. When the local police appeared, the group was held until they could be questioned by the FBI. Although the police were suspicious of the band's anti-government documents and some stranger photos they had (such as those of oil rigs), they found no incriminating evidence. After background checks were run, the ensemble was released from custody and continued on their way to their next show in St. Louis, Missouri. Efrim Menuck later spoke to the crowd about what happened to them during their appearance in Missouri and speculated that their race was a motive for being released quickly ("It's a good thing we're nice white kids from Canada"), hinting at racism in the police force. The incident was mentioned in Michael Moore's book, Dude, Where's My Country?.
Live concerts
The group is known for their film loops, which they project behind them during performances. Efrim Menuck has explained that these loops, which are commonly produced by violinist Sophie Trudeau, are an important aspect of their concerts, because they "put the whole into context".

Because the band is taper-friendly – that is, they allow audience members to record their live performances – fans often release new material before the band makes an official recording. Examples of this include the songs "Albanian" and "Gamelan", which are thus far unreleased.
Music in film and television
The band contributed the song "East Hastings" from their first album F♯A♯∞ to the UK film 28 Days Later, though the song was heavily edited; this was an unusual step for the ensemble. However, the track is excluded from the CD soundtrack, due to group ethics.
Samples of songs from F♯A♯∞ were looped extensively in the soundtrack of the Flash-animated film series Broken Saints, and much of the dialogue is taken from the spoken word portions, some directly, and some slightly altered.
In 2005, the band allowed songs from Yanqui U.X.O. to be used in the documentary film Bombhunters, stating that while they didn't normally allow their music to be used in films, they could align with the social nature of the film.
A segment of the track "Providence" was used to promote the BBC drama series Superstorm, which aired in April 2007.
The horror-movie documentary The American Nightmare used the song "Moya" from Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada and "Providence" from F♯A♯∞ as incidental music and over the closing credits.
The band is also referenced in the movie Pineapple Express when the main character tells his girlfriend he is afraid she will go to college and "start listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and The Shins and become a lesbian". Screenwriter Evan Goldberg has said that this reference was because "Jay Baruchel is from Montreal and loves Godspeed, so we did it to poke at Jay. But I like Godspeed, Godspeed's good."
A segment of the track 9-15-00 is used in Top Gear, during a review of the Tesla Roadster

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