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In 2007, HEALTH walked into a windowless, sweat-stained venue in downtown Los Angeles to record its debut album.
The band - then composed of singer/guitarist Jacob Duzsik, bassist John Famiglietti, drummer Benjamin Jared Miller and guitarist Jupiter Keyes - was locally renowned for its violent, fifteen-minute live sets. Its squalls of tribal drums, shredded guitar noise and eerily plaintive vocals sounded like nothing else in the city.
At the time, that rank Skid Row venue known as The Smell was becoming arguably the most influential DIY venue in the world. The scene around it would launch the band to international acclaim.
Crystal Castles remixed HEALTH’s single “Crimewave” on their own debut LP, becoming a breakout single for each act. (The group would continue that pattern on its lauded “HEALTH::DISCO” electronic remix series). Later that year, HEALTH opened for Nine Inch Nails on its “Lights in the Sky Tour,” refining its chaotic live set to command some of music’s biggest stages.
In 2009, they released their second LP “GET COLOR,” a significant step up in fidelity and ambition. The heaving single “DIE SLOW” became an underground hit and remains one of the band’s signature tracks. DIY bills soon turned into festival slots at Pitchfork Fest, Primavera Sound and other marquee events. Their second remix compilation included the single “USA BOYS,” recorded with Trent Reznor and Alan Moulder.
As they began a much-anticipated followup, however, an unexpected new project proved just as compelling. Rockstar Games, the creators of the “Grand Theft Auto” franchise (the most valuable media title in all of entertainment), approached them to score “Max Payne 3,” the latest installment of the noir action series.
The 2012 game re-imagined the very concept of a video game score, looping electronic drones and pulsing percussion into a bleak modern shooter. HEALTH’s video game work, including the “Max Payne” single “TEARS” and “Grand Theft Auto V’s” original cut “High Pressure Dave,” won over a generation of young musicians and gamers alike, and continues to influence both worlds.
In 2015, the band finally released “DEATH MAGIC,” its third LP, on the prestigious indie label Loma Vista Recordings. Years of work with producers Lars Stalfors (Lil Peep, St. Vincent), Andrew Dawson (Beyonce, Kanye West) and Haxan Cloak yielded the most precise and diverse album of their career, drawing on black metal, New Romance synth pop, beat music and industrial sounds alike.
HEALTH, now a three-piece after Keyes’ departure, played prime slots at Coachella, earned a lengthy profile in The New Yorker magazine, performed alongside acts as varied as The Neighbourhood and Deafheaven and covered New Order’s “Blue Monday” for the Charlize Theron action film “Atomic Blonde.”
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