last update: 22.04.11
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No Surrender is a staple on New York’s underground scene. Lording over now shuttered, legendary Lower East Side venues like Brownies, CBGB’s Gallery, and Baby Jupiter, they stepped onto the scene as co-hosts of the “Revenge of The Muse” parties, one of the first monthlies to bring together alt-rap, rock and dance. They shared the stage with other innovators of the late 90s/early 00s scene like Mike Ladd, Antipop Consortium, Stiffed (Santigold’s former band), and Apollo Heights. Members Seraphim, Steeples, and Gnomad quickly became known for their fiery performances and hypnotically awkward sound.
As their rep grew, Seraphim began popping up as a guest vocalist on tracks by underground legends like Vast Aire of Cannibal Ox, Crunc Tesla and The Majesticons. He was also pulled by avant garde composer Ras Mesinai (the legal name of ROIR’s electro-dub star Badawi) to co-star in the acclaimed theater piece Myth of Nations which did stints at The Kitchen (NYC) and Il Teatro San Giorgi in Sicily.
In 2003, the crew offered up their first self-released CD, White Power Black Magic, a collage of dissonance, off-beat drum patterns and fierce lyricism. Subculture bible VICE Magazine hailed the debut “your new favorite shit.” With nods of approval from the critics and the alt-rap scene, the crew was poised to become a major force in electronic music…and then fate struck.
Eddie Steeples, was picked up by NBC to become a permanent cast member of Jason Lee’s cult comedy hit “My Name Is Earl”. The unfinished album they were working on got shelved, and the band was put on hold.
Steeple’s unplanned TV stardom didn’t break the crew apart, however. In 2007, while in London, the guys hooked up with Seraphim’s good friend Johan of London’s Radioclit (The Very Best). A musical alliance was formed between the crews, and No Surrender was re-born across the pond. Overwhelming crowd reaction spurred Seraphim to begin producing material for a new album. In the studio, he enlisted friends like TV on the Radio frontman Tunde Adebimpe and the aforementioned Radioclit to help craft their opus.
A chance meeting with dubstep hero FreQ Nasty (co-producer of Santigold’s breakthrough hit “Creator”) led them to former Tricky muse Costanza Francavilla’s ZerOKilled studio. Camped out in the DUMBO studio, they pieced together the upcoming album Medicine Babies a seamless blend of electro-punk, dance and alt-rap certain to drag No Surrender out of the underground and into the spotlight.