M83 is French electronic musician Anthony Gonzalez, who took his stage name from the spiral galaxy, Messier 83. The band was founded in 2001 by Gonzalez and Nicolas Fromageau who left shortly after touring for their second album, Dead Cities, Red Seas & Lost Ghosts. Since then Gonzalez has recorded mainly on his own, aided by his brother Yann Gonzalez, vocalist/keyboardist Morgan Kibby, and drummer Loïc Maurin. This the lead single from their sixth album, Hurry Up We're Dreaming. The track was released on August 6, 2011 through Naïve.
Lyrically, the song was inspired by Gonzalez's observations of Downtown Los Angeles at night.
The song ends with a bombastic saxophone solo played by James King of the Los Angeles soul/indie pop band, Fitz and The Tantrums. Said Gonzalez to The Guardian regarding the sax solo and the '80s slap bass that he also utilizes on the album: "Sometimes a song needs an element to be finished. You know that this element has been overused in the past and is considered clichéd or cheesy, but the song needs it. With this album, the whole idea was to do something and have no regrets."
This became M83's first hit in the UK, helped by its selection as the theme to E4's reality TV show Made In Chelsea, its usage in a Victoria's Secret ad campaign and the BBC's London 2012 Olympic Games coverage. Eight years later it featured in the premiere episode of Netflix's Ragnarok.
The Fleur & Manu directed sci-fi music video is a tribute to the movies Village of the Damned and Close Encounters of the Third Kind.
Gonzalez described this song to Q magazine as a "happy mistake," which he wrote in three hours one spliff-enhanced afternoon. "It was the easiest song I ever wrote, and it's the most popular," he added. "And that really scares me! Because now, every time I spend more than a few days on a track, I think, 'well, that's not gonna be a single.'"