LCD Soundsystem: David Bowie Convinced Us to Reunite

James Murphy recalls late musician's advice to embrace discomfort

James Murphy recalled the advice David Bowie gave him that helped him decide to reunite LCD Soundsystem. Credit: Dave Hogan/Getty; Scott Legato/FilmMagic

LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy said David Bowie helped convince him to reassemble his band after they split in 2011. Murphy also discussed working on the late musician's final album, Blackstar, during an interview with Lauren Laverne on BBC 6 Music radio.

"I spent a good amount of time with David Bowie, and I was talking about coming back and getting the band back together," Murphy recalled. "He said, 'Does it make you uncomfortable?' I said 'Yeah,' and he said, 'Good – it should. You should be uncomfortable.' 

"And the first thing that popped into my mind was, 'What the? What do you know? You don't know what it's like to be uncomfortable.' Because I'm imagining if I was David Bowie, I'd just walk into the room and flip everybody off, like 'I'm David Bowie!' And nobody can say anything – unless maybe Lou Reed's there … But then of course that's not who he was ever in his life. He was always making himself uncomfortable. It was such a great feeling of, you just don't know what you are to anybody else."

LCD Soundsystem announced their retirement in 2011 after touring extensively behind their 2010 album This Is Happening. Following the group's dissolution, Murphy focused on an array of projects, including movie soundtracks, producing Arcade Fire and working on various remixes (including some for Bowie). He ended up contributing percussion to two songs on Bowie's Blackstar – "Sue (Or In a Season of Crime)" and "Girl Loves Me" – and almost co-produced the LP alongside Bowie and longtime collaborator Tony Visconti. However, Visconti told Rolling Stone that Murphy ultimately left the sessions to focus on his own projects. 

More recently, Murphy admitted to the BBC's Annie Mac that his nerves got the better of him. "I got overwhelmed," he said. "It takes a different kind of person than me to walk into that room and be like, I belong here, I should definitely insert myself in this relationship because they just can't manage to make a record without me."

LCD Soundsystem announced that they were reuniting in January 2016, right around the same time Bowie released Blackstar (the musician died just a few days later). After spending much of last year on the road, LCD Soundsystem are prepping their new album, American Dream, which arrives September 1st.