No Surrender is a pioneering alternative music crew from NYC’s indie underground, starting out in the early 2000s on the art rap and electronic scenes. While much of their early work is out of print (due to the 70s soul, reggae, and sci fi and cartoon themes sampled on their debut EP Earthquake Ocean, full length White Power Black Magic, and split 12″ with indie hip-hop group InI Mighty Lockdown), their albums, and collaborations have been hailed internationally by VICE, MTV, SPIN, Rolling Stone (Italy), Vogue (France), Mojo, NME, Time Out London, and dozens of other outlets.

The band originally comprised of vocalist Gnomad (Patrick Donawa) and Eddie Steeples, who fronted a few funk/hip-hop outfits with residencies at spots like The Black Cat, a seminal venue in Williamsburg’s pre-development hey day. The other founding member, Darius VanSluytman was also a member of Mike Ladd’s Infesticons with Creature of Rebelmatic and UK emcee Juice Aleem on Big Dada/Ninja Tune. The group has recorded with Tunde Adebimpe of TV on the Radio, Raz Mesinai (Badawi), Dub Gabriel, Vast Aire (Cannibal Ox), Danny Chavis of iconic black rock band The Veldt, FreQ Nasty and producer Johan Karlberg (The Very Best, Baaba Maal). The band hit a speed bump when Steeples landed his iconic role as “Crabman” on NBC’s My Name Is Earl. But, in 2010 they added former Tricky singer and co-producer Costanza Francavilla to the mix. No strangers to dark and moody, the group’s sound adapted easily to Francavilla’s trip-hop lineage while. They also began infusing hints of downtempo and techno absorbed from time in European clubs, and Brooklyn’s own emerging electronic scene, and the buzz of being a part of a thriving alternative black music scene. They finally found acclaim with their 2011 album, Medicine Babies, and growing demand in Europe. But, by then, the band had already begun drifting apart.

In 2016,  Darius produced Altars, a sound installation for sculptor Afruz Amighi, leading to a collaboration for The Frist Art Museum in July of 2018, where Darius composed and performed 30 minutes of original electronic music, accompanied by harp, violin, cello and spoken word. He had also co-produced the debut EP for Brooklyn Trip Hop/Darkwave crew Death By Piano. This reignited his interest in reimagining No Surrender. More on that soon. First stop on the comeback trail? Knocking a few things out with our pals Dead Tooth in late 2020. It’s an electronic/garage rock hybrid we’re having a blast making…and a real trip down that old “dark and moody” No Surrender cavern will be soon to follow…

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