Miles Cooper Seaton, a founding member of the experimental rock band Akron/Family, has died. Dead Oceans, the label that released Akron/Family’s final albums, confirmed the news. His cause of death is currently unknown. He was 41.
Seaton was born in California and relocated with his family to Seattle when he was young. In the early 2000s, he met Seth Olinsky, Ryan Vanderhoof, and Dana Janssen in New York City; they’d all moved there within months of each other and ended up living together in the same apartment. Seaton moved to the city from Seattle hoping to do something as a musician.
“I mean, you move there and you get the worst job imaginable, and it’s shitty, you don’t have money and it’s really cold,” Seaton told Foggy Notions in 2006. “And so when we met, and we were playing, that was the happiest thing that was going on. And when we were recording—I mean we were playing for hours and hours. So much stuff was coming out.”
As with the other members of Akron/Family, Seaton took a multi-instrumental role in the band. Their first albums were released by Michael Gira’s Young God Records: Akron/Family (2005), their split with Angels of Light (2005), Meek Warrior (2006), and Love Is Simple (2007). Their last three albums were released by Dead Oceans: Set ’Em Wild, Set ’Em Free (2009), Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shiniju TNT (2011), and Sub Verses (2013).
As Akron/Family’s activity wound down, Seaton continued making music under his own name, issuing projects like 2013’s Notes from the Interior and 2015’s Functional Music Vols. 1 & 2. His last album, 2017’s Phases in Exile, featured collaborations with Brad Cook, Phil Cook, and M. Geddes Gengras.
“Damn, Miles. You were such a comet,” Brad Cook wrote. “You crash landed in my life and changed everything. First time I heard your music it changed it all for me. I didn’t know you at the time but it changed me. Then we became friends and our friendship changed me. You opened all the doors.”
“Miles was one of a kind person, in a one of a kind band,” wrote Dead Oceans co-founder Phil Waldorf. “It’s a rush of emotions. Akron/Family are the type of band that underscore the whole reason Dead Oceans exists. I feel lucky that I knew Miles, and sad that I have to say goodbye. We hope you’ll share some memories. There are too many for me to count right now.”
M. Geddes Gengras shared a tribute that included a story about the period when he was a touring member of Akron/Family.