Godspeed You! Black Emperor began with Efrim Menuck, Mauro Pezzente and Mike Moya in Montréal in the early 90s, playing a handful of shows and recording a self-released cassette as a trio before beginning to transform the group into a large band. Recruiting numerous Montreal musicians through 1995-1996, GYBE mounted sense-rattling wall-of-sound performances, featuring as many as 14 musicians and several 16mm film projectors, eventually self-recording their debut vinyl-only version of F#A#∞
, released on Constellation in late summer 1997. The band's Hotel2Tango warehouse space in Montréal's Mile-End district was a central hive of DIY activity, with band rehearsal rooms, silkscreen and wood shops, and weekend shows that took place under the radar.
The group settled into a permanent nine-member line-up by late 1998, with Aidan Girt and Bruce Cawdron on drums, Thierry Amar and Mauro on basses, Efrim, Dave Bryant and Roger Tellier-Craig on guitars, and Norsola Johnson and Sophie Trudeau on cello and violin respectively. The band toured and recorded continuously from 1998-2002 and gained a reputation for mesmerising live shows marked by orchestral dynamics, epic rock power and clunky, beautiful film loops. Following hundreds of concerts and the release of four records – F#A#∞