Miles Seaton, multi-instrumentalist and founding member of experimental indie band Akron/Family, passed away at the age of 41. Brad Cook first broke the news in an Instagram post. Dead Oceans, the label on which Akron/Family’s final albums were released, confirmed the news.
Seaton was born in California, moving to Seattle at a young age. In the early 2000s, he moved to New York City to pursue a career in music. Shortly after moving there, he met future collaborators and Akron/Family members Seth Olinsky, and Dana Janssen. Ultimately, the musicians moved into an apartment together and began making music.
On each of Akron/Family’s records, from their early work such as 2007’s Love Is Simple and later records such as 2009’s Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free and their final record Sub Verses (2013), Seaton acted as a multi-instrumentalist on the record. The band frequently improvised when performing live.
Seaton went on to release a series of solo records once Akron/Family began to slow down. In 2013, he released Notes from the Interior, followed by Functional Music Vols. 1 & 2 in 2015. On his final record, 2017’s Phases in Exile, Seaton collaborated with Brad Cook, Phil Cook and M. Geddes Gengras.
“I was influenced by a lot of traditional psychedelic-rock,” Seaton told Relix and Jambands.com in 2007. “I listened to Live/Dead a lot. Basically, my Dad’s record collection. Then someone gave me a tape when I was 10 that had Black Flag and Bad Brains on one side and James Brown on the other side, so I kind of wore out that tape. Then later I got really into punk-rock and I think that really informed the visceral edges and corners of our music.”
“Damn, Miles. You were such a comet,” Brad Cook, whose band Megafaun toured with Akron/Family, wrote in his Instagram post. “You crash landed in my life and changed everything. First time I heard your music it changed it all for me. I didnt know you at the time but it changed me. Then we became friends and our friendship changed me. You opened all the doors.
“There was no limit to circumstance in which you would show up for me,” Cook continued. “You had the tightest bullshit meter and told the truth even when it wasnt comfortable. I still carry around and pass along so many of your words all the time. This is a hard one to process but im just so grateful I had you as a friend and as teacher. I love you forever brother.”
“Miles was one of a kind person, in a one of a kind band,” Dead Oceans co-founder Phil Waldorf wrote in a statement on Twitter. “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.”