Trish Keenan dies

By | Published on Monday 17 January 2011

Trish Keenan

Trish Keenan, frontwoman with indie electro outfit Broadcast, died on Friday morning, following an earlier statement from the band’s management confirming the singer was fighting for her life after contracting a strain of swine flu. She was just 42.

Originally a five-piece, Broadcast began creating their distinct electronic sound in the mid-1990s, with early singles ‘Accidentals’ and ‘The Book Lovers’ getting indie releases via Wurlitzer Jukebox Records and Duophonic respectively. They soon came to the attention of Warp Records, which released a collection of the band’s early singles in 1997 called ‘Work And Non Work’. Warp became a natural home for Broadcast, and the label released all of the band’s subsequent output everywhere except in the US, where Tommy Boy Records took on label duties.

Although in many ways a niche band, they had a dedicated and influential fanbase, leading to a number of their tracks being used in films and TV programmes. Meanwhile Simpsons creator Matt Groening asked the band to play when he curated an All Tomorrows Parties festival in the UK last summer. Since 2005 Broadcast essentially operated as a duo, with Keenan and fellow founder member James Cargill.

The band’s management last week confirmed rumours that Keenan had been taken seriously ill after returning from an Australian tour just before Christmas, while a Facebook user seemingly related to the singer said she was on life support.

On Friday, Warp Records posted a statement reading: “It is with great sadness we announce that Trish Keenan from Broadcast passed away at 9am this morning in hospital. She died from complications with pneumonia after battling the illness for two weeks in intensive care. Our thoughts go out to James [Cargill] Martin [Pike, the band’s manager], her friends and her family and we request that the public respect their wishes for privacy at this time. This is an untimely tragic loss and we will miss Trish dearly – a unique voice, an extraordinary talent and a beautiful human being. Rest in peace”.

The many tributes paid to Keenan via Twitter on Friday confirm her influence was more significant than the band’s commercial success may have suggested. Graham Coxon said her death was “devastating news”, Zooey Deschanel that her passing was “terribly sad”, while Of Montreal’s official Twitter feed noted: “Rest In Blissfulness TK, you will continue to inspire and comfort us until the end of human days”.