Daft Punk’s list of collaborators has been a key component of the campaign for their new album, Random Access Memories, but it was updated with a tragic footnote this week. Romanthony, a New Jersey house producer, DJ, and singer made famous worldwide by his appearance on Daft Punk’s 2000 single “One More Time,” has died of complications of kidney disease, his family confirmed to SPIN. He was 45.
According to Chicago’s 5 Magazine, news of his death first emerged early last week when Daone Remmidy, a singer (a.k.a. Eve Angel) who collaborated with Romanthony (Anthony Moore) on a string of singles in the mid-1990s, reported his passing on Facebook. Early Sunday morning, Moore’s sister Mellony Moore confirmed his death in a Facebook post: “My baby brother ROMANTHONY aka Anthony Moore passed away 7 May 2013 at his home in Austin TX. Our family is shocked with grief. A memorial service is being planned for a future date.”
Romanthony is best known to pop-music fans for his Auto-Tuned star turn on “One More Time,” which was released as a single in November, 2000 and which opened Daft Punk’s 2001 album, Discovery. “One More Time” was a No. 1 hit in Canada and France, and it went to No. 2 on the U.K. singles chart. While less successful in the United States — it only reached No. 61 on the Billboard Hot 100 — it topped Billboard’s Hot Dance Club Songs chart, and in the years since, its Auto-Tuned chorus has helped cement its position in the pop-music pantheon. Earlier this year, Mixmag readers voted it the “Greatest Dance Track of All Time.” The editors wrote of the song, “It’s a physical impossibility not to smile, move, dance, raise your arms, jump in the air. Or whatever it is that your body does to tell you that yes this is it and yes this is why we are here and this is why we came out and this is why we love dance music and yes fucking yes fucking yes fucking yes… In hindsight, no other track ever really stood a chance.”
Moore, a New Jersey native, released his first record in 1992: the Now You Want Me EP, which appeared domestically on his own Black Male Records label and in the U.K. on Azuli. His early productions offered a raw, stripped-down take on house music, with crisp, swinging drum programming, high-stepping organ bass, and his own inimitable vocals, which drew from gospel and soul. His debut album, released in 1996 on Azuli, found him pushing far beyond underground dance floors: Romanworld spun soul, blues, techno, house, ambient, and spoken word into an ambitious, double-disc concept album. He followed up in 1999 with Instinctual, a collection of moody deep house co-produced with DJ Predator for the Glasgow Underground label, and he returned to Glasgow Underground with 2000’s R. Hide in Plain Site, which staked out a position somewhere between Prince and Daft Punk.
Romanthony’s recording career slowed down for much of the following decade, but with the deep house and garage he helped pioneer back in vogue, he enjoyed a revival in recent years. He teamed up with Laidback Luke and Tom Stephan for “Show” in 2008, and with Kraak & Smaak for 2012’s “Hold Back Love / Let’s Go Back.” Global Underground reissued his 1993 song “The Wanderer” in 2012, first as a single-sided Dixon edit and then as a remix package featuring Kevin McKay, Photo 51, and Rob Mello; Steve Aoki’s Dim Mak picked up the Kevin McKay remix this year and released further remixes by Lee Mortimer, Anzo, and Anjey. Romanthony sang on one song on Teengirl Fantasy’s Tracer last year, and Boys Noize and MikeQ have both said that they were currently working on new material with the singer.
“Romanthony and me were working on such an amazing song together,” tweeted Boys Noize, adding, “he said it was the best song he had ever written. :(“