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Miles Seaton of Experimental Rock Outfit Akron/Family Dead at 41

“He is an integral part of so many musical histories,” said friend/associate Justin Vernon

UPDATE (3/2): The members of Akron/Family and Miles Seaton’s widow, Leanne Pedante, have shared a new remembrance page honoring the musician, who died last month. The page also revealed that Seaton’s cause of death was a single-car crash on I-5 near Fresno, California on February 17th; it’s still unclear what exactly was wrong with the truck Seaton was driving when the crash occurred.

In a statement, Pedante wrote, “In the days since his death, his family and friends have constantly shared the lessons that Miles left us with: to be present in the process rather than obsess over the product; to break your heart open and connect deeply with everyone you can; to see that it is never ‘either/or’ but always ‘both/and.’ The nightmarish reality that someone who so generously taught us all how to really live is now dead can’t be put into words. His family and I deeply appreciate all of the memories, reflections and kind words being shared by all he touched.”

The page also features an array of photos and videos, as well as stories and memories from Seaton’s Akron/Family bandmates, Seth Olinsky, Ryan Vanderhoof and Dana Janssen,

Miles Seaton, musician and co-founder of the experimental rock outfit Akron/Family, has died. He was 41.

Phil Waldorf, co-founder of Akron/Family’s label Dead Oceans, confirmed Seaton’s death, although a cause was not announced. In a thread on Twitter, Waldorf shared memories of old Akron/Family shows and hearing their song “River” for the first time.

“Miles was one of a kind person, in a one of a kind band,” he wrote. “It’s a rush of emotions. Akron/Family are the type of band that underscores 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.”

Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon, a longtime Akron/Family associate and friend, tweeted, “I cannot believe Miles Seaton is gone. He is an integral part of so many musical histories. I am in shock and grieving for those who knew and loved him the most. Hearts out to all of you. His music will live on forever.”

As Pitchfork reports, Akron/Family formed in the early 2000s, after Seaton moved from Seattle to Brooklyn and ended up living with his soon-to-be bandmates, Seth Olinsky, Ryan Vanderhoof, and Dana Janssen. Befitting the group’s experimental sound, each member played multiple instruments. By 2004 they’d attracted the attention of Swans’ Michael Gira, who signed them to his Young God Records.

Akron/Family’s self-titled debut arrived in 2005. At the same time, they were serving as the backing band for Gira’s other project, Angels of Light, which had just released a new album, The Angels of Light Sing “Other People.” An Akron/Family and Angels of Light split album was released at the end of 2005.

Over the next several years, Akron/Family remained consistently busy, dropping new albums, Meek Warrior and Love Is Simple, in 2006 and 2007, respectively. They linked up with Dead Oceans for 2009’s Set ‘Em Wild, Set ‘Em Free, and the label would release their final two albums, 2011’s Akron/Family II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of Shinju TNT and 2013’s Sub Verses.

After Akron/Family’s split, Seaton released several solo projects, starting with 2013’s Notes From the Interior. In 2015, he released Functional Musics Vols. 1 and 2, while his final album, Phases in Exile, arrived in 2017.