Genre-bending electronica outfit Pink Skull are primarily the brainchild of DJ and producer Julian Grefe, a longtime fixture of Philadelphia's punk and dance music scenes, along with a host of friends and collaborators, most notably Justin "JG" Geller, and, eventually, a full-fledged band. Through the late '90s and early 2000s, Grefe was a member of emo-punkers the Trans Megetti and the arty S PRCSS (a band whose name he also took as his DJ alias surname), while also working as a DJ and producing downtempo and drum'n'bass tracks, sometimes under the moniker EDK. As electroclash and dance-punk emerged in the early 2000s, helping to integrate the two previously emphatically disparate worlds of indie/punk and electronic dance music, Grefe was in the forefront of the revolution, helping to jump-start indie dance culture in Philadelphia and curating the first two volumes of the RVNG INTL mix series. He formed Pink Skull, together with fellow DJs Ian Kelly (DJ Diabolic) and Geller (who was half of drum'n'bass duo GFS, and later a third of Moqita), in 2003; their first release, the house-based Blast Yr AKK EP (featuring a Roxy Music cover), appeared in 2004 on Grefe's Tone Arm label.
The next several years saw a flurry of DJ activity from all involved; production work for fellow Philadelphians Yah Mos Def, Amanda Blank, and V.I.P.; remixes for the likes of HEALTH, Architecture in Helsinki, and David Gilmour Girls; and, in 2007, several single releases including an EP of reworked Chicago house classics. Over that time, Pink Skull morphed into a fully functional live band including the two originals JGs plus a third (Jeremy Gewertz) on drums, Mike Hammel on bass, and Sam Murphy on guitar. They released their full-length debut in April of 2008, an edgy, psychedelic, and intermittently danceable collection cheekily titled Zeppelin 3, which blended live instrumentation with electronic studio work, including remixes of Icy Demons and Plastic Little and contributions from Mirah and White Whale's John Anderson. The non-album single "Drugs Will Keep Us Together," a relatively straight-ahead house track, also arrived in spring 2008. ~ K. Ross Hoffman