Born in 1959 in Waregam, Belgium, bandleader, composer, and reedman Peter Vermeersch began his musical career playing clarinet and saxophone in the group Union, which in 1981 performed music for Echafaudages, a production by the theater group Radies. Vermeersch then began collaborating with filmmaker/composer Thierry de Mey, and the two wrote music for the 1983 dance production Rosas danst Rosas. From this experience emerged the band Maximalist!, whose members included Vermeersch on clarinet, de Mey on percussion, Dirk Descheemaeker (Univers Zero) on bass clarinet, Jean-Luc Plouvier (Univers Zero) on piano, and Eric Sleichim on saxophones, among others. Maximalist! became a vehicle for composing and performing music to accompany the dance productions of choreographer Wim Vandekeybus, and in addition to a recording of Rosas danst Rosas, the group's discography included Maximalist! (1984) and What the Body Does Not Remember (1989).