School of Seven Bells

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School of Seven Bells
School of Seven Bells, Tonic NYC.jpg
School of Seven Bells at Tonic in 2007
Background information
Origin New York City, New York, United States
Genres Indie rock, dream pop, shoegazing, electronic
Years active 2007-present
Labels Vagrant, Ghostly International, Full Time Hobby
Associated acts The Secret Machines, On!Air!Library!, Prefuse 73, Tripping Daisy
Website www.sviib.com
Past members Benjamin Curtis
Alejandra Deheza
Claudia Deheza

School of Seven Bells (often stylized as SVIIB) is an American indie rock band from New York City, formed in 2007. It originally consisted of Alejandra Deheza (vocals, guitar), her sister Claudia Deheza (keyboards, vocals) and Benjamin Curtis (guitar, synthesizers, vocals). Claudia Deheza (keyboards, vocals) left the band in 2010. Curtis died in December 2013.

The band was named after a mythical South American pickpocket training academy of the same name.[1]

History[edit]

Benjamin Curtis met identical twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza while opening on an Interpol tour.[2] The three decided to end their commitments to their old bands, move into a shared space, and create a home recording studio together.[1] The Deheza sisters were formerly of On!Air!Library! and Curtis was formerly of Secret Machines.

The band had an unorthodox songwriting process that began with lyrics, which were then supplemented by the music.[1] Curtis said this is the most important part of the band with "everything else [being] accompaniment". A before-and-after example of this process is hosted by NPR's program Day to Day.[3]

A debut single "My Cabal" was released in May 2007 on the UK label Sonic Cathedral. A twelve-inch/digital EP, "Face to Face on High Places," was released in September 2007 on the Table of the Elements label, in addition to a single from producer Prefuse 73 called "Class of 73 Bells" that features the band.[2] The band then toured with Blonde Redhead and with Prefuse 73.[2]

School of Seven Bells' debut album, Alpinisms, was released one year later in 2008. They then went on tour with Bat for Lashes on her UK Two Suns tour.

School of Seven Bells' track "Chain" from their album Alpinisms was featured on an Adult Swim and Ghostly International compilation album, Ghostly Swim, promoted by Adult Swim and available for free download.[4]

Their second album, Disconnect from Desire was released in July 2010. It was hailed by Pitchfork Media.[5] During the accompanying tour, they covered the Siouxsie and the Banshees song "Kiss Them for Me".[6]

The band was awarded International Bet of the Year (Aposta Internacional) at the 2010 MTV Video Music Brasil.

On October 12, 2010, it was announced via the band's Facebook page that Claudia Deheza had left the band due to personal reasons.[7]

On February 28, 2012, their third studio album and first as a duo, Ghostory, was released. It includes the singles "The Night", "Lafaye", and "Scavenger".

On November 13, 2012, the EP Put Your Sad Down was released.[8]

On February 8, 2013, Alejandra Deheza announced via the band's Facebook page that Benjamin Curtis had been diagnosed with T-cell lymphoblastic lymphoma after several weeks of symptoms.[9] Deheza noted that the condition was treatable, and expected treatment to last several months. However, Curtis did not recover and died on December 29, 2013 at Memorial Sloan–Kettering Cancer Center in NYC.[10]

On June 18, 2014, the band announced a music video for their cover of Joey Ramone's "I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up)."[11] This was the last piece of music produced by Curtis before his death.

On June 25, 2014, Culture Collide premiered the "I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up)" video. The site announced that Alejandra Deheza plans to release a new School of Seven Bells album, with Curtis' portion already recorded in its entirety prior to his death.[12]

Music style[edit]

School of Seven Bells' music was usually described as indie rock, dream pop, shoegazing and electronic. Their sound was described as dreamy and ethereal, and the lyrics as abstract.

According to Benjamin Curtis, SVIIB was inspired by "everything from Kraftwerk, Wire, Beyonce, New Order, Blonde Redhead, to Section 25 comes to mind, along with singers like Joni Mitchell and Robert Wyatt. We're huge fans of pop, too, mainly because we're huge fans of smart songwriting".[13]

Touring[edit]

When touring, SVIIB utilized additional members including James Elliott on bass, Joe Stickney (Bear in Heaven) on drums, Allie Alvarado on keyboards/backing vocals, and Christopher Colley on drums.[14]

Discography[edit]

Albums[edit]

Singles and EPs[edit]

  • "Face to Face on High Places" (2007)
  • "My Cabal" (2007)
  • "Silent Grips" (2007)
  • "Half Asleep" (2008)
  • "Heart Is Strange" (2008)
  • "Iamundernodisguise" (2009)
  • "Windstorm" (2010)
  • "I L U" (2010)
  • Put Your Sad Down (2012)
  • "The Night" (2012)
  • "Lafaye" (2012)
  • "Scavenger" (2012)

References[edit]

External links[edit]