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
Members Alejandra Deheza
Past members Benjamin Curtis
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]


Benjamin Curtis (formerly of Secret Machines) met identical twin sisters Alejandra and Claudia Deheza (both formerly of On!Air!Library!) 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 band had an unorthodox songwriting process that began with lyrics, which were then supplemented by the music.[1] Curtis said that this process was the most important part of the band, with "everything else [being] accompaniment". A before-and-after example was hosted by NPR's program Day to Day.[3]

Debut single "My Cabal" was released in May 2007 on the UK label Sonic Cathedral. A 12-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 featured the band.[2] They then toured with Blonde Redhead as well as 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.

The Alpinisms track "Chain" 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, they released Ghostory, their third studio album and first as a duo. It included 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 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 New York City.[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 plans by Alejandra Deheza 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, Beyoncé, 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]


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]



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)


  1. ^ a b c Bordal, Christian (December 26, 2008). "School Of Seven Bells: Blurring Life And Art". NPR. Retrieved December 20, 2008. 
  2. ^ a b c [1][dead link]
  3. ^ School Of Seven Bells: Blurring Life And Art (Adobe Flash (Streaming)). NPR. 2008-12-16. Event occurs at 3:50. Retrieved 2008-12-20. To me, that's the most important part of School of Seven Bells," Curtis says. "Everything else is accompaniment, you know, in my opinion. 
  4. ^ "Various Artists presents Ghostly Swim - Ghostly International". 2009-01-27. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  5. ^ Granzin, Amy (July 14, 2010). "School of Seven Bells: Disconnect from Desire". Pitchfork Media. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  6. ^ Kiss Them For Me (Siouxsie and the Banshees cover School Of Seven Bells, live in Chicago 2010.
  7. ^ "Hi everybody. We just wanted to let you... - School of Seven Bells". Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  8. ^ "Put Your Sad Down EP to be Released 11/13, Co-Headline Dates with Twin Sister | School of Seven Bells". 2012-10-16. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  9. ^ "Dear Friends, It feels so surreal to be... - School of Seven Bells". Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  10. ^ "School of Seven Bells' Benjamin Curtis dies at 35". 2013-12-31. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  11. ^ "“I Got Knocked Down (But I’ll Get Up)” | School of Seven Bells". 2014-06-18. Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  12. ^ "School of Seven Bells Exclusive Video “I Got Knocked Down” : Feed". Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  13. ^ "Interview With School Of Seven Bells". Retrieved 2015-03-15. 
  14. ^ "School of Seven Bells Fights Nerves, Ghosts at Mercury Lounge". Retrieved 2015-03-15. 

External links[edit]