8 QUESTIONS WITH: SCHOOL OF 7 BELLS
Earlier today, I chatted with SVIIB’s Benjamin Curtis. Our full exchange:
1. What’s the inspiration behind Disconnect From Desire‘s cover?
We were having a conversation with Bryan Collins, who also did the artwork for Alpinisms, about symbols and iconography, which at the time we all happened to be interested in independently. We were discussing the personal, and emotional aspect to the new music, and Alley mentioned this idea of a “Sigil”, which is an interesting concept if you’re feeling brave and want to wade into the deep end of these sort of new age-y concepts. But, the concept is actually pretty powerful. The idea is to write a statement of intent, or something you want to put out into the universe, and then reduce the words down systematically to just a few letters. Then, you make a design out of what is left that isn’t recognizable from what it’s made from. Bryan was floored by the idea and went to town. I love it because it’s become a unique symbol that contains the words “Disconnect From Desire” and all the ideas behind it. Symbols and icons can be really fun like that.
2. Can you further explain the concept of ‘Babelonia’?
It seems to me it’s about a conflicted character. She seems to be realizing that the things she’s been taught her entire life, all the things she’s been depending on, are just stories she was told and aren’t the truth at all. Maybe she’s realizing she can only really depend on herself, which maybe is something all of us go through at some time or another.
Read the remainder of this interview AFTER THE JUMP…
3. What are some differences between Alpinisms & Disconnect…?
I think Alpinisms was the three of us finding a place and a way to do what we love, and Disconnect From Desire is us where we want to be, having fun. It’s also a much more personal record, which was intentional from the start.
4. What can you reveal about the upcoming video for ‘Windstorm’?
It was shot in NYC and involves a lot of everyday magic and a sort of fractured sense of time and space. We’ve definitely haven’t done anything like it before. It was directed by David Altobelli, who is really talented in my opinion. I think he’s got a lot more to say as far as film is concerned.
5. What are your thoughts on the current state of pop music?
Pop music is probably more surreal than it has ever been. I hear sounds on pop radio that wouldn’t sound out of place on the trendiest new record. The electronic influence is so pervasive, we can’t even hear it anymore. Everything is manipulated. I don’t really understand people complaining about “perfection” in pop. Plastic has always been the ideal, since the dawn of pop as we know. I think this is amazing, and something to embrace, as it will only create an entirely new space for outsider music to occupy. Having been raised on the radio, I’d lie if I said pop wasn’t in my blood, but sometimes I want more. Hopefully we can contribute to pop’s momentum in one direction or another, but I definitely see SVIIB as a distant planet in the pop solar system. I also don’t agree that lo-fi is the answer, either. Sound is a color, and you should never criticize anybody’s colors for being too bright, if that’s what they’re feeling.
6. Other than extensive touring, what are your 2010 plans?
We’re always writing, but honestly we’re completely consumed by the show at the moment. It’s been a lot of work getting it together, so I can’t even think about it right now. A vacation would be nice, since we’ve been going non-stop since our first album came out, but we’ll see.
7. What albums are you currently enjoying?
The new Actress is really cool. Also, Shigeto, who plays drums with us live, has some new things coming out on Ghostly that I love. He’s bringing an interesting musicality to the beat wold and live it’s ridiculous. I recommend you see him play.
8. Are there any misconceptions that you’d like to clear up?
I like misconceptions. I can’t believe some of the things I hear about me, but I’m never offended. I’ve probably inadvertently started a rumor or two in my life, so it’s cool. There might be a few criticisms I’d like to discuss with a reviewer every now and then, but at the end of the day I realize everybody has their own crazy life to live, so I can’t really worry about correcting anybody’s perspective if I think it’s skewed. Anyway, we’re just making music that we like. That’s it.