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School of Seven Bells interview

With their dynamic and exciting electro-pop sound, Brooklyn group School of Seven Bells are just about the hottest thing out of the borough this year since fluoro coloured hair combs made their omnipresent comeback.

We spoke with Benjamin Curtis, one third of the trio, and asked him — given how intricate the production is on their debut album, Alpinisms — how hard it was for the group to let a song go from the mixing stage to the mastering stage: ‘It is a delicate process, for sure. I’m sure you can imagine that we could continuously work on any piece of music for the rest of eternity, but that’s where the chemistry with the three of us really starts to work. We really trust each other musically, so as soon as we reach a point where all three of us are happy with what we are hearing, we have to stop there. It takes a lot of discipline, but it’s totally necessary. Otherwise, we’d have never finished this record’.

Half Asleep is the song of 2008. No doubt about it. What do you remember most about the writing of it?
‘It actually started from a small vocal loop I’d put together. I’d arranged and bent this little snippet of music into a great little melody that later in a way became the basis of the chorus. Some chords were added, and we just let it sit to see where it would go. Claudia had some inspiring changes in her life, out of which came her words and vocals for the verses which were written over what I had done. Alley, being inspired by what Claudia was saying, and feeling really sympathetic with that emotion, came up with and sang the chorus, and it all worked together magically. It was written and recorded very quickly, and in the end was probably about as collaborative as any of us have ever been musically, and the result really shows. It’s a special song for us’.