Blonde Redhead & School of Seven Bells

Originally in The Oklahoma Daily on September 13th, 2007.

Longevity is not something easily attained in music today. Most bands are lucky to stay together long enough to make one album, let alone seven like New York band Blonde Redhead. Now in its fourteenth year of existence, Blonde Redhead will play at the Bricktown Ballroom in Bricktown tonight. Also performing tonight is a brand new band on their first-ever tour, School of Seven Bells.

“I love Blonde Redhead’s songs,” University College freshman Samantha Patterson said. “They have a unique sound and I think they are very creative.”

Blonde Redhead consists of singer and guitarist Kazu Makino, singer and guitarist Amedeo Pace, and drummer Simone Pace. Each of the members immigrated to America from a foreign country (Makino from Japan, and the Pace twins from Italy), but Amedeo Pace doesn’t feel their foreign origins have effected the band.

“We are always trying to create our own sound and find our own way,” said Pace. “Who we are as people is what really effects our music.”

Blonde Redhead’s latest album, “23,” has garnered the band some of the best reviews of its career, and has exposed the band to a wider audience. The band’s members produced the album themselves, which they haven’t done since 1995’s “La Mia Vita Violenta.”

“We thought a lot about it and just couldn’t find anyone we wanted to work with,” Pace said. “We are very high-strung and would need someone just as passionate about it as we are to be a part of it. Doing it ourselves allowed more of the budget to be spent on mixing. You can record anything, and with good mixing it can be quite amazing.”

Immediately after their Oklahoma City show, the band is heading down to Austin to play the massive Austin City Limits Festival.

“Festivals can great, but they can also be terrible,” Pace said. “You don’t get a sound check and are essentially just thrown on stage. Though a lot of the time you play with some great bands and can really feel a part of something special.”

Because the band has been around so long, they have seen the shift in the music industry from album sales to digital music sales.

“I haven’t gotten used to downloading music,” Pace said. “It feels strange, and I just don’t feel attached to it. I would much rather have the album. But you can’t stop change and should just accept it.”

Before this tour, Brooklyn band School of Seven Bells had only played six shows. The band could be considered a supergroup, featuring ex-Secret Machine’s guitarist Benjamin Curtis, ex-On! Air! Library! members Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, Ateleia’s James Elliot, and Rhys Chatham drummer Joe Stickney. The show will be a homecoming of sorts, as guitarist Benjamin Curtis spent part of his childhood growing up in Lawton, Okla.

“I don’t remember too much about it, but Oklahoma is way cool,” said Curtis.

The band’s first EP, “Face to Face on High Places,” was released this past Tuesday.

“It’s being released on avant-garde label Table of Elements.” Curtis said. “I am a huge fan of the label. It has put out stuff by musicians that I am really enamored with.”

On top of the new EP, the band is also hard at work on their first full-length album.

“It’s been a crazy process,” Curtis said. “It’s been through so many different phases, but it’s mostly finished now. It will probably trickle out in the form of EPs, singles and such before it’s really released. We are not in a hurry.”

The band couldn’t be happier that their first ever tour is with Blonde Redhead.

“I met them when I was with the Secret Machines. They helped us out a lot.” Curtis said. “They are awesome people and are just the model of a cool band.”