Throughout my time in Brooklyn, New York, there were a great number of bands who became the soundtrack to my life. Each band gave me sprinkles of what I needed for the train ride to work or the long walk home, but none of them, for me, were more impactful and all around transcendental, than School of Seven Bells. The brainchild behind the project, producer,guitarist and songwriter Benjamin Curtis was a monster at aural landscapes and used his expertise to create dance tracks like no other. Not unlike Anthony Gonzalez, Benjamin Curtis, along with the twin sister singers Alejandra and Claudia Deheza, carved worlds out of stone, so it was devastating to learn, back in February, that he was diagnosed with T-cell Lymphoblastic Lymphoma. The news of his diagnosis spread pretty quickly throughout the indie community. The group even set up a fund to help Benjamin with his medical cost, seeing as how being on a record label doesn’t guarantee you health insurance that’s worth a damn. Many New York bands such as Interpol, The Strokes and Devendra Banhart showed up to donate and help.
But on December 29, 2013, Benjamin Curtis lost the battle. He was only 35. It’s a devastating loss to the music community and I know he will be deeply missed.
Curtis was raised in Dallas, where he played in various local acts before he and his brother Brandon co-founded the rock trio Secret Machines, which rose to national acclaim with its 2004 debut LP “Now Here Is Nowhere.”
After leaving that group, he started School of Seven Bells in New York in 2007, with twin-sister vocalists Alejandra and Claudia Deheza. The group’s 2008 debut LP “Alpinisms,” for the indie label Ghostly International, won wide praise for its mix of ethereal vocals, heavily distorted guitars and atmospheric electronics.
- R.I.P. Benjamin Curtis of School Of Seven Bells (thescenestar.typepad.com)
- R.I.P. Benjamin Curtis of School of Seven Bells (hangout.altsounds.com)
- Benjamin Curtis (of School of Seven Bells), RIP (brooklynvegan.com)
- R.I.P. School of Seven Bells’ Benjamin Curtis (pitchfork.com)
- Benjamin Curtis of School of Seven Bells, Secret Machines Dead at 35 (rollingstone.com)
- School of Seven Bells guitarist Benjamin Curtis dies aged 35 (theguardian.com)
- Benjamin Curtis Of School of Seven Bells Dead At 35 (noise11.com)
- Support Benjamin Curtis Of School Of Seven Bells (thescenestar.typepad.com)