Chosen by SPIN magazine as one of seven undiscovered bands you should hear, Sex With Strangers is bringing their post-punk electro to the world. Founding members of the Vancouver based Boutique Empire artist collective, SWS has been confounding listeners and delighting audiences with their hyper eclectic musical stylings and euphoric live show.
Originally the group consisted solely of Hatch Benedict (vocals/keyboards/pandemonium) and Magnus Magnum (bass/voice of reason) and were joined on stage by Wedge Beavers on guitar and Isabelle Dunlop (from Combine the Victorious) on vocals. These two became official group members with Sex With Strangers’ second release “The Modern Seduction” (2008). The live show has been filled out with Dallas Archangel on drums, who joined the band in the summer of 2008.
Sex With Strangers history is a pleasantly long one, dating back to the early 90’s when Hatch and Magnus first met in 1994 during the formation of the Vancouver-based “crust-core” band Harvey Switched. The 5-member outfit recorded several EP’s from 1995 to 1998 and performed many memorable shows throughout the West Coast, several of which involved plastic owls and the shaving of private parts on stage.
In 1999, Harvey Switched would transform into simply The Switch and release the critically acclaimed EP “2001 - A Rock Odyssey”, co-produced by The New Pornographers bassist John Collins. Despite a strong buzz and a collection of songs that sounded like nothing else out there, breaks were tough to come by and eventually the group would disband on good terms in 2002.
In 2003, Hatch and Magnus would casually set forth in a new musical direction, sporadically writing and recording material with established producer Mark Henning (Pure, Combine the Victorious), who had engineered their last record with The Switch. Unconfined by the shackles of traditional musicianship, ideas were initially constructed using nothing more than a 4-track recording device and an orphan keyboard, with both member sharing writing duties. Once a basic framework of ideas had been established, the experiments were transferred to Mr. Henning’s underground studio for the purpose of evolution.
Despite residing in two different cities (Hatch had moved to Calgary in 2002, while Magnus continued to live in Vancouver), the unnamed project continued to move forward, albeit slowly, under the watchful ear of Mr. Henning. Recording sessions were planned around business trips until the fall of 2006 when Hatch moved back to Vancouver. The pace would now pick up as existing elements were carefully re-examined, re-written and re-recorded underground.
Cory Price (The Mohawk Lodge) and fashion designer Isabelle Dunlop (Combine the Victorious) soon joined the fold to lend their impressive talents to the mix. The result was a truly unique collection of memorable songs, void of any obvious influences. From the relentless robot-rock rhythms of “Dance Police”, to the climatic “apocalypse pop” of “Live Forever Lifestyle”, their debut EP “A Future Tragedy” was unexpectedly unfolding.
You might say Sex With Strangers officially arrived on January 29th, 2007 with the launch of their MySpace site. The official release of “A Future Tragedy” on iTunes followed in April, in conjunction with their live debut at Richard’s on Richards. Showcase performances at New Music West and The Media Club, along with a headlining performance at Richard’s on Richards again, proved SWS was indeed a worthy addition to the Vancouver Music scene and beyond.
In July of 2007, the band began working on their first full length recording, ”The Modern Seduction” with producer Mark Henning once again at the helm. The band built on the writing/recording/re-writing formula that proved successful the first time around, with Hatch and Magnus sharing the bulk of the writing duties.
The album benefited mightily from having Cory and Isabelle involved in the process from the beginning. In addition, the album features amazing guest vocal performances from Luna Comebacktobed (Adjective), Rachel Watson (Red), and Chelsea Chainsaw, all of which led to a richer, more complex sound.
A massive step forward from 2007’s “A Future Tragedy”, “The Modern Seduction” expands upon the debut EP’s concept of a dystopian future where the free thinkers and liberty seeking people are forced to take their “live-forever lifestyle” underground, away from the totalitarian regime that persuades the surface world. A truly vast sonic soundscape, this concept record has already been compared to an electro amalgamation of “The Wall” and “Rage in Eden.”
With the album complete, all that was remaining was the artwork for the record. Fortunately, SWS was introduced to the genius of Vancouver-based artist Robert Edmonds. The two parties immediately found common ground in their artistic approach, resulting in a shared idea that supported the concept behind the record. From there, Robert would bring to life the vision of “The Modern Seduction”.
Meanwhile, Sex With Strangers was also forming an alliance with Mark Henning’s Combine the Victorious and former Pure frontman Jordy Birch’s new band Guilty About Girls . The three bands would launch their own label/collective called Boutique Empire in June of 2008.
April 2007 - A Future Tragedy EP (independent)
July 2008 - The Modern Seduction (Boutique Empire)
Oct 2009 - The Tokyo Steel (Boutique Empire)
Edited by BoutiqueEmpire on 1 Sep 2011, 16:14
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