Indie electronic trio Occurrence recently announced their fourth album: Slow Violence, slated for release on April 7th, 2023. With the album announcement, the group shared the lead single “Heels Over Head,” a jubilant electro-pop anthem. Now, the group is back with their third single and accompanying music video “Universe Moves So Fast” – out on February 21st.
This song is inspired by a saying in Spanish, “inocente palomita que te dejaste engañar,” which translates to “naive little pigeon, you’ve let yourself be fooled.” It is usually something you say on April Fool’s Day when you ask to borrow something, when, in reality, you’re stealing it. Ken wrote lyrics that took the saying and made it about loss, and the fear of it. This is a song about thinking your hard work is going to pay off and then failure slaps you hard in the face.
Actor Peter Mark Kendall plays guitar on this version of the song. In addition to being on the album, Ken included the song in a new play he is working on called “The Tenure Itch,” which takes its name from a The Pains of Being Pure at Heart song.
Occurrence is Ken Urban (electronics, synths & beats), Cat Hollyer (vocals, flute) and Johnny Hager (vocals). The band describes their music as “experimental electronic pop with a nostalgic bent.” Based in New York City’s Washington Heights, the band formed when Ken reached out to college friend Cat on Facebook after not seeing each other for twenty years. Ken was in New York working as a playwright and Cat lived in Lawrence, Kansas, working as a writer for Hallmark. Ken asked if she would sing on new tracks he was writing. Both were in the midst of major life changes, looking for new creative outlets. She agreed, and the two embarked on a now six-year collaboration. When the duo began to perform live, they invited Ken’s romantic partner Johnny to join as a second vocalist, completing the band.
The band’s first album THE PAST WILL LAST FOREVER was the result of Cat and Ken’s remote collaboration. Released in 2016, the album featured contributions from Kip Berman of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Alejandro Necochea of Bang Camaro, plus actors Thomas Jay Ryan and Maulik Pancholy. The album’s darkwave-infused ten tracks got positive notices, with Atwood Magazine calling it “a formidable electro-space post-punk beast.”
Now a trio and working out of The Berkshire Arms (the band’s recording studio in Washington Heights), the band completed their follow-up EVERYONE KNOWS THE DISASTER IS COMING, released in the summer of 2018. The band did a series of shows to promote its release. That album was quickly followed up by a companion mini-album IF HE WERE HERE, featuring new songs and remixes by the likes of Conelrad, H1987, and Assembled Minds. All proceeds were donated to anti-gun violence campaigns.
Beset by some health issues and the onslaught of the pandemic, the band took their time with their next release. They issued three new stand-alone singles in 2020 (“All My Days,” “Dead Sleep Best,” “Privacy Invaders”), and then released their third album in the summer of 2021. The twelve songs on I HAVE SO MUCH LOVE TO GIVE, the band’s first release on Archie & Fox Records, charted the start and end of a romantic relationship, inspired by French writer Roland Barthes’s A LOVER’S DISCOURSE. The album was an intense collaboration between the band and TONY-nominated composer Daniel Kluger, who mixed and provided additional production. The album featured viola from Christian Frederickson of Rachel’s, and electric guitar by actor Peter Mark Kendall from TV’s THE AMERICANS. Jammerzine said, “Don’t give this album a listen, give this your attention.”
While their third album had to be completed remotely due to the pandemic, the trio reunited after two years apart in Fall 2021, embarking on the recording of their ambitious fourth album SLOW VIOLENCE. A double album boasting 22 tracks, the band pushes its sound forward with songs inspired by Rob Nixon’s concept of “slow violence.” Nixon’s term describes the unseen violence that the West perpetrates against the developing world, violence that takes years, sometimes decades, to register. The band takes that concept as an apt metaphor for how the trio’s personal lives are the products of the slow violence of their collective pasts. The new album was mixed primarily by Kiri Stensby (who records as Hara Kiri) and mastered by GRAMMY-nominated engineer Jessica Thompson. The album will be released on April 7, 2023 by Archie & Fox Records digitally and on compact disc. There will be an accompanying dance-theater piece that will premiere at MIT for six performances to correspond with the release, plus a limited-edition art book featuring lyrics, interviews with the band, photography that inspired them, and writers reflecting on the album.
Over its career, the band has attracted great coverage for prior releases and their tracks have been featured in podcasts, radio shows, and audio dramas, in addition to appearing on outlets like the BBC and the Tribeca Festival.
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