Image credit: Cameron Scoggins
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 second single and accompanying music video ‘Fudge’ – out January 17th.
Pre-save ‘Fudge’ Here
This song is a prime example of a song that Ken wrote that allowed Cat to go to a more salacious part of herself than she usually shows to the world. She regretted it at first, but Ken’s instrumental makes it undeniably solid. Ken left the studio banter in there so a listener can hear Cat’s bashfulness at what she’d just written and sung.
This song started as a totally different song, one the band all agreed wasn’t working. Ken still loved Cat’s vocals. In the Fall of 2021, he wrote a new track around just her vocals. In the old track, Johnny sang this totally nuts operatic part. Ken sampled that and played it on a sampler to create a new melody. When Ken played the new arrangement for Cat and Johnny during the making of the album, they loved what he had made from the ashes of the old song. When mixing this one, Kiri said Ken’s drum programming reminded her of Trent Reznor, which is a huge compliment to the band.
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 notice, 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 of 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-theatre 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.