One of the best lessons I’ve been taught over the past 15 years is that friends and acquaintances can introduce you to music you would never find any other way. This time around it is two industry friends. In this instance, one is a musician and the other a publicist. So allow me to share 8mm with you.
8mm was established in 2004. The group consists of husband and wife team Sean and Juliette Beavan. Sean’s musical pedigree includes having worked with Marilyn Manson, Nine Inch Nails and God Lives Underwater. In the beginning, the band was very prolific, releasing a new album every year. Now after seven years of silence 8mm returns with Heart Shaped Hell. The EP was inspired by current music that shares some of the same alt-orchestral drama of their sound. When other projects they were working on were rescheduled it opened up time for them to write and then get into the studio with new tracks. To assist with this project the Beavan’s also enlisted help from Jonny (Jonathan Radtke) for guitar performance, writing and arrangement. Radtke has played with Krewella, Filter, Ashes Divide and Kill Hannah.
Overall this EP would probably be listed as alternative pop-rock. It does hold some very slight goth nods ala AFI’s Decemberunderground in its storytelling and a few of the effects have just a tiny industrial edge. There are building relationship songs and dealing with break-up ones. The use of synthesizers and affected guitars are something I have missed along with the orchestral elements. My familiarity with Radtke’s music is from his time with Kill Hannah. Ironically the two songs that would fit in their catalog the best are the two that were already recorded before Radtke joined 8mm on this EP.
Self Inflicted Heartache – is one of the collaborative tracks. Jonny (Jonathan) Radtke wrote and performed guitars along with providing the string arrangements. Those familiar with his style will hear it clearly. Lyrically this song tells a story many of us know, amping up the pain we already feel to deal with the original source. The punch of the chorus arrangement elicits righteous anger in anyone who has been there.
Supercrush – Someplace I am currently far too familiar with. Unrequited desire. Again heavy synth and electronic effects add to the emotions of not achieving what you want and the inability to get past it any time soon.
Heart-Shaped Hell – title track. It’s not a good place but you’re ok being there. Even within the chorus that describes the core feeling, between Juliette’s voice and the arrangement, it’s a terrible you can live with. The interlude is an electronic symphony sound is complex adds the perfect drama. Jonny provided guitar performance and string arrangement for this track.
Bring It On – is co-written with Radtke. It’s actually a very pretty love song. It is the first time we hear Sean’s voice which is a great contrast to Juliette’s. As the song builds the harmonies backed by Jonny’s guitar line along with the rest of the instrumentals emotes the courage and willingness of the subjects of the story to really try to make a relationship work.
Move With Me – another song about hope in building a relationship. Lots of electronica, some even have a hint of industrial but the “Move” is definitely a flowing motion. Like curtains in a warm summer breeze. This was the song from this EP that really got stuck in my head. I’m still humming it.
Tonight, February 27, 8mm will hold their launch show for Heartshaped Hell at Lucky Strike in Los Angeles, hosted by Soundcheck Live. 8mm takes the stage at 9 p.m. PST and admission is free.