Name of Band: The Sweetest Condition
Members: Jason Reed Milner (music + synths) and Leslie Irene Benson (lyrics + vocals)
Year Formed: 2012
Location: Nashville, Tennessee
“Moved by the words of Neil Gaiman: “Writers cannibalize everything they are,” and his fearless, punk cabaret partner-in-crime Amanda Palmer, we find that the best fuel for songwriting stems from our personal stories. Some songs are reflection pools, slightly distorted but still based in realism, while others tether to dreams, or even nightmares.”
Pulsating beneath the heart of Music City, not far from where the Man in Black planted his boots, there’s a deep vein of electro-industrial synthpop music bleeding to the surface. It is here that The Sweetest Condition has chosen to sanctify its ghosts, carving its niche into a growing underground community for artists from all walks of life.
The Sweetest Condition emerged in 2012, comprising composer Jason Reed Milner (formerly of Nimbus, Form 30, and Seven Mile Radius) and singer/songwriter Leslie Irene Benson (Burning Veda). The duo released their 5-song 'Truth & Light' EP in 2013. Most recently, they teamed up with producer and sound engineer Joel Lauver of Burning Bridge Recordings to produce their debut LP, 'Edge Of The World'.
Dual-parts sinful and sensual, hopeful and bleak, 'Edge Of The World' is an 11-song commentary on humanity, anti-conformity, self-loathing, and dream chasing — a danceable catalyst for transformation. The album reveals visceral stories, lashing synth riffs, chorus hooks, and stabbing guitars, paying tribute to iconic sounds of the ’80s and industrial muscle of the ’90s. At its core, the music is raw, unforgiving emotion.
'Edge Of The World', the début album by The Sweetest Condition, was released independently worldwide on 28th August 2015. Since its release, the music has been featured on radio programs around the world. The Sweetest Condition was recognized by GEWC (German Electronic Music Charts) in September, and Dark Horizons Radio named the band Artist of the Month in October 2015.
Intravenous Magazine: Who are you and how did the band come to be formed?
We met in 2004 on the underground club circuit. Jason was touring in industrial rock band Form 30, opening up for national artists like Razed in Black, Shiny Toy Guns, Haujobb, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, and The Last Dance. Leslie was working as a music journalist who had just launched a goth/industrial magazine called Echo Immortalis. We formed The Sweetest Condition in the flat fields of the Midwest in 2012 and moved south a year later in pursuit of new opportunities.
IVM: How would you describe your sound/style, and how did you arrive at it?
The Sweetest Condition has been described as melodic synthpop with an underlying industrial edge. Long before we had a name for it, we experimented by writing a track called 'Watch You Fall', a far cry from the piano-based songs we recorded in 2009 with our former project, Irene & Reed. As The Sweetest Condition, we rekindled our darker electronic music roots, pulling heavily from influences such as Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and others. For our first LP, we revisited 'Watch You Fall', re-recording it in our Nashville studio, along with ten other original tracks, and released it on our début album, 'Edge Of The World', in 2015. With a second album on the way, we’re gradually stepping away from the optimistic synthpop anthems of 'Edge Of The World' and heading into a more intense and ambitious direction.
IVM: Who and what are your primary influences both musical and non-musical?
For this project, we invoke inspiration from Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails, Front 242, Razed in Black, Ministry, VNV Nation, Shiny Toy Guns, The Birthday Massacre, and others. But we’re drawn to musicians and literary heroes alike. Moved by the words of Neil Gaiman: “Writers cannibalize everything they are,” and his fearless, punk cabaret partner-in-crime Amanda Palmer, we find that the best fuel for songwriting stems from our personal stories. Some songs are reflection pools, slightly distorted but still based in realism, while others tether to dreams, or even nightmares.
IVM: Do you perform live, and if so, when can we see you perform in the near future?
After wrapping up our second full-length album, which is currently in the works, we plan to launch our first tour sometime in 2016. Fans will be able to find future tour dates on our website at TheSweetestCondition.com.
IVM: What is your current release, and where is it available?
Our début full-length album, 'Edge Of The World', released in 2015, is available as digital downloads from iTunes, Apple Music, Amazon MP3 and other digital music stores. You can order the physical CD from CD Baby. To preview or stream the album, follow us on Spotify.
IVM: What have been the highlights of your career so far?
In various capacities over the span of our music careers, we have been fortunate to meet and learn from some of our biggest inspirations. Ronan of VNV Nation taught us the importance of humility and honesty. Romell of Razed in Black taught us fearlessness and foresight. Kristy of The Azoic taught us perseverance and self-reliance. And every day, we learn something new from the other talented musicians we admire and from those by whom we are so fortunate to be surrounded.
IVM: What are your plans for the future?
In 2016, we hope to release our second full-length album. We hope to travel and perform live in support of the first two albums across the states and countries where our fans have been so supportive. We’d love to meet and get to know as many of our fans as possible, and make new ones in the process. You can help by following us on social media and sharing our posts and music with friends.
IVM: Finally, is there anything that you would like to add?
We moved to Music City not only for the access it gives us to some of the best recording studios and sound engineers in the country, but also because people here value a wide variety of art and creativity. We can appreciate the beauty of many music genres here, and pull ideas from everywhere — even from outside our industry. The bar has been raised high in Nashville. You either go big, or go home. And we love all the challenges each new day brings.
We are grateful to all the fans that have taken a chance on our music and have become part of our big crazy family. Thank you to all the DJs and journalists who have spent time with our album and played or reviewed our music. Thank you for the amazing bands out there who keep us raising the bar. Thank you to our friends and family for having our back and bringing us up when we are down. Thank you for never letting us give into our fears, and for giving us hope.
The best part about living in Nashville is the undeniable feeling of HOPE that thrives here. With hope, you can do anything, and become anyone.
Official Website: http://www.thesweetestcondition.com
Hear the Music on Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/7GjpHmwVKqcyEbTbZd78rz
Mailing List (Get FREE Music!): http://thesweetestcondition.fanbridge.com