An icon in the world of experimental music that has been around for more than forty years. Pioneers of performance art and music video. They have groundbreaking work in electronic, trance, punk and industrial music. At the same time, the band is one of the biggest mysteries in the industry. Nobody knows the true identity of the artists.
The Residents were founded in the late 1960s in Louisiana, but the first studio album, “Meet The Residents”, was released in 1974. Since then the group has released more than 60 records, produced several short films and has played hundreds of concerts all over the world. Their performances often break with conventions and surprise with innovative solutions – more than just music concerts, these are shows with elements of theatrical scenography, choreography and video projections.
Throughout their career, the members of The Residents have never revealed their true identity. Both on stage and during photo sessions the artists are always dressed in costumes and they have the Cryptic Corporation responsible for interviews and promotion. This is an organization that has been dealing with the formal aspects of the group since 1976. Nowadays, it consists of two people – Hardy W. Fox, taking care of the production, mastering and editing of recordings, and Homer Flynn, the graphic designer of the band’s releases.
The Cryptic Corporation’s mission is also to distract fans from the clues that could help reveal the identity of American artists. There are theories that The Residents are actually a band of musicians from The Beatles or Aerosmith. Fans also claimed that Homer Flynn and Hardy W. Fox are in fact members of the band. The owners of The Cryptic Corporation quickly denied these rumors.
The band’s official biography reads: “It is said that the first thing we remember about someone is their sex. Residents have no sex. Another thing we remember is the face. Residents have no face. The third thing we remember is personality. Residents have no personality. Perhaps in a culture so deeply submerged in what is fashionable but devoid of content, the band’s anti-fame is the greatest reward for its members”.
During their first world tour in the 1980s, The Residents went on stage dressed in tuxedos and eyeball-shaped masks. The distinctive costumes became one of the main elements of the group’s image and the band has often surprised the audience with unique concerts going way beyond the mere promotion of the latest albums.
Their work, including such releases as “Eskimo” (1978), “God In Three Persons” (1988), “Gingerbread Man” (1994), “Demons Dance Alone” (2002), “The Bunny Boy” and the newest one, “The Ghost Of Hope” (2017), is highly praised by both the critics and audience. The band is also known for their classic music videos that sparked extreme emotions, like “Third Reich ‘n Roll”, “Constantinople” or “Act of Being Polite”.
After a few years of celebrating the 40th anniversary of the group’s birth, The Residents are returning with a new, spectacular program, “In Between Dreams”. It is a spectacle full of music, but created with a theatrical approach. Although as usual with The Residents, the latest program is a mystery, a spokesman for the group has revealed some information about the project: “»In Between Dreams«. Adding new material to a selection from their catalogue of almost 500 songs, The Residents invite their audience to escape to a land of dreams, where the act of posing questions outweighs the art of answers. But what waits in between dreams – does consciousness bring reality or the ultimate illusion called life?”
The band, which was so keen on hiding the identity of its members, paradoxically created one of the more recognizable media images. The group, whose music videos have been brought to the Museum of Contemporary Art, is now a true rock legend. The Residents even have their own Chamber of Remembrance – The Eye Museum in Berlin. Next generations of their fans are attracted by original works that can continue even in the absence of key musicians and composers. Is that not a great way to achieve artistic immortality?
The Residents will perform at the 9th International Festival of Music Producers and Sound Designers Soundedit. The concert will take place on Saturday, 28 October, at Wytwórnia club in Łódź.
Photos: The Residents’ press kit