A key member of the infamous Bromley contingent which helped to redefine fashion and culture in seventies England, Steven Severin formed Siouxsie and the Banshees in 1976 together with Siouxsie Sioux. Steven was featured on all 16 albums and 30 singles as co-lyricist and songwriter during their two decades long career. During their reign, Siouxsie and the Banshees established themselves as one of the foremost alternative artists and the only survivors of the London punk scene to evolve, innovate and succeed until their mid 90s break up. Since the split of the Banshees Steven Severin has been busy working on various solo projects and collaborations as well as continuing to produce artists and writing articles on the arts and areas of intrigue for English publications such as The Guardian and The Independent. His first collection of erotic prose/poetry The Twelve Revelations was released in 2000.
After having spent 20 years working within the confines of major record company labels Steven decided to go the independent route. He designed his own web site stevenseverin.com and set up his own label RE:. The label existed for five years enabling Steven to release 3 solo albums of commissioned music: – Visions (1998), Maldoror (1999) and The Woman in the Dunes (2000).
Visions, written and produced by Steven, marked a radical departure from his previous musical compositions. Originally commissioned to write the soundtrack to Nigel Wingrove‘s film Visions of Ecstasy, Steven has completely reworked the soundtrack, originally 18 minutes long, into a 45 minute ambient instrumental album at times reminiscent of the film scores of Michael Nyman and Philip Glass. Visions of Ecstasy remains the only video ever to be banned on the grounds of blasphemy.
Maldoror was Steven‘s second solo instrumental endeavour. It is a dark, textural work, which serves as the score to the Brazilian theatre troupe Os Satryos‘ performance of Lautremont‘s Chants de Maldoror. Those familiar with Siouxsie and the Banshees will recognise the further development of Steven‘s ability to provoke the subconscious and intricacies of human emotion in a completely new musical setting.
During a trip to Ottawa in 1999 as guest speaker at the opening of the DESTROY graphic exhibition Steven was invited to be musical director for the production of Circa staged by the Canadian dance company Holy Body Tattoo. This resulted in producing an entire album Circus Songs for British cult band The Tiger Lillies (best known for the stage production of Shockheaded Peter).
The Indo-Japanese dancer, Shakti commissioned Woman in the Dunes for her show at the Edinburgh festival in 2000. It premiered at the ICA in London that summer. This time round Steven collaborated with the singer, Jarboe for a rendition of the Screaming Jay Hawkins classic, I put a spell on you. This album completed Steven‘s trio of RE:leases on RE:.
Following these releases Steven concentrated on developing the label by bringing on board the inestimable talents of comics legend, Alan Moore (Watchmen, From Hell, V for Vendetta). Steven released 3 spoken word albums by Alan Moore in collaboration with his musical partner, Tim Perkins. The Highbury Working (2000), Angel Passage (2001) and Snakes and Ladders (2002). Human Greed, the Scottish duo of writer Michael Begg and painter Deryk Thomas were also signed releasing the album Consolation (2001).
In this quest to find new and unique talents for the label, Steven was introduced to Arban Ornelas – a Texan-born multimedia artist and her project, Darling Hate. This was to become the most significant collaboration of Steven‘s long career as Steven and Arban were married in October 2002. Most of that year had been consumed by the ill-fated and turbulent Banshees reunion tour, The Seven Year Itch. If nothing else, the tour RE:confirmed to Steven that there was no future in the past and he took time out through the winter as he & Arban awaited the birth of their son, Cage.
However, in January 2003 Steven was to receive an invitation that would redefine his direction. He was asked to provide the entire film soundtrack to a British independent supernatural thriller, London Voodoo. As a result Steven wound down his label and concentrated exclusively on writing music for film and TV. A second feature followed immediately in the winter of 2003, The Purifiers, a martial arts thriller by award winning director and former Skids frontman, Richard Jobson.
As Steven actively pursued this new direction thoroughout 2004, attending film festivals and securing the usage of his earlier solo work in TV dramas (The Last of the Nazis, The Flight that fought back), he was once again approached by a band for production advice. The Readers Wifes spawned from the notorious Vauxhall nightspot, Duckie asked Steven to oversee recording sessions and act as management consultant as they made the transition from revered cult djs to glam-electro rock stars. The fruits of this collaboration were the 2 singles, Scumpop and the Justin (Kiki & Herb) Bond fronted Nostalgia.
Arban and Steven finally confirmed their musical union, by premiering the score to Shakti‘s new piece, Beauty & the Beast in Kyoto & Tokyo in the summer of 2005. The album of the score was the first release on their joint label, subconscious music. This was swiftly followed by the soundtrack to London Voodoo in October 2005. By December, Arban & Steven had begun work on a new feature film, Nature Morte, a complex serial killer noir.
The score for Nature Morte has now been released on subconscious music and along with all other releases is available on iTunes
Interest in his past with Siouxsie and the Banshees continues unabated and following on from the 2004 release of the long awaited B side boxset Downside Up work began on the re-mastering & re-appraisal of the entire Banshees archive. A deluxe 2 CD edition of the band’s debut The Scream was released in November 2005 to universal acclaim. In May 2006 the bands first four classic albums, The Scream, Join Hands, Kaleidoscope & juju. were reissued ~ expanded & re-mastered. Steven‘s 1983 collaboration with Robert Smith as The Glove also received the deluxe treatment in August 2006. Later that same year the classic sessions for the John Peel show were released as the Voices (on the air) collection. Last summer saw the restoration of the live film nocturne (featuring Robert Smith) and it’s debut release on DVD coupled with band’s own curio Play at Home. The next batch of re-mastered albums will surface in April 2009 ~ A kiss in the dreamhouse, Hyaena, Nocturne & Tinderbox. A boxset of BBC recordings is in the pipeline to follow shortly thereafter.
Steven recently scored a six part documentary on the history of finance for Channel 4/PBS entitled The Ascent of Money. Directed by Adrian Pennink and written & presented by Prof. Niall Ferguson.
In 2010 Severin released his debut album for Cold Spring titled Blood of a Poet. The album is a recording of his soundtrack for a 1930 silent movie by Jean Cocteau. Another acclaimed soundtrack for the film Vampyr was released a year later and is the latest recording of Severin‘s music up to date