When the Wexner Center's Chuck Helm booked Antony and the Johnsons for their first show outside of New York way back in the bygone days of 2002, little did he know the ripple effect it would have. From this full Pitchfork feature by Grayson Currin on Antony (who we've since brought back to town this past winter), Secretly Canadian label head Chris Swanson recalls the impact of seeing Antony for the first time:
"My community of friends, we all just fell in love with Antony and the Johnsons-- there was no one else in the world who was into it," says the Bloomington, Indiana-based Chris Swanson, the president of Secretly Canadian Records, excepting the audience in New York. "I mean, there were three years where I spent all of my time talking about Antony and the Johnsons, and no momentum was built from it."
Swanson and Antony began a slow but stable e-mail dialogue, and, almost a year later, Antony was finally going to perform inside America and outside New York or California. Antony and the band flew to Columbus, Ohio, to play one show at Wexner Arts Center. Swanson and a caravan of a dozen friends drove the four hours, due east, to Columbus. "We realized, 'Wow, this is bigger than us.' It felt more ambitious than anything we'd ever gone for. It felt universal in some way."
To Swanson, Antony looked like a visionary, providing something that was closer to ballet than a rock concert. "I almost became more intimated by him afterwards. It was just, 'Wow.' We felt very indie rock at that moment."