Sex Week are here to get messy

Pearl Amanda Dickson and Richard Orofino drag their lovingly crafted indie rock songs through the dirt.

June 26, 2024
Sex Week are here to get messy Sex Week   Christian Michael Filardo

The Opener is The FADER's short-form profile series of casual conversations with exciting new artists.


Richard Orofino and Pearl Amanda Dickson, the duo that makes up the Brooklyn band Sex Week, have a playlist for every occasion. “Okonomi” is one they made inspired by their favorite Japanese breakfast spot in Williamsburg. Another one was drafted for the drive upstate to pick apples together.

Naturally, there is a Sex Week playlist designed to set the tone for their work together, gothic and folky songs that show a clear love of both Judee Sill and Xiu Xiu. Scrolling through an endless list of influences, they pull out everything from Beyoncé to “Summer Lovin” from the Grease soundtrack. Perhaps something featuring their fellow indie rock pals would be a little more instructive: Brooklyn-based artists Babehoven, Bloomsday, H. Pruz, and Margaux are all friends, and Dickson can be seen on the cover of Katy Kirby’s latest album, Blue Raspberry.


It was a mixtape that brought the pair together, too. Dickson made “Colorado 2 Omaha” for her friend Allison to keep her company on the 600-mile trek. It included songs by Liz Phair and Wolf Alice as well as “When Love and Death Embrace” by the Finnish goth rockers HIM. When Allison returned home she played it constantly in the apartment she shared with Orofino. He was making music under his own name at the time and had never met his soon-to-be bandmate. “I was obsessed with it,” he says of the mix. “Specifically, that song by HIM, which is so funny because they're this Bam Margera kind of dad rock band.”

Eventually, Dickson made her way to New York from Los Angeles, where she had been working as an actress in TV shows including Yellowjackets and The Girl From Plainview, and met Orofino. She remembers their first meeting as being something of a confessional. “I was like, "I have a secret. I'm kind of a fan [of your music]." And he replied, "I have a secret too. I've been listening to your playlist."

Sex Week are here to get messy Dillon Camp

Orofino first moved to Brooklyn from Long Island to pursue a music career and has a Bandcamp page with music dating back to his teenage years. Dickson, however, had never made music before. To hear them talk about it, Orofino showed her how to be a musician and she showed him how not to be, in the best ways possible.

“I think I went about songwriting in a way that starts to feel like a blueprint,” he says. “Pearl would just say, "No, it should just be like this [other way].’ I’d think, ‘I can't write like that. That's just not me.’ But it's not true. There's no rules and you can do whatever you want.”

“Toad Mode,” the first song they finished together, was inspired by Allison’s cat. “He weighs about 15 pounds and is super confident,” Orofino says. “He has a real swagger and loves to bite you on the chin as a sign of affection. We called that going toad mode” The song nails the Sex Week dynamic immediately. It’s sweet and tender, a little silly almost, but with an uncanny feeling that feels borderline unsettling. “She bites my hands, My arms, my pants,” they sing in harmony as a sample of Toad meows in the background. “She's got big plans.”

The song appears on the band’s first EP Sex Week, due August 30, alongside the previous single “Angel Blessings,” which leans into the band’s taste for discomfort in more explicit fashion. What starts out as a pretty song about dedication and commitment slowly starts to descend into a haze of black metal screams. The song decomposes until its flesh has peeled off and all that’s left is a bloody carcass. It feels like being haunted in real-time.


Body horror fascinates Orofino and Dickson, whose video for new song “Cockpit” takes direct influence from the genre’s godfather, David Cronenberg. Throughout the EP Dickson uses language that is messy in a way that would leave a gross stain on your clothes. “Slaughtered lambs,” “cat litter,” “innards,” and “mushy mold” are all go-to references. There are multiple mentions of “rotting” that run through the songs. “Cockpit” opens with the line “Slipping out of my muck.”

Dickson laughs when this is pointed out and admits she considered changing some lines, “but I was like, "Fuck, they all fit." Sex Week, like Cronenberg classics Scanners and Videodrome, presents a form of blood-soaked beauty. Dickson says a line on “‘Angel Blessings” [“It's poured into my chest cavity”] is “such a weird way of putting it, but to me it's so fun” Instead of just saying, "I have you in my heart," it's a different image. That's the way I look at and receive music.”

Beneath the gloop and ooze of the EP is a big heart, with songs that specifically address the pair’s tight-knit bond. “Cockpit” was written on a trip Orofino took to see Dickson while she was away working in Georgia. “Soaking up your smell. What if we meld into one single cell?” they sing together. It’s a typical Sex Week idea: Dreamy and sicko at the same time.

“It feels really good to find someone that understands what you want to create and how to go about it,” Orofino says when asked what being in Sex Week means to him. Dickson thinks back to their early days together for her answer. “When we first met we kept having these intense moments. I was like, "God, I've really lived this before, but I have no memory in my life anywhere close to what I'm experiencing now." When the pair want to return to that time, all they do is fire up a playlist called “Déjà Vu '' and press play.

Sex Week are here to get messy