18+ is the project of newly unmasked R&B/pop deconstructionists and digital artists Justin Swinburne (from California) and Hawaii native Samia Mirza. In operation since 2011, the NY/LA duo's often-explicit music and visual hybrids fetishize the appropriation of digital media, and inhabit a hypermodern interzone of art galleries, nightclubs, and the internet.
According to an interview with Dummy conducted midway through 2014, Swinburne and Mirza first met at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, subsequently moving to LA together and launching the 18+ collaboration (now played out online). Known only as the disembodied and incestuous pairing of 'Sis' and 'Bro,' their early output included a trilogy of self-released mixtapes—M1xtape, Mixta2e, and Mixtap3 — accompanied by mangled video footage of hyperreal or artificial objects, and commissions for a Prada campaign video and the Venice Biennale. However, it wasn't until recently that the highly enigmatic act revealed themselves as real people, rather than video game avatars; in 2014, the first proper 18+ issue — the "Crow 7" 7-inch —was released via London's Fabric-affiliated and fast-growing Houndstooth label, followed by a full album, Trust, later that year. The pair's sound combines surrealist, sultry vocals with sampling and skewed beats, exploring topical themes of identity, gender, sexuality, and physical vs. digital realities.