Brooklyn based indie-rock band Looms are gearing up to release their debut album, Waking Days, in early 2015. The pre-release buzz comes following recent performances alongside DJ/producer Jonathan Toubin (called “New York’s best DJ” by Vice magazine in 2012) at one of the last shows at Glasslands and Tommy Siegel of Jukebox the Ghost at Baby’s All Right.
Since they formed, Looms has blossomed sonically as they continue to expand their fanbase with their chemistry on-stage. Sharif Mekawy (vocals, keyboards, & guitar), Harry Morris Jr. (guitar), A. Hammond Murray (bass) and Zach Eichenhorn (drums) explore musical frontiers while remaining true to their original sound and influences.
Speak Into My Good Eye is now proud to share the first song to go public off of Waking Days, “See You Tonight”. Stream the track below while reading an interview with Looms’ Sharif Mekawy.
Tell us a little bit about the genesis of this new project.
Looms is the collaboration of Sharif Mekawy, Harry Morris Jr. and A. Hammond Murray. After a musical project that Hammond and Morris were in together came to an end they decided to contact Sharif with the hopes of beginning a new band, whom they had met almost a year prior. After an initial jam session it was apparent there was a chemistry there and they started talking about material.
How did you settle on Looms as your new identity?
I like Looms because it’s a word with multiple meanings so it can be interpreted differently to different people. This is something I try to incorporate into writing lyrics as well. I’m a big fan of wordplay. Another parallel is that I try to keep it simple when writing music. I am of the mindset that less is more, and ‘Looms’ follows this formula.
The idea to go forward as a full band came after you first started playing in a music studio in Morristown, NJ. How has your chemistry evolved since then?
Initially, I had a lot of songs to bring to the table. Learning all of this music right away really helped develop our sound and ability to play with each other. As with anyone you play with for a while, you begin to understand where they’re coming from and where they’re going with their musical ideas. You learn how to speak more with your instrument and rely less on having to communicate verbally. So we learned how to “talk” to each other over the course of a year before playing a gig. Over the course of that time, Harry and Andy started bringing their ideas to the mix and we began to write music more collaboratively. When someone brings a new idea to the table now, we’re able to get on the same page faster than we used to. Our live show has tightened up a lot since we started playing also.
You’ve been readying your forthcoming LP Waking Days for a while now. What’s the process been like in releasing this new album, while also working on new material as Looms for the first time?
It can be daunting at times because there is so much to think about. Waking Days has been in the works for more than 4 years now. It’s technically done but we are still figuring out the best way to release it in terms of singles, printing, artwork, etc. The new record is really going to be the focus for February. Some of the arrangements are still being worked out, and some have already been in our live repertoire. We’re still figuring out all the details on when, where and how we will record, which can be a little overwhelming because I try to think about all that stuff at once!
Waking Days touches on some very personal subject matter regarding family, friends, and lost relationships and growing up. Tell us a little bit about these themes.
This record is very personal to me. I was going through a very rough breakup which was the initial inspiration for me to start writing lyrics. Over the course of about a year, it evolved into me writing about all the personal things that were going on with my family and friends at the time. In hindsight, it’s really a record about growth and coming to terms with the pain that life deals you sometimes.
You’ve built up quite a reputation in the live arena with improvisational and inventive styles of playing. How has that translated into the recording process?
We actually aren’t that improvisational except when someone is playing a solo. I really encourage everyone in the band have precise parts that they don’t waver from. I like to keep things consistent and don’t ever want someone to feel like we are just jamming. The same goes for recording. We are really going to work hard to iron out every little detail in the pre production rehearsals so that we know exactly what we want to accomplish when we track. I’ve learned that that’s the best way to get what you want out of a recording session and not waste time and money. This is our first record together. We are very excited to take what we’ve been creating together, and produce a true, artistic representation of the band.
Being from NJ you must have an ear to the ground with what’s happening. Who do you see as contemporaries from the scene?
Honestly, I don’t. I’ve been living in Brooklyn for more than 2 years now and don’t really want to be represented as a NJ band. I love being here and really feel like I connect more to the New York scene than to NJ. That said, one band that I really feel are contemporaries is another Brooklyn band called Oceanographer. I’m also a big fan of bands like TEEN & Beverly.
What can we expect from the band in the next couple of months?
We have a show tomorrow night and then we are taking February off from playing live to focus on recording new material. We will release Waking Days in March and hope to expand our audience with the record and live gigging. After that, we plan on releasing the new material periodically throughout the year. Onward and upward!