Expose Yourself - an interview with Looms

Reconstructed atmospheric experimental pop.

By: Dave Cromwell @davecromwell

March 07, 2018

“I think any time you make a record, the vision that you have in your head and the finished product are always going to be a bit different.”

Combining elements of folk, jazz, electronic, pop and rock into an eclectic sound, Brooklyn-based and New Jersey-honed Looms set their sights on a new record and tour in 2018. With frontman Sharif Mekawy (vocals, keys, guitar) serving as its originating creative force, bandmates Harry Morris Jr. (guitar), A. Hammond Murray (bass) and Louis Cozza (drums) complete the essential group collective. There's an ambling, easy going vibe to much of their work that favors experimental song design and a lyrically poetic approach. The following interview comes by way of qualifying for The Music Building's Expose Yourself Campaign.

This past summer you released your sophomore LP ‘How It Has To Be’ which was the follow up to 2015's “Waking Days” (although you did released a 2 song EP called “Sleeping Days” in 2016). Are you satisfied with how that record sounds and the overall reception it received?

I think any time you make a record, the vision that you have in your head and the finished product are always going to be a bit different. From start to finish, that record took two and a half years to make. We grew a lot in that time, so it definitely ended up taking a different shape than we originally imagined. While in the mixing stage, we recorded and released the 'Sleeping Days' EP, so that music is actually newer and has a different vibe (and our current drummer!). Lately at our shows, we've rotated a lot of those songs out for newer ones we're focusing on, but we’re all very happy with how it came out. It’s received a decent amount of attention and got some really positive reviews!

You released that album on Little Dickman Records. They seem to be dialed in to the young emerging local band scene. What are your thoughts and experiences working with that very active independent label?

Little Dickman are champions of the scene and true heroes to us little guys. They release a lot of really great records, and we couldn’t be happier to be on their label. I've known Amy and Chris for three years and have worked with them through various other bands I've been in. They are truly caring and supportive people whom I deeply love and respect. When looking for a label to release the record, they were my first email, and I'm so glad they said yes! I don’t know if this record would have come out without their support.

Although you are based out of Brooklyn, there appears to be consistent New Jersey connection with your records. Both of your albums were recorded and mixed at two separate studios there. What is the Jersey connection to what you've done so far?

Harry, Andy and I are from New Jersey, and they still live there. We rehearse at Harry’s farm near Morristown almost exclusively which is an amazing escape from the city and a great place to focus without all the distractions/hassles of a typical Brooklyn rehearsal space. We've tracked everything with the exception of Sleeping Days (tracked at Converse Rubber Tracks in Williamsburg) at studios all in New Jersey. All of our post production has been done with our amazing engineer, Ryan Ball of Gear Box Recording in Paramus. Working with Ryan on three (with a fourth in process) records has been amazing. We really understand each other's processes so our workflow is really efficient and fun! Coming full circle, our label (Little Dickman Records) is based in Asbury Park!

What cities and towns did you tour your music through? What was the most memorable show that stood out in your mind so far?

We toured for three weeks supporting the record release in August. We made our way up through New England into New York State and had a couple days off, so we camped out in Lake Placid after our show there. Then, we made our way through Pennsylvania to Columbus, West Virginia and up the east coast back to Brooklyn. I booked the entire tour myself so I had the chance to make it a very convenient route. It was kind of a big circle! One of the best shows was in Vermont with Hammydown and Clever Girls. Both of those bands are great, and it was full of energy and great people!

Have you begun any songwriting and/or work on new music? If so, where are you recording it, and when do you expect it to be released?

We were touring with five unrecorded songs this summer. Once we got home, I took September off from playing live shows and wrote five more songs. Through the fall we started fleshing out the material and made plans to hit the Gearbox Recording Studio again in January. We tracked for seven days and now have 10 rough mixes that we’ll start mixing soon. With any luck, we’ll have another LP out this summer!

What else might be in store for Looms in 2018? Are there any new cities or other locations that you may be bringing your sound to?

We’ve already booked a ton of shows this year and don’t plan on slowing down. With the new record will come another tour, and while it’s important for us to play the same cities to help build fan bases, it’s always fun to play in new places! One of our surprisingly favorite venues on the tour ended up being the King’s Rook Club in Erie, PA of all places. Go figure! - Dave Cromwell