Artist of the Week: The Loom

Since their latest EP, At Last Light, Loom has matured, but worry not, their full sound is only becoming fuller. Broader instrumentation and greater exposure have only allowed John, Bethany, Mark, Lis, Dan and Jon more flexibility and freedom to develop their collective craft. At Breakthru Radio we are always thrilled to find a group who refuse to stagnate or even find comfort in a singular sound. That is why we have chosen The Loom as our Artist of the Week, a group with momentum and a healthy dose of true artistic dissatisfaction.

For our listeners that don’t know about you, introduce yourself and the band.

The Loom: “Hey there, we’re The Loom – John, Jon, Bethany, Lis, Mark, and Dan. I’d say we’re a rock band with pretty heavy folk and Americana influences, more than the other way around. We’re from Brooklyn and play regularly around the city. Recently we released our first EP At Last Light, and next month we’re beginning to record our first full-length album, after which we’re planning to start touring much more seriously.”

“Musically, we’ve always been inspired by bands that are able to work large numbers of instruments into Rock n’ Roll songs, and also by bands and musicians that are able to use more “traditional” instruments – banjo, lap steel, mandolin, etc. – in newer contexts, and to have them play roles that they don’t necessarily usually play. At the moment our live show includes guitar, bass, drums, lap steel, flute, oboe, keyboard, organ, French horn, trumpet, banjo, ukulele, and mandolin, which just gives us so many more tools to work with in order to elicit different moods and emotions and to make the songs move, rather than always relying on the standards.”

How did you all get started in music?

The Loom:
“I think all of us have been in bands, or have been performing as musicians in various capacities, at least since we were in college. Jon, our drummer, and I went to college together and started playing in bands there, though not together. After we graduated we both moved to New York in 2003 and have been playing together ever since. Dan, our bassist, joined us shortly thereafter, having also played previously in other projects in Alaska, where he grew up. Mark, our lead guitarist and multi-instrumentalist (lap steel, banjo, and mandolin, among others), is an extremely accomplished musician who played in bands for years in Atlanta before moving to New York a couple of years ago. Lis comes a bit more from the classical and jazz end of the spectrum. She studied French horn and trumpet at Oberlin and afterwards moved to New York and has played in numerous projects – classical, jazz, and rock – ever since, though The Loom is definitely now her primary project. Bethany too. She studied oboe at Berklee in Boston and also plays flute, keyboard, organ, and mandolin, and has played in a number of projects over the years in New York.”

Do you guys have any other band friends in Brooklyn? People that you play shows with a lot?

The Loom:
“Yes, we’ve been really lucky in that respect, in that we’ve often ended up on bills with, or been able to put shows together with, amazing Brooklyn bands like She Keeps Bees, Arms, Frances, La Strada, Sharon Van Etten, The Antlers, Festival and lots of other incredible and really inspiring folks. The more shows we play, the more I think we’re beginning to feel like part of a musical community of sorts here, which is really great, especially in such a big and often alienating city. Also, the Piano’s residency that we put together and have been playing in January was a great opportunity to sort of celebrate that – the show that we played last night with Ben + Vesper and The Rural Alberta Advantage was one of the most inspiring musical experiences of my life – I’m still giddy from it.”

What do you consider At Last Light to be like as an album? And what was the process of creating it like?

The Loom: “While I think we collectively have some misgivings about the overall sonic quality of the EP, given that we recorded it ourselves in our practice space over a period of many months last spring with somewhat limited means and expertise, I’d say that overall we’re very proud of it and do feel like it does a decent job of showcasing the range and dynamics of our sound. As an example, the opening song “Patience for Books” is pretty quiet and pastoral, while songs like “True Believers All” and “Song for the Winter Sun” definitely have a bit more kick to them. I also want to stress here that the band has grown quite a bit and worked extremely hard on our sound since we recorded the EP, primarily in that we now have a new lead guitarist Mark, who also plays banjo, mandolin, lap steel, pedal steel, and countless other instruments, and female vocalist Bethany, who also plays keyboard, organ, mandolin, flute, and oboe, both of whom add a tremendous amount to our live show, and also I imagine will to our future recordings.”

What is the atmosphere like at one of your shows?

The Loom: “I think we like to try and toe the line between putting on the most dynamic and moving live show that we can, while also acknowledging how much we appreciate the people that come out to our shows by keeping the atmosphere warm and inviting. We feel extremely grateful to have had such an amazing family of friends and supporters come out to our shows over and over for the last few years, and for us I think they feel just as much a part of the process as we all are. One really amazing thing that we got to do to sort of acknowledge that more formally was a series of videos with the amazing blog Hooves on the Turf where we recorded “Song for the Winter Sun” and an as-yet unreleased song called “In the Wings” in my apartment, and included lots of our friends in the proceedings. If people want they can check those videos out here.

What can we expect from you guys in the future?

The Loom:
“Generally, I think we’d like to take this as far as possible – to play for and with as many people, and in as many places, as we can, and to keep writing and recording as long as it remains inspiring for all of us. I think it’s definitely a dream of all of ours to make a living as musicians. At the moment, we’re working on recording our first full-length album, and we are planning to start touring much more seriously around the country (and hopefully the world!) once the record is done. We’re all really excited right now to see what the next while might bring.”

Would you like to add anything?

The Loom:
“We’re thrilled to be playing on February 12th at The Bell House as part of BAM’s ‘Sounds Like Brooklyn’ festival, and we’d love it if people wanted to come out to the show!”

Be sure to stay tuned to Breakthru Radio for all the latest music from The Loom all over BTR programming including exclusive live content!


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