Hi Loom, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
I am very well thanks, it’s a pleasure to be here! By happy accident I have timed the release of my debut album, Negative Capability, perfectly in terms of the increased freedoms we’re now enjoying in London and beyond. I am hoping it will be a good soundtrack as people begin to emerge from their cocoons as butterflies ready to fly back into the real world.
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Three Harps”?
I have always loved the elegance of harp music and I wanted to produce a track that had this at its heart. I find the layering of these sounds comes together in Three Harps with a jangling, chiming effect reminiscent of the Far East, which has a special place in my music as someone with Chinese heritage.
Did any event in particular inspire you to write this song?
Less an event and more a technical discovery in terms of a sound I could create on my 12-string acoustic guitar by muting all of the strings at a particular point on the fretboard. The sounds that you hear at the start of the track are created in this way and are really what got me moving. When I combined these with the harp sounds I started to get excited.
Any plans to release any sort of video for the track?
I would love to produce a video and in fact I think a lot of the music in Negative Capability would work really well with some visuals, or even as the soundtrack for film or TV. This is something that I see as a promising avenue for me and I am actively looking for collaborators.
The single comes off your new album Negative Capability – what’s the story behind the title?
The title of the album is a reference to a phrase used by John Keats to describe the ability of the best writers to prioritise artistic beauty (accepting that this involves inhabiting states of uncertainty, mystery and doubt) over intellectual certainty (which instead reaches after facts and reason). As a lover of literature (and especially the Romantics), this is an idea that inspired me at a young age and I have tried to bring this through into my music. Rather than imposing a fixed narrative or message, I hope to create an atmosphere which the listener engages with on an individual level.
How was the recording and writing process?
This is an entirely solo project and was recorded at my DIY home studio. Technically, the tracks all involve intricate layering of instruments and sounds, combining diverse electronic influences with more traditional guitar riffs, on a combination of acoustic guitar (both 6 and 12-string), electric guitar and bass guitar.
How did your multicultural heritage get to influence the writing and sound on this album?
It sort of happened by accident, but by the time I was done with the album it was obvious that a mix of different international sounds and atmospheres were shining though, especially Asian sounds (not only Three Harps but also the final track and a particular highlight for me, Shamisen).This must be something to do with my mixed background (a blend of English, Chinese, French, Greek and others), but probably also my travels.
What role does London play in your music?
I have lived in London for my whole life, so it is hard to quantify the precise impact, but I’m pretty sure it’s strong. I think all of my tracks create “soundscapes”, often evoking journeys – on cars, on trains, through cities and landscapes and, ultimately, towards emotional climaxes. Tracks like Mile and Copter have a sinister, urban feel to them which, to me, captures London at night. Others, like Awake or Green Hills, have a more rural and nostalgic atmosphere which feels more like an escape from the city. I have probably also taken inspiration from all of the gigs I’ve been lucky enough to go to in London over the years.
Where did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?
The tracks are all instrumental, but in my mind they are knitted together by a running narrative which tracks a journey from dawn to dusk. The album brings together tracks written over the period of around a decade, inspired both by physical travels to places around the world as well as journeys inward, to different emotional states.
What else is happening next in Loom’s world?
As I mentioned, I think my music would be perfect as a soundtrack to something with visuals, whether that’s TV or film or another visual art form, so I’m looking forward to exploring that further. I am also already working on my next musical project – watch this space!
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