Interview: Loom:ngs Dwell in Darkness with Seductive “Love Will Tear Us Apart”

Love Will Tear Us Apart - Loom:ngs
Emerging electronic duo Loom:ngs make a Joy Division song their own with the seductive and brooding “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” a poignant and pulsing ball of darkness.
for fans of The xx, Broods, Sir Sly

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Nothing says impending darkness like the word “looming,” a term reserved for only the most dire moments. Perhaps that’s why Zola Johnson and Daniel Loumpouridis named their darkly expressive new project Loom:ngs — to embrace that other side of life; the one most of us would rather not think about, much less dwell within. With two songs released a third out this Friday, Loom:ngs are setting themselves up for a complete takeover of the brooding electronic songs market – with the caveat that no two tracks of theirs ever sound the same. The emerging electronic duo make a Joy Division song their own with their seductive and poignant third single “Love Will Tear Us Apart.”

Love Will Tear Us Apart - Loom:ngs

Love Will Tear Us Apart – Loom:ngs

When the routine bites hard
And ambitions are low
And the resentment rides high
But emotions won’t grow
And we;re changing our ways,
Taking different roads
Then love, love will tear us apart again

Atwood Magazine is proud to be premiering “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” Loom:ngs’ melancholic Joy Division interpretation. The duo manage to turn an already dark song darker, casting a mellow spell upon the track with their soothing synths, frigid electronic percussion, and Zola Johnson’s heavy, emotive voice.

Originally released in 1980 shortly after frontman Ian Curtis’ suicide, “Love Will Tear Us Apart” was Joy Division’s first chart hit – a truly ominous song written, according to various sources, as a response to Neil Sedaka’s uplifting “Love Will Keep Us Together.” Lyrically, it’s the epitome of a glass-half-empty mindset:

Why is the bedroom so cold
Turned away on your side?
Is my timing that flawed,
Our respect run so dry?
Yet theres still this appeal
That weve kept through our lives
Love, love will tear us apart again
Loom:ngs © Olivia Stauber

Loom:ngs © Olivia Stauber

Loom:ngs indulge in the sadness and intimacy set forth in Joy Division’s original, diving into themselves to realize their own interpretation of that painful state of being. Zola Johnson’s voice shines especially bright in the gloom, embracing bitterness not as an enemy, but as a welcome friend. Her somber, pop-perfect voice feels embroiled in harrowing emotions, taking a frontseat in the song but a backseat in life. Love will tear us apart: It’s not a question, but rather an eventuality. An ultimatum. The obvious end.

“We both grew up on ’80s pop music and just adore this song so much,” Loom:ngs tell Atwood Magazine. “Getting a chance to interpret Ian Curtis’ magnum opus for a modern day audience is everything to us. We were both shocked when we looked up his lyrics online – they’re so powerful and aching, and it felt like the entire world was missing out on that in the original version. What we wanted to do was really simple at heart: To interpret the lyrics in a modern setting, in order to convey what we felt was Curtis’ original intention.”

Atwood Magazine recently had the chance to chat with Loom:ngs’ Zola Johnson and Daniel Loumpouridis about music, lyrics, their influences, and more: Get to know Loom:ngs inside and out through our interview below, and stream their fantastic Joy Division cover exclusively on Atwood Magazine! “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is (quite appropriately) out on all platforms this Friday the 13 of July, 2018. Loom:ngs’ debut EP is out later this summer.

Do you cry out in your sleep
All my failings expose?
Get a taste in my mouth
As desperation takes hold
Is it something so good
Just cant function no more?
When love, love will tear us apart again
Listen: “Love Will Tear Us Apart” – Loom:ngs

MEET LOOM:NGS

Love Will Tear Us Apart - Loom:ngs

Atwood Magazine: First off, how do i pronounce your band name and what inspired it?

Zola: You pronounce it as the word “loomings,” which we took from the first chapter of Moby Dick. It’s Daniel’s favorite book, and he made me read it the first summer we met. The word itself feels dark, but also like something could be on the horizon. We loved having that specific emotion associated with our music.

How did the two of you begin working together? What are your individual music backgrounds, and what did you connect over?

Daniel: We’ve been working together for around two and a half years now, after meeting my first year in college. I saw her absolutely destroy a performance at our campus open mic and gave her a hug. She had no idea who I was. It was weird. That being said, what I saw that night is the same thing I see every night we work together – Zola has a truly unique sense of lyricism and melody that are so inherently emotional. She makes grown men cry, literally. We connected over our love of eighties music and a desire to create something neither of us had heard before, yet pays homage to both of our influences. Thus, Loom:ngs was born.

You debuted earlier this year with “Make This More” and “Fault Line.” Can you discuss what characterizes these introductory songs, why they served to introduce you well, and how “Love Will Tear Us Apart” goes further?

Daniel: Both songs, at their centers, deal with life and how the choices we make define our existence, but if “Make This More” is a hungover apology the morning after, “Fault Line” is defiantly dancing as your coffin is being lowered into the ground. The two songs are so different in lyrical content and production style, we love having that contradiction be the cornerstone of this group and our introduction into the world. That same mindset will continue with “Love Will Tear Us Apart”. It lives an entirely different world as far as production and lyrics content are concerned, but it still is a very real and often heartbreaking rumination on decision-making and the way it can change a relationship.

What I’ve loved about you so far is your seeming resistance to genre definitions/labels. Each song is so different from the last... How do you forge or find an artistic identity when that's the case?

Zola: When we sit down for a session, we usually start by listening to artists that have been recently influencing us. We have a playlist on Spotify called ChapterTwo (that you also can listen to) with songs that have picked us out of a slump, inspired lyrics and challenged us to make something totally weird. We both listen to such vastly different artists, and that lack of loyalty to a single genre defines us both as listeners and musicians. It’d almost feel disingenuous to make two songs that sound the same. Really the only throughline that matters is us. Whether we’re making a pop banger or an electronic reverb ballad, we always approach it from an uncompromising sense of who we are and what we love.

I feel that “Love Will Tear Us Apart” is actually your most traditional song; how would you respond to this?

Daniel: Honestly I’d agree with you on that, but I want to qualify that statement and say that this song is only “traditional” in the sense that the production exists very much in 2018. You’ve got trappy drum machine high hats, some future bass-inspired synths, and plenty of vocoder. The original production of this song feels so painfully ’80s, and we just love it so much, we wanted to see how it would sound being brought into today’s sonic world.

We wanted to see how it would sound being brought into today’s sonic world.

Loom:ngs © Olivia Stauber

Loom:ngs © Olivia Stauber

Where do you pull emotion from in “Love Will Tear Us Apart”? Does it come from past or present experience?

Zola: Whenever I listen to the version Ian Curtis sings, it feels like his words and emotions take a backseat. Because of the mix and production, the audience has no idea what he’s saying. Once I finally read the lyrics, I connected with the song even more. I’ve never been in a relationship like the one being described in the song, but I do associate a lot of the lyrics with past experience. The song is about flawed timing, feelings that won’t grow and two people going separate ways–I lived through all three of those things in past relationships.

Would you define “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as a positive or negative song? There’s an ominous sense to the impending doom of being torn apart, but I can’t help but glean some sense of relief as well.

Zola: I would describe it as a positive song. Yes, it’s undeniably heart wrenching, but realizing that a relationship isn’t working anymore is one of the hardest things to come to terms with. Being able to write and publicly sing about something so personal and so hard to admit to yourself is a feat that should be seen in a positive light.

Daniel: I think, for me, it’s hard to view this tune as a positive one. Yes, it makes me beyond elated whenever I hear it, but if we’re talking about this in a strictly lyrical sense I have a hard time spinning that into a good perspective. “Why is the bedroom so cold? / You’ve turned away on your side / Is my timing that flawed?” has to be one of the most crushing sections of any song ever.

Do you think this song results in a negative view of love? Is love redeemable, in your eyes, mind, and heart?

Zola: I believe that love should always be seen positively. It can hurt but it can also teach us to be brutally honest with ourselves and with another individual. I think that love helps us grow by kicking us down and then picking us back up again.

Where do you go from here?

Loom:ngs: Our first EP, coming out later this summer, is just the first step. We’ve got so much more in the vault and a great live show that we can’t wait for people to see this fall!

“Love Will Tear Us Apart”

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Love Will Tear Us Apart - Loom:ngs

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📸 © Olivia Stauber

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Mitch is the Editor-in-Chief of Atwood Magazine and a 2014 graduate from Tufts University, where he pursued his passions of music and psychology. He currently works at Universal Music Group in New York City. In his off hours, Mitch may be found songwriting, wandering about one of New York's many neighborhoods, or writing an article on your next favorite artist for Atwood. Mitch's words of wisdom to fellow musicians and music lovers are thus: Keep your eyes open and never stop exploring. No matter where you go, what you do or who you are with, you can always learn something new and inspire something amazing. Say hi here: mitch[at]atwoodmagazine[dot]com