Thursday, February 12, 2015

This Band Could Be Your Life: By Light We Loom

Akron Empire is excited to welcome back guest blogger Erica Scheutzow, who has written for us quite regularly over the past few years. When she is not sharing her favorite things about Akron with us, she runs a small business called As I Breathe I Hope, where she handmakes quirky original plush characters made from new and recycled fabrics. Check out AIBIH on Etsy and on Facebook.

This Band Could Be Your Life: By Light We Loom
By Erica Scheutzow

After many years, the band Bethesda has come to an end but members Shanna Delaney and Eric Ling aren’t done yet! Without skipping a beat, Shanna and Eric are pushing forward with their new project, By Light We Loom.

I heard the release of their first single, “The Ignition” in December and it was absolutely magical. I must’ve listened to it on repeat for what seemed like hours. Shanna and Eric possess a talent, passion and drive that makes you smile ear to ear when you hear their music and make you want more. I couldn’t be happier about their new venture and what they’re bringing to the music scene.

It was my pleasure to have a Q&A session with them about this new chapter and share their happenings with all of you. Let’s dig in!

Erica: How was the name of your new band decided upon?
BLWL: The name originated from the classic literary piece The Odyssey.  In this story, Penelope (Odysseus’s wife) is facing the hard reality that her husband might not be coming home.  Meanwhile, because of her beauty and fortune, she was being sought after by many men.  To put the suitors off, she weaves a funeral shroud for her father-in-law, Odysseus father, and says she will pick a suitor once she has finished.  Penelope, unwilling to give up hope of her husband’s return, would secretly undo the weaving that she had done the day before, and we imagine her doing this by candlelight. We loved this imagery of hanging on to hope, even when all signs seem to be saying that hope is lost.  In our minds, by light she loomed.  In a similar way, we were experiencing a period of “what now…” following the end of Bethesda (our former band). We could either let music in our lives wither away or pick up the broken pieces and loom them back together with hope. Like Penelope, we labored to prolong the hope and continue to do what we love most -write and perform music.  There is also a double meaning. Loom is also a verb meaning “to be made majestic” or “to come into greater view.” We connected it with the idea that it is by God’s light we are the truest, rawest, greatest, most beautiful form of ourselves.

Erica: What was your vision for this band?
BLWL: We knew that we wanted to continue to have a BIG sound and engage our audiences with high-energy shows. It’s just who we are.  Figuring that out with just two people was a task, but with the help of looping technology, we have been able to build songs that we are really proud of and really seem to capture what we are all about.  Truthfully, we are just excited to write and perform new music.  It is a fresh start for us.  We decided not to carry any songs over from Bethesda and to just create something that is wholly new and wholly us.  Our vision is to continue to write and perform music for ourselves, our God, and our fans.  We hope that in some small way, our stories and our songs can connect with people and trigger a memory, a thought, or a conversation that reinforces that hope that drives and energizes all of us.

Erica: How would you relate the style and influence of your sound to your listeners?
BLWL: It’s difficult to describe - which we think is a good thing. It’s folk-story songwriting with indie-pop dancey synths, beats, and guitars.  We write songs that have deep personal meaning to us and try to perform them with the energy and emotion that each song deserves.  We hope that what we do is engaging, original, and familiar all at the same time. Something you can dance to, sing along to, and sit and contemplate life to all in the same night.

Erica: How would you depict your style of writing lyrics and music?
BLWL: Lyrics are very important to us.  We are constantly moved by the things we encounter in our day to day lives.  We try to harness this emotion and these feelings and tell an honest story with them that speaks to the difficulty in life, in both the mundane and profound, and the constant backdrop of hope.  It takes time, but we think it is time well-spent. For the music, Eric basically locks himself in a room for hours to start.  It really is a grand experiment.  He writes the chord structure and the melody, and then builds synth beat loops for the entire song based on what seems to fit and give the song the desired energy.  Then, he writes a hook on the guitar.  Following that, he goes and searches for the sound to communicate that loop (whether it is a vintage synth or an antique horn, or others).  He then designs the loop. After that, it’s counter melodies, rhythmic backing tracks, and on and on until we feel like the song has the desired effect.  Then we play it - A LOT.  We talk about it - A LOT. We change and tweak it - A LOT.  After a long and exciting process, we finally play it and think, “THAT’S IT!” All of that to say, we are not searching for a specific “style,” but are really building every single melody, hook, beat,  and harmony around the original song and lyrics.  We are trying to create a beautiful and engaging tapestry on which to hang our song.  It’s a process, but one that we love!

Erica: Do you have any other notable contributors to this album?
BLWL: Our producer and recording engineer, Jim Stewart, has been instrumental in helping us take our loops that are designed for live performance and modifying them for a studio recording. His input and wizardry has been HUGE!

Erica: When is your debut show?
BLWL: Our EP release will be Friday May 1st 2015

Erica: Do you have any upcoming festivals on your roster?
BLWL: We luckily got to play a few fests already in our short time together (We just started in August 2014). We got to play Midpoint Music Festival in Cincinnati, NeoCycle Fest in Cleveland, and Heights Music Hop in Cleveland. We’ll be playing Brite Winter Fest in Cleveland on Feb. 21st.

Erica: Will you be traveling locally or nationally for this album?
BLWL: We are currently working on late winter and spring tour dates  regionally.  We are planning trips to Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Grand Rapids, and more.  We also have local shows lined up with great local and national bands. We have already had the privilege of playing with some great national bands, such as The Kin, Twin Forks (Dashboard Confessional side project), Tiny Ruins, and more in our short existence. We’ll be playing with Frontier Ruckus at Beachland on February 7th. We are truly excited about what is in store!  As we grow, we hope to continue to expand out and reach further into national tours once again.

Erica: What do you hope to gain through this new venture?
BLWL: We aren’t sure what the end-goal of this venture is at the moment. With Bethesda we had a clear, driving goal, but now we’re just enjoying writing and performing music and taking opportunities that present themselves. However, we certainly hope to continue to meet incredible people that care about music and others wherever we go. The rest is just the icing on top.

Erica: How can fans access your new album?
BLWL: Our album will be available on iTunes and our Bandcamp for purchase on May 1st, 2015.

You can learn more about By Light We Loom by visiting their website or their Bandcamp site. You can also follow their adventures on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. Don't miss them at Brite Winter Fest in Cleveland on February 21st!

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