Love Spirals Downwards

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Love Spirals Downwards was an Ethereal/Dream Pop/Electronica recording act from California and one of the flagship bands of preeminent American Ethereal/Darkwave/Gothic independent record label, Projekt. Between 1991 and 1999, they released 4 full-length albums, 1 career retrospective, and 1 CD-single, selling in excess of 40,000 CDs [1]. They were also included on over 3 dozen various artist compilations, including the legendary Heavenly Voices series released by the German Darkwave label, Hyperium Records. Love Spirals Downwards were a staple band of the popular New Age/Ambient/Acoustic Public Radio International program, Echoes, including an intimate "living room concert" [2] and two interview features [3] [4] .


  • Ryan Lum - guitar/bass guitar/keyboards/percussion/programming/production
  • Suzanne Perry - singer/lyricist


Idylls (1992)[edit]

  • I begin again,
    As the world outside ends.
    Dense, even in the still light,
    To owe you my life.
    I tell you,
    Make castles when you want to,
    And fill them with sights.
    Stir about the stars,
    During nights below these tides.
  • Wherebeth they biforen us weren,
    And hadden feld and wode.
    The wood comes into leaf,
    Thou might and canst and owest shield.
    Therein never havest owest then,
    Maiden evermore.

Ardor (1994)[edit]

  • Will you fade now, should I let you?
    Met with indifference, I remain.
    So much depends now on this distance,
    These things escape.
    Well now I'm too dizzy,
    I am out of myself.
    Can you feel it?
    Too much within yourself.
    I grow dizzy.
  • Your lips are conquerors,
    Your lips are filled with lies.
    Lost, lost in what seems,
    That’s how it should be.
    Who, who is to see,
    We write in water,

Ever (1996)[edit]

  • Sky's the same as it always was,
    Nothing we do.
    So hard to keep anything,
    When you're expected to.
    This is the time when water stops,
    History dies with you.
    Like rings of trees in sideways forest,
  • Stretch stretching,
    Far beyond this delta between we.
    Dive, diving,
    Deep beneath the surface suddenly.
    All my thoughts are broken.
    All the words are worn.
    Can it just be spoken?
    Can it just be warm?

Flux (1998)[edit]

  • City moon so soon,
    You’re the world to me.
    Barely one,
    Star which hung,
    Sailing to the sea.
    And yellow time is overhead,
    Unchanging things imprinted.
    Can it all be clear?
  • I'd cross the ocean just to be there by your side.
    I've felt the water as it's river flows to dry.
    The night sky warms me, tell me should I close my eyes?
    Those lights that blind me, say you, "Just you step inside."
    Right by your side.
    Right by your side.

Temporal: A Collection of Music Past and Present (2000)[edit]


Ryan Lum[edit]

  • I'm about as Gothic as Snoop Doggy Dog. I've never categorized myself nor my art as Gothic. I really don't understand where people get the idea that we are Gothic.
    • S.O.M., Vol. 9 (1996)
  • Projekt has been successful at marketing itself to goths. We're not gothic, nor are any of the bands that influence us. Whoever thinks that we or Slowdive or the Cocteau Twins are goth must have a funny idea of what goth is.
    • Aether Sanctum, Issue 6] (1998)
  • I really don't think we sound like them, to be completely honest. I'm not in denial or self-deception, it's my honest belief that if you listen to our music, we don't sound like the Cocteau Twins.
    • Raygun Magazine (June/July 1992)
  • I have nothing against goth music. What I am against is people summing us up in one fell swoop as a goth band… it’s a disservice, it’s dishonest, it’s inaccurate. People can think of us whatever they want… people think we’re a goth band, or a new age band, folk band, techno band… even a yuppie band! Not that we’re yuppies, but yuppies can dig our sound. Even adult contemporary has been thrown around. It just goes to show that our music is open ended.
    • Outburn Magazine, No. 8 (1999)
  • It's hard to think of a band name; we had to think of one rather quickly to send our demo tape out. We should have just sent it as Ryan and Suzanne! Anyway, our choice of band name didn't follow from our wanting to associate ourselves with the drug.
    • KUCI 88.9 fm Program Guide (Winter 1997)
    • [On the whether or not they intended their band name to refer to the drug L.S.D.]
  • It seems like it could be a contradiction, but it’s not. Our band name, in a way, reflects our way of making lyrics and our whole attitude towards music. What sounds best is what works.
    • Tear Down the Sky: The Big Music Issue (1993)
    • [Regarding their contribution to the Silent Records' Fifty Years of Sunshine compilation celebrating the fiftieth year of the invention of the drug L.S.D.]
  • We weren't trying to be a band, so we were shocked and surprised when there was any response at all. We mailed out the tape to three companies: 4AD, Creation, and Projekt - who we didn't know about, we heard of it through a friend of a friend. Sam wrote us back a letter of interest. He didn't say he would sign us or anything, but he wanted to hear more stuff.
    • The Ninth Wave: A Journal of Nocturnal Culture #5 (May 1995)
    • [On being signed to Projekt Records by owner, Sam Rosenthal, in 1991]
  • Why did we even send it out? I guess I was recording another band here and they were making a tape to send out places, so we figured, 'Hey, we can do that!'
    • Tear Down the Sky (June 1994)
    • [On sending their demo out to labels in the summer of 1991]
  • It's been an important pursuit of mine, but I never had any intention of pursuing music as a sort of career, on a 'professional' level. I just always made music for myself. It made me happy. I'd been doing that for years, until Suzanne came into the picture.
    • Fond Affexxions Version 1.2 (Indian Summer 1993)
  • We started singing together in January of 1991.
    • As If Issue 2 (August 1993)
  • We were boyfriend/girlfriend for maybe a year or two before I had her sing on my music. I knew her two years and I never knew she sang that well!
    • Carpe Noctem Vol. 2, Issue 2 (1995)
  • I'll come up with some chord sequences that I like on acoustic guitar and build from there. After that, it's all very intuitive. An idea comes in the studio and it's recorded right then.
    • The Muse: The Journal of Women and Music (February/March 1995)
  • It's usually a building process, it's just different what I start building from. Sometimes it will be a drum sound, and I'll build on that, or it will be a keyboard or acoustic guitar part. It gets turned into a pretty full blown instrumental after awhile, and then the vocals usually come in last - near the end - and I'll fix up the drums and mix it down sometime later.
    • Carpe Noctem Vol. 2, Issue 2 (1995)
  • We've got our own home recording studio. In fact, the way we write, we have to do it at home. We don't make up 10 or 11 songs and say, 'Okay! Time to go to the studio and record all the songs!' I'll have some rough sounds or ideas and I'll record them down on tape or into the sampler, and from there I'll start getting more ideas. It will build from what I previously recorded. That would be a very costly, practically impossible, thing to do in the studio. We would be racking up the kind of budget like Sgt. Pepper's or something!
    • The Daily Freeman (November 29, 1996)
  • I'll do the music first, and when it's almost done, Suzanne will listen to it, then we both make up the vocal parts. We don't rehearse or anything, I just start laying the tracks.
    • The Ninth Wave: A Journal of Nocturnal Culture #5 (May 1995)
  • For the most part, I'll always have the music almost done. Sometimes I won't have the drums finished, or I might have a guitar part or two left, but the music's done. Once I have that done, I'll bring it over to Suzanne and she'll start humming and making up vocal parts. From there, we'll start getting words fitted in to it, we'll record that, and then I mix the song down and it's done. It could take many months.
    • Ink Spots #19 (April 1995)
  • I don’t think Suzanne was as easily able to make parts for this kind of music as she was the more acoustic based music. Her sister on the other hand was making up parts left and right, so it kind of worked out.
    • Fix Magazine #24 (1998)
    • [On the creation of their album Flux]
  • It's really weird to have these songs - some on Idylls have been out for years - and going back and playing them now. The only time they existed is us recording them -- we never rehearsed the songs once in our lives. I'm not kidding.
    • Ink Spots #19 (April 1995)
    • [On preparing for their first live performance]
  • I've learned, after playing a few shows, that live is about getting this kind of energy going or magic power happening!
    • Mean Street Vol. 8, #4 (1996)
  • More of a spiritual experience. Some kind of musical listening experience that guides you in a higher direction. Not higher like taking drugs, but lifting them up a little bit, engaging their spiritual dimension.
    • The Daily Freeman (November 29, 1996)
    • [On what he expects the listener to get from his music]
  • It's sort of a funny fallacy that most people seem to insist upon everything in the world having meaning. What is the meaning of a sunset? What's wrong with simply experiencing it? Likewise, our art exists without demanding that it has some higher or more important existence apart from the experience of it.
    • The Projekt Festival Guide (August 1997)
  • Oh I don't know what Suzanne is singing about. She just uses words that sound good. There's no storytelling or anything like that you are supposed to get.... Asking her to write a real story or poetry would be almost a foreign concept.
    • S.O.M., Vol. 9 (1996)
  • In some ways, I don't want to date it. I don't want to have to listen to songs and think back and say, 'Oh, that's when I was going through that. That's a bummer. That was 1994.'
    • The Muse: The Journal of Women and Music (February/March 1995)
    • [On the use of nonsense lyrics in their music]
  • In junior high and early high school I had maybe three or four years of guitar training, but I didn't really learn anything after the first year or so. I don't know why I kept going.
    • Carpe Noctem Vol. 2, Issue 2 (1995)
  • We're not a big musicianship kind of band. It's important, but we're not Yes or something like that. We play what we gotta play to make the music sound right. Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's a little difficult. The most important thing is that we play it right.
    • Acoustic Guitar, Vol. 7, No. 9, Issue 51 (March 1997)
  • All of my other albums I really cringe at listening to. Actually, it's kinda sad; Flux is the first one now where it's like, 'I finally did it right!'
    • Outburn Magazine, No. 8 (1999)
  • I'm a firm believer of always trying different things, trying to push myself, not falling back into what I did before - even if it was successful. I get bored, and I feel as if I've cheated myself, too, if don't push myself to do something new.
    • Losing Today (September 1999)
  • Where we are now is pretty much what I have expected. I never wanted to try to become a huge band like Nirvana. I'm happy with where we are at.
  • I don't have this big scheme or plan; I may stop soon, or I may go for another ten years!
    • Mean Street Vol. 8, #4 (1996)

Suzanne Perry[edit]

  • I've been in choirs and have had some voice class, but I have not had any formal long term training.
    • Carpe Noctem Vol. 2, Issue 2 (1995)
  • We were actually going out before we started doing music together. I had never done music with anyone before.
    • Dance Macabre Vol. 3 (March 1993)
  • He had a couple other singers before, like he was trying my sister out. It's funny because I was in London at the time going to school, and he was sending me tapes with my sister on it, and I thought, 'I can sing that. In fact, I can sing that better!
    • Altered Mind #12 (September 1992)
  • My sister was singing with Ryan, maybe like one or two songs, and then I was going to school in London for awhile and hearing tapes of my sister's, and they never really got off the ground and did that much stuff. So I came back, and basically a little bit after that, we started singing -- I started singing on his music... It wasn't like we were singing together a lot or singing together live a lot. We did two songs together; we crapped one and kept one, then we did two more, which gave us three songs. We sent them out to Sam of Projekt and that was it. That's how it started.
    • As If Issue 2 (August 1993)
  • We just decided to fool around with doing music, but actually Ryan resisted me singing on his music for awhile because he thought it would cause problems in our relationship.
    • Carpe Noctem Vol. 2, Issue 2 (1995)
  • The first song we ever made was "Forgo," which is on Idylls. I had never written a song before. I just got in there and started humming in the microphone and that's how it happened. And we listened to it and we thought, 'Hey, that's not too bad!' And then we just made a couple more and just sent them out.
    • Ink Spots #19 (April 1995)
  • What it was, was that we were coming to the end of the summer and we had set ourselves a deadline. We did 3 songs and sent them out to 3 places and figured if no one called us on it, we'd just keep making music.
    • Tear Down the Sky (June 1994)
  • We got a card from one of our friends who goes to art school... Susan, Sam's girlfriend, goes to school with our friend.
    • As If Issue 2 (August 1993)
  • We later learned it was Susan who originally liked our music. It was Susan who, I guess, really found it and said, 'Oh, listen to this.' I think she pushed Sam into contacting us.
    • "Carpe Noctem Vol. 2, Issue 2" (1995)
  • We had to scramble to make more songs for Sam to listen to. I call us a 'Made to Order' band; we write only what is required.
    • The Ninth Wave: A Journal of Nocturnal Culture #5 (May 1995)
    • [On being signed to Projekt Records by owner, Sam Rosenthal, in 1991]
  • I don't see myself as an artist or as a musician. I don't think about it as part of my identity... My music is something where I walk in and do it, and it's not something I think about in my everyday life. I don't dwell on it, or think, 'This or that will be a great part for a song!' When I'm in the studio, it's sacred, but I don't carry that artist persona around with me at all.
    • Carpe Noctem Vol. 2, Issue 2 (1995)
  • I've gotten conditioned to only do it in there. I have to have the microphone on and we make the songs up as we're recording. It's like going to church and you have this experience.
    • B Sides Magazine #51 (July/August 1995)
    • [On her songwriting process using the band's home studio]
  • He’ll usually do the whole music and play it for me, and I’ll come up with ideas, just notes and things, either on my own or with him.
    • The Altered Mind #12 (September 1992)
  • As far as vocals go, I'll usually listen to a completed - or near completed - instrumental and just start humming some catchy notes into the microphone, find some that I like, then do a rough recording of them and see how they sound. If I wait a day or two and see if the notes stick to me, I'll sometimes try to write some words or phoentics to them. We get a mood for a song and if I think it has an Italian or Latin mood to it, I'll try to almost mimic that language to evoke that sort of mood. The songs in that way, at least on Idylls are more thematic. I tried to do something different with Ardor where I thought I'd maybe write some words to it. There are definitely more actual words on Ardor.
    • Carpe Noctem Vol. 2, Issue 2 (1995)
  • Some of them are in English and they make some sense, and some are in English and they make no sense. And there are others that are in a "make-believe" Italian, and then there's a kind of "make-believe" Latin, but I don't know Latin or Italian. And there's some French too... and some Indian, too, make-believe Indian. Most of it doesn't make any sense. Some of the new stuff actually does have a little meaning. Still, even if it does, I don't pronounce it well enough so that you can tell. When I'm singing it, I'm not concerned with pronouncing it so that you could understand it. I guess its not meant to be understood.
    • Fond Affexxions Version 1.2 (Indian Summer 1993)
    • [On her lyrical content]
  • I'm not really sure what prompted me to do that. I have a couple theories about it, though. The first theory is that I don't know how to write lyrics, so that's the only thing I think I could come up with - the only thing I could produce. The other theory is that I like doing it.
    • The Requiem, Vol. 6 Pg. 50 (Winter 1995)
  • It's a lot harder for me to write words that are personal than to write nonsense lyrics because I'm getting into things that I reveal about myself. I don't know how comfortable I feel with expressing myself in that way or putting that into music.
    • The Muse: The Journal of Women and Music (February/March 1995)
  • It's amazing how little I think about my music. Like I never realized all the images it evokes... But I guess I don't have a lot of confidence in my ability to write. I don't necessarily think it's my gift. I'm not bad, but that's not the means by which I express myself. And I don't know how much I want to reveal of myself, like the really personal stuff.
    • The Ninth Wave: A Journal of Nocturnal Culture #5 (May 1995)
  • I compartmentalize my music. It's something I do as a hobby and a side thing, and I don't really mix it with my life. Even my everyday emotions I don't think I mix with it. But every so often, I think it seeps in. It's interesting, because it truthfully makes me uncomfortable. In some ways, I think it's kind of sappy and too expressionist to put your life in your music like that.
    • KUCI 88.9 fm Program Guide (Winter 1997)
  • I don't even think about it like that. It's not part of my identity. I don't go around saying, "I'm in a band." That's usually the last thing I mention.
    • Ink Spots #19 (April 1995)
  • I don't think I could just sit and do only music, it wouldn't be enough. I'm not ready to quit and do music now. I wouldn't quit Psychology.
    • Danse Macabre (1993)
  • I really loathe the music business. I really don't think about it. I hope people have a good experience, or a positive experience, but beyond that, I don't expect people to get much from it. That's not my intentions when I make it. I don't even know why I do it. It's fun for me. It's fun.
    • The Daily Freeman (November 29, 1996)
  • For a long time I felt that we hid behind the effects.
    • The Requiem, Vol. 6 Pg. 50 (Winter 1994)
  • Usually it’s more of a collaborative effort. It’s not that this one [Flux] wasn’t, but he took it in directions that I wouldn’t necessarily have gone if I was there at every moment. It’s more of Ryan’s work. It’s something that he fashioned out of his own likings. For me, making a more electronic sounding records was lazier. There's a lot fewer lyrics and there's a lot more repetition. I feel like I cheated.
    • Fix, #24 (1998)

About Love Spirals Downwards[edit]

  • It is an arguable fact that there are three bands whose names are synonymous with the world-renowned Projekt label: Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Lycia and Love Spirals Downwards.
  • LSD just might be the burgeoning leader of another full-on ethereal rock revival.
    • M. Tye Comer, Ever Review, College Music Journal (1996)
  • Out of all the chosen representatives of this genre, Love Spirals Downwards is the most acceptable to general audiences. Dare we call it 'pop ethereal'?
  • Make no mistake, Love Spirals Downwards stand alone as a landmark to ethereal and madrigal greatness.
    • Pat Mannion, Dewdrops, #14 (Summer 1995)
  • Love Spirals Downward[s] shares a psychedelic code with the Beatles' "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and a musical code with groups like the Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance.
  • Suzanne's voice could lull a King's Army into blissful dreamscapes, thereby calming war torn battlefields'
    • Rossi Dudrick, "Ecstasy of Angels: Love Spirals Downwards", B-Side, J/A (January 1995)

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