New Video: JOVM Mainstays Yumi Zouma Share a Gorgeous and Trippy Visual for Bittersweet Yet Hopeful “Where The Light Used to Lay”

Acclaimed indie synth pop outfit and longtime JOVM mainstay outfit Yumi Zouma, which features members residing in New Zealand, the States and the UK signed to Polyvinyl Record Co back in 2020. That same year, the acclaimed act released their critically applauded, self-produced third album Truth or Consequences, an album that thematically focused on distant — both real and metaphorical; romantic and platonic heartbreak; disillusionment and feeling (and being) out of reach. 

For the overwhelming majority of the bands I’ve covered over the past 12 years, touring is often the most important — and necessary — part of the promotional campaign for an artist’s or band’s new release. Before they hit the road, that artist or band will figure out how to re-contextualize their new material and even previously released material for a live setting, imagining how a crowd will react to what — and how — they’ll play the material in a live a set. Like all of the acts across the world, who were touring — or were about to tour– as COVID-19 struck across the world, the members of Yumi Zouma were forced to end their tour, which included their first sold-out North American dates, and quickly head home, leaving scores of their most devoted fans without the opportunity to hear the new album in a live setting.

That October, the JOVM mainstays released Truth or Consequences (Alternate Versions), an album conceived as the band’s response to the lost opportunity to re-contextualize and explore the boundaries of the original album’s material through live engagement with fans. Last year, Yumi Zouma released two singles:

  • Give It Hell,” a wistful and bittersweet song centered around a classic Yumi Zouma breezy arrangement. But underneath the aching melancholy is a subtle but necessary celebratory note, a reminder that we will find a way to survive and thrive in the most difficult and unusual circumstances — and as someone far wiser than I once sang “all things will pass.”
  • Mona Lisa,” an expansive and breezy pop confection that’s one part New Order and one-part Bruce Springsteen that manages to convey a complicated, shifting emotional state, seemingly influenced and informed by our weird and uncertain moment.

Both of those tracks will appear on the band’s highly-anticipated fourth album, Present Tense. Dedicated to an embattled past, Present Tense is the JOVM mainstays’ offering to a tenuous future. With the members of the band forced to go their separate ways and return to their homes, Yumi Zouma found themselves in an unusual place: “It was disorientating,” the band’s Charlie Ryder says in press notes. ““We generally work at a quick clip and average about a record a year, but with no foreseeable plans, we lost our momentum.”

In response, the members of the band set to work, setting a September 1, 2021 deadline for the album to be finished, regardless of world events. What initially began in fits and starts became a committed practice again as the band worked on new material, digging through demos from as early as 2018 and making them relevant to that particular — and peculiar — moment in time. “Someone brings in a seed,” the band’s Josh Burgess says, “and through collaboration, it grows into a song that is vastly different from its original form.”

“The lyrics on these songs feel like premonitions, in some regards,” says Yumi Zouma’s Christie Simpson says. “So much has changed for us, both personally and as a band, that things I wrote because the words sounded good together now speak to me in ways I didn’t anticipate.”

The album’s material evolved through remote and in-person sessions in Wellington, New Zealand, Florence, Italy, Los Angeles, NYC and London with a broader sonic palette that includes pedal steel, piano, sax, woodwind and string played by friends around the globe. The complex scope of the recordings were then fine-tuned by an array of top mixes including Ash Workman, Kenny Gilmore, Jake Aron with mastering by Antoine Chabert.

“This is our fourth album, so we wanted to pivot slightly, create more extreme versions of songs,” Ryder says. “Working with other artists helped with that and took us far outside of our normal comfort zone.”

“Where The Light Used To Lay” Present Tense‘s latest single continues a run of lush yet bittersweet pop confections centered around Christie Simpson’s achingly tender vocals, shimmering guitars, glistening keys and the JOVM mainstays unerring knack for crafting an infectious hook. And much like its predecessors, “Where This Light Used To Lay” has a hopeful, adult perspective on heartbreak, one that seems to say that while you may be down in the dumps today, this too, like all other things, shall end. And you shall yet again find love in all of its complicated, conflicting, nonsensical glory in its due time.

“‘Where The Light Used To Lay’ eventually revealed itself as a bittersweet song about the agony of detangling your life as you break up and the enticing future, clarity, and lightness that the end of the tunnel can offer,” the band’s Josh Burgess explains. “When we first started writing the song in 2019, we were all in long-term relationships. By the time the final mix was completed in the Fall of 2021, only one of those remained (thanks COVID). It’s funny how songs can end up revealing themselves in surprising ways, even to their writers. It’s equal parts confronting and calming, knowing that the subconscious starts processing long before the conscious comes to it. Regardless, it’s nice to have a moment with a song where you go ‘damn, ain’t that the truth.’”

Directed by Alex Ross Perry, the accompanying video for “Where The Light Used To Lay” is the second of a trilogy series, and it features three women — Jessie Pinnick, Lily Sondik and Michaela Brown — trying to enter an apartment. When they do eventually enter, they all walk into a room with velvet curtains, palm fronds and a disco ball. They spend most of the time gently swaying and dancing to music. Each of the women seem locked into their own memories, as though they were dancing the heartache away. They try to leave the apartment only to discover that they’re locked in. And they seem to accept with it a fated shrug.

The members of Yumi Zouma will be embarking on a lengthy world tour this spring to support the album. After lengthy UK and European Union runs, the JOVM mainstays will spend April and May in North America. The North American leg of the tour includes an April 13, 2022 stop at Music Hall of Williamsburg. (The rest of the tour dates are below.)


17 – Birmingham, UK – The Sunflower Lounge

18 – London, UK – Lafayette

19 – Manchester, UK – Yes

21 – Dublin, Ireland – Whelan’s

22 – Glasgow, UK – King Tut’s

24 – Paris, France – Le Hasard Ludique

25 – Brussels, Belgium – Botanique

27 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Melkweg

28 – Hamburg, Germany – Turmzimmer

29 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Ideal Bar Vega

31 – Stockholm, Sweden – Obaren


1 – Oslo, Norway – KRXSSET

3 – Berlin, Germany – Burg Schnabel

4 – Warsaw, Poland – Praga Centrum

7 – Atlanta, GA – Terminal West *

8 – Durham, NC – Motorco Music Hall *

9 – Washington, DC – Black Cat *

12 – Philadelphia, PA – Union Transfer *

13 – Brooklyn, NY – Music Hall of Williamsburg *

14 – Boston, MA – The Sinclair *

15 – Portsmouth, NH – The Press Room *

16 – Montréal, QC – Petit Campus **

17 – Toronto, ON – Horseshoe Tavern **

18 – Cleveland, OH – Grog Shop †

20 – Chicago, IL – Lincoln Hall †

21 – Madison, WI – High Noon Saloon †

22 – St. Paul, MN – Turf Club †

23 – Lawrence, KS – The Bottleneck †

25 – Denver, CO – Bluebird Theater †

28 – Vancouver, BC – The Fox Cabaret §

29 – Seattle, WA – The Crocodile ‡

30 – Portland, OR – Mississippi Studios ‡


3 – San Francisco, CA – The Independent ‡

5 – Los Angeles, CA – The Roxy ‡

6 – San Diego, CA – The Casbah ‡

* w/Special Guest NoSo

** w/Special Guest JORDANN

† w/Special Guest Mini Trees

§ w/Special Guest Nobel Oak

‡ w/Special Guest Beauty Queen