Before their only Swiss show on the „Ease my mind“ tour I had the chance to talk to singer Adam Olenius and guitar player Carl von Albin from Shout Out Louds. They talked about their new album, touring life and the reasons why it took them longer than expected to finish their fifth album.
Indiespect: When we last met at the poolbar festival in Feldkirch, three years ago, you meant that you’ll try to release your next album within 2 years or maybe even quicker. Now it took one more. You all had your own projects in the meantime. Was there a point where you thought: „Guys, let’s finally start with the record?“
Adam Olenuis: About a year after we booked Tuesday nights, I remember. Then we started meeting up in the rehearsal space. But at that time it was more of a hanging out together. Because everybody has been travelling a lot before.
Carl von Arbin: It has been a good way to get continuity again.
Adam: But I remember I had ideas from rehearsal space in 2014.
Carl: Yes, some ideas are really old. At the beginning it was more like playing around and having fun. Sometimes not all of us could make it but the ones that could make it got together. So it was more like when you start a band as a kid. You see each other Tuesday nights. It was that kind, almost like a hobby. You play soccer on Wednesday, have band practice on Tuesday and so on.
Adam: And then, after a year or so, we thought we should book the studio. Then we wrote four songs. About a year and a half ago. We went into the same studio and worked with the same producer as we did on Optica. He’s a great guy, there’s nothing wrong with him. But we felt we were starting at the same place. The vibe just wasn’t right.
Carl: It just went down the same road that we were on Optica. And we wanted to do something else.
Adam: Even if we love the producer, we need to have something new on each album. Because we’re four old friends we need things that bring new energy to every record. But then to answer your question: Actually, when we finally decided on the songs, it went really fast. We recorded this only in a few months. We found a producer called Frederik Swahn. That gave us a lot of energy and made us work really fast. We went to the country to write songs for two days, then booked a studio the next week. So we did it a bit back and forth. Most of the songs were actually written in the country house. And there were some ideas that came up in my studio which is quite close to where we have our space.
They share the stage since 16 years. Adam Olenius and Carl von Arbin.
We don’t tour winters.Carl von Arbin, Shout Out Louds
Indiespect: I was surprised when you wrote on Facebook that „Paola“ is the actual name of Bebban. I had to check if it is really true. But it seems to be! Is it possible that I haven’t heard of that before?
Carl: I think a lot of new friends of ours might not even know.
Indiespect: Where does the nickname Bebban come from?
Carl: Her parents couldn’t decide on a name, so they called her the baby. In Swedish that’s bebi. And from there they came to Bebban. That kind of stuck even though she got her name.
Adam: It’s not that we kept secret her name. It’s just that we always call her Bebban. I never call her Paola. Just when we need to book flight tickets her name comes up. The border control and the government knows. The song was about us in the beginning of the band and our changes as a person. Leaving the city where you’re from to follow your dreams.
Indiespect: You are interested in culture and food of the cities you play. In Feldkirch you took a swim in a lake nearby and today you’ll get Fondue, if my information is correct. Do you already have concrete plans for the cities that are next on your tour?
Carl: We’re going to Munich tomorrow and we have a rest day. Some of us are gonna go swimming, go to the sauna and stuff like that.
Adam: I’ve looked up a really nice bar but it’s a little bit too expensive. So we’ll see.
Carl: Bebban asked online for a restaurant. It’s planning out right now.
Indiespect: So this kind of things are a fix part of your schedule? Soundcheck, dinner, concert, food and culture?
Carl: Actually we were playing with the thought of hosting days. Like, Adam, you’ll host the day in Winterthur. Then he would have to curate the day. But some cities are more fun than others, that’s why it isn’t that easy. Today is a fun day. Because we’re having fondue and that’s rare.
Indiespect: Most activities you described take place in summer. What do you like to do in autumn or winter?
Carl: We go bodybuilding (laughs). No, just kidding. But there is always stuff that’s going on. It could be a museum.
Adam: We rarely toured during winter.
Carl: That’s true.
Adam: I prefer not to tour during winter. Because then you wake up when it’s dark and it’s dark again straight after soundcheck. I remember our first big tour in Germany and Austria was in January. But yes, as Carl says. Museums or watching TV.
Indiespect: Maybe that’s the reason for the sometimes nostalgic summer lyrics of your band. When you’re at home you think about summer and all the things that are over. Maybe your music would sound different if you tour during winter.
Adam: Maybe. There’s a lot of longing during that season.
Carl: You should write that. We don’t tour winters.
Bebban Stenborg – who’s actual name is Paola.
Indiespect: In what way have you changed since Optica?
Carl: Optica is all made in the studio. It was written in the studio. It wasn’t like we practiced it together and found piece by piece. It’s more synthetic, more like a made world. While this album is more organic. This one has a sunnier flavour.
Adam: The other was more a collage of ideas. I think we learned a lot from making Optica. We tried a lot with arrangements and stuff like that. But as Carl said, this is one is more organic. There’s more of a band vibe to it. Every album is a reaction of the old one.
Carl: At Optica we kept going and going. We never ever stopped. You could continue forever. We made a lot of different versions. Then you think we have to take away stuff. It’s not as clear when you do it like that. When you play it together you know immediately which part is important.
Adam: Also that affected a bit of the lyrics. It’s more cynical the last album. I mean there are some really nice themes that I like but I think the new album is more… I would not say happier, but us being in a better place.
Indiespect: Even if our world is getting worse right now?
Adam: That’s the thing. We sort of locked out that aspect. The world seems like a darker place now. That’s why we chose to really focus on our music. The theme Ease my mind came up because of that. We talked about the music like it could be like a pill or a drug. Or just a hand on your shoulder. When you feel shitty the only thing you need is sort of ease and peace of mind.
Carl: Somebody who just takes your hand and says it’s gonna be okay.
Adam: By showing your weakness as well and you say you feel shitty. It’s almost like a cry for help, too. It’s more like looking for someone to ease your mind. Looking for aid and comfort. It’s about both. But not a desperate cry for help. Just longing for something.
Indiespect: The audience may give you back what you gave them.
Adam: Yes! We always try to go down while we sell our t-shirts and records and talk to people. That makes touring so much fun. Not only eating cheese and going to great bars. It gives you a lot of energy. If we just would play it would be a little bit strange. Everybody is really excited when it is a good audience.
Carl: It’s contagious.
Indiespect: You started with three concerts in Austria. How did it feel after all this time to go on tour again? Knowing you’ll be away from home for some time?
Carl: We’ve done some festivals this summer. So it’s not that we’re totally rusty. When you’re not playing you get more tensed about going up on stage. But it wasn’t like that. Because we were really practicing before these shows. Try to make it a good sounding set. So, it felt good.
Adam: The start in Vienna was really really good.
Carl: People were going bananas, too. Even though we made a few errors, it didn’t matter. Because the vibe was great.
Adam: There was a lot of love back. Some things were rusty but that doesn’t have something to do with being on stage. It’s more like: Oh, what should I do now? How did I do that last time? Packing, just practical things. And letting yourself spend time on your own or do nothing for two hours. That’s tricky sometimes.
Shout Out Louds are a band that loves to be close to their fans.
Indiespect: How are you travelling right now?
Carl: We flew to Vienna. Now we travel by bus. We play a show tonight, go to sleep while the bus moves. When we wake up we’re in Munich. It’s a nice way of travelling if you get comfortable with it. It’s like living in a submarine. Especially for the ones of us who are really tall. You can’t stand up. Besides that, it gets the job done (laughs). You get your sleep and you don’t have to sit in the car all day.
Adam: We share this bus with the opening band which are friends of ours from Stockholm.
Indiespect: May you tell me something about them?
Adam: It’s a project from Rebecka and it’s called The Hanged Man. I think it’s her and her band. She used to be in a Swedish band called Those Dancing Days. It was an Indie Pop band maybe ten years ago. So, she’s always been around in Stockholm. She’s a great musician and she played with other bands, too. Our front of house, our sound engineer has a studio in L.A. where they worked together as well.
Indiespect: Adam, I saw that you recorded a track with the Danish band Go Go Berlin. Is that true? How did you get to know each other?
Adam: Yes… Is that out? I wrote a song with them. I do that sometimes if I like the project or if it’s something I have time to do. I can’t do it while we do a Shout Out Louds album because I don’t want to mix that up. Those were nice guys. But I don’t know if that song is going to come out or not. You never know. They probably write with tons of people.
Indiespect: But with Shout Out Louds you wouldn’t do a featuring?
Carl: Oh, we’ve had that.
Adam: Have we?
Carl: Well, not featuring. But Lykke Li was on Our Ill Wills. We had tons of people. Singing and stuff like that.
Adam: But not as a feature. Mostly on the second album. Lykke Li and other Swedish artists were doing back-up. But it was very layered. We talked about it. If it feels natural to do something we meet some of the others. We’ll never force it in the album process. If Carl would do a solo thing or I would do something on my own it might be different. We wanna try to keep it in the family.
Indiespect: You are friends for such a long time. Do you still see each other when you’re not working on an album or if you are on tour?
Carl: We see each other every Tuesday (laughs). These are my best friends. But it’s a natural thing that after a tour you lick your wounds and stay with your family, partners and friends. We’re not that kind of band that only plays together. We have dinners and stuff.
Adam: But you have a different priority list that moves around when you come home of the tour. You guys go down on the priority list and old friends and family goes up. After the European tour we’ve got a little bit time off. We do a few shows in Sweden and then we’ll do a North America tour that lasts three weeks.
Indiespect: When have you been there for the last time?
Adam: That was last album, crazy.
Indiespect: So, they’re also longing for you.
Adam: Hopefully. I hope they didn’t forget us. Four years is a long time. And ther’s so many new bands coming. But it’s gonna be fun.
Shout Out Louds in all its beauty.
Carl von Arbin: Lead Guitar
Ted Malmros: Bass Guitar
Bebban Stenborg: Keyboard, backing vocals
Adam Olenius: Vocals, Guitar
Ted Malmros: Bass Guitar
Bebban Stenborg: Keyboard, backing vocals
Adam Olenius: Vocals, Guitar
Shout Oud Louds
Ease my mind
Ease my mind is the fifth album of Shout Out Louds. It’s the follow-up to Optica which was released in February 2013. It contains the singles Jumbo Jet, Porcelain and Oh Oh. On their current tour the Swedes visit Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Sweden and North America.