Since releasing their first album in 2003, Shout Out Louds have played everything from Strokes-esque garage rock to orchestrated indie pop, and the evolution continues on their most recent release, Work. Written while the band were apart at global extremes, then recorded with Phil Elk in Stockholm, their third album strips away many musical elements leaving a much more adult pop/rock sound. Bass player Ted Malmros answered some of our questions about the creation of the new album, the state of the band, and touring plans.
Daniel: Could you describe the state of your band in one sentence?
Ted Malmros: Nervous but good.
Daniel: According to your press release, writing songs, recording, and touring is your work, thus your album’s title, Work. Although I like that this means you’ll hopefully be releasing many more albums, isn’t the point of being a rock star to escape the mundane routine of everyday “work”?
Ted: Work should be fun. People with boring jobs should quit them and get a more stimulating ones. We like our work. And yes, I think you can expect some more albums for sure.
Daniel: Your bandmates were all over the world (Stockholm, Los Angeles, Melbourne) while the songs for the new album were being created. What effect did this have on the recording process?
Ted: To be honest, I think we really needed a break from each other and more importantly we needed some time off “work”, but I don’t recommend writing songs from far apart. It was a bit difficult when we finally met to put it all together. Big parts of the music were written then in Stockholm.
Daniel: On Work you take your sound in a different direction from your last album Our Ill Wills, removing much of the orchestration and really paring it down to the basics. What inspired this shift?
Ted: After every record or recording session you always feel like you want to take the next step. You want to do something different from the last process. The first record was as it usually is: you write songs over a long period of time and record them pretty fast and some of the ideas we had were not done. On the second album we wanted to get it done right away, writing songs on the road and in the studio. We had been touring for quite a while and were excited to do all the production stuff we didn’t do on the first record. We especially wanted to work with percussion and rhythm. When we were done with the touring of the second record, we just wanted to have some time off first of all, then we wanted to take our time at rehearsals. We wrote more songs to choose from and went through all the details of arrangement more thoroughly. Somewhere there in the rehearsal space it felt great just being the five, simple and good.
Daniel: How did you decide to go with producer Phil Elk, known for creating works that exist somewhere between edgy rock and gentle folk? How would you describe working with him?
Ted: We knew that we wanted to work with somebody new, and we were sure that we wanted to work with someone not from Sweden. We like Phil’s previous stuff, he said let’s go, so we did. He’s more of a band producer, he’s a good listener, he really listens to all band members. He is really, really thorough. Every chord, every drum hit needs to be perfect. He pushed us to be better musicians since he didn’t want to edit too much either.
Daniel: Our writing team has been entertaining the idea of compiling a list of the best Swedish albums of recent memory. Is this something that a group of Canadian pop fans would be able to do justice to? Are there any albums you would be sure to include or young bands you think will be on that list for the next decade?
Ted: Absolutely! There are some bands singing in Swedish that you should give a listen to as well: [ingenting], bob hund, Alf , Björn Olsson and an excellent Swedish/American band called Dag för Dag.
Daniel: What is the mood of the band as you prepare for your tour starting in March? Any special plans?
Ted: The mood right now is good, it’s fun to play the new tracks but there is a bit of stress and nervousness absolutely. We need to rehearse some more before we get going. Jonas Gustafsson, a friend of my little brother, is playing for the Toronto Maple Leafs, so it would be fun to watch a game, but we are just there for a day so we probably won’t have the time.
You can see Shout Out Louds perform at the Mod Club in Toronto on May 8.
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