After Four Years, Sweden's Shout Out Louds Return To Discuss Their 'Energetic' Upcoming Album
"This time, after the break, [producing an album] felt more fun than it had been in a really long time."
After four years, longtime faves Shout Out Louds are officially back. Over the past few months, the band has dropped two new singles, ‘Oh Oh’ and ‘Jumbo Jet,’ in preparation for the official release of ‘Ease My Mind’ this fall, their first album since 2013. In addition to the new album, the Swedish group is also gearing up for an international tour across Europe, the USA and Canada. We caught up with band mates Adam Olenius and Bebban Stenborg to discuss their band hiatus, what they'll miss most when they’re on the road and their guiltiest music pleasures.
You've just dropped new singles for the first time in four years. What was the band up to during your break from Shout Out Louds?
Adam: Uhm… On a very long vacation. Kidding. We've been doing some other musical projects. Bebban has been doing a side project called Astropol with two other Swedish artists, and I released a solo EP. And we've been traveling and working. You know, it takes a really long time for us to sort go into our creative modes for a Shout Out Louds album. So, we've been working on this album for a year and a half. But we do take extra long breaks.
While you were away, did anything changed with your approach to music?
Adam: I don't think so. We still work the same way. Perhaps people we work with in the music industry work in a different way, though. There are some things we can do more easily now because of the Internet and streaming. It's easier to release new music now.
Bebban: Even though we were not doing music together for four years, it hasn't changed. We're always excited to get back into the studio and produce new things. But this time, after the break, it felt more fun than it had been in a really long time, actually. I don't know if that's because we've been doing other stuff on the side or were on different paths in life, but this time, it felt like it did in the very beginning.
Tell us about your return single, `Oh, Oh.' How did it come together, and what does it mean to you?
Adam: It was actually the first song we recorded for the album. It was the first song we recorded with our new producer Fredrik Swahn. It was sort of a test for him to see if he would fit us. I came to his studio and said, "Okay, let's just try this song for fun." And I don't really think that he knew he was on "trial" to be our producer. Then, he sent us back the result, and everyone in the band really loved what he did. So, it was an important song for us because it was sort of the first step for the album. The song is about following your dreams, which is what we do, and it's a really great way to start this album. This album is very different from the other albums in the way it sounds.
Can you give us any more deets on your forthcoming album? How does it compare to your previous releases?
Adam: This one is more organic, like our first two albums. It has a great energy. Overall, it's just a more playful body of work.
Whenever you release an album, people of course react to that record as a body of music. Everyone’s got an opinion. Do you indulge in that once the album comes out or do you just disconnect?
Adam: To be honest, I hate it. You work on something for such a long time, and they'll set one day for it to be released and you have to hope for good reviews. In the past, I've read the reviews, but that's actually something I want to try and stop doing with this album.
Bebban: I read all the reviews, too. But it is in those times that I get my most cocky. If it says something good, I'll agree with it. If it says something bad, I'll be like, "Fuck off." And I'm never like that in another areas.
Adam: Yeah, it's really great to have her around on release day because she'll just be like, "Fuck that, they don't understand." Meanwhile, I'm like a wreck. So, we're a good combo.
You’ve got a big tour planned for the fall. How do you maintain the pace without melting?
Adam: First of all, we're all friends. We've known each other since we were ten years old. So, we still have plenty to talk about. We try to take a break to do something enjoyable. It's all about balance. We like to go out to new places to eat or something. We'll all be curious together in a new city.
Bebban: Yeah, we always try to find out if there's something happening. Museums, parks, swimming, etc. It's actually nice when you have toured for a long time, like us, because you know people in a lot of different places. It's like a working vacation. Of course, there are times when you feel like you don't have the energy, but every night when it's time to perform, you get so excited and always have the energy in the end. That's the fun part.
What do you miss most about home when you’re touring? Do you ever feel “at home” on tour?
Bebban: Privacy. Because when you live on a tour bus it's a little hard to find personal space. For example, if you want to take a long shower and not have anyone waiting for you to get ready, you can't do that. You don't get to be your own being as much as you do when you're at home.
Adam: Yeah, I miss my couch. I miss watching TV.
Bebban: And your kid, maybe? (laughing)
Adam: That too. I haven't toured while I've had kids before. So, this time will be new for me. I just thought back on what I missed last tour…which was my couch.
When you’re touring internationally, what differences do you notice in your fan base in each country?
Bebban: I actually notice our fans' age. We're getting older and so are our some of our fans. But we also have young fans. Like, some people will say, "I've listened to you since I was nine years old," which is kind of cool. So, yeah we do have some young fans I notice. Not only senior citizens. (laughing)
Tell us about your tour bus rules.
Bebban: We don't have rules. But we do probably have routines. For example, I sleep in because it's so dark on the bus, and if I wake up and everyone is gone, I get very upset. So, now everyone knows that they have to text me if they go out.
Adam: We still know exactly what button we have to push if we want to tease someone. We know how to annoy everyone in the band, so therefore, we know exactly what NOT to do if someone is in a bad mood.
Can you describe each other with one adjective?
Bebban: I think Adam is, if I had to choose one word, I would say funny.
Adam: I would say the same. I think we have the same sense of humor. We do jokes in the back that others may not understand. We have a very dark sense of humor. We have jokes we don't want people hear. I also think Bebban is a great listener. She's always very concerned.
What’s the one song you wish you’d have written?
Adam: I wish I had written 'One Dance' by Drake. I would be a millionaire. And it's a good song.
Bebban: I like classic music. I would like to have written 'I'll be seeing you.'
Do you have a guilty music pleasure?
Bebban: I've become completely shameless. You know, somethings that used to be considered a guilty pleasures are now cool—like Britney Spears, that's cool again. I think my guilty pleasure would be Counting Crows. Dad rock.
Adam: If I had a guilty pleasure, it would be like a jingle in an ad.
Bebban: Also, we both like musicals.
Adam: You know what I have in my head right now… 'Another Suitcase in Another Hall.'
Would you say that touring feels glamorous?
Bebban: No, I don't think it's very glamorous. It's a privileged situation but not very glamorous. You get to meet these people who already know who you are, know your songs and are happy to meet you. So, that's privileged. And then the idea of traveling with your friends is also a privilege. But it's not glamorous.
Adam: And free drinks!!!
What really excites you for a gig?
Adam: We did a show here in Germany a couple weeks ago, and everyone knew the words and was singing along. It was just incredible. And then, as a band, you're all playing together, and that can be just such a rush. That can even happen in rehearsal. It kind of feels like you're building something together… It's a weird feeling that I can't really describe.
Bebban: We are also pretty sensitive to how to crowd reacts. So, if we notice that the crowd really likes us and are excited to see us, then we are at our absolute best. If people are a bit more apprehensive, then we can be kind of sensitive in that way.
Is there a particular show you're looking forward to the most?
Bebban: I'm excited about most shows in Germany. German music fans dance, and they come out. The live music scene feels vibrant there.
Check to see if Shout Out Louds will be playing a show near you here.