Shout Out Louds is a Swedish indie band that was formed in 2001. They are a group of friends that have played and released music for 20 years. Together they have toured around the world and shared their soulful music with their fans from all over. They have toured mostly as a headliner but also with international acts The Strokes, Kings of Leon, and Depeche Mode. And This year they are out with new music for the first time in four years and at the beginning of next year going on yet another tour. We got the chance to interview some of the members from Shout Out Louds before the tour.
First I spoke with Bebban.
How did the band form?
We were childhood friends and hung out a lot even before we started making music. We went to the same preschool and high school. Adam and Ted started talking about making music and decided to become a band. A while after another friend, the drummer, joined and later on me. In the beginning, I think I joined because they never had time to hang out with me anymore. So Carl came up with the idea for me to join as well. Of Course, Adam didn't think I could do it, he said I would never go to the rehearsals or manage to stay particularly devoted to the band for long but 20 years later and I am still here.
What's your responsibility in the band?
In the beginning, my role was to always do the things that needed a little extra time or were a challenge. I guess it was because I was so young and thought that I could probably learn whatever instrument they needed if they just gave me time. So no matter if they needed someone to learn to play the accordion or the harmonica I always gave it a try. It never scared me to try something new in music. That's how everything started and then later on a big part of my role is to handle the writing. That's something that I and Adam do together. I think Adam finds writing alone makes him a little bit anxious. But since I am a writer on the side, this is one of my favorite parts and one of my biggest passions. And I feel like I am better with words than music sometimes.
You are an indie band that writes quite raw, scaled-down, and intimate music. It feels like your music comes pretty close to whoever is listening. How much of your own life, emotions, and experiences do you share in your music?
I can probably not think of any song that we have written that is not about something that many of us have been through or fantasized about experiencing. It's a piece of very close-knit music and it's personal to us. Honestly, I think we would probably have a hard time writing about something more universal as well.
Was it obvious to you that it was music you were going to do?
No, that's what's so funny because it was the opposite. Singing was the absolute worst thing I knew, so it's so weird that I now work with music. I went to theater school and sometimes you had to sing. I asked my teachers not to give me anything where I had to sing solo because I could not do it. I did not dare. So I had no plan whatsoever to work with music. I have always liked music even though but had intended to do theater or writing. I always thought that if I were to perform, it would not be with music.
But do you have stage fright then?
Yes, but above all with singing. You have to hear your voice. I think that with theater, it disappears into thin air. You say something and then the moment is over. But when you sing I feel like it's a bigger thing. It feels scarier. Like who am I to stand here and think that my voice is beautiful enough to take your time. And now, in retrospect, it feels almost a little arrogant to say. Because if you think about it I have been so spoiled. There are so many who fight so hard to become something and to be able to work with music. Who dreams of this and who is super talented. But who just did not have the same luck or context that I had. Sometimes I can almost feel guilty that I got the chance to do something that is so fun and that I love, but that I might not need to fight as hard for as many others.
But you still have to possess a lot of talent, courage, and fighting spirit for this anyway. Considering that whatever instruments were thrown your way, you just made it work?
Yeah, I guess I am quite musically gifted like I was born with music in my blood. Because I'm not at all technically gifted. I took piano lessons but had a very hard time understanding notes and music as a language. So I always asked my sister to play through my piano homework so I could hear how it sounded. So she played it after notes and then I imitated it, so I have always been able to learn music by ear and am more talented in that way rather than having a theoretical talent.
What is the creative process of music or just playing in a band, in general, is your favorite part?
Performing is very fun, but it's hard to have to choose just one aspect. But if I only get to choose one thing, I would probably say touring. It is very fun. Especially for us as a band that has known each other for so long, it's very fun to travel together. And I'm not afraid of the performance with the band because in my role I'm being so far back on stage. If, on the other hand, I were Adam (the singer in the band), it would be 100% total anxiety. I could not do that.
I do have a band on the side called Astropol where I sing. And we have performed twice and before we were supposed to perform, I felt sick. Physically nauseous for two weeks before and two weeks after. But with Shout Out Louds, I stand on a podium behind the keyboard like armor around me. With the light and everything, it's almost hard to take a picture of me because I'm so far in the back that you can't see me. And this makes me like performing.
You also released a lullaby a while ago, tell me about that?
yeah sure, it was a friend of mine who is an author. She is a very big history nerd and writes about Vikings and Stockholm in the 18th century and so on. We have become very good friends, she is the godmother to one of my children, and she wanted me to sing a lullaby that was included in her audiobook. So it is not released in any other way. However, I have released a book of poems that I am very happy about.
Tell us more about it?
I did it together with a graphic designer named Frans Enmark who is very talented. It was him who wanted us to do this together. So it became like a book project that we released together last year. There is not much more to say about it, it's just that I'm very happy about it because I think writing is so fun.
You are a band with four Members, is this something that benefits you creatively when you write music and can brainstorm ideas with each other? Or do you often have different opinions and disputes in the creative process?
Oh good question I do not think we would have continued to be a band if we had not known each other this long. It becomes like a family dynamic, you stick together whatever happens. But then I think that purely creatively, we all get great pleasure and benefits from working with both other producers. Or just people from outside the band without the others. People that are not part of our group dynamics. That is probably when we develop the most. When there is nothing that holds us back or keeps us in the old roles that we have had since we were 15-16 years old. But a band in all other contexts than just the writing part, the whole reason why we still exist is that we have known each other for so long and like each other so much.
Your name Bebban, where does that name come from?
So basically my parents could not find or agree on a name for me when I was born and it took a while before they came to agree on something. So in the meantime my sister started calling me “bebis” or “bebin” which means baby in Swedish. And then one day a relative said that maybe she can be called “Bebban”. And then after that, no one ever used my real name Paula again. Only my best friend's dad calls me that. My parents have never used it so I feel very unfamiliar with my real name. I'm just called Paula in contexts where I have to, like at the tax office.
A funny story is that obviously in other countries people think that Bebban is my real name and they don't understand that it is a made up name. It was a girl from a band called Essex Green, who used to be in Sweden a lot, whose singer named her daughter Bebban. So her daughter is now named Bebban Label Lawson and lives in Montana. She does not know that she is called a name that doesn't exist, a name that we just came up with.
We've seen you a lot in ‘60s inspired makeup and styling. Is the 60's something that inspires your style a lot, or how would you describe your style?
I have always been really into the 60s and 70s. I guess I have always had a hang up on everything, both furniture and clothes, that gives off the vibe of anything from old to timeless but not modern. You should not be able to look at pictures of me and easily be able to tell what year it is from. I did not want my style to be what's trending in a specific year. But lately, I have opened up a little bit more to be interested in the present, the present is interesting enough to care about for an adult you know.
Do you have a clothing item in your wardrobe that is a “Bebban” garment, a must have for you?
I think it's hard to live without a trench coat, I do have a few of those.
Later on I got to talk to some of the members together.
You are now, as a band, up to date with new music for the first time in 4 years. How come it took four years to release this and what makes it feel right to release new music right now?
Adam: We have never really thought through or waited for the right time to release the music.
Bebban: But we have this time, more than ever, been waiting very impatiently to release the album because of the pandemic.
Adam: Yes, this is the first time we have had a record ready and then let it wait until it is possible to tour.
Carl: And it is usually around four years between our albums.
Bebban: yeah, but this is the first year we had a reason for it.
Adam: Yes, every time we have released a new record or album we try to start writing for the new one immediately. It takes a very long time for us to write music.
Carl: We're meticulous and want the music to be good.
Bebban: I also think that we tour for quite a long time after releasing an album. We are so lucky that we have the opportunity with our fans to be able to play in so many places in the world, there are quite a few areas to go catch up with as well.
Adam: Yes, and that is a big part of us as a band. Like Bebban said, maybe we are not big anywhere but we are small in very many places which mean that we can play in very many countries which is super great. We are so used to meeting people, our audience and for us, that is a big part of releasing an album so that was probably also the reason why we waited with the album. To release an album without being able to tour and meet the audience would not feel right. It would feel empty like we are missing something.
The single “as far away as possible” which was released on October 1 is the first single on the album that has been released. It has been described as longing for something else. to getaway. Is this a song from the album that you hold extra dear. Can you say that it conveys a feeling that permeates the rest of the album as well?
Adam: this “longing” probably belongs most to that particular song, the rest of the songs do not follow that theme in the same way. But that longing has probably always been a small part of our music.
Adam: Why we chose to release this particular song first was probably because it sounds a little different compared to the music we have released before. It has a rather dark, hard, cold sound compared to the previous album. So I think we just wanted to share the song as well as show another side of our music. We were also really happy with what it sounded like. We felt at once that this was a song we at least wanted to open the record with and then it seemed quite natural that it was the first release as well.
The way I interpreted this song, it seems that you are tired of, or do not want to get stuck in the wheel of everyday life. What do you do when you are just generally in life or when you are writing music and get stuck, how do you get out of the wheel?
Bebban: I think I need solitude, at least before. Before I had children. I needed a break from everyone sometimes. To sort of rest the brain, like a typical introverted person. Then purely musically, I just think you need a break, change patterns and changes from whatever it is you are doing. Like going out into the woods, or meeting a friend, or just taking a break from what you did.
Adam: I think I feel the opposite about this, just do as much as possible to get an impression. I think it depends a bit on how you are as a person, I think I'm probably a little scared to be alone with my thoughts. And then purely musically I like to just consume music and, as I said, just constantly take in something new as inspiration.
Bebban: Yes now that you say, maybe you're right. I do not know, just do something that is the exact opposite of what you got stuck in in the first place.
How come you got into this particular genre, what are/were your biggest influences and idols in music?
Adam: I have dreamed of doing music ever since I was little and even though it might not have been as obvious for the rest of the members we were all music nerds in our youth compared to others. It was the way we communicated I think. It was a very big interest. Then I think we just wanted to sound like the bands we were listening to right then. And at first, bands that may not have played such complicated music. Back then we also thought that bands that sounded like they were good at playing were not good. So we did not wanna sound like that. I also think it was important for us that it was just a group of friends who started playing as well. And that everyone would be involved in different ways. But it was probably mostly the music we listened to that inspired us back then. It was also a genre that we liked and could stand behind and felt that our personalities fit with.
I also watched your music video for “as far away as possible” and it, like your music, felt pretty scaled-down, authentic, organic, and honest. Would you say that you are quite simple people who do not need so much but enjoy and appreciate the small, everyday luxury?
Bebban: Yes, to some extent. But then I think we have always enjoyed it the few times that we have ended up in a little more glamorous situations. it is not like we are uncomfortable in such contexts.
Adam: No we probably would have liked a little more luxury and flare.
Bebban: No, but we're probably not enough to be harmed by it, so to speak. Also funny is that the most important thing for the boys to take with them on the tour bus in addition to the instruments were bikes. They each bought a folding bike so that they could cycle around and see the cities we were in and go to museums while touring. People who tour with us usually say that it's a bit like being on holiday with a family. Even if we had stayed in a luxury hotel, it is not certain that we would have hung out there that much anyway.
Adam: I think we probably have quite a lot of distance to all of this. For example, we did a lot of our music videos in the beginning at home and that's how we like it.
Carl: Yes, in the beginning when you would wear stage clothes it felt super strange even though it was nice. So we did it a few times but then we stopped with it because I think authenticity and honesty can be quite nice.
Adam: I think this also strengthens our band and our sound as well. We are quite personal. We just are who we are and that's it.