Sometimes it’s easy to get fooled by the youthful spirit of the Shout Out Louds songs … but yes, the Swedish indie rock formation has indeed been active for two decades now and have also crossed the magical age-mark of 40 by now. But once you fall into new music by the four-piece these things become quite relative anyway because there’s a certain timelessness that surrouns their music anyway. The sweet indie pop gems of the Swedes are carried by a certain longing, warm melancholia and a reflective notion that just gets better and better with age. Their forthcoming sixth full-length House, their first one in almost five years, is a testament of all these strength I’ve come to love over the past years. All my fellow 00s indie kids can relax: these folks are still great companions on that weird journey we called life. In the wake of the album release I took a look back on some of my personal favourite Shout Out Louds tunes from the past 20 years and was eager to know what band leader Adam Olenius thinks about them in the year 2022. This is the result.

1. ‘100”

I tried to track down which was your first actual single. And I think that 100° was the first EP and the lead track, right?

Yes you are right. Very Loud (Demo) was on a sampler that a Swedish magazine (Sonic) put out a couple months before but the real release was 100°.

Can you recall the time you recorded these first songs as a band?

The EP was our first ever proper recording so everything was new to us. It was recorded on tape so we had to record a lot of takes. We sat in this small kitchen without any windows and got called out by our producer Ronald Bood every time it was time to play – like a doctors office. Everything felt like it was a matter of life and death.

2. ‘Please, Please, Please’

In the indie music cosmos you usually don’t have big hits but I assume if we have to pick THE ultimate Shout Out Louds evergreen it has to be this one, right?

Yeah I guess. If you ask Spotify… but sure when we play the song live we really feel the audience blowing up a bit.

It’s ineed still a great crowd pleaser. Do you ever get tired of playing it?

Not really. I mean it is an old one so you prefer playing new songs that feels more exciting and challenging but we love the reaction we get and it boosts us as well.

Can you recall the finest concert moment with this tune?

I believe we played the song in Berlin and we somehow stoped playing but the audience continued to sing. It had never happened before… That felt truly amazing. Maybe back in -06 or something.

3. ‘Very Loud’

Looking back on How How Gaff Gaff there’s a certain DIY rawness that is actually a bit unusual compared to the rest of your discography and this one’s a prime example. How do you see these garage rocking early days in retrospect? Have you ever considered returning to that sort of vibe or is it simply not possible due to your gained experience over the past years?

I don’t know really. I like the raw and naiv sound we had in the beginning but I guess it’s about progress. We had the chance to develop and I think we started to listen to new stuff that we found a closer connection to. On our new album House we wanted to go back to the more simple and raw output we had in the early days but not necessary the sound.

4. ‘You Are Dreaming’

Our Ill Wills was quite a shift and while many might consider the singles like Tonight I Have To Leave It and Impossible to be its brightest pop moments it was that song that really changed my understanding what the band could be. Such mighty tune. How do you see it?

This was my favorite when we recorded Our Ill Wills. I wrote it quite quickly and it felt like I crossed a barrier in my songwriting. I was so engrossed by that album. Lived in it 24/7. It was really intimate so I had to play it for my ex to check her reaction.. .it went ok.

5. ‘Hard Rain’

The second game changer on Our Ill Wills might be its closing track. It’s still one of the longest song you ever recorded and its got that great hypnotic drive towards the end. How did this song “came” into your life?

Originally the song was a short instrumental jam on my computer. It sounded like a Radio Dept. song (my favorite Swedish band). But when Björn started producing the track we had really nice long takes of the song and I think we recorded it live. We had Hallo Gallo with Neu! as a guideline. It is still one of our favorite to play live.

Shout Out Louds in 2022. Photo by Aida Chehrehgosha

6. ‘1999’

There is an ongoing element of nostalgia and melancholia in your music that, besides the euphoria that might appear in a few tracks, really fascinates me. Maybe as I (and your audience) get older the “impact” of those more reflective songs like 1999 hits different. I think that’s one of the things that come with adulthood. How do you wrestle the nostalgia in your songs with a contemporary approach?

You need to build a bridge from the present to nostalgia. Blend the two worlds. Otherwise it will get too greasy. You have to have a distance to it and try to hint what went wrong or what went right. Making any sense? I try to be nostalgic with smaller themes and details.

7. ‘Blue Ice’

For me Optica was the start of the “second chapter” of the band and despite the fact that this album still got plenty of uplifting tunes it also had that tender melancholic and more mature approach towards the music. I don’t know what it was but something happened between Work and this record… maybe you know what exactly, haha.

You are perhaps right.. I think I see it too. It definitely is a more serious album even though we had a lot fun and creative moments in the studio. Maybe I started to see the world with different eyes? I remember I thought a lot about decisions in life. What and who is important to you.

8. ‘Jumbo Jet’

While other bands start to decline in quality with every release I feel like you are one of the rare examples that actually get better with age and I think Ease My Mind is your best album so far and that was a great way of opening it. Tell me how that song came to life and why you picked it was opening track for the record?

First of all thanks. I am really happy with the confidence we had making Ease My Mind. The opening track for each album is chosen pretty early in the process. It’s a song that everybody likes and sets the mood for the rest of the album. We wrote the song in just one day when we where out the country rehearsing and I made a quick demo the same night. The demo was more ”disco” with Linndrums and arpeggios but got more soft rock when we started to record it.

9. ‘In New Europe’

That was a way too underrated follow-up single that deserves more credit. In the day and age of Spotify stand-alone singles are a big thing but you barely do them. Is there a reason behind it? Do you like to approach music more in an album context and create a cohesive selection of song?

Well, I think we just had some time off for once before a tour. An old friend of mine Andreas Söderlund had taken over the old studio we made the 100° EP back in the day and we thought it would be fun to record there again. We had about 5 songs that we played around with and chose In New Europe and Up The Hill for that session. The album format is important for us because it is like a chapter in our lives. I think it would a little messy for us just to release a track here and there. We would be lost.. But I like the EP format so we might try that again soon.

10. ‘Sky And I (Himlen)’

Another warm, melancholic and slightly nostalgic song… finest SOL Material and happy that you keep the tradition of at least one song with Bebban on lead vocals alive. To me this feels like the centre of House as it’s also placed in the middle. How did you approach your first new album in almost five years? What defines these songs for you and how are they representatives for your current state in life?

I think we approach it the same way as always: we miss playing, we miss hanging out and I have a few ideas I want to try… But this time around we booked every Tuesday night for rehearsal and time for drinks. Bebban just had a baby so we where just the three of us and a drum machine so that sort of set the soundscape a bit. The songs on this album are maybe a bit more intimate and honest than the last album. I think they represent my life pretty accurate. We wanted it to sound and feel like a ”local” album. Sounds and themes from our neighborhood.

And – since we’re also in a slightly reflective mode – what would the Shout Out Louds from 2002 say to that new selection of songs?

I think Shout Out Louds from 2002 would be disappointed – ”Almost 20 years and it still sounds like ’Howl Howl Gaff Gaff’ just a bit slower.”

11. A personal bonus tune

Here’s room for one special song of your discography that deserves more attention and is close to your heart.

One of my favorites lately is Circles from Optica. Carl had a great guitar riff and I started playing drums to it. We found the great intro loop from a Korg M1 synth and we joked around and thought it sounded like Scooby Snacks by Fun Loving Criminals. I really like the soundscape we created, the mediative but groovy vibe. The dreamy lyrics about being lost and not sure about your next step.

Shout Out Louds‘ lovely sixth album House is arriving on February 18 and there’s (hopefully) also going to be a tour happening later this year.