Stockholm-based indie-rock band Shout Out Louds have been steadily building a following across the world over the past decade, touring with such acts as Kings of Leon and The Strokes, and having key song placements in popular films and television shows such as How I Met Your Mother, One Tree Hill and Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist. They are currently preparing to release their fourth full-length album, Optica, due to drop on Feburary 26, accompanied by a worldwide tour that includes a kick-off date in New York on March 11, followed by four days at SXSW in Austin. (See the band’s website for full tour information.)
Shout Out Louds’ guitarist Carl von Arbin was good enough to answer a few questions for MIMO, speaking to us via Skype from Stockholm during a break from band rehearsal.
MIMO: We’re talking with Carl von Arbin of the band Shout Out Louds, based in Stockholm, Sweden. Thank you so much for taking some time with me, Carl, and answering a few questions.
Carl: Thanks for having me.
MIMO: First of all, you have a new record, Optica, coming out this month. What can you tell us about the record and how do you think it stands out from your previous work?
Carl: Well, this time, this is our fourth album and we have really been kind of starting fresh almost. We got rid of all of our – kind of threw away the chains, things that kind of tend to hold you down, or whatever. It’s almost, I’d say, like an homage to creativity, but within the frames of music. So we really wanted to break our own boundaries in that sense.
MIMO: Do you feel that came out pretty well in the recording?
Carl: Yeah, we’ve been taking a lot of time doing this album. Like this time around, we had a friend that had a studio and so we’ve been in his studio recording this on and off for about two years. Normally, we’d stay in the studio for one or two months and that’s it. This time we were able to really work things, like try things and really try every idea.
MIMO: Just really take your time?
Carl: Yeah, but not to have the playfulness and not to make it calculated, to really make – just really work, work every aspect of what we could.
MIMO: You guys have been together as a band for about ten years now, or so. How would you say that the relationships between band mates has changed during the years? Is it different working together now than it was when you started?
Carl: Yeah. Well, we tend to kind of get stuck in different roles, but we still surprise each other. I don’t know. I guess we’re just better. Everybody knows their part better, in a way. It’s almost like a little factory, like…Everybody does a part. Everybody has an assignment in a way. It’s not like you have to tell anybody to do anything. It’s a very smooth machine.
MIMO: What is the creative process like for your band? How are the songs created? Is there one person that kind of heads up the songwriting, or do you all kind of play a part?
Carl: Well, I’d say Adam is absolutely the key, the singer. Let’s say mostly the music comes out of somebody [bringing] in something, and they present it to the rest of the band and then everybody can add their part….Lyric-wise, it’s Bebban and Adam that kind of work around the lyrics.
MIMO: Tell us a little bit about the music scene in Stockholm. What is it like there and how is it different from what you’ve experienced here in the U.S.?
Carl: I’d say this is kind of small community that, if you’ve been around for a little bit, everybody knows everybody. There’s collaboration across the board, which is a good thing. Also, there’s like a healthy, I would say, competition, so to speak. We kind of push each other forward in that sense.
MIMO: I guess you could probably answer this as best you can for the band or answer it for yourself. What do you think is your favorite part of what you do? The flipside is, what is the least favorite part of what you do?
Carl: My favorite part is creating. It’s to be able to live on this to create stuff. I think creativity is key to our society in a way that I want people to give things out of their own. Giving is good, and I think that’s a chunk of why I like this so much. The negative aspect would probably be when things get hectic. I don’t know, sometimes you miss home when you’re away for long, but that’s just whining.
MIMO: So, Shout Out Louds have some tour dates lined up with the album release. What can we look forward to with the shows? Anything you want to tell us about the concert tour?
Carl: We’ve been touring a lot and we’re really looking forward to come over and play in the U.S. It’s so dark and snowy here in Stockholm right now. That’s an escape. We kind of want to run away from here, so we’re really looking forward to come over.