Published Nov 26, 2008Interviewing Sweden's Love Is All became more difficult than I expected. Band members were scattered all over the world and it became tough to track them down, so one day I took a chance and just emailed some questions to the band's general email address. Thankfully, I got a quick response but with some terse answers from guitarist Nicholaus Sparding. Being the nice guy that he is, however, Nicholaus followed that up with an invitation to call him so he could elaborate. The following is a divided transcript with the both email and phone answers.
I remember reading back at the beginning of the year that the album was done. Why did it take till November to get it out?
We wanted to wait til after the U.S. election. If there would still be a Republican government in we wouldn't wanna release it in the U.S. and that's where our label's at so...
We wanted to release it in February this year, but it was delayed all the time for a number of reasons, but the election helped. [Laughs] I don't know about the delay, it's just a bunch of those boring things like the labels; things take time when you have two labels - Parlophone and What's Yr Rupture - and there's a lot going on. When you have two labels we found ourselves talking over our heads all the time. I guess that's why.
What made you decide to work with the Aislers Set's Wyatt Cusick? What did he bring to the album?
We weren't pleased with the first mix of the album so we asked Wyatt cause he always gets the job done. He's a very trustworthy guy, and he's also a splendid cook! I wasn't too involved in the mixing of the album but the rest of the band was there pretty much around the clock - producing with Wyatt.
How did writing and recording A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night differ from the first album?
It was a slower working process due to the fact that we had all the time in the world to do it. I guess the writing and recording was pretty much the same though.
I think that's actually true because we had so much time, coming off tour for over a year. When we came back there was pressure from the labels, and it was really hard to do the second album. So I guess we were just sitting in the studio all the time, talking too much and playing too little. So, I guess we just didn't do anything.
Yeah, we wanted to be finished but there were too many discussions... Parlophone licensed the first album, which made it really difficult for us to think about ourselves. They didn't interfere, it was just our vibe. We didn't know what to do, being an indie band on a major label, so we were really self-critical. We had a major dip after the first album.
Were there any things you were looking to try and do differently this time around?
I think if we tried to do something different, it always ends up, like if you're trying to hard it's always gonna sound weird. We've tried different things on a couple songs, but we always trash those ones. I think we're that kind of band because we talk too much, so whenever we do anything spontaneously, I think that's where all of the good songs come from. There are differences in the production, and of course, there are 11 different songs. I guess we took a bit more time to record this one. [Wyatt's] a really good friend, and Josephine's husband, so he's been around for a while.
Once again there's a lo-fi sound to the album. Is that simply how you record or do you purposely try to get that rough sound? Do you consider it a signature sound of the band?
We're just lazy.
I guess we're lazy when it comes to recording. We work a lot on the arrangements, and work on it for ages before we record it. And then when we all kind of agree that when we do too many takes of a song it gets really boring and there's no edge to it. That's what we've learned having played together for so many years. And I guess that's a good thing to think about when you record. I suppose it always depends on what band you're in, but for Love Is All it's always better to use take number one or two rather than take number ten, because sometimes the energy can disappear. That's not laziness, really, but I think we all generally get bored when we record, in a good way. It can really change the situation.
The band really came out of nowhere when Nine Times That Same Song came out. Did it feel that way to you? Was it overwhelming for you at all, or were you able to take it in stride?
Still laughing about it, overwhelmingly!
We had released a couple of seven-inches before, and then Kevin from What's Yr Rupture? asked us if we wanted to put out an album using all of those EPs and singles, which we wanted to do. But we'd never really thought about being successful, so when everything happened we were totally surprised. I guess we were just lucky with timing, because it was just before everything went to hell with record labels. I don't know what they were thinking, EMI. I actually don't know what they're gonna do with the album, right now its only gonna be released in North America. Hopefully they'll let us license the album to another label in Europe.
I don't think we're on EMI anymore, it's a long story but it's also very simple. We would never sell as many records as they would need us to. They wanted us to work with a few different engineers for the new album, and we didn't like the sound of it. I guess they don't have any money anymore either, so they just don't want to put out anything they'd lose money on.
Josephine is a freelance music journalist I read. Does the band benefit from that at all? I'm not in a band, but I have been and I feel like there is some sort of advantage just knowing what to avoid, what could be of interest, etc.
Probably. I guess you could say Josephine and Markus are media trained as opposed to the rest of us.But we've never discussed it or anything. Everything that's good about us is about misunderstandings. That doesn't allow us to make strategies about how to present ourselves or how to sound etc. We're very well trained monkeys behind instruments. There's nothing more to it really.
You guys aren't a young band. Does it make things harder touring, recording and just being in a band than it was a decade ago?
We're still young but yes it's harder now than ten years ago I would say. Back then my mental condition was more stable.
You guys almost seem defined by the bands people think inspired you. Are you as in touch with post-punk as everyone believes you are?
No, not at all
I've always imagined that Love Is All make music spontaneously. Is that true?
Yes and no.
How did adding James [Aushfahrt] change the band's dynamic?
Things went crazy. He's a fun, spontaneous, kind and remarkably energetic young man. i want to adopt him.
You guys released a remix album. Were you pleased with the results?
How are you received in Sweden or even in Gothenburg compared to other places?
Don't really know cause we've hardly played here the last couple of years and the album wasn't properly released here. We might be too rough and spontaneous for Sweden though. That's sad in a way but you know we get to see all the happy people elsewhere.
We never had a label in Sweden. What's Yr Rupture? is our only label now. So, whenever we get the chance we will release something on our own there. We hardly ever play Sweden, just a couple of shows a year. I think North America, the attitude is much more relaxed; I don't know about the industry, but the people are. Sweden is very small, and we play to a few hundred people wherever we go in America. And we have more fun there. [It is odd] but I don't think we fit in with the kind of music we have in Sweden. We have fans here, a dozen or so hardcore fans [laughs], but a lot of people are really annoyed by us for not being professional. They like things really clean over here. There are a lot of great bands in Sweden that do well, it's just that we don't fit in here.
With both Love Is All and Girlfriendo, we've toured in the U.S. and met so many different bands that have been so influential on us. I think that's a very important part of making music: hanging out with other bands and see them playing their music. It helps you get inspired. And that sense of community is very different in Sweden. It's not a very friendly scene over here in Sweden. That's my general feeling, anyways.