Love Is All Like It Their Way

Love Is All Like It Their Way
"We wanted to wait ’til after the U.S. election. If there would still be a Republican government in [the White House] we wouldn’t wanna release the album in the U.S. and that’s where our label’s at so...” writes Love Is All guitarist Nicholaus Sparding in an email. Sparding’s answer to why it took the band ten months to release A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night, their long-awaited second album, is bold. It’s also complete hogwash. Asked over the phone the next day about the validity of the band’s intentions, Sparding gives a polite laugh in his gentle Swedish tone. "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].”

Love Is All will be the first to tell you how atypical they are. The U.S. election had little to do with getting A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night into our hands much sooner. But losing one of their labels, EMI subsidiary Parlophone, had quite a bit to do with it. And unlike most bands that would question why they were dropped, Sparding wonders why they were even signed in the first place. "I don't know what they were thinking. 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. We didn't know what to do, being an indie band on a major label, so we were really self-critical. I actually don’t know what they’re gonna do with the [new] album — right now it’s only being released in North America [via What’s Yr Rupture?]. Hopefully they’ll let us license the album to another label in Europe.”

Having risen out of Gothenburg from the ashes of the late indie band Girlfriendo, the enthusiastic response to What’s Yr Rupture?’s low-key release of their debut LP, Nine Times That Same Song, completely shattered expectations and thrust them into the indie spotlight in 2006. The five-piece, which includes singer Josephine Olausson, drummer Markus Görsch, saxophonist Ake Stromer and bassist Johan Lindwall, were as surprised as anybody when rave reviews began pouring in, considering they were virtual unknowns with no hype behind them. Says Sparding, the band are "still laughing about it, overwhelmingly! We’d never really thought about being successful, so when everything happened we were totally surprised.” Part of that surprise stems from the fact that they came from nowhere — even within the hot Swedish scene. Athough they formed and developed in a city that boasts Jens Lekman, the Knife, José González, Air France and the Tough Alliance, among others, Love Is All never clicked in Sweden. The disconnect was so evident, Nine Times That Same Song was never even released at home. "We’ve hardly played [in Sweden] the last couple of years and the album wasn’t properly released here,” says Sparding. "We might be too rough and spontaneous for Sweden though. [It is odd] but I don't think we fit in with the kind of music we have in Sweden. That’s sad in a way, but you know we get to see all the happy people elsewhere.”

Few bands leave their home to begin finding an audience, but when an offer from their friend Kevin Pedersen, owner of the NYC-based What’s Yr Rupture?, offered to release their music, they set sail to the U.S. and went to work. "We had released a couple of seven-inches before, and then Kevin asked us if we wanted to put out an album using all of those EPs and singles, which we wanted to do,” says Sparding. "I think North America, the attitude is much more relaxed. We’ve never had a label in Sweden, it’s very small, and we play to a few hundred people wherever we go in America. And we have more fun there.”

Thanks to the big waves the band have made internationally, they’ve found that on the outside they may be Scandinavian, but inside and creatively, they're more in touch with how this side of the Atlantic functions. "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. That’s my general feeling.” That Love Is All don’t fit into their country’s landscape should come as no surprise. Their tattered and spiky lo-fi pop is more in the same vein as artists like LiLiPUT, Comet Gain and the Raincoats. Despite rounding the jagged edges of their debut’s more post-punk tendencies, A Hundred Things Keep Me Up At Night still concentrates on capturing humble production quality and bursts of unbridled enthusiasm, which, according to the band, doesn’t exactly comply with Sweden’s overwhelming penchant for high-gloss and composed pop music. "They like things really clean over here,” he explains. "We have a dozen or so hardcore fans [laughs], but a lot of people are really annoyed by us for not being professional.”

It’s the band’s lack of professionalism that keeps them Love Is All, however. As far as progressing and trying to expand their sound, Sparding says it just doesn’t work for them to try and move beyond what they know, which is usually the game plan for any second album — if you ask any other band. "If we're trying too hard it’s always gonna sound weird,” he admits. "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.”

The same attitude, it appears, applies to recording. "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,” Sparding says. "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. 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.”