Random Rules: Eric Edman of Shout Out Louds
The shuffler: Eric Edman, drummer for Shout Out Louds, a Swedish indie-rock group that takes a low-tech approach to sweeping Europop. The band's latest EP, Impossible, came out on Merge Records April 8, and they'll be appearing at Coachella at the end of the month.
Håkan Hellström, "Den Fulaste Flickan I Världen"
Eric Edman: The title translates to "The Ugliest Girl In The World." Håkan's not too popular outside of Sweden. Maybe like in Norway or Denmark. This song is pretty slow; otherwise his album is more uptempo pop songs.
The A.V. Club: Do you try to keep up with the scene back home?
EE: Yeah, I try. There's some good bands coming up in Sweden, and we try to follow it as much as we can, when we're around. We miss some things while we're away touring. But yeah, Sweden is kind of a small country, and Stockholm, even though it's the biggest city, is not that big. The bands that come out of Stockholm basically know each other, collaborate with each other, play shows with each other. Håkan is actually from Gothenburg, where he used to play in a band called Broder Daniel. But we're all kind of close.
Junior Boys, "Like A Child"
EE: I'm not actually sure what song this is. I know the album, though. I think it's very good. Cool songs. A year or two ago, I was more into electronic dance music, and I went up to clubs and things like that. Now I'm back to buying more guitar-based music. I like when the song makes you want to dance, but that's not the most important thing to me.
The Rolling Stones, "Loving Cup"
EE: This is on my iPod, but I never listen to it.
AVC: Not a Stones fan?
EE: No, not really, actually. I mean, they've done some good songs, but you know, I've never been a fan. I think I bought this album because I heard a lot about it and wanted to listen to it. Then I put it on my iPod and listened to it once.
AVC: It's considered one of the greatest rock 'n' roll albums of all time.
EE: It probably is a very good album. For me, I don't really care what the rock journalists think is the best album ever. But when I read so much about what is considered a classic, I try to at least listen to it, and have an opinion. It's like books. You're supposed to read all the classics, but it's not as fun, because you do it because you should, not because you really want to. I do listen to a lot of older music, just not always the music I should listen to. There's so much music that's been done over the years that is so good. You can buy some cheap vinyl that people throw out. Like Roxy Music or Fleetwood Mac albums, for very cheap. That's great.
AVC: Will you go back and try Exile On Main St. one more time?
EE: Yeah, now that we talked about it, I probably will.
Belle And Sebastian, "Mary Jo"
EE: It's from Tigermilk, which is a great album. I really like Belle And Sebastian. I discovered them six, seven years ago. When you find a band that you really like, and they've released three albums already, that's great. I bought all the albums at the same time, and I listened to them a lot for a very long time. I like that. My favorite song on this album is I can't remember. "Electronic Renaissance," maybe? I'm bad at names. Sometimes when you have an iPod, you plug it in at home and just listen to songs, and never pay attention to what the song's called.
AVC: Can you pin down what it is about Belle And Sebastian that appeals to you?
EE: Musically, I like the tenderness. It's so soft, so melodic. I like the way Stuart Murdoch sings, too. It's like he's telling a story. And you can dance to a lot of their songs as well. It's a mix of good things.
Feist, "How My Heart Behaves"
EE: I like that album. But her first album, I think I might like more. She sings very beautifully, and she can do whatever she wants. She did that Bee Gees cover on her first album, and she really toyed with it. She looks good, too. Very beautiful. Very appealing woman.
Sufjan Stevens, "Let's Hear That String Part Again, Because I Don't Think They Heard It All The Way Out In Bushnell"
EE: That's a very long title for what is only like a 38-second song. But it's from Come On Feel The Illinoise, which is a great, great album. I listen to it a lot. It came out a couple of years ago, but I still listen to it. I have it on vinyl too, but it's only two or three songs on each disc, and you have to flip it so many times. It's annoying. You have to get up like every 10 minutes. That's the bad thing about the new vinyl sometimes, because the album's not made for vinyl. It's spread out over like three or four sides. Sufjan seems like a character. I've never seen him live. I've never actually heard any of his other albums, but I heard he's a very productive man.
AVC: Stevens writes a lot of his songs by inputting melodic fragments into his computer and then shuffling them around. Very little of it is done live. How does that differ from the Shout Out Louds' process?
EE: We use a computer, but everyone plays live.
AVC: You seem to have more of an everyone-in-the-same-room kind of vibe.
EE: The first album was like that. The last album, we did more separate recording, actually. I mean, it was live, but we did some separate sounds to mix it up. The producer wanted that clean sound. It was more doing it one by one. It worked out well.
AVC: Do you find you perform differently if it's just you alone, vs. being able to watch someone else?
EE: Not really. Not much. But playing on a stage or in a studio is a very different thing. Onstage, you want to see your band members. It would be kind of weird if you couldn't see them. In the studio I'm more nervous actually in the studio sometimes, because it's on tape. You can hear everything you do. "This is it. This is actually recording." You can get away with a bad show, but you can't get away with a bad album. I think it's more nerve-wracking to record.
Ella Fitzgerald & Louis Armstrong, "A Fine Romance"
EE: Some easy listening. It's my mother who got me into that kind of easy-listening jazz music, like Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald. This album makes me think a lot about New York, actually. It sounds like New York when they sing it. Like a nice autumn day in Central Park, with yellow and orange leaves. You go inside to a nice apartment where you can listen to jazz.
AVC: With something that's been a part of your life since you were young, can you listen to it objectively as a musician, or do you only hear it as nostalgia?
EE: I'm not sure. And I don't know if you can hear that influence in our music, either. Maybe you can. Of course it's inspired me. Whatever you listen to growing up, in a way, it inspires you to play music a certain way. I mean, I still listen to a fair amount of jazz. I listen to the drummers. Jazz has some great drummers.