UTG INTERVIEW: Slim Loris

Slim Loris

Under the Gun Review is pleased to bring you this exclusive interview with Stockholm, Sweden’s pop rock troupe, Slim Loris.

The band has a brand new album coming out next month, entitled Future Echoes and Past Replays, and they took some time to speak with us about it. We also discussed some of their plans for the near future and a lot about Sweden, so read through the break to familiarize yourself with Slim Loris and be on the lookout in the coming weeks for our review of Future Echoes and Past Replays.

It seems that none of the members in the band are named Loris, so where does the name come from?
True, there’s no Loris in the band, and no Slim either. At the time when we were looking for a name someone told me a story about this program they had watched about this cute, weird looking animal called Slender Loris. However, the person telling the story couldn’t quite remember the name and referred to it as Slim Loris. I thought it had a nice ring to it and decided to name the band after a mispronounced animal.

You have a brand new album releasing this next month. What influences had come into your life since your last album that you feel played an important role on this effort?
Both Robert, our guitar player and Jonas, our drummer have become dads for the first time in the last year so obviously that’s been a huge inspiration for them and given them a new view on life and music. When it comes to the lyrics, I’ve always gotten most of my inspiration from the grey and mundane everyday life and the thoughts that go around in your head during that time. While my bandmates have been experiencing big life changing events between the albums I’ve had a very uneventful time where I’ve been able to explore those thoughts in detail which has made me grow as a lyricist.

How would you compare Future Echoes and Past Replays to the work on Down To Earth in terms of progression and quality of musicianship?
On Down To Earth we were going for a very genuine sound; sort of a “live in the studio” thing. This time around we wanted keep that foundation but dress the songs in a bigger suit and create more atmosphere around them. We’ve worked a lot harder on the arrangements and used everything from banjos to baking trays to get the sound we were after. Also we’ve brought in a few more guest musicians that have really taken the songs to a new level. We set out with the idea to make a big production sound intimate and I think we came quite close to the sound we were looking for on Future Echoes and Past Replays.

Being from Sweden, how has the “Americana” sub-genre tag come into play with your music? Any specific influences that have led to that?
I suppose years of listening to a lot of American music and watching American films have subconsciously altered our minds. Also Swedish and American folk music has a lot in common in terms of instrumentation with fiddles and acoustic guitars and mandolins etc, even if the Swedish version is a bit colder and more melancholic. There is a scene over here with bands like us playing a Scandinavian version of Americana. It even has its own name: Scandicana.

Are there any specific songs on the new album that hold more personal weight for you than others?
All songs are written from a very personal perspective but there’s two that stand out a bit more. For Robert, the song “October in White” has a very special meaning. He got married last October and at the wedding when his vows were read it struck me how much they sounded like lyrics to a song. Around that time we had been working on a song based on a guitar piece he had written. I was struggling a bit to come up with the right lyrics for it so I decided to abandon my usual lyrical themes and suggested to base it around his vows, which he was happy to do, and that became “October in White.”

For me it would be the song “Head on the Floor,” which is basically my life in a song. It’s about being able to find some happiness in everyday boredom and about having someone there to help you find that happiness. The lyrics are both in English and Swedish as a reflection of my home life where it’s a constant mix of the languages since my wife is British.

To expand on that, I’ve always kind of been curious about this with bands that aren’t from the US, and I’m admittedly somewhat ignorant to the subject. Is there a particular reason that you choose to write and record your music in English? And how does that affect your local fanbase that may not know or speak English?
Growing up in Sweden we’ve always had the English language around us. The majority of the music being played is from the US or UK or from Swedes singing in English. We don’t dub our films and TV programs either so most stuff we watch on TV is in English too, with subtitles fair enough, but still enough to pick up quite a bit. Almost all music that has inspired us is written in English so it actually feels more natural to sing in English than Swedish. Singing in Swedish has a different flow to it; you tend to articulate more and the sentences are put together differently so every time I sing something in Swedish it feels weird. Thankfully it doesn’t affect our local fanbase since it’s so common over here to write in English.

Future Echoes and Past Replays doesn’t come out for a whole month and fans can already listen to it in its entirety. Do you feel it’s important to stream your album on platforms like Bandcamp before it’s even released? What do you think are the benefits of doing so?
After working for what seemed like forever on the album, all we wanted was to get it out for people to hear as soon as it was finished and streaming it gives us this opportunity. If I read about new music that seems interesting I want to be able to hear it straight away so if someone reads about us and feels the urge to hear what we sound like, we want them to be able to do that which is a great benefit.

It looks like you guys have had a Facebook page for a couple years but you only have about 60 “likes” as of now. Do you think this new album has the potential to expand your fanbase?
God, I hope so. We don’t aim for the title “best kept secret in music” but have a tendency to get our heads stuck in the music and forget that there’s another side to it as well where you need to get seen and heard. We hope to change that with this new album and feel that it has the potential to do that. So to anyone reading this, if you wanna make life a bit brighter for a bunch of Swedes who just spent the last six months in snow, pitch darkness and extremity freezing cold, please “like” us on Facebook.

Do you have any touring plans for support of the album?
Plans, nothing concrete yet. Desire, very much so. We have some gigs lining up in Sweden which will hopefully be a few more soon so a Swedish tour will probably happen but abroad we don’t know. We’ve all toured outside Sweden with other bands in the past, mainly in the UK but also as far away as Australia. We love playing live and it would be fantastic to be able to do the same with Slim Loris. None of us have been playing across the Atlantic so that’s something we would really want to do but we will see. Hopefully this album will open some doors for us.

This is somewhat unrelated, but, myself, being a film lover, I watch a lot of Swedish films. What are some of your favorites?
That’s nice to hear. I think you have probably seen the best we have to offer then since we’re a fairly small country with limited film production. When it comes to Swedish film I prefer to watch comedies since there’s a dark, sarcastic sense of humor in a lot of it that appeals to me. Don’t know how that works on a non-Swede though since we are a bit special in the head. For example we have the word “unswedish” in our language that actually has a positive meaning to it. So calling a Swede “unswedish” is paying him a compliment which I think wouldn’t work in most other countries. If you want a look in to this kind of mind there’s a fantastic film called fyra nyanser av brunt [from Tomas Alfredson, the director of Let the Right One In] meaning “four shades of brown”; a collection of four hour-long episodes that shows what goes on inside our heads.

If you guys were to quit music tomorrow, what would you regret that you hadn’t yet accomplished?
That we hadn’t fully explored how far we could take Slim Loris. Like you so accurately pointed out earlier, we haven’t been the best at getting our music out to people in the past but we really want to change that and also go out and bring the live experience of Slim Loris to a bigger crowd. Not being able to have done that would be a massive regret.

With the album about to release, what are you going to be working on now that it’s completed?
Since we’e had our heads so deeply buried in the recording recently, it feels very uplifting to just play the songs together as a band again and we’re currently working on getting the live act together again. We can’t wait to go out and play live. Also we will be shooting a video for the song “Head on the Floor” in a few weeks time. During recording we put most new ideas on the back burner so as soon as we finished it we started to play around a bit with new material trying to figure out which direction to take our music next.

 
Written and conducted by: Brian Lion – Follow him on Twitter

Brian Leak

Editor-In-Chief. King of forgetting drinks in the freezer. Pop culture pack rat. X-Phile. LOST apologist.
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