UTG INTERVIEW: Slim Loris Discuss ‘Love And Fear’

slim loris

Stockholm, Sweden’s Slim Loris have followed up 2013’s Future Echoes and Past Replays with their newest album, Love and Fear, which became available just last month. Previously a duo primarily, Slim Loris have become a full, four-piece band in a more permanent capacity, with plans to tour and write even more music in the near future.

We had the chance to speak with the band and we took time to discuss Love and Fear, the changes in Slim Loris since their last release, and much more, so read through our conversation below and stream the band’s newest album at the end.

I can’t believe it’s been two years, but I interviewed you guys in 2013. Besides the new album, which we’ll talk about soon, any major changes for the band?

I know, it sure doesn´t feel like two years since last. The major changes have mainly been in our personal lives. Two years older and a more settled life now I suppose. Both Robert and Leon have become dads in the last few months so it´s been a busy time for them trying to balance family, work and music, but they´ve been doing a really good job at it.

Have any of you been working on anything outside of Slim Loris since we last spoke?

I´ve played bass with a singer-songwriter called Maria Ribeiro and her band for a few gigs. It´s also through her we got in touch with producer Pecka Hammarstedt who ended up co-producing and mixing Love and Fear. Jonas, our drummer, is a massive reggae fan. It shines through occasionally in Slim Loris like on the track “Going Home” but outside the band he does full-on reggae with lyrics in Swedish. He did a video for one of his songs last year where I few Slim Loris members act as extras. [You can check out some of it here] for anyone interested.

When your last album released, had you already started working on Love and Fear or did that come later?

The writing is a constant work in progress. Ideas for songs can pop up at the most unexpected times like when sat watching some boring TV program and thoughts wander off or when in the studio recording and in between takes you just fiddle about a bit and something comes up. While working on recording an album all these new ideas get put on hold so when the album is finally done, after what´s for us usually 6 months or so, there is in best case a lot of new ideas laying around to start work on and after our last album fortunately that was the case.

How would you say Love and Fear differs from Future Echoes and Past Replays? Is there anything specifically you did differently this time around as far as the sound you wanted to focus on or the way it was recorded?

We did change quite a lot this time ’round. After doing two albums of acoustic-driven songs that had a live and organic feel to them we wanted to do a bit more produced sound. There is still fair few acoustic elements on there but the majority of the songs are more electric and vibrant. Also we have produced our previous albums ourselves and this time we wanted to see what a fresh set of ears could bring. I met producer Pecka Hammarstedt when dong a session as a bass player and instantly knew he was the man for the job. He has the same basic thoughts about music as us but new and brilliant ideas about how to get there. In the end he ended up producing 4 songs and mixing the whole album for us. He definitely added a new dimension to our sound.

And as far as your influences, had anything come into your lives since writing and recording the last album that you feel might have played a part in how this one developed, either musically or lyrically?

We do listen to a lot of different stuff and inspiration can change from day to day really so depending on what I´m into at the minute it reflects the sound of the songs I´m writing. Robert once told me that he´s learnt to never know what to expect whenever I show him a new idea. I think I went back to a lot of the 90s music I used to listen to like Blur, Primal Scream and Massive Attack. I like their way of mixing genres and I think that can be heard in our new songs.

And speaking of the lyrics, what kind of themes would you say are present throughout the record, and are there any tracks in particular that are especially personal or important for you?

I´ve always liked to write about stuff that goes on in our everyday life and this album is no exception. However, since all four members of the band have kids now that has somehow found its way into the lyrics. Not that I specifically planned to write about it, it just sort of happened by itself. Like “Kings and Queens,” that came off a conversation during a rehearsal about how our kids all are addicted to technology. Another song is “A House of Our Own,” where I started messing around with an idea about what it was like being a teenager wishing to leave home but it ended up being about parents wishing for the day their kids move out.

So you’ve become more of a full band since the last album, right?

On previous albums we´ve been a duo in the studio (with the help of a few others) and a four-piece live band, but this time it´s been more of a four-piece band all the way even in the studio, so all four of us have contributed a lot in the recording process. Also, we´ve had a handful of guest musicians, like a small brass section on two of the songs. When recording with our producer he tried every idea that came to mind during the recordings and whomever felt the urge played the part so a lot of different instruments and sounds ended up on the album – some played by him as well.

The cover image is weirdly fantastic. Where was that image shot at and where’d that idea come from?

Thank you. We´ve very happy with it. It’s the creation of a photographer called Mikael Ribeiro. I play bass with him and his wife Maria’s band from time to time and it was on the way back home from a gig that the idea came to life. Basically we wanted a photo that looked about a hundred years old but where you´ve thrown in an element that didn´t belong there at all. He found this hotel/conference center place out in the country side where they had a few rooms in 19th century style for us to shoot in. Originally we were going to be all four of us in the picture but Leon and Jonas couldn’t make it on the scheduled day so instead he dressed them up as Victorian royalties and shot their pictures in advance to use as paintings on the wall behind us.

slim loris cover

What was it about “Down” that made you want to choose it as the album’s lead single?

It wasn’t a unanimous call ’cause we all had different favorites but in the end I think “Down” is the song that shows off our new sound in the best way and I like leading with an uptempo song.

Do you have any plans for a music video on the way?

We have been planning for it for the last few months with a very talented director. He is a dear friend of ours and he did our last video, “Head on the Floor,” that we´re very happy with. He is a brilliant director but unfortunately for us a lot of other people have realized that too so he is extremely busy right now, but I hope it will happen later this summer.

And what about a tour? Will Slim Loris be hitting the road this summer or later on this year?

That’s the plan. We´ve warmed up with a couple of gigs here in Stockholm now so we are getting ready to go out on the road. We´re looking to go back to the UK again and have had an offer to go to Spain in the Autumn but nothing booked definite yet.

Anything else coming up for you guys this year that you can reveal or would like to talk about?

Basically it will be all about promoting Love and Fear as much as possible. Hopefully with lots of playing live, ’cause that’s what we love doing. We´re also looking to write more songs and keep evolving as a group. Love and Fear has been the start of something new and we´re eager to take it even further.

Brian Leak

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