The Bowery Presents
Shout Out Louds

Shout Out Louds


Fri, May 10, 2013

Doors: 7:00 pm / Show: 8:00 pm

Webster Hall

New York, NY

$22 advance / $25 day of show

This event is 18 and over

Shout Out Louds - Chasing The Sinking Sun / 14th Of July / Tonight I Have To Leave It from valerie toumayan / I Love Sweden on Vimeo.

Shout Out Louds
Shout Out Louds
Time is a complicated thing, I've always known that. And as "always" is a reference to time, and time is a relative concept, don't believe anything I say about it except this:

Ten years is a very long time, when you're young.

Back when we were 'four boys and one girl who play together in a band,' I don't know if any of us bothered to think much about where we would be ten years later. I know that if I did, it was in terms of how much longer I thought it would take for ten years to pass. There was a time when we were dragging our instruments along Camden Road on our way from the underground to our very first London show, stopping every other minute for me to catch up with the taller members of our unit, in the hopes of someone having miraculously come up with a painless way to lug an entire orchestra across town on foot. A man at a gas station shouted at us from across the road:

"Don't worry, in ten years you will think back at this moment and laugh!"

It was nice of him, and I think I might have held onto that one shout, not as words of solace or reassurance, but as an absolute truth. We have looked back and laughed at moments of almost picturesque struggle, many times, but that's not what I'm talking about. I just always knew that we would last through the years, and I pinned that certainty onto the man and what he said, as one does when one knows something one can't explain any better than that. What I didn't know back then, however, was that years travel by at the speed of light.

"Optica," our fourth album, was built on a foundation of those two basic and elusive ideas -- time and light. Time, because although we have been known to take our fair share of it between releases, this became the album where we made a conscious decision not to let time be anything but an anonymous passer-by. Seasons came and went while we plodded along in the studio, below ground, where the only references to time passing was whether the space heater was on or off and whether we felt hungry or not. All the while, we were discussing times long since past in lyrics and musical references, as well as the future, of music, of ourselves, and the world above us. 2013 is meant to be the year of our band's 10th anniversary. According to apocalyptic prophecies it is also meant to be the end of time -- lights out. During our time underground we have thoroughly discussed both possible scenarios. As far as light goes, it may seem excessive to proclaim its significance. But ask anyone living within or bordering on the Arctic circle and they will most likely have more to say about it than folks from other latitudes. We don't take it for granted. Actual doctors prescribe light to us as a cure for ailments and deficiencies. There are places you can go to receive synthetic sunlight for lack of the real thing during the long winter. When the light returns to our part of the world in the spring, the metamorphosis of our inhabitants is as shocking as it is endearing, year after year.

Over this past year, our band has constantly talked about light. For some of us it has had a lot to do with photography and visual ideas, everything from light design on stage to finding a shade of a color that says something beyond its name. For me it has been about how one can perceive a place or a person differently depending on the weather or what time of the day you encounter them, and about how I repeatedly chose to sit brick still in the sun on the curb rather than going for lunch with the others because of an absolute need I have to absorb things, like light, alone and consciously to function properly. Plus, Adam and I could not stop talking about meteors and comets. We named the album "Optica," after the science of light.

For "Optica," we took a sharp turn from the greyscale, indoor landscape of our previous album "Work" in pursuit of boldness, and brightness. We decided not to hold back, at all. In our eagerness to please no one but ourselves this time around, we decided to take on the challenge of producing our own music for the first time ever. Our close friend and sound aficionado of choice Johannes Berglund and his studio in Stockholm presented us with an ideal package for the endeavor. A secluded work space close to home but off the earth's surface, a more than generous timeline, and the patient and brilliant sixth member we needed to get through the whole thing safely. Together we made up a downstairs world of explosive colors, big, warm sounds and a very, very uninhibited work process. We never worried about following a clear path, trusting that the conscious decision not to worry would be enough to lead us right, and that right doesn't necessarily have to mean rational or even reasonable.

The songs came to present themselves to us bit by bit, through an endless, lighthearted series of erratic choices. A visit from a string quartet, followed by one from a brass section, followed by an urgent need for mental space, followed by an equally urgent lack of actual elbowroom, leading to a full day of synthesizer mayhem courtesy of Carl and Johannes, while Adam and I... well... talked about meteors and comets. We all set prestige and skillfulness aside in favor of experimentation and sheer gusto, and many work days turned into open mic nights. In all honesty, we made up, layered and disfigured so many sounds that by the time we were done playing no one had any idea who played what, where or when. Blessed be those who, when the time comes to discern piquant from monstrous and fearless from idiotic, have plenty of time.

As with the music, the lyrics on this album have presented themselves bit by bit. A song that started off as a love story ended up a eulogy, one that began as an intergalactic news report turned into a metaphorical fist fight, and ended up a love story. Still, there was something very deliberate about our choice of words this time around. Or maybe I just see it that way because I was more invested in the process than ever before, and it could be that even the most creative side of me can only take so much freedom. I am robotic and incorruptible in my quest to make lyrics comprehensible, if only to myself. Adam is the opposite, all heart. Together we write good and well, and this was the first time we took full advantage of that mostly fortunate combination.

We wrote about love of course, about things we've seen, dreamed and lived. And about time, in all tenses. Light. And then, as always, our ever-present motif of traveling. The places we've been, the ones we're dying to return to, and the ones we hope to see before we die. We made "Optica" in great anticipation of lugging our orchestra across the planet once more, and we can't wait to get out there.

And even if our 10th year as a band will bring the end of the world as we know it, we mean to face whatever lies ahead of us outside, in the light, in full color.
There is something decidedly mystical about HAERTS' story and it's reflected in their sound, a kind of elegiac but warm electro-pop, which is showcased on their debut EP, "Hemiplegia." Fittingly, you can almost narrate the band's entire trajectory via the personal astrology charts of its members -- an international constellation composed of Nini Fabi, Ben Gebert, Garrett Ienner and Derek McWilliams. Every time something major has happened for HAERTS, it seems to center around the birthday of a band member or someone close to them.

HAERTS began in a small Greenpoint apartment in the early fall of 2010. Long time musical collaborators Nini Fabi and Ben Gebert hoped to locate that emotional and sonic spot between the familiar and unknown. If this all sounds a bit romantic, like the fantasy of many young musicians who seek out Brooklyn as the backdrop to their musical love affair, it's because it is.

"When we moved to America it was in the back of our minds that we would never come back," explains Fabi, who grew up in Germany and has known Gebert since they were on a swim team together as teenagers. "People always say that when you come to New York, you need to have a plan or something lined up. We had nothing lined up. We just came here. We knew we needed to live here and make music."

"Ben and I have known each other since we were fifteen," Fabi explains. "But at first I was hesitant to make music with him because he was a little further along and I was secretive." Fabi, who was born in Ohio before moving to Germany, was raised in a family where music and art was extremely important and at the core of everything. "I sang with my sister," she says. But Gebert, a native German, had been playing piano since he was three and was composing his own music by age ten. "I studied formally in high school and we all went to college for music as well," Gebert recalls. "He came from that crazy classical schooling," Fabi says.

The formality of that schooling initially seemed to contrast with what music was to Fabi, namely, a kind of interior, intimate, emotional thing. "It was so important I almost didn't want to share it with anyone because then I could lose it," she explains. The first song they wrote was a birthday present for a friend. "It was utilitarian," Fabi says, laughing. "We didn't have a gift for him so we wrote him a song!" They were only 15 years old at the time but the productive tension they discovered still animates HAERTS' creative core. "Benny is still the guy that's the foundation in the songwriting, he's on that composition element and I'm still the one more interested in melody and words," Fabi says. Gebert agrees. "I would literally never write lyrics. It wouldn't occur to me." Fabi laughs. "Basically, I was always more concerned with what we're trying to say and Benny was more concerned with how we're saying it. That's still exactly how it is."

A few years later the pair moved to Boston to study. There, they met and began collaborating in other projects with HAERTS bassist Derek McWilliams. The general flavor of the music Fabi and Gebert made at the time could loosely be described as Americana; they wanted to intimately understand the nature of songwriting and melody, how to build something elegant and efficient and pure. Eventually, though, the pair began to get a bit restless; they craved expansion. That's where Brooklyn came in. "We both love it here and would live here regardless," Gebert says, "but we wanted to be here in part because there was a lot of music that we liked being made here."

New York had more than just music to offer. "We wanted to do music but we didn't want to be in a place where that's all there is," Fabi explains. "It's important that New York has all this different cultural influence." That broad-spectrum culture was a reflection of what the pair was craving sonically.

Confined to their Brooklyn apartment, Fabi and Gebert began to search for this elusive other sound. Progress was made but it wasn't until the pair connected with Jean-Philip Grobler of St. Lucia that the new challenge they were seeking really presented itself. Again, there was a birthday involved; this time, a mutual friend's birthday party at a bar. A few days later, Fabi and Gebert found themselves at Grobler's South Williamsburg studio listening to some work he'd done with a friend of theirs. They were impressed. By the summer of 2011, Fabi and Gebert decided to share what they'd been working on with Grobler, who loved what he heard. "We went into the studio the next week and that's how it started," Fabi says.

At first it was a little scary to be working with another person after so much time spent in a creative cocoon. The pair had never before worked with a producer. But it was also fun, and very productive. Within six months they'd recorded enough songs for an entire album, many of which will be included on HAERTS' forthcoming debut full-length. "We had a connection with him that you only have with very few people in your life," Fabi says of Grobler.

Even though Fabi in particular initially felt wary of synthetic sound, they really enjoyed messing around with all of Grobler's cool gear. "When we first started recording with Jean, we were like, 'Oh that's cool, what's this?' We'd ask, 'What's this pedal?" Fabi recalls. "He would always answer 'Oh, it's not mine, it's Garrett's.' Every time we asked about something, he'd reply, 'It's my friend Garrett's.' Finally, we had to know. Who is this Garrett guy?!" That would be Garrett Ienner, now HAERTS' guitarist.

"We had been looking for a third creative and emotionally involved member," Fabi explains, "a partner who was on the same page as us, who needed this music as much as we did, who would live for it 100 percent. We felt that Garrett was someone who could grow with us and who we could grow with."

A longtime New Yorker and member of the music community, Ienner worked with Grobler on and off for years. While Fabi and Gebert were finding their way to a new sound, Ienner had been taking a break from music. After a late night at work, he showed up at Grobler's birthday party and met Fabi and Gebert for the first time. Ienner had hardly touched a guitar in two years but he soon realized this was right. "I reached a breaking point after such a long period of time of not playing," Ienner says. "It crept up on me, and I suddenly realized I couldn't go on anymore without making music. I was really looking for a project to belong to, a place to eventually call home."

Behind the scenes, Grobler was working to unite Fabi and Gebert with Ienner, and as luck would have it, the stars finally aligned. "We were a little hesitant to work with him because we liked him so much as a friend," Fabi says. So they took things slow at first. Shortly after throwing Ienner a birthday party, Fabi and Gebert sent him six or seven songs. "Aesthetically I'm into a lot of the same sounds that Nini and Ben are into. It just felt really natural," Ienner explains. "We hadn't even known each other for that long at this point, but we already had such a strong personal bond." About a week later, they went to Grobler's studio. "All of your gear was already there! Your spirit was there from the beginning!" Fabi says to Ienner, laughing. "No, seriously, he came in and we played and it was just perfect. We knew it right away."

"When it came to completing the group, we also knew right always that it had to be Derek on bass," Gebert says. "For Derek, music is as important as it is to us and being friends with him for so many years we always knew that he was the person we wanted as part of this."

Born and raised in the UK, McWilliams moved to the US around the same time as Nini and Ben, and the three met soon after. Despite playing music for many years, being a musician was not always an easy journey. "I did not grow up with music. It's sometimes a mystery to me that I am doing it, because I cannot connect times in my childhood where I was allowed to be passionate about it. I could never share it with my family, simply because it was not allowed. Being with people where I can share this passion is very special and to come to this later in life, I realized that the personal connection to the ones you play with is a big part of the music itself. To that extent it feels like HAERTS is the first band I've ever played with, because I did not jam away in garage bands as a kid."

In the fall of 2012, HAERTS knew it was time to let one of the tracks they'd been carefully working on see the light of day. They all agreed "Wings" made the best first impression. "Musically there is a lot happening in the track, but at its core, 'Wings' is rooted in songwriting," Ienner explains. "The greatest goal is always to find a way to most faithfully express and maximize the song and its emotion. I think with 'Wings,' there is a theme that is timeless but it's delivered in a way that is modern and can still connect with people."

"It has a general feeling -- a melancholic feeling that is also hopeful and warm with a bit of darkness -- that's in all our songs," Fabi elaborates. And while they believed in "Wings," they didn't have high expectations. It wasn't until Derek Davies posted the track on his influential Neon Gold blog that the frenzy began. They quickly built their team and found a home with Columbia Records, this time on Fabi's birthday. After so much time has passed since the project began, HAERTS couldn't be more excited to finally have people hear more material.

"All the Days" has a haunting, propulsive charm while "All For You" is a timeless slow jam that could be the soundtrack to awkward middle school slow dances for years to come. But "Hemiplegia" is perhaps the most complete synthesis of the band's sonic and emotional aesthetics. "Ever since I was a little kid, I've had this crazy thing where all of a sudden half of my body gets numb," Fabi says. "I can't speak. Something in my brain just disconnects and I don't feel a thing." The condition comes and goes unpredictably. "When we finally went to the studio to record vocals on a big part of the album, all of a sudden I lost my sense of speech," Fabi recalls. "I got really scared and everyone was really worried. I started seeing doctors. And I started hearing this word 'hemiplegia.'" For Fabi, the literal hemiplegia has subsided, but the memory of that feeling of not being able to act when you really want to stays with her. "In the song, I'm not talking about the condition," she explains. "It's a metaphor -- you see exactly what you want to do but you can't. Who hasn't felt that way?"

Making the personal universal is what HAERTS is all about. The sound they've built is a reinforcement of the idea that we all feel joy and despair in equal measure and can find something good in sharing it. "This music is so meaningful to us," Fabi says. "If it can also be meaningful for other people, that's what we want. I don't think pop music is a bad thing. For me, it means music that a large number of people can relate to and if you really believe in your music, you want everyone to hear it. You want the most people to feel it."
Venue Information:
Webster Hall
125 East 11th Street
New York, NY, 10003