Love Is All: Josephine Olausson
Love Is All are from Gothenburg, Sweden and comprise Josephine Olausson (vocals, keyboards), Johan Lindwall (bass), Markus Görsch (drums), Åke Strömer (saxophone, keyboards, replacing original saxophone player Fredrik Eriksson), and Nicholaus Sparding (guitar/vocals). Olausson, Sparding, and Görsch were previously members of the wonderful Girlfriendo. A string of sparkling singles on Kev Pedersen’s What’s Your Rupture? label was followed by signing to EMI/ Parlophone and releasing Nine Times That Same Song (2005) and A Hundred Things Keep Me Up at Night (2008) plus a remix album Love Is All…Mixed Up (2006), before their impressive new record Two Thousand and Ten Injuries came out on Polyvinyl Records. If you want to hear/ see how good they are, these are free links:
A free download of ‘Repetition’ from the new album is here
The video for ‘Kungen’ is here
An active touring band, Love Is All have a couple of English dates coming up:
11 June: CAMP, London
12 June: Proud Galleries, Camden
24 July: Indietracks festival, Ripley, Derbyshire
We spoke to Josephine in June 2010.
SXP: Your distinctive singing style fits your songs well. Are you influenced by anyone in particular?
Josephine: No. No one in particular, however I'm sure I found my singing style somewhere in my teenage years singing along to my favourite songs as loud as I could alone my bedroom. Then it took me ten years or so to build up enough guts to let anyone else hear it.
SXP: You've gone from small indie label to major label and back to a bigger sort of independent. Was there much pressure on you when signed to Parlophone? And was it an easy decision to record the new album without the security of a record deal (I understand that you weren't with Polyvinyl before recording it)?
Josephine: I actually think that there was more pressure than we managed to figure out. We knew exactly how we wanted to work, and I feel like Parlophone wasn't really loving our strategies. Fortunately we managed to survive getting dropped and, it might sound ridiculous, but I feel we came out stronger and more confident. Recording an album without a label was not a problem at all. We all love writing songs and recording music and since we have our own studio it would make no sense not to do just that.
SXP: In another interview you said that 'Herjazz' by Huggy Bear is your favourite song of all time. Were you particularly influenced by Riot Grrl, personally or musically?
Josephine: Yes. I loved Huggy Bear and Skinned Teen and a lot of other Riot Grrl bands. I was also really in to Slampt and different punk movements. I think those years have shaped me more than any other era in music has. I feel really fortunate having that as a part of my musical upbringing.
SXP: A couple of songs like 'Less Than Thrilled' on ‘Two Thousand and Ten Injuries’ have a slightly reggae-fied rhythm. Are you fans of the Slits?
Josephine: Again, yes. I've loved The Slits for as far as I can remember. I'm pretty sure I used to believe they'd written ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’.
SXP: A lot of your songs are quite abstract - but 'Kungen' on the new album is a proper story song, about seeing the King of Sweden out of a bus window in Gothenburg. Is it harder to write about real events and is something we might see more of?
Josephine: I don't know if it's harder really, maybe just a little more boring. The story about when I saw the king I think is absurd enough to be entertaining, unlike almost anything else that happens in my life... I would definitely not hesitate to write more about real events if the real events would all be that surreal.
SXP: You released a 12" EP on What's Your Rupture where all the songs were chosen by band members. Was that fun to do and did you like to sing all of your bandmates' choices (even Flock of Seagulls!)?
Josephine: It's so much fun doing those covers recordings. We've done another one all in Swedish too. I rarely mind singing the others’ choices, even though I would have to admit that I think that Flock Of Seagull’s song is pretty terrible.
SXP: Although a lot of Love Is All interviews that I read are with you, Love Is All has always seemed to be a democracy. Is that right and does democracy ever bring any problems?
Josephine: Yes, we are very much a democracy without anyone having any more to say. It can be very frustrating always having to argue over every little idea one might have, but in the end that's the way we've always worked and it's probably the reason for why we sound like we do...
SXP: How did you get involved with Still Flyin'? Is that a one-off thing or will you work with them again - and does that include recording?
Josephine: My husband is from San Francisco and was living with Sean when we first started seeing each other, so Sean has been a friend for ages. Wyatt, my husband, was playing with them from the start and I was a ‘Flyinette’ during some of those very early shows. So, it's not so strange that I sang with them recently again.
I doubt that we will be recording with them, but I know that everyone in Love Is All is a Still Flyin' fan, so who knows...
SXP: You're occasionally associated with other bands (for example Aisler's Set) and you're involved with the Still Flyin' posse. But do you have any particular affinity with any bands or "scenes"?
Josephine: We used to play a lot with the Aisler's Set in the beginning of the Love Is All history. It was always so much fun seeing them play and I really miss it. Wyatt was in the Aisler's Set and that's how we first met, so needless to say I feel a certain affinity with them.
We also used to play a lot of shows with Comet Gain, which were always a ton of fun. I really miss playing with those two bands...
SXP: I read that you were part of fanzine culture in the 1990s, writing a couple of 'zines and exchanging letters about music. Do you think that the blog culture of the internet has made that exchange of ideas better or just faster now? And are you still involved in discussing music with others?
Josephine: I definitely think that the blog culture has taken over some of the role that fanzines used to have. For the most part I think it's all good, being more interactive and faster. I really like how everything is so much more available to everyone, it makes it harder to be snobby about things. But then again, I can sometime miss the mystery that would surround a 7", and the anticipation waiting for it to arrive in the mail. The inserts, the artwork and the smell of a brand new single. Now, the same song would probably be just a mouse click away... But I don't want to be all nostalgic. And no, these days I only really discuss music with my friends in real life.
SXP: I've seen Love Is All play live a few times and you always seem to generate some incredible on-stage energy. How do you maintain that pace?
Josephine: I'm not sure we do. But when you're playing a really fun show I find it impossible standing still and keep a serious face. I think more than anything we feed off the crowd, and as long as there are a few people there who seem to be in to what we're doing that's enough to get us excited.