Shout Out Out Out Out is an Edmonton-based electronic band that believes in building one’s reputation from the ground up. Producing groundbreaking material via their own label, Normals Welcome Records, the six-piece sonic juggernaut has achieved a remarkable degree of success over its eight years without bowing to popular convention.
“We’re not a vocal band, we’re a voco band,” lead singer/synth player Nik Kozub says. “I’ve always been a fan of that old vocoder sound, so we continue to use that. The gear is really important to us — one of the reasons the band started is that we have this interest in old analog synths and technology and wanted to work with those instruments. What makes us sound the way we do and have the show we do is the culmination of our backgrounds. We all come from punk bands, so that’s ingrained in us, but we’re actually decidedly focused on playing electronic music, house music, disco and techno.”
A tightly wound followup to their 2006 Juno nominated debut, Not Saying / Just Saying, the band’s instigative sophomore effort, Reintegration Time, fulfilled its promise to freeze digital wizards in their tracks. Shout Out’s next exercise in harmonious defiance, titled Spanish Moss and Total Loss, cold-cocked concert-goers and club-crawlers alike.
“I think that we have changed a bunch over the years, and I think our new album is as different from Reintegration Time as that second album was from the first,” Kozub says. “We’ve taken a lot of time between records and in that time our tastes have changed and evolved. In terms of extra instrumentation, we left everything really open. The new album was written entirely in the studio, so if we thought something needed a piano, we used a piano. Our song ‘Never the Same Way Twice’ has some saxophone parts that were originally played on the bass. We thought it would sound cool on a saxophone, so we brought in a saxophone player to do that for us. It was about just letting things happen naturally, and breathe, and come to life however they wanted to.”
Attracted to the concept of using technology to enhance and inform their artistic virtues, the ensemble benefits from musical experiences on both sides of the turntable. Kozub and founding member/co-record label executive Jason Troock both moonlight as DJs. The two sneak in DJ sets while on tour and whenever they’re not busy navigating a universe of sawtoothed waveforms with bandmates Lyle Bell (synth/bass), Willie Dieminzz (bass), Gravy (drums) and Clint Frazier (drums).
Slated for a hometown performance on Whyte Avenue in celebration of Alberta Culture Days at the end of the month, Alberta’s de facto disco kings are still reverberating with excitement after participating in a weeklong artists-in-residence program at Calgary’s hallowed National Music Centre.
“There are few things we enjoy more than pushing voltage around and filtering it and manipulating it,” says Kozub. “People don’t think of analog synths as being organic, but to me they really are. Calgary is very lucky to host the NMC. It’s a stunning and fantastic facility and collection. It’s absolutely amazing. We were essentially in there 12 hours a day, just recording and making sounds with all the gear. We wrote and recorded six songs exclusively using the one-of-a-kind instruments from their collection. The result of that is going to be an EP that we’re going to release as a stand-alone project. It’s very different, but it turned out good. I’m really happy with how we rose to that challenge. Our whole summer was really inspiring and creative.”