WHO NAMED THE BAND: Shout Out Out Out Out a spacey echo
Edmonton’s Shout Out Out Out Out is another band that displays the rare phenomenon known as “rockonomatopoeia.” The band sounds like its name.
Shout Out Out Out Out member Whitey Houston, aka Lyle Bell, asks us to imagine using a Space Echo – one of several pieces of vintage musical equipment this band uses (and one whose name perfectly describes what it does) – and then say “Shout Out!” Out, out … out. There you go.
OK, so it’s pretty silly. But it’s far too late to turn back now. Not when you’ve already been nominated for a Juno and scored a Moog endorsement. Edmonton musician Nik Kozub, son of Wilfred N, came up with the band, and the name, and assembled the guys he wanted in one fell swoop about eight years ago – the project imagined as a radical electronic departure from their rock ‘n’ roll roots in just about every possible way. Locals may remember the uproar last year when Shout Out Out Out Out was named a Sonic radio Band of the Month. Some listeners responded, “WTF! That ain’t rock ‘n’ roll!”
Is it? It’s not the usual electro-DJ thing, either, where some guy gets on stage, pushes a button and acts like a rock star. Shout Out Out Out Out has live vocals, for one thing. Sort of. Kozub sings through a Vocorder for a “Cylon” sort of effect – come to be as distinctive to Shout Out Out Out Out as Stephen Hawking’s voice box is to the Nobel Prize-winning physicist – while his five bandmates deploy an arsenal of both sequenced and live percussion, along with an impressive battery of synthesizers made by Moog. Moogs can sound like their name, too.
Hearing this spacey brand of retro-electro-punk-dance music so unlike anything these musicians have done before, it’s hard not to make comparisons to all the ‘70s bands and producers that pioneered it: Tangerine Dream, Kraftwerk, Jean Michel Jarre, Mike Oldfield if you want to stretch it. (Shocking admission: Bell never liked Tubular Bells. Probably because he wasn’t stoned enough.) Shout Out Out Out Out’s third album “Spanish Moss and Total Loss” – released it with a show on Saturday, July 28 at the Starlite Room – even evokes hints of the Alan Parsons Project. How ironic that many of Shout Out Out Out Out’s fans, not to mention its members, weren’t born when “I Robot” came out. Out, out … out
Turn that thing off. Typing Shout Out Out Out Out is no more fun that reading it or saying it. Bell, who has a little trouble himself, says they never dreamed they’ll still be going eight years later, let alone with such an “absurd” name.
He says, “When you tell grandparents or border guards that name you get a totally blank look, a ‘what the hell you were thinking?’ kind of look.” And while the ridiculousness of most ridiculous band names eventually wears off as they are assimilated as “just the name of the band, man,” the name Shout Out Out Out Out still attracts lots of perplexed questions.
“Everyone always asks how many Outs there are,” Bell says. “We still get that everywhere we. We prefer too many Outs to too few Outs. That’s just an inside joke. When people get it wrong, and people do get it wrong still, it’s funnier when they put in way too many Outs. When we did Moogfest, the sign on the door had 20 Outs. It was a lot of Outs.”
Facing the question of whether he thinks the name Shout Out Out Out Out affects the music they write – as it surely must with bands like Metallica – Bell points out that all the free top-of-the-line Moog gear probably has a bigger effect.
He says, “When we go in and write as Shout Out Out Out, uh … Out – is that right? – we’re not going to take a radical left turn and make a punk rock record or anything. On our new album, we’re even trying to downplay the rock ‘n’ roll side even more, to get down to the roots of what we do. We’re all still extremely fascinated by the technology. We’re always trying new synths, new sounds, and discovering ways to use them better than we already do.”
Shout Out Out Out Out did actually consider dumping the name, he goes on, “You can also limit yourself with something that’s too absurd. We thought about possibly changing it, but I think we’re long past that now. We’re going to let it roll.”