figHt­ing tootH AnD nAil

Prodi­gious one-man-band and stu­dio wizard Caleb Shomo continues to steer his own ship on Beartooth’s de­but LP. By Daniel furnari.

Blunt - - Up Front -

Caleb Shomo grew up fast. Hav­ing joined crab­danc­ing for­mer syn­th­core gi­ants At­tack At­tack! on key­board duty at a very green 14 years old, he had no choice but to learn about life on the road and in the stu­dio while most of his peers were still awk­wardly testipop­ping their way through high school. But not long af­ter grad­u­at­ing to lead vo­cals and en­gi­neer­ing du­ties for the band’s fi­nal re­lease in 2012, Shomo split from the group (“It was a very de­struc­tive part of my life and I needed it out of my life to get my head on straight”) and briefly stepped out of the spot­light – or so he thought.

Rather than go stircrazy, the band­less Shomo put his many tal­ents to use writ­ing and record­ing all in­stru­ments and vo­cals in a se­ries of vi­ciously per­sonal post-hard­core/ punk cross­over tracks, and it wasn’t long be­fore op­por­tu­nity came a-knockin’.

“Why I even wrote them in the first place was be­cause I was in a pe­riod in my life where I was com­pletely mis­er­able and a whole lot of things that were go­ing on in my life were re­ally neg­a­tive,” ex­plains Shomo. “These were songs I wrote by my­self, for my­self for ther­a­peu­tic rea­sons. I was show­ing them to my friends, some man­agers and book­ing agents and stuff, and they kind of said, ‘We think we could do some­thing with this if you want to.’ I’d been at home for a while do­ing noth­ing, but I love tour­ing and be­ing on the road, so here we are again!”

With their fresh-off-the-press de­but LP Dis­gust­ing now cat­a­pult­ing off the hype gen­er­ated by 2012’s Sick EP, things are cer­tainly in full swing for Beartooth. And while one might think that go­ing from head­lin­ing sold-out the­atres in At­tack At­tack! to start­ing from the bot­tom all over again would be a drag, it’s some­thing that Shomo hap­pily takes in his stride.

“I love it, hon­estly. It’s cool that we’re open­ing tours and thank­fully there have been a lot of bands that are help­ing us out, and we’re very blessed. And I love play­ing in small bars. I think in a lot of ways Beartooth will still al­ways be play­ing smaller scale shows like that no mat­ter how big it gets. It’s kind of com­fort­ing and it feels like home.”

It’s a men­tal­ity that harks back to the ori­gins of Beartooth’s sound, vibe and feel: “In no way did I grow up a punk rock kid or a hard­core kid or any­thing like that, but I was go­ing through heaps of bands like The Ra­mones or Mi­nor Threat, and feel­ing how much I loved the whole thing of smaller venues, no bar­ri­cades and ev­ery­one’s just jump­ing on the stage. For me those were al­ways my favourite kind of shows, and I wanted to make a band around that vibe. That and the idea of hav­ing raw gui­tars, lots of feed­back and hav­ing them mess up so you get that emo­tion you get from that punk rock back­ground.”

While it’s tempt­ing to think of Shomo as the Dave Grohl of posthard­core, he’s quick to dis­pel the idea of the tour­ing mem­bers of Beartooth be­com­ing full­time part­ners in the band.

“It’s not in any way a re­flec­tion of the guys I play with, but I just feel way more com­fort­able when writ­ing a song know­ing that if it fails or if no­body likes it then I can deal with that,” he shrugs. “It gives me a lot more peace of mind know­ing that I don’t have to be think­ing, ‘If we don’t sell this many records then our record was a flop, and I’m screw­ing all the people in my band.’”

With that said, it ain’t easy be­ing a one-man band – in fact for most of us mere mor­tals it’s damn near un­fath­omable. So how the be­jeezus is this singer/ screamer/drum­mer/gui­tarist/pro­ducer ex­traor­di­naire so widely ac­com­plished at only 21 years old?

“A lot of time and ef­fort!” he laughs. “I’m the kind of per­son that just locks my­self away. I have the worst ADD in the world, but if I like some­thing, I will lit­er­ally spend ev­ery wak­ing mo­ment do­ing that. When I first got my record­ing gear – and I didn’t even want to be a pro­ducer, I just bought some stuff to make demos – I just sat and made songs for like two or three days with­out sleep. My brain just works like that.”

“I thInk In a lot of ways Beartooth wIll stIll al­ways Be play­Ing smaller scale shows no mat­ter how BIg It gets.” caleB shomo

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