Beartooth’s Caleb Shomo on new album: “Is just sonic devastation”

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Beartooth singer Caleb Shomo was recently interviewed by Terry “Beez” Bezer of Knotfest.com. You can read some excerpts below.

About the progress of the writing and recording sessions for the band’s fourth studio album, he said: “I worked on a lot of this album on the road — a whole lot of this record. We honestly could not have been luckier with the way our record cycle laid out.

“The ‘Disease’ tour in Europe was our last tour of the cycle, and that finished on March 6th, I believe. And then the next week, everything got shut down. So we already planned to kind of take most of this year off. We planned on not taking it all off like we’re probably gonna have to.

“I’d already worked on a ton of the record, just writing out on the road; I brought a studio rig out there. And that was great.

“When it first started, the whole lockdown thing, I just kind of emotionally shut down for a month. But then I just kind of caught a second wind, probably two months ago, and I’ve just been ripping through songs. It’s pretty cool.

“About a week ago, I sent kind of like my first ‘draft one’ of the record to the higher-ups. But I’m still just gonna keep on writing. We’ve got plenty of time. But the record is going very, very well so far.”

About if the Beartooth songwriting “formula” is still present in the band’s new material, Caleb said: “I think that something about the Beartooth sound is sort of that formula. Beartooth has a song structure — it’s the classic pop structure of intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus, out. But with this one, I’ve just been trying to amp up everything. ‘Cause with the last record, I really wanted to go for that super-raw, live-rock-and-roll-in-the-old-school-studio, and old-school-console sound, and it was rad, and I loved doing it. And it was proving to myself that I can make a real record without computers — well, [without] heavily relying on computers. But I don’t know… I just kind of realized, like, you know what? That’s what I learned as a producer. I came up in the era of mixing in the box and recording in the box, which means using plug-ins and emulations and things like that. I’ve just been kind of using that to try and push it a little further. The formula is still there, but I don’t think it’s in a bad way. I think it’s the formula people want from a Beartooth record.

“This one is just jacked. Everything is amped up to 11. I am so, so pumped. Obviously, this is what you wanna think when you’re making a record, but damn, this is the best one yet. Not even close. This is the heaviest record. This is my best work — the proudest I’ve been of these songs. It’s wild. It’s some heavy-duty shit.”

About the musical direction of the new Beartooth songs, Shomo said: “The easiest way I’ve been trying to explain this record to people without giving too much away is if ‘Disease’ was AC/DC, this record is Black Sabbath. It’s a lot more influenced in dark stoner rock, heavy power groove. Obviously, there’s still a lot of fast [stuff] and some punk rock and all that, but I’ve really been exploring with the stoner-metal side of guitars and guitar tones and doing different tunings and lots of fuzz and chaos and layering the fuck out of my guitar tracks.

“The whole point, for me, of this mix and the sonics of this record, is as big and loud and fucking sonically devastating as I can possibly get it. So on a breakdown, for example, where on ‘Disease’ it would just be left guitar, right guitar, bass down the middle, this is literally… That little clip I posted [on Instagram ] is I think eight guitars, three bass tracks. Just experimenting — just doing dumb stoner shit and just trying my fucking best. Yeah, that’s the goal — is just sonic devastation, for sure.”

About if fans can expect to hear new music from Beartooth in 2020, Caleb said: “I would say yes. I would say for sure. Again, as I said, we got so lucky with the timing of everything. And originally, we were gonna try and put the record out in 2020. I don’t know if that’s just gonna be possible, because we had so many plans with tours and this epic roll-out that we don’t wanna take away from anybody. So we’re definitely gonna wait until we can do it right and not just rush out a record and then nobody sees Beartooth for another year and a half because shit went south. But I would be shocked if there weren’t at least one single to four singles in 2020. If I was guessing, something in that range.”