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April 2019

Beartooth: "Your mental health is extremely important"

Caleb Shomo confronts his demons head-on with Beartooth’s new record, ‘Disease’.
Published: 1:24 pm, November 07, 2018Words: Ali Shutler.
Beartooth: "Your mental health is extremely important"

Beartooth's debut album ‘Disgusting' was an inwards look at self-discovery and understanding depression. It put those voices under the spotlight and tried to find a way through. ‘Aggressive' thrashed and raged outwards, those feelings of loss and confusion still haunting him while album three was always meant for Caleb Shomo to dive into those emotions and find a reason, even when it seemed meaningless. From the opening sidestep of ‘Greatness or Death', through the questioning purge of the title track to the reflective search for clarity on ‘Clever', ‘Disease' sees Beartooth more open, more vulnerable and more on the edge than ever before. Relentless fury has been replaced with quiet moments of resolve as the band take the next step, despite the weight on their shoulders.

Hey Caleb, what inspired this record?
At the core, the record is about trying to figure out mental health and what that means. Musically it has a bunch of influences from AC/DC and classic rock, to Slayer, Metallica and pop. There are a lot of different sounds on there. It is just a Beartooth record. I don't know any other way to put it.

Does it feel like you're at a point now where you can do anything you want with this band?
When I first started, what was important to me was that there were no real boundaries on what this band was going to sound like. Whatever song comes out, comes out. The only boundary was two guitars, bass, drums. You can tell on this record; every song is different. It's got a lot of different vibes all over it, and that's what makes it special to me.

"The record is about trying to figure out mental health and what that means"
Caleb Shomo

It feels like you had a pretty clear idea about what you wanted this third record to be?
I had the idea in my head of how I wanted to do it and kinda what the subject matter was going to be, but I don't think anyone knew how it was going to sound until it was over. There was a midpoint where I'd written a bunch of songs with different people, and I didn't know what to do, so I had Kamron [Bradbury], and Oshi [Bichar] come over to my house for a few days, and we listened through everything.
It all sounds like fucking white noise to me, but they helped get everything on track. I'm way more excited about this record than I thought I would be. It turned out a lot better than I was hoping for. And I had a pretty high standard already. It was about taking the time and making sure everything was perfect.
There were a couple of last-minute songs as well. ‘Clever' and ‘Manipulation' were written after we'd already done a first draft of the record and they ended up kicking two off the album. Realistically it was being changed up until the last day, but we're all happy with it.

What do you want people to get from this album?
I hope when they listen to it, they'll take a little bit of time and think about themselves as a person and realise that your mental health is extremely important. If not, hopefully, they just had fun. Hopefully, it wasn't a negative experience for anybody.

What's next? You'll be hitting the road?
We'll be hitting the road hard. We've got a US headline tour that's the longest one we've done yet. 48 shows in 60 something days, it's a whole fucking thing, but it should be good.

Why do you tour so heavily? 
It's where we translate. The records are important, but the band is way more than the recording process. I make the records, write them and record them myself but live, that's where the band happens. It's two completely different experiences. It's really important to us that we give everyone the chance to get both experiences, so we're trying to tour everywhere we can. Plus we get real fucking bored otherwise. 

Taken from the November issue if Upset. Beartooth's album 'Disease' is out now.

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