Now that Halloween is over and November is finally here we can embrace the Christmas vibes, with great bands coming over before the end of the year. For our scene this month will rhyme with a hell of a lot of amazing tours. And on Sunday, Beartooth happened to be in Paris for one headliner show at the Backstage O’Sullivans before kicking off the European leg of the Bring Me The Horizon tour alongside PVRIS. A good opportunity for us to catch the band for their comeback after a remarkable performance last year at the Batofar.
That day we had the opportunity to chat with Caleb Shomo, lead singer of Beartooth and the one at the heart of this project, to give you an insight and show you a few cool things about the band.
As we told you in a recent article, Beartooth is a project initiated by Caleb Shomo after calling quits with his former band Attack Attack! He decided to completely start over with a new sound and brought some good friends – Kamron Bradbury, Taylor Lumley, Oshie Bichar and Brandon Mullins- along the road with him. Soon enough the band signed with Red Bull Records and put out a very well received first album « Disgusting » in 2014. Since then the band has been touring a lot and already started working on a follow-up album. It seems that Caleb Shomo knows exactly what he wants with Beartooth: to keep it real and always keep his passion for music at the heart of everything he does. As you can discover in our interview below, Beartooth’s lead singer is a very passionate, goal-oriented and honest person who wants to keep it fun with his band mates whether it’s on the road or in the studio. We can say that his past experience with Attack Attack! has been a good advantage for Beartooth but the success they’ve gained came as a complete surprise to them (though absolutely deserved) and the band keeps its feet on the ground, always being very grateful for the love and support they get both from fans and the industry.
So we took this opportunity to find out a bit more about the band, their feelings about touring Europe but also their mindset regarding their upcoming projects. With this interview we learnt a lot about Caleb and the band itself and we hope you enjoy reading it as much as we enjoyed doing it. So check out what Caleb Shomo had to share with us!
P/I : Your first full-length album has set your band’s record high. You’ve been very well welcomed by fans and the reviews has put you as one of the promising bands of the metalcore scene. Did you expect such a reaction and how do you feel about that?
Caleb : No, I definitely did not expect such a strong reaction. It’s cool, it’s obviously very cool that we get to have such a cool fanbase and that somebody would even say that we’re a promising new metalcore band. We’re very grateful for all these amazing opportunities we get really, more than anything.
You said in in the past that writing this album has been a therapy for you and you feel happier now thanks to it. It’s true that the lyrics on Disgusting are pretty heavy and dark and raw at times. Wasn’t it hard for you to be this deep and to be on the spot like this?
Absolutely. It is weird talking about that deep stuff and just letting it all out knowing that all of these people that don’t know you or don’t know anything about you are going to be listening to it and kind of picking it apart. It is weird but you know, at the end of the day it is a therapy for me and I’m not going to sugar coat it or change the reality of some shit that happened in my life just so people don’t take it the wrong way. I just want to write honest music to myself and that’s more important than anything.
So depression, anger and loneliness are the main feelings on this album. Did you ever think that it could have such an impact on people and that you could help fans go through hard times?
It is really cool that so many people get to connect to it but honestly that was not my initial goal. You know, writing this album, I didn’t even think as many people would hear it. As I heard it I thought it’d be more of a personal thing, which it still is at the root of it. It is a personal thing and it’s about stuff that I’ve gone through and stuff that I deal with but I do think it is cool when someone can interpret a song in a way that helps them through something and they can connect to it. I think that’s awesome and I’m obviously very honoured, it’s super rad. But I’m definitely not set out to change anybody or anything like that. It’s not really who I am. I’m just more reserved, that’s not really my style.
On this subject, you were involved with Hope For The Day on the Vans Warped Tour, which is an organization that sees music as a therapy. Is it important to you to connect to fans in that way and to be involved with such organizations whether it’s suicide awareness or bullying?
Yes, it is important. I think for us it’s more about the fact we kind of used our band (to promote Hope For The Day). That was more about getting people aware that it’s such a serious thing and it was not at all about our music being the forefront. It was about them being the forefront when we were promoting them. You know what I mean, because we believe in that organization. I don’t think we as Beartooth are an organization that’s like a crazy prevention thing or trying to change anybody’s life in any specific way but the fact that some people have interpreted our stuff that way and that we got the chance to work with such a good cause, that’s something we definitely felt really good about and it was just cool, it was good to see.
But this album being this personal for you isn’t it a bit overwhelming to see 16 year-old kids putting you on a pedestal and for you to be their sort of idol?
Oh, absolutely! It’s terrifying. I’m very uncomfortable with it and I think I always will be. Because when it comes to things like the public and stuff like that I’m very reserved. Even talking to people, I just have anxiety. It just weirds me out and makes me uncomfortable – I know this sounds really fucked up – but like getting praised from people about something. It just makes me feel weird and maybe that’s something from my past that I need to deal with, I don’t know. But that’s just not really who I am as a person. I know some people literally feed off that, like it’s food and if they don’t have that they can’t function. I personally hate people like that (laughs).
I hate when all people are after is praise from other people and they treat themselves like this god or like they’re the greatest thing in the world. To me, we’re all human. We’re all equally awesome people and we’re all different. I just play music and make music. That’s like my art and my expression. I’m not any better than anybody else; I just chose a different career path, I guess.
So let’s talk a bit more about your music. We heard recently that you’ve been working on a new album. Is there anything you can say about this? Do you feel any pressure writing this album knowing the success that ‘Disgusting’ had?
Yes, you can’t deny that. It does add some more pressure to it but I’m really not scared of it.
At first before I started writing the record I was really nervous. And I had a lot of people ask “How do you think you’re ever gonna come up with a record to follow up ‘Disgusting’ because it did so well?” And I’m like “Hum, I don’t know! I’m just gonna try my best, I guess”.
But you know, I’ve already written a few songs and after downing into it I think it’s just going to be way better than the first record. Already, I’m a lot happier with these songs than I am with ‘Disgusting’ so I’m pretty stoked to put it out.
And so you want to keep it like really Beartooth? Or do you want to try new things?
It’s just going to be another Beartooth record. I know what I do, I know my strong points and my weak points and I’m not here to bullshit anybody. I’m here to make the record that I can make the best that I can make it. And that’s really my goal over everything. It’s to just make a piece of art and a piece of music that I’m super happy with. But at the same time, there’s nothing more fun to me than being in a whole room full of singing people. So I want the singing part to be more connectable, that you can sing more and I want the heavy part to make you want to move around even more and go crazier. I want it to be more intense and amplified so that’s my goal.
As a person, you really try to push yourself and you’re very competitive with yourself. So is there any bands or producers that are your main goal and with whom you’d like to work with one day?
I don’t know. Honestly, not really. I don’t really have many people like that. I have John Feldmann who’s a great producer and a good friend of mine. I just really like working with him because I feel we connect really well and I feel comfortable working with him, but for the most part I don’t really like working with other people. I mean, obviously with Beartooth I’m the only one who even writes any of the songs. I just lock myself and I feel a lot more comfortable expressing myself alone, at least with my own music. I feel like I have way less nerves about everything and I can just try stuff and if it sounds stupid, it’s okay. Because I’m a very self-conscious person obviously, you can hear it in the words I say so it definitely pulls some pressure off me. But I do love working with bands, I like producing and working with other songwriters for other people’s music. I love having an input on it but for my stuff it’s just a lot more reserved.
So maybe one day you’ll be producing, sort of doing what people like Mark Hoppus are doing with other bands?
Sure, yeah! I honestly would be doing that now, more if I had more time. It’s just that I’m so busy with Beartooth stuff I haven’t be able to produce a record for a band in years now. But maybe if things slow down a little bit, I’ll get back into producing.
Talking about other bands, in Beartooth you pretty much all come from different bands. Wasn’t it difficult to start all over with a new sound and new members knowing today’s scene is rough regarding new acts? Or was it more like a challenge?
Honestly, not really. Because everybody in this band is such a good friend and you know, we grew up together playing music. Out of the gate I wanted to be very strict with who I chose to be in the band in the sense that they needed to just be a good friend and somebody that I could hang out with for a long period of time, that always keeps the band fun. I never would want to work with somebody who just wants to be famous and doesn’t have a true passion for music. Everybody here – all of us, myself included- we’re here because we love to play shows more than anything and we love music more than anything in this world. And this is what we want to do with our lives and we want to enjoy every single day. It wasn’t really that hard to start up, it was very natural.
You decided to stop Attack Attack! because it wasn’t who you were anymore. Do you think that having such an experience with a band before has been helping Beartooth in a good way?
Absolutely. It totally changed everything doing this whole thing before. You learn what you want to do and more than anything you learn what not to do. And specifically what people you want be around and what people you don’t want to be around. With everybody in this band down to the people who work as like a booking agent, manager or label and stuff, I chose very specifically in a way that it wouldn’t ever be about anything other than the music and the passion behind it. I just hate seeing these teams of people and bands that have one goal in mind and that’s to get super rich and nothing else matters. Yeah, of course it’s cool to be successful, there’s nothing wrong with going out, making money and having a good job, making a good living. But when that’s your goal and you will throw any bit of integrity you have out into the ocean for that, that’s kind of twisted. And definitely not the way I want to gain success.
On the subject of goals, what is to you the main goal for Beartooth? In 5 years where do you see the band?
I don’t even know. I don’t really have a goal. My goal is that it’s always fun and it’s always as awesome as it was the day we started it. If it ever gets to a point where we do have other goals in mind other than making the music we want to make and connecting to as many people as possible, like if it does start becoming about money or about this and that, anything that’s not authentic then I don’t want to do it anymore. Because that did happen in my old band, there was a time when it just became about other things than the music, it became about the success or what’s the next level. I’ve even seen a lot of managers and bands that only think bigger. They don’t think better, they don’t think like “how can we become better people, better musicians and write a better record”. They’re just like “well we could write a worse record and get bigger if we do this stuff” and so they don’t even care because that’s what it’s about to them. So my goal is to never ever be like that and to always be extremely passionate about every single moment that we’re on the road and in the studio.
I guess that’s because you’re very passionate
Yeah, I’m extremely passionate. To a point where I’m like crazy about it. It just pisses me off so much to see people take shit for granted, I hate it.
Let’s talk a little bit about touring. Last year you did a few dates in Europe and in the UK when Disgusting had only been out for a couple of months. How do you feel about touring Europe one year later?
Extremely excited. We get to tour with such cool bands. Bring Me The Horizon and PVRIS are amazing and we get to play this show here in Paris. It’s a dream come true, it’s extremely exciting and we’re very grateful everyday.
Do you feel like your fanbase has evolved? Obviously, you’ve been on Warped Tour 2014 and 2015 as well, you’ve done a few dates in Europe and now you’re coming again. So have you seen an evolution within the crowd?
It’s definitely been growing. I can see the crowd diversifying, even within like age and stuff. We have people that like are band that are 8 years old and I’ve even seen a 75-year-old woman go up and buy a t-shirt (laughs). It’s definitely diversified.
Paris is the only date as a headliner before kicking the Euro leg of the Bring Me The Horizon tour. Was it important to you to come play in Paris? Does Paris mean anything in particular or was it just an opportunity that you had?
A bit of both. We love Paris and we have a lot of friends here. It’s just such a cool city and obviously it got so much legend to it. You know, we played at that boat venue here before and it was a super fun show. So we got this opportunity and we were like “of course! Yeah absolutely we’ll come play Paris again” So yeah, it all just kind of worked out (…) I don’t really know what to expect, I guess we’ll see. I hope it’ll be a loud, crazy show.
On this note we ended the interview and joined the crowd to catch the sets of From A Broken Stereo and Our Theory who gladly opened for Beartooth that night.
When we walked in From A Broken Stereo were playing to a half full venue. Although it was undeniable that people were getting psyched for Beartooth the energy was there and for their first Paris performance the band did pretty well as a few people were getting in the mood for the night and warming up the venue. With their first EP available since Oct 31st, we could definitely feel the excitement from the band during the show. Their set has been noticed and it was good to see some new comers in the French metalcore scene. It is sure that with “Blueprint” we’ll get to hear about From A Broken Stereo pretty soon again.
Later on it was Our Theory’s turn to hit the stage. It was obvious that the band had already its fanbase as they’ve been playing a lot in the past year, opening for great bands in the scene. Our Theory recently changed their lead singer and it seems like they evolved a bit with their sound. During their performance they gave us a glimpse of some new songs off “Renaissance” their upcoming EP. The fans were front row, singing along, following the lead singer. It was getting intense already and the band left the stage really happy. It was different from Our Theory’s usual performances but still pretty good. Our Theory has definitely evolved, seen its crowd grow and it felt like they took a step forward with their new singer, giving it a new breath and thanks to a new EP, signed under We Are Triumphant. So it seems like everything’s bright for Our Theory and that night confirmed it. Both bands did a good job opening for Beartooth and got the fans ready for what they’d been expecting for a while.
It was hot when the 5-piece band walked on that stage and guys were already set to mosh really hard. Beartooth kicked in with The Lines dedicating the song to their good friends in Chunk! No Captain Chunk! and it didn’t take long before Caleb asked the crowd to come closer and took every bit of energy we all had. The moment it kicked in the moshing started.
Fans were there singing along pretty hard and pretty happy to have the band back as a headliner. Relapsing followed and when it kicked in Caleb gave us the mic and let us scream our hearts out to the words “It’s dark, it’s cold, my mind is not my home. It’s dark and it’s cold, my mind is not my home” and the crowd lost it before the chorus. As always Caleb wanted to hear the crowd and he made us follow his lead before “Dead” started, counting to the 1,2,3,4 intro of the song. The energy was on point and it kept getting better. The sing alongs kept being louder and the moshers kicking harder the more into the set we got. Some fans invited themselves on stage before stagediving on the crowd, following Caleb’s requests.
The main singles In Between and Beaten In Lips were the highlights of the set as it got pretty messy in the crowd as the venue held our loud voices to these songs. Midset the guitarist from Chunk! No Captain Chunk! made an appearance and played guitar for a few minutes with the band, pleasing a few fans in the crowd. As always the band ended on Body Bag, a heavy song to end with that is always very much appreciated. Before dropping the first notes Beartooth thanked people for checking them out and making them feel at home despite the fact they had to cross an ocean and were so far away from their initial home. We could feel the connection between the band and the crowd all throughtout the set and the band gave a good performance always asking for more from us but also jumping and kicking it hard onstage. We could also feel the chemistry between the band. I always tend to forget how good and intense Beartooth is live, owning both the stage and the crowd and I could feel it even more that night in such a small venue.
The only down side of that set would be that Beartooth only played 6 songs and left some fans a bit disappointed and expecting a lot more. Most of us had in mind their performance at the Batofar last year so it left us a bit unsatisfied at the end because it did leave us wanting a few more songs as the set went by so quickly and we didn’t hear the famous One More, Ignorance Is Bliss or Keep Your American Dream. But, overall that night was worth it and despite this short set people seemed to have enjoyed themselves and happy to have been part of that night.
And the truth is, with a second album on the way and the Euro/UK tours Beartooth has on the way thanks to a very successful first album and great live performances, you can be sure to hear from them again and you’ll probably be able to catch them sooner than expected. Maybe in a bigger venue with a bigger crowd, heavier songs and surely with a longer set to make it up to the disappointed fans of that night. In the meantime, we can all listen to Disgusting on repeat still or book an unplanned trip to the UK or in Europe to catch them with Bring Me The Horizon and PVRIS.
Maybe, that’s not such a bad idea after all since “life can (sometimes) be such overdose”
Interview and Review by Roxy S.
Special thanks to our partners in Alternative Live,
Joe @ Red Bull Records and the HIM Media Team
*Disclaimer : For reasons beyond our control, we were unable to photograph this show in Paris, so instead, we used past photos our contributor Kaylee Smoke did for us last year in Winnipeg.