“I named this one Aggressive because I felt it was the best word to describe the emotion of the record as a whole,” says Shomo. “I think the lyrical content is a bit more angry than the first record, but it’s also more hopeful. The majority of the songs are about reflection on my childhood and the things that got me from being a kid to where I would be in my life to write a record like Disgusting. All of that pisses me off a tonne; that I went through those years of life with such severe depression and anxiety. But sometimes bad shit has to happen for things to turn around and I’m alright with that.”
Returning to his basement turned home-studio for the record and finding comfort in his familiar surroundings, the lead vocalist says the underground space is essential for the Beartooth sound. “I’d written roughly three songs over the course of the record cycle but I don’t really like writing on the road,” Shomo reveals. “I prefer to keep studio time and touring time completely separate so I don’t get too burnt out. It’s the energy of the whole thing; I think the record really needs to be made in the basement. That’s where I learnt how to record and where I first started writing music. To me, that’s the place I feel the safest and free to do whatever I want. There’s nobody around so I don’t get nervous trying things, I just try all of this random crap until it fits together and I feel comfortable doing it in a space like that.”
While he values the ability to explore a range of musical elements, Shomo assures us that there have been no drastic changes made to the overall arrangement. Instead, he’s honed in on the aspects that motivate him the most. “One thing I did want to do was sing a bit more,” he says. “Over the two years of being in a band and touring I’ve just really fell in love with singing, so I wanted to push myself. Other than that I wanted to write a good Beartooth record. I didn’t want to completely change up the sound or anything. Two guitars, bass, drums and vocals – I don’t see that changing anytime soon.”
Recently parting ways with drummer Brandon Mullins, the four-piece have recruited a replacement for their tour but will remain in the same formation for the time being. “We’ve been working on building this thing for a very long time and it’s very near and dear to us,” says Shomo. “We’re just going to stick with the four of us right now, but the guy whose been playing with us, Connor, is absolutely unbelievable and we are very happy with him. I don’t think he’ll be going anywhere; hopefully he sticks around as our touring guy. It’s all about making everything stronger and making sure everyone that’s there is the best person for the job and it’s worked out for us.”
Currently on tour in the U.S, the Beartooth boys have had the pleasure of supporting some of hardcore’s biggest heavyweights in the past, taking their music to a whole new level. “We toured with some really cool bands on our first record cycle,” says Shomo. “I had a lot of fun touring with Bring Me The Horizon; they were awesome and have really good crowds. We toured with Slipknot – that was unbelievable. If we ever got a chance to do either of those tours again I think we’d be pretty stoked. It’s such an amazing opportunity when we get to play in front of thousands of people on a tour that have probably not heard of our band, that’s our favourite thing ever.”
Clearly thriving off the excitement of it all, Shomo admits that his adrenaline addiction almost got the better of him recently when visiting the ‘Red Bull headquarters’ in Austria. “It was pretty cold out so I didn’t do it because I didn’t want to get a cold and screw up my voice – which sucked because I wanted to, but a lot of the dudes went sky dying and then Taylor got own around in one of those crazy trick plans. I wanted to do nothing more than sky dive. I definitely love pushing myself when it comes to adrenaline. If we had a day off the next day, I’d have jumped out of a plane, I’ll jump off a cliff, whatever, I’ll do it!”
Beartooth’s Aggressive is available June 3 via Red Bull Records/ Unified. For more details, head to beartoothband.com.