The latest installment of The Disc Dive with Ryan J. Downey connects with Beartooth's Caleb Shomo to dig into the archives of dating back to Attack Attack and leading into the era of Beartooth.
As he always does, Downey takes it back to the artist's very first experience in a studio. Shomo recalled walking into Paper Tiger in Columbus, Ohio to record drums in a tiny room for his then band, Buried with Crowns. The modest digs only solidified for Shomo that he was on the right path.
Ironically, Shomo would reenter the same studio at all of 14 with the band Attack, Attack! to record their first EP, If Guns Are Outlawed, Can We Use Swords? Recalling that this time the stakes were a bit higher, Shomo understood that the band had some momentum and the product now had an audience. He also recalled getting familiar with drum samples for the first time ever.
All of a year later, Attack Attack! would upgrade their workspace to the Foundation Recording Studio with producer Joey Sturgis. Explaining that the experience was both nerve-wracking and eye-opening, Shomo detailed that Attack Attack! had the right combination of personnel for success which made their debut, Someday Came Suddenly, especially important.
The debut era would stick with Caleb in that he began to understand the recording process much more. Working with Stugis, Shomo began familiarizing himself with drum libraries and digital tools to make records sound good. While the musician always had an interest in music theory, the meticulous process of production kickstarted a passion in Shomo that has been integral to his work since.
Two years later, Attack Attack! would release their self-titled follow up to their debut. Citing the record as the biggest transitional shift personally, Shomo took on a much bigger role this time around. Aside from moving to the band's lead vocalist, Shomo continued honing his production skills from his experience with Someday Came Suddenly. Shomo had spent the subsequent two years diving deep into to the world of production. Demoing songs for the band, a lot of what is heard on the self-titled record are songs that are very close to what Shomo initially put together himself.
Continuing in his own professional progression, 2012's This Means War was an even more formative release as it would be the first that Shomo would assume the role of producer. From mixing to mastering, Shomo got his hands dirty and truly found his niche. He loved that he was responsible for the finished product and that there was no one else to blame.
Shomo would reveal that there was actually a fourth Attack Attack! record that few people knew about. In fact, the day after the band wrapped work on This Means War, they flew out to Los Angeles to meet with famed producer, John Feldman. While the record never materialized, the connection for Caleb was the first time he had worked with a co-writer. Discussing Feldman's unique approach and vision, Shomo has continued to work with Feldman in the years since their introduction.
Feldman would actually become formative in the next phase of Shomo's career. Departing from Attack Attack! the producer would encourage Caleb to move to Los Angeles to become a songwriter and work alongside him. Caleb sent some ideas over via email and the first discussion of Beartooth began to surface. Those songs comprised The Sick EP and it was off to the races shortly there after.
The Disgusting record cycle in 2014 saw the momentum of the band grow exponentially. Beartooth would get offers to tour alongside Bring Me the Horizon in the UK and Slipknot in the US. Paired with such top tier touring artists, the exposure was at an all time high. If the EP was the introduction of Beartooth, Disgusting marked the arrival.
Due to the immediate success of the band, Beartooth spent a ton of time on the road touring to support their debut full-length. Aggressive was the band's follow-up and a pivotal moment for Shomo primarily because of the cathartic quality of the album. Working under timelines and on little gas in the tank, there's some tangible tension that translates on the record.
Skip forward to 2018 and Shomo was now working on the band's third record in Disease. Connecting with decorated producer Nick Raskulinecz, the relationship started with Shomo explaining that he was the one stop shop in that he tracks all the instruments, sings, mixes, produces, etc. Raskulinecz vetted Shomo by handing him a guitar that was used during a session with the band Ghost and told Caleb to write a song overnight. The next day the two started working together on what would become Disease.
The comprehensive discussion reiterated the consistent theme of either failing or succeeding on your own terms. Shomo has built a reputation for being meticulous about his craft and considering he started in junior high, it's understandable why his passion is so deeply-rooted. His passion for production permeates and results in an approach that means he needs to be hands on from the onset of the process - from concept to execution to production to finished product.
This Disc Dive explores Caleb Shomo's true artistry and a lifetime of refining his skills. Settle in and enjoy.