When frontman Caleb Shomo started writing what became Beartooth‘s new album, Below, he wanted it to reflect the best, most energetic parts of the band’s live show. What he ended up writing, however, reflected a world without live music at all.
As Shomo tells ABC Audio, he wrote most of the music to Below while on tour in late 2019 and early 2020.
“Our most fun songs live, and the songs people really enjoy and appreciate watching, are the heavier songs, and the more intense songs,” Shomo explains. “That was really the driving force of the music, and it was very positive. Like, as much as it’s heavy musically, I don’t think it’s as angry heavy. It’s more of this excitement, like, ‘This is gonna be really fun to watch at a live show!'”
When Beartooth got off the road and Shomo began writing lyrics, it was March 2020, and we all know what happened in March 2020. Stuck at home and faced with an uncertain future as touring came to a screeching halt, the songs for Below soon became a “time capsule” of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I had no hope,” Shomo shares. “[We thought], ‘Our jobs are done.’ We don’t know when we’re touring again, we don’t know how it’s gonna be when we can tour again, if ever.”
The resulting record is a mix of two “wild,” “completely different” energies that reflect Shomo’s emotional state both before and during the pandemic.
“The lyrics really came from this point of complete hopelessness, where the music came from the point of complete hopefulness,” he says.
Below is out today. It includes the single “The Past Is Dead.”
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