Fresh off the early spring release of their new EP “Cosmis Tortoise”, Kalamazoo, Michigan based experimental noise rock / progressive mathcore band SHOTO have teamed up with IDIOTEQ to introduce themselves, discuss their work and experimentation in music. The band strikes a few simplier heavy chords every one and awhile, but the essense of this record is experimentation and the specific application of the cross-genre formula. Evoking a powerful sense of individuality that is doubtless better when enjoyed watching SHOTO performing live, the record maintains a great mixture of various experimental metal influences. Listen for yourself and scroll down to read our full interview.
Photo by Clark/Camera/Cinema.
Hey guys! Thanks so much for your time. How are you? How’s Michigan?
Thank you for having us do the interview. We’re all doing well minus a current heat wave. (haha)
You’re fresh off your wicked interview for RiverWest Radio. so it’s going to be hard to surpass that, haha. How was the experience?
Incoherent at times. People kept asking if the radio host (C.C.) was actually like that in real life and he definitely is. Constantly talking in rhymns and riddles; it was a bit confusing haha!
Ok guys, so let’s start from the very beginning. Tell us about your backgrounds, musical experience and that morphing into what you perform now.
Josh: I was interested in heavy music from a young age but never got the chance to play it seriously until this project. I was in a screamo band for a couple of years starting at 22 but when that ended this picked up and it is definitely one of my favorite musical endevors that I’ve done. I was also stoked to play with someone Mark from a grind band that has been around and known for years, SENDER RECEIVER so i jumped on that. The past few years I’ve been getting into psych and more experimental music so that’s been a big influence for me too.
Brok: well, i started playing in bands early on in highschool, before i could drive lol. I guess it was just one serious group back then, but i was always trying out new thing musically with friends. Its basically how i ended up in Kalamazoo to begin with. Were in a college town, so after highschool this is where all of my pals ended up. I played in a band here for a little while about six years ago, called THE REPTILIAN. A stupid personal situation forced me to leave the group and Kalamazoo, but i had to come back because this is such an awesome music town. Within no time i met josh and he asked me to start this group with him. Our first practice is when imet mark and we wrote a real heavy tune in one practice, and havent stopped since, though it feels like every song we write takes longer and longer lol. SHOTO rules!
Mark: I am originally from NE Iowa were I was in a few bands off and on over the years. Mostly screamo bands like SEA OF TREES and grind bands like RINGBEARER. I moved to Kalamazoo in 2013 to be with my partner and met Josh at shows and the local record store. He asked if I would be interested in joining a band with him and a friend (brok) that was more on the slow side. After years of playing fast music my wrists said yes haha. Mostly I draw a lot of influence from bands like ISIS (the band, not the terrorist group) and BREATHER RESIST. Basically more chaotic or progressive music.
Did Kalamazoo shape who you are musically now? Did your environment play a part in SHOTO’s mood? Tell us more about your local grounds, its atmosphere and local art scene.
Josh: YES. at least for me, i moved here originally to play with FORGET THE TIMES, an improv free jazz and noise rock collective (and still do), we just toured actually. but that has influenced writing and messing around with other things other than just guitar and bass, predominately no input mixing.
Kalamazoo has a pretty healthy scene, currently three plus bars, and a few houses, and a huge variety of music. It is def a hotspot for touring bands. we also have three colleges, which keeps bringing new people in. there are also a few art collectives and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts.
Your latest record is marked by a sense of creative freedom. Do you think it’s important for independent artists writingiverse in what they compose or how they experiment with art? Tell us about your approach to making your music unique and the processes behind your work.
Experimenting with music is one of the best parts about being in a band. Trying something different or something you might initially feel uncomfortable playing is, for this group, what its all about. I dont feel like we have ever stopped writing and each song usually just starts with us discussing an idea. Then once we actually get down to playing/writing, all of our different influences, likes/dislikes, or weirder ideas come into play. For the most part, these experiments make it to the final song. We havent ever really come up with something that made so little sense that we just said “no, this sux”
Getting ready for your next releases, will you be trying to move into even more uncharted waters? Are there some musical forms, additional techniques and/or methods you’d like to incorporate into your music?
Yes. Crucial Feedback.
Haha, ok so what kind of message do you want to send when listeners come across SHOTO?
Were all gonna die eventually. but on a more serious note, we would like each and every person that hears our music or comes to a show to see us, or that wears one of our home made pins to realize… SHOTO rules! The music sounds very serious, and on one level it is to us, but really its just super fun. Most of the songs are about turtles.
Ok, so what are your next steps with the band? Are you looking to establish your relationship as SHOTO even more? What does future hold for this project and what ambitions and goals do you have for the future?
Not get so pissed of at each other that we break up lol. We are all coming up on 30 and have to start being real adults more or less, which means we can’t tour a bunch. We are doing six days in october but thats about it. Trying to play out of town when we can. We started writing again, which these songs will hopefully be on a split with our friends in closet witch sometime next year, and we are doing a split with our friends in DEN from Chicago, and a split with our buds in MOLD, local rock legends. Basically we just want to keep making music together for years to come.
You’ve just wrapped up a couple of live shows in your area. Can you offer further detail about your future performances? Are there some gigs you’d like to arrange this year and beyond?
Lastly, can you share names of some noteworthy artists from your area?
THE REPTILIAN, ANYBODY BUT THE COPS, FORGET THE TIMES, GUPPY, MOLD, TELL BOB ALOHA, DEN, HORDES, THE CAMBODIAN HEAT, THE WRAP, CHILD BITE, MOUNTAIN GOAT, LOCKTENDER, CLOUD RAT, OLD SOUL, CLOSET WITCH, OBSIDIAN SWORD, GROWING COLD. I mean, there’s a lot of good shit all over the midwest.
Thanks so much for your time guys! Cheers from Warsaw!
Cheers from America! If Trump gets elected maybe we’ll be seeing you soon!
Haha, that’s one of the saddest laughs I’ve ever have. Anyway, you’re invited! See you!