Los Angeles – The Shelters are a band on the precipice of rock stardom. Their debut full-length studio album will be released on June 10 and promises to further the refreshingly relevant alternative rock sounds heard on their previously released EP. Not only do they have a major label recording deal with Warner Brothers Records, they also have one of rock ‘n roll’s biggest and greatest names in their corner: none other than Tom Petty helmed the producer’s chair for the upcoming LP. The band specializes in a guitar-oriented brand of rock, not too far off from their producer albeit with an updated modern style. In addition to releasing their first record this month, they will be on tour with Mudcrutch – Tom Petty’s original band from back in Gainesville, FL.
The Shelters consist of guitarists Chase Simpson and Josh Jove alongside drummer Sebastian Harris and bassist Jacob Pillot. Everyone but the drummer spent some time in the Los Angeles band Automatik Slim, giving the members history and chemistry that is easily discerned from their music: “Sebastian and Chase played in a band before The Shelters that I joined for a short amount of time. After that band broke up, we decided to keep working on music and decided we were going to make a new band that met all of our desires. We had a different sense than other members of the band … it just naturally faded away kind of.”
Several of the songs that will be featured on The Shelters will be familiar to those who have followed the band for the last few years. According to Jove: “The four songs that will be on the EP will also be on the album. So it’s all from the same period of recording of the last three years working on music. ‘Rebel Heart’ is the first song off of the new record and that was the first song that we completed as a band, and that was probably around three years ago. So we’ve been working in the studio for a long time. The biggest difference you’ll hear on the LP is that you’re going to hear a wider sound spectrum of what we’re all about.”
It goes without saying that Tom Petty is a very busy man, so if he makes the decision to join on as producer for an album, you’ve got to know he feels strongly about it. Jove explains how the band came to know Petty and work with him on the making of The Shelters.
“A couple of the guys grew up out in the Malibu area and had become family friends with Tom early on,” said Jove. “So over time they were able to get [their music] in his hands and let him know what we were up to. And he was really excited about it and he was encouraging, suggested that we do a record and was willing to help us on the production.”
“He was very helpful although he was not too hands-on in the sense that he wanted us to explore our own minds and our own abilities and the sounds that we like. And I think that was a good decision for him to have made as a producer. He allowed us to do things that maybe we wouldn’t have come up with otherwise. Once we would get to a point in the song, where we felt like it was nearing completion, we would call him in and have him come listen and see if he had any words of advice for it. It could be anything from ‘You guys should change some of those words around,’ ‘You guys should make it longer,’ ‘You guys should add a guitar solo here.’ He always had good advice to give us. But the best is obviously when he comes in and is just ecstatic about what we’re doing on our own.”
Jove and Simpson serve as the principle songwriters for the band and each songwriter brings different strengths and techniques to the table:
“Chase and I write all of the songs and we both have our own methods.” Jove said. “I tend to write songs starting with music and starting with sounds or sonic ideas or even experiments in the studio, things like that. Whereas Chase…will write a bunch of words about stuff that really inspires him. Typically we both work separately and bring the ideas to each other, running by a musical idea or a lyrical idea. We just combine our influences together and see if we can help each other finish it up. I think that we work well together in that way and Chase is very interested in the words and I am very interested in the music, so I think combined together it makes for a good team.”