Originally, the local indie rock band shelter pup. began as a solo project for singer-songwriter Trevor Stout. Over the time, the band has evolved into a three-piece; just today it released its latest single “(It’s) Your Funeral.”
With its undulating guitar riff and soft vocals, the hypnotic song distills the band’s disparate influences.
“My biggest influences are Beck and Dance Gavin Dance and Led Zeppelin,” says Stout in a recent phone interview. “Ever since I was kid, I was always singing. At some point in elementary school, I picked up guitar, and once I formed my own ideas, I started realizing that music has helped me in so many ways, and I would love to give that back in a way. Playing a really good show is weirdly enough the best high. It’s like a runner’s high. It’s nice to be able to get a bunch of people in a room together enjoying the same thing."
Stout got his start at open mic nights at places such as Brothers Lounge, the Winchester, Kelley’s Pub and Stella’s Music Club and then picked up a bigger show last year at Mahall’s 20 Lanes in Lakewood when shelter pup. opened for indie rockers Fashion Jackson.
“There were a lot more people than we expected,” says Stout. “I didn’t realize how big Fashion Jackson was, and that show was lots of fun.”
Prior to the release of “(It’s) Your Funeral,” the band put out a series of singles and an album. All those recordings are available on Bandcamp.
For “(It’s) Your Funeral,” Stout wanted to write about how going it alone has its drawbacks.
“It’s just like about my own experiences and my experiences with other people,” he says about the tune. “It’s a song about people who get caught in this mindset that you can do things by yourself and don’t need extra help. Nine times out 10, that’s not the case, and that idealized isolation leads you down a path of negativity. I’m trying to make the point that you do need people, and it’s okay to ask for help.”
The band recorded the track locally with Steve Perrino at Compass Audio. Stout worked with locally based In Bloom Productions on the song’s accompanying music video.
“[In Bloom] went above and beyond,” says Stout. “It was a fun time recording everything. I go on walks a lot and was trying to think of an idea [for a music video]. I saw a couch sitting on a tree lawn and thought it would be funny if some animated skeleton was walking around and going about their day doing mundane things. We went from there. The In Bloom guys helped me push it into a story.”
The group even filmed some of the video at the Merry-Go-Round Museum in Sandusky.
“We contacted them and they were okay with everyone coming in,” says Stout. “It was really cool.”
With live music essentially put on pause, Stout says he intends to use the downtime to continue to write more new music.
“We don’t have any shows planned," he says. "Hopefully, 2021 will come around, and things will be looking up. For now, I’m focused on getting this single out, and I’m working on writing more songs and narrowing them down for an EP that I hope will come out next year.”
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Jeff has been covering the Cleveland music scene for more than 20 years now. And on a regular basis, he tries to talk to whatever big acts are coming through town, too. If you're in a band that he needs to hear, email him at [email protected].