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Lochness Monster is leaving a big footprint in music. But what the band has in common with the famous swamp monster is the legendary trail it leaves behind.
Lochness Monster was formed in 2014 by Justin Shaner on guitar (formerly of Giving Chase) and includes Michael Morello on vocals, Rene Rivera on drums (formerly of Josie McQueen), and Camilo Zea on bass (formerly of Punto Ge).
Shaner and Morello recently released Lochness Monster’s first full-length LP, Fables, They used a selection of top musicians on the album with Andre Serafini on drums (Quit, King Friday), Larry Monteleone as the studio bassist and James Paul Wisner recorded, mixed, and produced (Further Seems Forever, Hands Like Houses, Underoath, Paramore).
Fables caught on at the college level and made a name from there. The album made the CMJ charts in the No. 50 position. We recently caught up with Shaner to see what Lochness Monster is up to.
Tell us about ‘Fables’ and how you came to create the album? Does it have special meaning to you?
Fables is a very personal album to me musically because it’s a culmination of all the demos I’ve made over about a 3 year period. Before making all the demos I took a decade break from making music so I had a lot of pent up inside me that I was able to release musically. Michael came in to the picture once I started looking for band members to turn this into something more than just a bunch of demos. Drums and bass came in after the guitar work was laid down. The way Michael writes his lyrics I think represents the mood well and can be pretty visual at times.
What is the secret to a good collaboration?
It takes a while to find people who want the same thing as you and who love the music as much as you do. I think that not giving up when times are tough, if you believe in what you are doing and you feel good about what you are doing, is important in accomplishing anything. Michael and I have worked with several different bass players and drummers while creating the album and while supporting the album live and think we finally found a great fit with Camillo Zea on Bass and Rene Rivera on Drums, both are tight musicians, team players, and create a really solid rhythm section for the band, they also bring a lot of new ideas to the table.
From the sounds of your work, you’re a big fan of metal and also alternative pop. How did you come to blend these sounds?
I’ve always enjoyed blending heavier and softer dynamics in songs, I guess I’ve always opted for that while playing guitar but never consciously did it on purpose. Some songs like Pixie Cut lean towards more of a pop vibe though throughout, but you’re right there are several songs that blend hard and soft dynamics, like Pendulum and Nocturnes for example. I’d say Anchors Gone is our most metal influenced song.
Where can we follow you and where can our readers catch you live next?
People can like us on Facebook and follow us on Instagram and Twitter. We are going to be playing shows Florida for the next couple of months with a mini-tour in the works after that. All of our shows will be listed on our website and Facebook page.
Who are the musicians you most admire and why?
Tom Petty, Bob Dylan, James Hetfield, Chino Moreno, Thom Yorke, Maynard James Keenan, Kurt Cobain, Ice Cube, Brian Wilson, Prince, the list goes on but I think each of the ones listed have kept their artistic integrity in tact and make music that they want to make, not that someone else is telling them to make.
What do you enjoy about touring? What is the biggest drag about touring?
The people you get to meet, the excitement of doing what you love each night in a new place. The biggest drag would be being away from my family.
What advice would you give young artists today?
Don’t give up when times get tough if you believe in what you are doing just treat the tough times as learning experiences. Don’t get too much into your head when things are going well. Don’t ever think you are great at what you are doing or else your ego will never let you get better.