On March 7th, Rock Documented had the opportunity to interview a band from Fort Collins, Colorado. Shatterproof is made up of Branson Hoog (vocals), TJ Wessel (violin), Jeremy Marmor (guitar), Josh Schoeing (bass), and Benji Spoliansky (drums). This group of guys is beginning to climb in the music scene in Colorado, having played with big names such as Trapt, Against the Current, Metro Station, and We the Kings.
Rock Documented: What is the history of Shatterproof? What brought you guys together? What was the initial spark that started the band?
Josh Schoeing: It kind of actually started with Jeremy and I meeting in high school. I think Jeremy was a freshman and I was a sophomore. We were just a typical high school band. It was fun. We were growing as musicians. Then we brought TJ on not as a violin player, as a drummer. TJ and I grew up together, our families knew each other when we were little kids. TJ then moved to violin because we realized that he was too good at playing violin to be playing drums. We were very slowly adding each member until we became the line-up that we are. We’ve been this way for a little under six years now.
Benji Spoliansky: Basically, it wasn’t until our senior year of high school that it became this line-up. I met Branson sophomore year at the high school that TJ and I went to. Shatterproof had played a show with our old lead singer and had won first place, and Branson had done a solo act and took second place. After that our old lead singer left and then Branson got in, and it’s been that line-up ever since.
RD: Talking about the group dynamics a little bit, what is working with each other like? For example, how does the music writing process work? What is it like hanging around each other?
Branson Hoog: It’s kind of like if you had a little brother who is still close enough in age to relate, but still young enough where you pick on them. I think we kind of lucked out. I think that we have a good group of dudes and I feel like a lot of bands that we meet have some sort of drama. Like one of their members is not quite as solid morally. I don’t know. I just really think that we have a good group of dudes. We are all, really, just like best friends. As for the writing, we all collectively write the songs. We each kind of write our own parts and then we get back to each other as far as how it fits as a whole song and the dynamic of it. I know that a lot of bands, the singer will write all the songs and that just feels kind of silly, cause why would I have an amazing violinist or prodigy guitarist and write his part for him? Of course, Jeremy should write his own guitar parts and Josh should write his own. Josh is better at bass than I am, why would I write the bass part? So, we each have our own parts and then work collectively on the song writing. We also each all have a different background of music. Jeremey was in a reggae band. Ben was doing some classic rock. Josh was more on the metal side, and of course, now he does our screams. TJ is classically trained, and I’m doing singer/songwriter stuff. I think it’s really interesting that we have five different musical backgrounds and we come together to try and write something, and I think that’s why our music is so sporadic.
RD: Now that we are on the topic of your music, Shatterproof released a video on YouTube, not too long ago explaining that the band was going through “an identity crisis”, and that fans could expect some changes. Could you talk a little bit about your musical past? How your music was then vs. what fans could potentially see from Shatterproof this coming year or even more so in the future?
BH: I think ever since we started this band, (or ever since it’s been this line-up, so the last five years or so), I feel like we have been on a steady incline. Each show we play gets a lot bigger. Then we got into SpokesBUZZ. There have been things constantly pushing us forward and we have never really plateaued until about six to eight months ago. We kind of had our first moment where we were like, “Okay, we’ve been playing the Midwest and Fort Collins for four years now, any tour we go on now is like small tours where we’re the only band on it or it’s us and another small band.” We’re ready to make that jump to where labels are involved and we’ve got a booking agent to get us on tours with bigger bands. Musically, I think the music we used to work on was more on the creepy side and I think that we had a realization that that is always going to be a part of our sound. We are always going to have those songs, but that doesn’t need to be every song that we write. There’s no reason that we can’t write a more radio friendly, catchy song and there’s no reason we can’t write a more heavy song. I think more than everything, we kind of took a little stress off our shoulders and realized that we can write whatever music we want. There are no rules. The biggest thing is that we are very colorful group. The whole wearing all black and having all these songs that are creepy doesn’t really fit us. So, as far as moving forward, we’ve definitely upped our game as far as image and stage show. Our sound is going to still be similar. I believe that is what is probably going to change the least, but it is still something that we are going to continue working on as far as broadening our musical taste as part of a band.
BS: Yeah and we are in the process of writing a ton of material right now and I think that the hardest part of being in a band is writing all this awesome stuff and no one else can hear it for a year.
JS: Or longer.
BS: Or ever. But yeah, the challenging thing that Branson was saying is probably going to be staying the same for a little while, but as far as what we’ve got in the works is something entirely creative and new. I think that people are going to love it. When they hear it. In a decade…
RD: Is there anything else that fans can expect from Shatterproof in 2017? Any new music being released? Or any upcoming shows?
BH: Unfortunately, we are not allowed to announce anything that we have coming up, but all we can say is that there will be much more touring happening in 2017. We can say that this is going to be a good couple of years for us. We finally have the support we need and we can drop the mixture we want to drop. So definitely new music, new music videos, and more touring.
BS: Basically, we can’t say anything, it’s top secret. It’s very exciting.
RD: If you had the opportunity to tour with anyone, dead or alive, who would you tour with?
BH: Lana Del Rey.
BS: Will Smith, probably.
BH: On a real note though, I don’t know. It would be really awesome to go on tour with Bring Me the Horizon or Pierce the Veil.
JS: I think that for me, with our sound and where we are at, if My Chemical Romance were to ever do a reunion. That would be the band for me.
BH: No Lana?
JS: No! You have this weird obsession…
BS: I stick with Will Smith.
RD: Is there any advice that you would give either to musicians who are just starting out, or musicians who are going through an identity crisis, trying to find themselves in their music.
JS: Some general advice for anyone who is trying to pursue music is just that if you put in the work you will make your goals. We have been on the grind, trying to make it work for almost six years now. There are times that it does feel like not much is happening, but as long as we are putting in the work behind the scenes…I just feel like you can get rewarded for putting your all into something. You just can’t give up.
BH: I think you have to reframe what it means to actually make it and to be successful. I think that a lot of bands think that they’re only going to be cool when they’re making money. I think this is the wrong career if you’re looking for cash. But the thing that this career will give you is travel, experiences, and friendships. I think it has been the absolute best experience of my life being in a band. I think the biggest thing is: do music for the love of music. I also don’t think that bands understand the amount of resources available. There are photographers in your area who are looking to start building their portfolio. A lot of bands don’t know what to do when it comes to help with making merch or taking promo pictures, even music videos, and there are photographers who are around that are looking for travel and to take photos. Making connections is huge, with any business.
If you are in the Colorado area, you can catch Shatterproof playing the Moxi Theater on April 7th with Valienta. Not in the MidWest? Fear not! You can find their music on ITunes and Spotify. Make sure you also check out their music videos for “Cookie Cutter Life” and “Karma” below! I promise that you will not be disappointed!
If you are looking for merch or more information about the band, head on over to their website at weareshatterproof.com.