Throughout high school, Trevor Stout would frequent open mic nights, performing cover songs with his acoustic guitar in hand. Fast forward a couple of years, Stout created ‘shelter pup.’ He would continue to visit open mics where he would play a collection of songs he had written. These compositions would later form his first EP. Some of the band’s musical influences include Beck, Led Zeppelin, and Dance Gavin Dance. Sonically, the project draws from these artists, releasing material that intricately combines indie with emo force.
The Cleveland band’s previous works include a handful of singles and demos, and two EPs: 2018’s “Apricity” and 2020’s “Just Be Here.”
Stout explains that there’s a sense of duality behind the band’s name: “The angsty side emphasizes the fact that we’re all comparable to shelter animals who have been through hell, yet we’re healing from these hardships on a daily basis. All of this is taking place simultaneously as we set out to determine our place in the world. And the more wholesome side of the band’s name is represented by the period at the end, and the word ‘pup’ is an acronym that stands for patience, understanding, and peace.”
shelter pup. recently released a new single entitled “(It’s) Your Funeral.” Inspired by personal experiences, Stout wrote this song about idealized isolation. In one aspect, it’s a letter to his past self who once thought that he was better off alone, that he didn’t need anyone, and could accomplish everything on his own. However, this is flawed reasoning because there is a certain line that can potentially be crossed, when being alone can lead to something far more dire; this solitude becomes self-destructive behavior and socially cripples with its negative effects, significantly impacting one’s quality of life.
The single’s music video strongly correlates with the message of the song. The visuals present a unique concept as the footage focuses on a central storyline surrounding its main character, Henri the Skeleton. Viewers are exposed to a solitary “day in the life” as Henri goes throughout the motions of his life. The video opens with a scene of Henri spinning in a black spiral abyss. Footage closely follows his course of actions - as he completes his morning routine in front of the bathroom mirror, sways in a hammock, and sits on a platform while fishing. Later, he is seen riding a carousel, swinging on a swing, and standing across a boardwalk platform, as he overlooks the ocean at the barricade. While these activities unfold, cords envelop all around him, tying him down like the strings of a puppet figure, entrapping him. Finally succumbing to defeat, Henri lays in an abysmal state of paralyzing loneliness and distress.
This simple, yet effective concept showcases how Henri led an empty existence as the walking dead, and powerfully conveys the eventual outcome that can transpire when you completely cut yourself off from everyone and everything.
The music of shelter pup. is a breath of fresh air - insightful and thought-provoking, it is evident that every facet of this project is carefully crafted and executed with such fine precision and honesty.
Check out the new shelter pup. video for “(It’s) Your Funeral” here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QWIcJWwjbVY
Connect with shelter pup. on their social media platforms:
Interview By: Bri Rodriguez
Photo By: Manda Specht