Formed less than one month ago by members of CAUST and LOUD?, which includes guitarist Andrew Clark, bassist Phil Edfors, and drummer Paul Karcic, as well as vocalist Ella Boissonnault, MAKESHIFT SHELTERS have been on the rise with record speed. Their debut EP The Cautious End of Things is set to be released this week on November 26th, and they already have plans to tour overseas. Their EP is already receiving rave reviews for their infectious, catchy style of indie rock. I had the chance to talk to Phil about how the band got started, the secrets to their success, and their plans for the next year.

How did your band get started?

When CAUST got back from our East Coast Tour this past summer in early September, our merch guy Paul started jamming together. He plays drums, and I play bass. We’ve jammed together over the years, and we made bands on the side. This band had a few reincarnations before we decided to get serious about it. Andrew got really interested in joining the band after jamming with us. Originally, I was gonna be the vocalist, and we were gonna do more slowcore, shoegaze kinda stuff. But I realized that I can’t sing for shit (laughs), so we were trying to think of friends we knew in the area that could sing, and we thought of Ella, who also does her own singer/songwriter music under the name ELLA SOPHIA. She brought a lot to the table in terms of songwriting. When she joined the band, we scrapped everything we wrote before then, and started writing with her at the start of November. It wasn’t meant to be serious at first, but the songs turned out a lot better than we expected.

In a review of your debut single “The Cautious End of Things” by Under The Gun Review, they said that “feels more put together and advanced then just some random group of kids playing in their garage.” What are your thoughts about that?

It really stoked me out. I’m really glad it’s being well received. We practice 2 to 3 times per week whenever Paul doesn’t have work or school. We all come from punk and hardcore bands, and we really wanted to write more professionally sounding songs with better pop sensibilities than our previous bands.

What is the meaning behind that song?

The opening song, which is “The Cautious End of Things”, and the closing song, which is “Overflowing”, were both written by Ella so I don’t think I could do the specific meaning justice, but essentially, they are both cathartic songs about situations about to erupt. It’s like the climactic moments in movies that are just boiling with tension and emotion before something big happens.

Your band will be releasing your debut EP November 26th with Broken World Media, which has also featured other prominent indie and emo bands in the scene right now, including DADS, THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE…, and OLD GRAY. What is the story behind your relationship with them?

Myself and Andrew have been booking emo and indie shows in the NOVA and DC area for a while, and we have booked THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE, AND I AM NO LONGER AFRAID TO DIE three times here so we have developed a good relationship with Derrick, who is in the band and runs Broken World Media. Most bands these days just post their album up on Bandcamp, but we wanted to do more than that. So we showed the record to Derrick, and he was really stoked on it and offered to put it out for us. We are really excited to have their support and also to get good PR from them. He is really doing a lot for our band.

So have you guys signed a record contract with them yet?

Currently, it is officially unofficial (laughs). There is no paperwork signed yet, but there may be for our next record.

I also read in the review of “The Cautious End of Things” that you guys are planning to do shows in DC and Virginia, as well as some weekend shows along the East Coast, but you also want to go tour in Iceland. Can you tell us more about why you chose to tour there, and when you plan on going?

Personally I am enamored with Iceland. I wanted to go by myself this spring break, but Andrew told me that he wants to come too. We are trying to convince Ella, but she needs to make sure that she can afford it. We are planning on staying at the Kex Hostel, which has shows all the time there. OF MONSTERS AND MEN even played there. It would just be a stripped, unplugged set and maybe some full band sets. Right now, we are 60/40 on it, but I am really pushing for us to do it.

What is the location of “N39° W76°”?

I’m glad you picked up on that. “Nov,5” and that one are the two interludes on the EP, and they are the date and coordinates of where I met my ex-girlfriend. The location is Towson, MD, which is a hell hole (laughs). I have nothing against the people from there except her. With these songs, we tried to evoke feelings of harping back to the happy moments in a relationship just before shit goes downhill.

What are your thoughts on the local music scene in Virginia?

It is constantly growing. I wish it was more connected though. Prince William County, Loudon County, Alexandria, Fairfax, and Arlington all have great bands, but it’s really scene divided. There could be a great show going on five miles away from you, but you wouldn’t know about it unless you were in that particular scene. And for the most part, the scenes never really come together. I wish there was some unifying force to bring everyone together.

Are there any other bands from Virginia that more people need to listen to?

Absolutely none, just us (laughs). Seriously though there’s a lot. RAINTREE is a great band from [Charlottesville]. They are atmospheric pop. Also, bigger bands like HOLD TIGHT! and SUNDIALS. They are killing it. The drummer of CAUST is in another cool band called SWAN OF TUONELA.

Do you think 2014 will be a big year for your band?

Absolutely! We have a lot of shit going on. We will be playing Broken World Media’s holiday show on New Year’s in Connecticut, and THE WORLD IS A BEAUTIFUL PLACE… will be playing that too. On January 11th, we will be a playing at the Kay Spiritual Center at American University with MODERN BASEBALL and HAVE MERCY. We are also planning to record and release an LP, and we want to tour in the spring and for a long period of time this summer. It’s gonna be awesome.

For more information on MAKESHIFT SHELTERS and their upcoming EP The Cautious End of Things, follow them on Twitter and “like” their Facebook page.

Joe Fitzpatrick

Joe Fitzpatrick

As editor-in-chief, Joe is very passionate about promoting music and culture in Virginia and DC. A resident of Falls Church, Joe enjoys going to shows, checking out local breweries, and trying new foods with friends.

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