This is not Shane Told’s first rodeo. He is out on tour currently to support his burgeoning solo career under the moniker River Oaks, but you may know him better as the lead singer of the Canadian post-hardcore band, Silverstein. He has no plans to change his involvement with the latter, and is actually out on the road performing both projects practically at the same time. We caught up with him between his busy schedule and asked him a few questions about his solo live shows, his weekly podcast, and what the future holds for his career with both bands.
Catch River Oaks at Resident DTLA next Monday, 5/15! Thrillcall is giving away a pair of tickets; download the app, select Los Angeles as your location, and scroll ’til you see the offer! Follow on-screen prompts in order to enter. Good luck!
Thrillcall: When deciding on the name for your new project, why ‘River Oaks’?
River Oaks: I knew I didn’t want to call the project just by my first and last name. All my favorite “solo” guys–everyone from Trent Reznor (Nine Inch Nails) to David Bazan (Pedro The Lion) to Chris Carrabba (Dashboard Confessional)–always went with a band name for what was essentially a one man band. So I started thinking about what I could use that was still reflective of myself. So I went with River Oaks which is the name of the community where I grew up in Oakville, Ontario, Canada.
TC: After years of anticipation, you finally released your debut EP last January. Is another release under River Oaks coming soon?
RO: I’m not sure “soon” is the right word but I am working on it. I have a lot of irons in the fire right now… obviously Silverstein, and my podcast has actually taken up a lot of my time as well. So I am writing River Oaks songs when I have some time and feel inspired, and I probably have 8-9 songs right now. So when I get to a dozen or so I feel really good about, I’ll try to lay them down and make a record.
TC: Your podcast, Lead Singer Syndrome, is as much a fan’s dream as it is genuinely insightful about the lives of traveling musicians. Was there any single piece of advice or conversation that you could call your favorite from the series?
RO: You know, it’s amazing–77 episodes later, probably 100 hours of conversation, and in some ways I feel like I still have so much more to learn and talk about with people. It’s like I’ve barely scratched the surface. I’ll say the most surprising thing is how few lead singers started off wanting to do that. Most picked up a guitar first and became a singer by default. And most sucked at first. I think that’s just a really cool thing for someone getting started to be aware of. The successful singers are also well rounded musicians and also they had to work and practice and grow to get where they are. Not that many singers are just naturally awesome.
TC: For your solo project, you play every instrument. Do you play acoustic for your live shows or do you have a backing band for support?
RO: For right now it’s just me! I switch between acoustic and electric guitar and I play all the River Oaks songs that exist–four songs! haha–and then a lot of Silverstein acoustics and covers. Maybe one day I’ll get a backing band but for now I feel like for right now the most honest way is to have it just be me and my songs. Getting a backing band to play Silverstein songs would basically just be Silverstein, haha.
RO: It’s really really intense I won’t lie! Especially with some big Silverstein news that’s about to drop. But I love music and I love talking about music, so for me I really am living the dream.