Made for Shelter
Lyric ideas can come from all sorts of sources, a technique that Matt Badd practices all the time. Take “Portland Park,” a standout song from his band Made For Shelter’s repertoire.
“One time I was in this park in Portland, [Oregon,]—I was traveling with another band, and I saw this homeless individual sit down on a bench in front of us,” said Badd, a.k.a. Matthew Badinger. “So, I wrote a poem to him and that ended up being this song many years later. One of the lines goes, ’Hey, king of this park, come and rest your head.’”
Observational lyrics fill Badd’s notebooks. He said he tries to “write about what people experience on a regular basis, and if not that, then I write about friends, people I enjoy. It’s all very metaphorical, though, not really very linear.”
Made for Shelter’s songwriting skills are one key to what makes their moody indie rock sound distinctive in the Reno scene. Badd’s words are welded to the music of guitarist and backing vocalist Sarah Joyner, who is Badd’s younger sister. The group officially began in October of last year with Badd on drums and vocals and Joyner on bass. They had been playing music together since they both were young kids.
“Sarah and I decided to try out some guitar players, and after we tried out a few, she started to play guitar instead, and it worked really well,” Badd said. “It was a duo for a while and then after trying out a few bass players, we found Alex.”
That’s Alex Breckenridge, a longtime Reno bassist who is known in the jazz community and is getting ready to graduate this spring from University of Nevada, Reno, with a music degree. He also runs Breckenridge Studios, which is where Made for Shelter records.
“I was actually producing the band at the time, when they had another bass player, and then they called me, and I was like, ’Yeah, I love your music. Absolutely,’” Breckenridge said.
From that point in May of this year, Made for Shelter has been playing sporadic shows, including a KWNK fundraiser at West Street Market and a set at the Alive in the Desert festival in June in Churchill County. The band’s also been working on their seven-song debut EP, out sometime this spring.
Musically, Made for Shelter likes its dynamics, ranging from intricate, slower material to louder straight-ahead rock.
“To me, it has a very ’90s alternative feel,” Breckenridge said, adding that much of it reminds him of metal band Deftones’ moody masterwork White Pony. “There are a lot of really interesting harmonic things happening in the chords versus flashy lines or melodic lines.”
“I agree with that statement totally,” Badd said. “But I’d add that if you took that and then dipped it in a bowl of country chocolate, that’s what you get.”
Badd said it can be tricky to cross so many genre lines, he’s happy with the Made for Shelter sound.
“I’ve never found the time to put myself in a genre, you know?” Badd said. “It’s OK for someone to just come see us and then come up with their own idea of what we sound like.”
“We don’t have to write in a particular style or type of riff,” Breckenridge added. “It’s more like, ’How can we adapt this and bring something to the table?’”