At 14-years-old, Beartooth’s Caleb Shomo started his career when he joined as the keyboard player to his friends’ “electronic, weird” band, but looking back at that time now, Shomo says he has grown into a completely different musician. He says he strives for honesty in his songs and rejects the idea of making music for the radio or singles designed to make money. CreativeLive sat down with Shomo to talk about his songwriting process and tips for aspiring writers.

“At first I didn’t really do much songwriting,” Shomo says. “I was 14, and some of my friends were like, ‘Hey want to play keyboard in a band?'” After leaving his childhood band, he started to work on his own music.

“I just wanted to do something complete opposite. I just wanted to make music that I knew was honest to me, that had no motivation other than writing good songs that I enjoyed,” he says.

Shomo often focuses on the build of a song, without lower points; there is nothing to build up tom, he says. “I want to have it build up to just the biggest chorus ever, or the nastiest riff ever.” But he says typically keeps a traditional pop-song formula. But if a song isn’t stuck in his head, or playing on repeat, it won’t make it on the album.

Watch Shomo’s interview to hear more about his musical upbringing, what he thinks makes a great song, and tips he has to start a song or get over writers block. —Jake Hanson