After a bad breakup with his first band, Patrick Killeen thought his second outfit, Yogurt Brown, were poised for success. Formed with a few friends, Yogurt Brown had an EP and played a packed show. But just as the band was beginning to pick up steam, Killeen's father passed away, devastating him.
Unable to commit to making music after his loss, Killeen quit the band. He then decided to give standup comedy a try as a creative outlet.
"I actually liked those songs with Yogurt Brown," he says. "But we weren't getting the response that I hoped, and I just decided to do something different."
Ultimately, Killeen found his way back to playing music, even if it was something he'd only picked up in the past 10 years. A multisport athlete in high school, the Huntington Beach native only started playing music when he was 19. Even after joining bands, the 28-year-old never had any type of formal training.
Channeling his grief, Killeen, with the help of longtime collaborator Scott Zschomler, formed Shoos Off. He quietly recorded and released Issues, an album of deeply personal songs that helped him cope with his father's passing. But the message was lost in the collection's uptempo sound. What separated the early stages of Shoos Off versus his other work is that Killeen had complete ownership of the project's direction.
"Shoos Off feels like more of a part of me," he explains. "The other two bands, I was just writing melodies, [whereas] this is more of my own thing."
Although originally intended as a studio project, with Zschomler's guidance, Shoos Off are going in a direction that couldn't be accomplished in the singer's first two groups. Killeen self-released an EP of songs he worked on, which, he says, served as a transition that would bridge his two albums.
His yet-to-be titled full-length album has been in the works since the end of 2013 and is now slated for a March release. Killeen has been deliberate in creating a collection of songs that accurately reflect his vision of what Shoos Off should be.
In Gabe Soriano, Jason Chang and Jacqueline Pablo, Killeen has found a group of musicians who can bring his vision to life. They have only played a handful of live shows, but their breezy synth pop shows that Killeen's razor-sharp attention to detail is finally being reflected in his music.
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"I always wanted it to be a band from the beginning, but I didn't want to put pressure on anyone to commit to recording with me or being in a band with me," he admits. "It's a little easier now because we have stuff out, and I think everyone likes what we're making." Killeen still struggles with the loss of his father, but on his latest album, the mood is much brighter.
"That album was more about my dad and dealing with what happened," Killeen says. "The new album feels like more of a declaration of being okay for the first time in a while."