The decisions by a couple of friends to leave their shared hometown of Charleston, S.C., hit SUSTO frontman Justin Osborne hard — hard enough to write a song about it. The result is “Homeboy,” which opens their new album and sees its video premiere below.
Osborne tells Billboard the track was inspired when longtime collaborator Wolfgang Zimmerman, who co-produced the just-released Ever Since I Lost My Mind, voiced a desire to move to Los Angeles, and then when another friend headed to Argentina shortly after that. “It’s kind of about me having been on the road for the last few years and watching what’s going on at home from my phone pretty much,” Osborne explains. “(Zimmerman) was thinking about moving to L.A. and I was like, ‘Oh, man, I never get to see you anymore ’cause I’m almost never home, now I won’t get to see you when I am home.’ It’s kind of like a weird, two-sided conversation of me being homesick but also understanding people wanting to get out, start a new life and pave their own way through their own lives. There’s a certain amount of nostalgia and not wanting things to change too much, but also just rolling with it when they do.”
But Ever Since I Lost My Mind, SUSTO’s debut release for Rounder Records, opens its own chapter for the group with the involvement of Ian Fitchuk, who worked on Kacey Musgraves’ Grammy Award-winning Golden Hour as a producer, helping to craft a more fleshed-out sound than its two predecessors. “I wanted to chase down a higher fidelity record this time,” Osborne acknowledges. And after recording the other two in a storage facility in Charleston, Echo Mountain in Asheville, N.C., provided the right venue to do that.
“I wanted to work with Ian on this record and take a step up, but Wolfie is kind of my comfort zone,” Osborne says. “So I wanted to see what those two guys could do together, and having (Zimmerman) in the room helped me feel comfortable in taking this next step. Making an album on a whole different level like this didn’t feel right to do without him.”
Osborne and SUSTO have been “rehearsing our butts off” preparing to tour in support of the album, beginning Feb. 28 in Athens, Ga. after wrapping up promotional record store appearances in the south. The group, which has gone through some lineup changes between albums, will also be in Europe during April and May. “We’ll be doing a lot of old songs, too, but I feel like every tour is definitive of that album’s era,” Osborne says. “So I feel like we’re truly in the Ever Since I Lost My Mind era right now, and I’m looking forward to playing these songs for everybody. Every creative part of this album and making stuff to go along with it so far has been a lot of fun, and I’m sure the shows will be as well.”