God knows the mileage on Shane T’s GMC Yukon SUV. A full-time singer-songwriter, the Nashville native treks out to gigs galore around his new stomping grounds of New York — often with a drum kit in the back and Broncho blaring through the speakers.
Shane T, the stage name used by Shane Toriscelli, spoke to The Daily Californian in an interview taken from his new touring van he shares with indie-pop singer Ritt Momney. Toriscelli’s static-inflected tone contained nostalgia as he reflected back on his Yukon, parked (hopefully sans citations) in New York.
“(The tour) is already going by quick,” Toriscelli said, calling in from the endless tarmac cutting through rural Washington toward Seattle, in between back-to-back shows. “Honestly, I think it felt more daunting when I committed to basically 45 days on the road than it actually is turning out to be.”
Toriscelli joins Jack Rutter, the artist behind Ritt Momney, and their supporting bands, on a 27-show tour that stretches just over a month. Starting off in Rutter’s home base of Salt Lake City, the van creeps up and down the West Coast, arriving at San Francisco’s Rickshaw Stop March 8.
His second time playing in California, Toriscelli traded in sunnier skies for New York’s harsh winter, along with the opportunity to try out the tracks from his recently released EP, Night Drive. With its airbrushed-esque grainy graphic cover, Night Drive hits hard with grand production and an upcoming music video to up the ante even higher.
“I worked on (Night Drive) for probably too long if we’re being honest,” Toriscelli said. “I’m excited to have some momentum that I can keep rolling with more frequent releases down the road.”
The album’s titular song happens to be the introduction to Toriscelli’s new project. This intentional placement signifies Toriscelli’s pursuit of pushing his own musical limits, inspired by an old teacher at his alma mater, the University of Georgia.
“The goal is to start with the best song,” Toriscelli said. “It’s gonna work because it’s the best song, and then try to make all the other ones match it. And that’s kind of what I did with this record as well, starting with ‘Night Drive,’ which in my mind is definitely the best song at least production wise, and then working on all the rest of them to make sure that they all live up to the hype.”
The stills from the upcoming “Night Drive” video (which even Toriscelli admits to not knowing the release date for) communicate a curated narrative that might be part Miami Vice car chase, mixed with Mulholland Drive in a Lynch-like framing. While the project seems intricately orchestrated, however, the video came about from Toriscelli’s antics a year ago with his friends.
“(We were just) running around New York filming random funny things,” Toriscelli said. “We were basically making some sort of neo-noir movie.”
Working with Bradley Virshup who worked for free — Toriscelli firmly states he will pay him back, eventually — the goal was to center aesthetics, but not leave humor to the wayside. At times, Toriscelli shared, green screens and his mom’s tennis sunglasses make an appearance that is cut between shoes that “looks like it belongs in an actual movie.”
Friendship between Toriscelli and Rutter began when the latter’s manager put them in touch, but their bond solidified during the few beginning shows the two played together in 2019.
“The (tour’s) routing was a little bit suspect at times. We spent four days in Iowa,” Toriscelli said. “When you spend four days in Iowa with somebody and there’s 15 people at each show, you grow a pretty strong bond.”
As Toriscelli, Rutter and their motley crew cruise around the West Coast, Toriscelli willingly hands the aux to Rutter and Rick West, Ritt Momney’s drummer, who are more tapped into the “hip music.” With the tour van bumping the gang’s preferred pick of PinkPantheress through Oregon, this kind of night drive differs from Toriscelli’s midnight cruises as of late.
“I work on music so much that the car is such a nice place to have it just be silent for a while,” Toriscelli said.
Toriscelli’s night drives may be the inspiration for some of his tracks, but he admits to the one downside of having car access.
“I have to move it twice a week so I don’t get towed,” Toriscelli said. “Parking is potentially one of the biggest stresses of my life. Currently, it’s just moving my car twice a week and trying to find another spot.”
While it will be some time until Toriscelli returns to his Yukon (and potential tow trucks), he looks forward to the hours spent driving long distances on tour, revving up to be received by the lively crowds welcoming him to the West Coast and beyond.