Shane Sutton, the singular creative force behind Aviation Weather’s instrumental, astral sound, gleaned his earliest inspiration from the formidable guitar-driven rifts common among rock and punk bands, such as Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, The Misfits and the New York Dolls. At the age of 14, the Indianapolis, Ind., native taught himself to play both guitar and bass, eventually performing with several bands before completing high school.
“Going to concerts—hearing those rock sounds and the tones of the guitars—that really inspired me to learn,” Shane says. “After graduation, I toured with the band ‘Once Again’ and co-founded an all ages club 'The Sitcom' managing and booking shows for other touring bands for several years, That experience helped me build confidence and develop my own sound.”
Seeking the change of environment so imperative to artistic pursuits, Shane moved to Salt Lake City in 1996, where he launched the label Culvert Records, producing several singles and booking several shows before moving to Las Vegas in 2000. It was here, during one of the city’s most somber times, that Aviation Weather was born. Much of Shane’s music still hints at the melancholy shrouding the city while he lived there.
In 2004, after a brief foray in San Diego, Shane settled down in the much-greener pastures of Portland, Ore., where he found fertile creative ground to further evolve his music. Here, Shane is able to tap into the treasure of his experiences and create music that resonates with a broad spectrum of listeners.
“To live in different cities creates a wide range of emotions that you don’t really get from visiting,” Shane says. “I have met a lot of people—musicians, friends and co-workers—who still influence my writing. But Portland has always felt like the right place to live permanently. I love the seasons, the rain, the views, the feel of the city, the laid-back attitude. All of these things inspire my creativity.”
In Portland, Shane focuses all of his attention on Aviation Weather. He produced two full-length CDs, both picked up by the music licensing company Rumblefish. Although not-yet-released to the general public, his songs have been used in several indie movies and online.
Aviation Weather’s latest CD, Fires and Accidents, takes its name from the drama, emotions and lethargy that can get in the way of one’s accomplishments. Using acoustic, analog and electronic instruments, Shane communicates through his music. Quiet melodies repeat in various forms, culminating in a driving crescendo of guitar and drums. Other songs weave seamless guitar lines into hypnotic rhythms that hint at the peace to be found in a chaotic world.
“With every song, I try to tell a story without lyrics,” Shane says. “That way, any of my songs can serve as soundtrack for whatever might be going on in someone’s life at that time.”