State Champs have been a driving force in the pop punk music world for years, and they’re keeping the momentum alive with their new tour, opening for New Found Glory. We spoke with the band about what music they just can’t live without, and the changes they’ve seen for pop punk as a whole.
TheIndieSD: You guys are in the middle of a really exciting tour that even includes some amazing festivals! What has been your most memorable performance on tour so far?
State Champs: We played BLED FEST in Howell, Michigan and it was amazing. The fest is held at an old school. We played in a classroom on the floor and it was intense. Kids piled in until they literally couldn’t fit anymore kids in the classroom and once we started everyone pushed forward and Derek was fighting to keep kids from toppling amps and keep himself from crashing into the drum kit. Needless to say, it was amazing. Those intimate sets are generally the most memorable and fun!
TISD: Speaking of memorable moments on tour, what has been your most memorable show ever? Have you had any embarrassing experiences on tour?
SC: One of the most memorable shows for me was our first time at chain reaction in Anaheim, CA. It was our first time in SoCal and kids set it off for us. To go to an area for the first time and have kids screaming your words and throwing their bodies off the stage to your music is unparalleled. There’s a bunch of other memorable shows but this one just came to my mind. As far as embarrassing experiences? Sure, sometimes rip your pants jumping or lose your balance and fall into a wall or smash your microphone into your own mouth. :(
TISD: How have you been enjoying touring with Cartel and New Found Glory?
SC: It’s been unreal. To be able to tour with bands we’ve looked up to for years is so crazy. They’re all incredible people and great musicians that we have a lot to learn from! I’m still not sure if it’s clicked yet that we’re out here playing alongside these bands. I’m sure when I look back ill be like “0.0 that happened.”
TISD: So, I’m assuming you’re fans of Cartel and New Found Glory!
SC: Yes we are!
TISD: What is your favorite song by these artists?
SC: Cartel – anything off of Chroma, “Faster Ride”, “Deep South” and “Let’s Go”. New Found Glory – everything.
TISD: What can you not live without while on tour? What do you always bring with you or always have to have?
SC: I can’t live without my ear plugs, my laptop, my iPhone, and a book. Being able to block everything out and staying occupied will help you keep you sane on the road!
TISD: What is in heavy rotation on your playlists right now? What artists or bands can you just not live without?
SC: My playlist for this tour includes The Menzingers, American Football, Nirvana and Promise of Redemption. That’s just me though! We listen to a wide variety in the van. Everything from Coheed and Cambria to Juicy J to Valencia to Skrillex.
TISD: You guys describe yourselves as a “DIY Pop Punk Band”. How did it feel to be signed by Pure Noise Records?
SC: It feels good? Haha. PNR is a very family based operation. It’s literally one guy. It’s great because he lets you be yourself. He doesn’t try to tell you how to sound or what to do or how to look. Pure Noise also lets us have a hand in stuff like our album art and pre-order options and stuff like that. Nothing is predetermined for us. Sky’s the limit!
TISD: Being in the genre for quite some time, how do you feel about some of the changes in the bands and styles of pop punk?
SC: I feel like they’re good because things need to evolve to remain relevant. If everything remains the same, why would anyone even start new bands? I think some of the current pop punk bands are the best in the genre (not to discredit any older bands!)
TISD: Do you see and feel a difference when performing on the east coast as opposed to the west coast? Do you think west coast audiences are more excited for pop punk, or is it relatively equal?
SC: It all depends on what city. Some of the better shows we play on the east coast (providence, RI. Albany, NY. NYC) compare to SoCal shows or Seattle shows. I’d say it’s relatively equal!
TISD: Pop punk is a really fun genre that creates very dedicated and appreciative fans. Do you see the band continuing in the same direction, or do you plan to branch out into other, sometimes hardcore influences, like some other pop punk bands in the business?
SC: If we’re going to be branching out, it would be in the poppier direction. While we love hardcore, the poppier side just makes more sense for us.
TISD: I love the album, Apparently I’m Nothing. It plays on some very smart and deep elements. Can you tell me about your writing process for that album? Did you take any different approaches when creating the material for Overslept? (Overslept is really good too, by the way!)
SC: AIN was written when I was 18-19. I didn’t exactly know what I was doing I was just trying to write songs while balancing college and a job. With Overslept, I spent a lot more time trying to write better songs and paid attention to keys and drew from a wider set of influences.
TISD: Your music tends to talk about feelings and emotions in a completely relatable way, as opposed to some genres which make music about very over the top themes (wealth, fame, adventure, etc.) Do you feel that it’s important for music to be relatable to the listener?
I don’t think it’s extremely important. Personally, I find it more appealing when I can relate to it though. However I do like songs that I later found out were ghost written or not actually true stories. They kinda lose their touch but I still like them!
According to their official blog, State Champs recently finished a full length album. While you patiently wait, check out this video playlist of the EP Overslept.