Tag Archives: interviews

State Champs talk exciting tour with New Found Glory

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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.

Ilan Rubin: The New Regime has risen

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The famously talented (and young!) drummer for Nine Inch Nails, Paramore, and Angels & Airwaves has a new stamp on the music scene that is solely his. Enter, The New Regime, drummer Ilan Rubin’s latest pride and joy. He’s created the project all by himself, which gives this versatile musician the chance to show off all that he has up his sleeves. Check out this interview with Rubin, where we talked about his ambitious plans for the music industry.

TheIndieSD: First off, congrats on the new release, and for being on this month’s cover of Rhythm! :)

Ilan Rubin: Thank you very much!

TISD: You’ve accomplished a lot in the music industry and performed with many successful acts at such a young age! Did you always feel that your career would take you in this direction? Where do you see your solo project, The New Regime, five years from now?

IR: In terms of the drumming side of my career I suppose that this is the direction I saw it going in. Ideally, I think most people see themselves achieving their goals in the format of a band but my goals evolved into what I’ve been doing for a while now. The New Regime is where I see my true master plan unfolding. I’ll keep writing material during my commitments with other bands but when I have the time to properly tour with The New Regime I feel that the sky is the limit.

TISD: Paramore, Nine Inch Nails, Angels & Airwaves — all amazing bands, with very different sounds! Tell me about how it feels to be a part of so many unique projects?

IR: It’s a lot of fun getting to play with all of the above and becoming good friends with good people. They’re all different bands and its nice to get to play the drums differently in them all.

TISD:How did you feel back in 1999 when you got the opportunity to play at Woodstock?

IR: The subject that won’t go away! It was a very long time ago… I was excited to play a big show back then just as I would be now but I honestly don’t hold that event in high regard. I played a show when I was young, oh well.

TISD: Starting off your career so young, did you ever have moments of doubt or feel overwhelmed with how quick-paced the music industry can be?

IR: I never had any doubts in terms of me doing the right thing by pursuing music. However, there will always be a concern as to how I can achieve my goals in such an inconsistent and volatile industry. I’m working on it and am constantly thinking about ways to make this happen.

TISD: I can hear a little bit of NiN influence in The New Regime. Tell me about some of your other influences that helped to mold your solo project?

IR: As far as bands I’ve played with I think that NIN would be the only one to reveal itself as an influence in my music. I feel like a broken record when I talk about the music that influences but Led Zeppelin, The Beatles, Queen, Beethoven, Bach, Radiohead, Depeche Mode, Jeff Buckley, to name a few…

TISD: Have you collaborated with other musicians for The New Regime, or do you plan on collaborating with others in the future?

IR: I haven’t collaborated with anybody for The New Regime. I write, play, and sing everything and my brother/manager Aaron records, mixes, and co-produces with me. I would collaborate with people in the future but the guys I’d like to approach wouldn’t waste their time with me!

TISD: How did it feel to be back in your hometown of San Diego shooting the Trolley Show? (Awesome job, by the way!)

IR: The Trolley show was a lot of fun! I must admit that it was my first time on the trolley and it was a pleasant experience. I’m glad you enjoyed it, thank you!

TISD: You’re known as a drummer, but how does it feel to get the chance to show off your other talents with your solo project? Do you plan to work more singing and guitar into your future musical endeavors?

IR: The New Regime is the only way I can truly show who I am as a musician. I’d be happy to use any skills I have if the job calls for it and have had fun doing so in NIN and Angels and Airwaves.

TISD: Have you ever had any funny/embarrassing moments on stage or throughout your career?

IR: The only thing that comes to mind would be my 21st birthday during a show in Paris with Nine Inch Nails. I was completely shocked when two strippers danced on both sides of me and dropped a cake on my head. You can see it on Youtube. People seem to find it funny.

(He’s referring to this video, which is NSFW. Thanks Youtube!)

TISD: Do you have a current music obsession at the moment? Favorite song on repeat or an album you can’t stop listening to?

IR: Lots of Depeche Mode. I’m late to everything when it comes to music so I’ve had a good time going through their catalogue.

TISD: Are there other challenges, instruments, experiences you want to tackle in the future during your career? What other plans do you have in mind?

IR: The challenge I’m most focused on and is most important to me is achieving my goals with The New Regime. It isn’t a side project to me and I really want to take it as far as humanly possible.

The New Regime just released a brand new video! Check out “Daydream” below and let us know what you think in the comments.

This Treatment Doesn’t “Hurt”

Cover for “This Might Hurt” by The Treatment, courtesy of Adrenaline PR and Spinefarm Records

Let me take you back to another time, friends.  It was a day when men were men, women were women, and not every rock band wore skinny jeans and guyliner.  Bands like AC/DC, Thin Lizzy, and all their counterparts were dominating stages and airwaves.  These days, those bands are considered legendary, but their style and presence are long considered a thing of the past.

Well worry no more, friends.  If you like that style, then The Treatment is for you.

Formed in Cambridge, UK in 2008, this five-piece rock band is currently traveling through the US for their first tour of the country, opening up for rock icons KISS and Mötley Crüe on their not-just-cleverly titled “The Tour”. With their debut album, “This Might Hurt”, currently available for download on iTunes, the album also comes attached with their EP of covers, “Then & Again”.  San Supersonic had a chance to catch up with lead singer Matt Jones on the cusp of their show on August 12th at Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre in Chula Vista.

If you’ve had a chance to listen to their first single, “Nothing to Lose but Our Minds” (which you can right here), then you’ll notice that the band happens to be pretty classic sounding.  It’s less of a current style of rock, and has drawn a lot of comparisons to the earlier bands.  It was one of the reasons Nikki Sixx championed the band and was instrumental in getting them on board as the opening act of this tour.  “We couldn’t ask for more,” said Jones about the tour.  “We grew up listening to both bands, and I had posters of them on my wall.”

The craziest part is that these aren’t the only rock juggernauts these guys have already put in miles with.  They’ve also shared performances with Motorhead, Black Stone Cherry, and Alice Cooper among others.  Big name performances?  They’ve notched those too.  They’ve already gained experience playing at Download and Sonisphere, two of the biggest European festivals for music.

It’s easy to understand why Jones couldn’t ask for more. The group’s origins began in 2008, when Dani Mansworth began looking to start a band.  With him as the drummer, he quickly recruited Ben Brookland and Tagore Grey on guitar, along with Rick “Swoggle” Newman on bass.  After a six-month search for a vocalist, the group found Jones in Norwich and the road began for the five-piece.  The members of the band packed up and moved in with Mansworth and his father Laurie, who was no stranger to music himself.  The elder Mansworth has worked with such UK acts as More, Airrace, and Roadstar.  The group began almost daily practices, knowing exactly in which direction they wanted to go.  The sound is incredibly vintage for a band where all the members are in their late teens and early 20’s, but considering they list Aerosmith, AC/DC, and Thin Lizzy as influences, it should come as no surprise.  “We didn’t think we could be doing this all this quick,” said Jones.  “We all work hard at what we do.”

It’s easy to talk comparisons to some of these bands though, and often PR pieces will tend to use a lot of hyperbole when discussing a new band’s sound, strictly to get others to warm them up.  When Jones was given the chance to put the band’s style into his own words, he gave an opinion not far from others I’ve spoken with.  “We’re just a rock band.  We’ve got a classic rock feel with a youthful twist.”

The 14-track debut just premiered in the States on July 17th, being distributed through Spinefarm Records, and the upcoming EP features tracks that not everyone would recognize as “iconic” right away.  Picking tracks from artists like Canned Heat, Electric Light Orchestra, Slade, Jo Jo Gunne, and Chris Spedding, none of these tracks may possibly click in someone’s head.  The most notorious, at least people I spoke to can remember, is ELO’s “Evil Woman”, which is still not a track someone can point out instantly.

“We wanted to do songs people our age might not have heard of,” said Jones, and the selection work.  Instead of taking the safe route and tossing in something like “Back In Black” or “The Boys Are Back In Town”, the group threw in tracks like Canned Heat’s “Let’s Work Together”, or Spedding’s “Motorbikin'”.

The band is still young and there’s still several thousands of miles for this group to log before they near the number their heroes have traveled, but if their hard work is any indication, the group is more than up to the task.  “This Might Hurt” is available on iTunes, and “Then & Again” is actually available as part of the album on the iTunes store.  If you can’t see The Treatment in Chula Vista, they also play Irvine on August 14th.

Warped Interviews: Tonight, we are Alive!

Meet Australian pop rockers Tonight Alive, Warped Tour’s resident “foreign exchange students” as one guy enthusiastically yelled out before their interview, during their stop in San Diego, CA. I got to sit down with Jenna McDougall and Whakaio Taahi and discuss everything from their experience so far on Warped, to their first full length album, What Are You So Scared Of? For a band that is barely graduating from their freshman year in the game, Tonight Alive is quickly making a name for themselves and putting a few of the seniors in their place, too. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be the most humble, down to earth people from down under. And….. cue the unison “awww”!

Being a ‘female-fronted band’ in a typically perceived man’s world, Jenna and Whakaio had wise words to say about their music and the bands that share this rather broad category with them. Some people may argue that it’s easier or more difficult for a female-fronted band, but lead singer Jenna notes that Tonight Alive have had no special treatment, and “if you’re doing it right, it’s as hard as it is for everyone else.” Whakaio further adds that he doesn’t see the group as being a female-fronted band. “The thing about Jenna,” he states, “is it’s not because she’s female, it’s because she’s talented as a songwriter and as a vocalist.”

Talent is the first factor that catches your eyes (and ears) when listening to Tonight Alive. Another trait that is hard to ignore is how seasoned the band seems, even though they currently have released only one full length album. Whakaio accredits this to the band touring with each other for over 2 years now, making them a tight-knit group. Even so, Warped Tour is a whole other world and it’s obvious that the band is still riding on cloud nine. Whakaio adds that “It’s been two weeks and still it hasn’t worn off that we’re in this thing finally.”

Jenna’s face lights up when she mentions how excited she’s been for the entire experience and the fans that come out to the shows. “It’s nice to know that the people that are standing in front of us when we play are not waiting for the band that’s coming on next,” says Jenna, and she’s got a good point. For a freshman band to attract so much attention while on a tour with over 90 other musicians, I must say, it’s impressive.

The band has obviously put a lot of thought into their tours, their performances and their music, as Jenna and Whakaio describe the feelings behind their album, What Are You So Scared Of? Jenna states the album’s theme is a number of things, but mainly it hopes to ask others the question, “what’s holding you back?” For a first album, the idea of facing your fears head-on seems like the perfect theme. Whakaio adds that he wanted to “help those people that are…searching for something.” with Jenna adding in to “take chances.”

Maybe that’s why the album has been quite popular. It sounds like YOLO, only smarter and a little more relatable. And I’m loving that. What do you think?

Another reason why I like this band? They signed that poster that we’re giving away on the site! If you’re interested in winning it, make sure you check out the giveaways section.

Becoming a Part of the Social Club

Green room full of feather boas, stage lights and sombreros? Check. Oddly placed hanging decorations on the walls? Check. Contraband liquor smuggled in backstage? Check. When you’re hanging with local San Diego band Social Club, it’s never a dull moment.

Watch the Social Club Interview video. Click the HD button to watch in High-Definition.

I honestly never thought I’d see the green room of PB bar Typhoon Saloon (nor did I actually think that they had a green room), but I have to admit I’m impressed. The props that are stored back there make it an interesting place already, and after adding a few lights, me and my camera-savvy friend Thierry corralled all of the members of Social Club together for what proved to be a very interesting interview.

It’s so easy to relax and have fun around Thea and the three J’s (John, James, and Jeff — and yes I mixed up their names at some point that night.) And dubbed one of the “prettiest” bands on their label, they’re not too bad to look at, either. On stage or off, all of the band members have a unique energy: John with his searing emotions in each lyric and each point he makes about the band; Thea with her gentle mysteriousness; James and the famous faces he flashes on stage – when he’s not smiling brightly from ear to ear behind the scenes; and lastly Jeff, the energetic adventurer of the group who probably doesn’t need that double shot of espresso in the morning: he’s just naturally that energetic.

Yes, you’ll see the typical questions but one thing is evident; this band is full of unique and diverse personalities that show in their music as much as it shows in their personal experiences. Their sound is a huge catchall of everything good that just somehow makes so much sense. So basically, if Dr. Frankenstein had created musical life by adding a bit of punk rock, a bit of mellow singer-songwriter, some modern age hip hop influences here and there and sprinkled it all with a pinch of classical background, the creation would have been Social Club — only way more interesting and much more beautiful. Maybe they haven’t been compared to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein before. I swear that comparison made sense in my mind.

Don’t leave it up to me to describe their sound. Listen for yourself!