Musicscan: It’s obvious, that you are playing a catchy style. But why is this style the ideal one for your group?
State Champs: Truthfully, playing Pop Punk music is just undeniably fun. The 5 of us all come from different backgrounds, have completely different hobbies and love all different types of music. Somehow all of our interests come together and the music is what comes out. But I think what makes this style ideal for us is because we all have the same goal in mind: just have a great time doing what we love to do.
Musicscan: What fuels your fire and keeps you guys interested in the music you create, and being a touring band? Being around for a couple of years already, you probably experienced the ups and downs of being on tour a lot – or not? What do you remember best about 7 years STATE CHAMPS?
State Champs: I can’t speak for everyone, but I think what fuels my fire and keeps me interested in music is the mystery of what comes next. You never really know the trajectory your career could take, so it’s fun to see how things play out. Music has provided the unique opportunity to travel all over the world and make lifelong friends you may not have made otherwise. That’s one of the biggest reasons I continue to pursue music - every day is an adventure. The past 3 1/2 years have been almost nonstop touring. There have been a lot of ups and downs, but even now when I look back on the “downs” they’re vidid memories that don’t feel like “downs” to me anymore. If anything, they just become another chapter in the story and usually make for some of the best tales when you’re talking to your friends back home.
Musicscan: From the outside perspective you keep on following your DIY roots and ethics while the circumstances have become professional and commercial: is it hard to stay true to what you come from and to find an arrangement with the industry?
State Champs: Staying true is one thing that I don’t think you’ll have to worry about State Champs straying from. We’re doing the same thing we were doing years ago, it’s just become bigger than any of us had imagined. As we experience new things and grow as individuals and as a band, of course you may notice changes musically/stylistically. But we’re never going to make music that we don’t enjoy making just because it’s gonna pay the bills. The goal is to do what you want and pay the bills with THAT.
Musicscan: Do you feel any responsibility, knowing that there are a lot of fans looking up to you as – let’s say – their rock heroes? Or does is it feel strange to you to be a known band nowadays?
State Champs: It’s definitely a bit intimidating sometimes to know that people are watching your every move. We’re figuring out life as we go, just like everybody else. With great power comes great responsibility. It’s amazing to know a simple word of encouragement to someone I hardly know could be worth more than I realize.
Musicscan: Who came up with the idea of doing the deluxe DVD edition of Around The World and Back – the band or your label? There would have been the option to bring out a proper live DVD, too. So why did you go for the deluxe decision, what are the advantages?
State Champs: The main reason we decided to do a Deluxe edition was to introduce the DVD we had been working on for nearly 2 years. I’m not sure if this was the main idea, but to me it would have felt a little strange just to release a DVD on it’s own. Don’t get me wrong, the DVD is absolutely incredible and should stand on it’s own legs, but not many bands these days are doing it, and it felt better to release it with some new music. So we recorded two new songs, two acoustic songs and two live songs and put it on Around the World and Back. We’ve been touring on the record for about a year and a half now, and we haven’t had the opportunity to finish a completely new LP, so this was the best way to introduce the film and a few new songs.
Musicscan: Bands usually ask for artistic freedom to push their own creativity and do not want other people to be involved in the songwriting. At least when it comes to punk rock. So how did this collaboration with Mike Green and Alex Gaskarth happen? What did STATE CHAMPS maybe learn from them for the songwriting in the future?
State Champs: We had never done any co-writing or collaborating before, so truthfully it was just something we wanted to experiment with. In no way do I think writing with someone or bouncing ideas off of another person restricts or compromises artistic freedom. It was a great experience where we learned a lot about our own songwriting tendencies and how to PUSH our creativity. Alex became a friend when we toured with All Time Low in 2015 and is an incredible artist. It was fun to learn a few tips and tricks from him that has learned over the years. But of course, we can’t divulge those just yet - maybe you’ll hear them on LP 3.
Musicscan: You’ve been touring a lot in 2015/16 – What are the strange experiences we have to know about? How representative is the content of the DVD? What should people take away from watching the DVD?
State Champs: The strangest experiences usually happen abroad. Different cultures and languages always bring about a good time and that's pretty much what the DVD attempts to encapsulate. You get to see all the behind the scenes parts of the job. What I hope people take away from the DVD is that we’re just normal people too. We like to goof off with our friends, we like to explore, we like to learn. We’re not rockstars - we’ve just unlocked the cheat code to life.
Musicscan: I always had the feeling that listeners from different musical tastes are getting STATE CHAMPS. True? Is this something you experience while being on tour? Who is coming to see you guys playing shows?
State Champs: Absolutely true. State Champs, for some reason, has always appealed to people across different genres. Some of our best friends play in metal bands, and they can still enjoy what we’re doing. We have pop sensibility, which is something I think most people don’t even know they’re looking for. And like I said earlier in the interview, it’s just undeniably fun music. The kind of people coming out to the shows are just people who are looking to have a good time and not take themselves too seriously.
Musicscan: Lastly: If you would have to say what the philosophy behind STATE CHAMPS is all about – how would that description look like?
State Champs: We attract what we’re ready for.