Senior Writer Jesse Richman had the chance to catch up with State Champs at Skate And Surf this May for a fantastic interview. Jesse and the band discussed touring, their new music, and the future, but also got into an interesting discussion regarding making money in the music industry, album leaks, and being in the game for the long haul. Check it all out below!
Alright, State Champs, let’s get your names and what you do in the band.
Tyler: I’m Tyler, I play guitar.
Tony: I’m Tony, I also play guitar.
Did you guys just roll down for today, or were you here yesterday [at Skate & Surf]?
Tyler: We were here yesterday.
POZ: Just hanging out?
Tyler: Yeah hanging out. We had a lot of friends on yesterday and a lot of friends on today. We’ve just been hanging out with everybody.
Got the chance to see anybody good?
Tony: Oh yeah.
Tyler: Yeah, for sure. We saw Fall Out Boy yesterday… Balance and Composure.
Tony: Seahaven. Transit.
Tyler: Into It. Over It. Candy Hearts.
Do any skating and/or surfing?
Tony: Both. At the same time.
Tyler: I mean there was a lot of water, so… definitely surfing. The only way to get out of here at the end of the night was to surf out. [Laughs]
You guys toured your way up here with Cartel? How’d that go so far?
Tyler: Yes. It’s been really great. Really cool. The shows have been awesome. Before this tour, and even after this tour, we’ll still regularly put on Chroma. Or like Cycles and just fuckin’ jam out. It’s really cool to be on tour with a band that we actually have liked for years. They’re fucking incredible live, too. The shows have been great. It’s kind of unreal.
Do the fans coming out know you guys? Or are you showing yourselves for the first time?
Tyler: We’re showing ourselves for the first time a lot. We always ask them, “Is this anybody’s first time seeing us?” and it’s a lot of people’s first time.
Tony: And that’s good.
Tyler: I like playing for the same kids, but I also like playing for new people too, because it’s fun!
They just added you to their new tour as well, right?
Tyler: Yeah. Basically, they’re on that Sticks & Stones run with New Found Glory across Canada. It ends on the west coast. So we’re going out to the west coast alone — like headlining and stuff — and then coming back with them.
POZ: While they head back home?
Tyler: Yeah, they’re heading back home too. It should be really fun.
Did that just come out of this little run?
Tyler: No, it was all in the works together. It was announced in like a different tier. I think they wanted to market it differently or something, I don’t know. Something like that.
So have you gotten to chat with those guys then? Have you learned any lessons from them?
Tyler: I mean they told us a lot of stuff about today, since it’s pouring rain! They told us that they played Disneyland a while ago and all of their gear broke afterwards. It was raining and it was terrible. So they were like, “Please be careful with your stuff!” Will has shared some vocal things with Derek which is really cool. They’re really sweet guys. I have yet to pick Joe’s brain about guitar but I will do that soon. I’m really excited to do that though. They’re very nice – very talented – incredible live sound.
And they’ve also been through the whole label ringer and come out the other side.
Tyler: Dude they’ve done this shit, for real.
Which brings me around to: You guys just got finished cutting your first LP.
Tyler & Tony: Yep!
Tyler: Yeah we did.
How was the studio experience?
Tyler: It was interesting. It was fun.
Tony: Yeah, it was good. We learned a lot about songwriting.
Did you go in there with songs written and prepared?
Tyler: But they all kind of got flipped on their heads by Steve [Klein, of New Found Glory], who produced it. You learn a lot for sure – kind of focusing on making a better song instead of just like… We used to feel like, “This song should hit hard. This song should be heavy and fast.” Now, it’s more focused on making it a better song as a whole – like each part, structure, kick patterns and strumming patterns. It’s all this crazy ass redoing parts you think sound fine. Like, “This fuckin’ sucked dude. What are you doing? Let me see your guitar. Let me show you how to do it.”
How long did you spend in the studio with Steve?
Tyler: About three weeks. It was cool though. Steve’s a great guy. [Engineer] Sam [Pura]’s great too. They’re both really great at what they do.
POZ: Was Sam involved in the studio part at all?
Tyler: Sam was pretty involved. Sam engineered it. So a lot of the time, for the last week, me and Steve would be in one side of the studio working on leads, while Sam was doing something in the other room with vocals or rhythm guitar. A lot of the times it was just Sam like, “Hey. You’re not doing that right. That needs to be better.” Because he wants to put out a sick record too. His thing is that every record he wants to be better and better. I think he’s doing it. It sounds sick so far.
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So, where did we leave off at the end of Saturday night? Dreary skies, rain soaked attendees, impractical stage mapping and the lingering feeling of “everything was Fall Out Boy and nothing hurt” were some of the hot button issues brought up at the close of the first night of Skate and Surf.
FOB’s headline aside, the residual disappointment surrounding planning and execution logistics is truly a shame when considering festival feedback should really zero-in on the bands, not the circumstances. Regardless, the production behind the prodigal Skate & Surf Festival fell quite a few leagues short of the glory days it was meant to reprise, and combined with the weather that cast an uninspiring pall over the weekend, an uncomfortably large chunk of festival-goers were unimpressed with the event on the whole.
Sunday’s festivities saw little remediation of Saturday’s issues, both of preventative and non-preventative measures. The misty rain absolutely refused to let up, hanging intrusively over everyone’s heads all weekend and soaking stages and gear alike to the chagrin of the bands slotted to play on the open, uncovered platforms. And, okay - the rain can’t be helped, but the measures taken to accommodate neither bands nor audience seemed to be non-existent and therefore a colossal bummer, as gear lay out in the open protected only with thin plastic sheets, musicians joked nervously about the possibility of getting electrocuted, and kids lacking ponchos hung their heads with not even so much as a pavilion under which to take cover.
In light of everything, the bands that were able to bring positive energy to their sets deserve to be praised, as the conditions under which they were performing were considerably less than stellar. Despite heavy sound bleeding between the immediately adjacent side-stages, Giffords Lane stirred up a bit of interest for themselves with an impeccable rendition of “Sweet Child Of Mine” and also by being in middle school, while Hostage Calm laid out hit after hit to an animated gaggle of a crowd unafraid to get a little rowdy on the puddly pavement.
One of the most standout sets of the day came from Jersey’s Saves the Day, pillars of support in the punk scene for the last 15 years and still stronger and more gracious than ever this far into the band’s existence. Their set weighed heavily on cuts from Through Being Cool, due to the band’s deferral of song selection to a poll on which fans could vote for the last few months. Tracks like “You Vandal” and “Through Being Cool” that haven’t seen the light of day in years made their return to the stage, and the only downside was that their slot was unexpectedly cut short before they could wrap up with the famously anthematic “At Your Funeral” - but they did end with “This Is Not An Exit,” which may or may not have had this writer in tears from surprise.
Contrary to popular belief, there was no skating or surfing at Skate And Surf Festival on May 18. For the first time in8 years, the music festival was brought back in place of the failure that was last year’s Bamboozle Festival. In fact, Skate And Surf Festival pre-dates Bamboozle Festival, originating in 2002 in Asbury Park, New Jersey.
Originally, the festival was supposed to go on at Plaza Green at iPlay America in Freehold, New Jersey but was moved to Six Flags Great Adventure for the weekend by popular demand, although most attendees will agree that Six Flags is one of the worst venues for concerts.
Unfortunately, Mother Nature was not on Jersey’s side, casting the entire day with grey skies and light showers. Aside from the bad weather, Skate & Surf Festival was somewhat of an actual disaster for its first round. The setup alone for the event was an absolute mess. On one side, three stages are directly next to each other while the main stage — almost the same size as the others — stands a few feet away from another hidden stage.
Even though it seemed like everyone was here to defend pop punk, there were so many different types of music featured at the festival, including hip-hop/rap, alternative, ska, electro, indie rock and screamo. With the stages being so close to each other, there were a lot of mixed signals throughout the day: in between sets, it was almost impossible not to hear the next band over.
At the Aquarian Better stage, pop-punk bands like Mixtapes put on energized 30-minute sets before spectators got too soggy from the rain. (The bassist even performed without an actual bass for most of the gig, which was impressive.) The Ohio natives were the most interactive band by far, engaging the crowd in witty dialogue in-between all of Maura Weaver and Ryan Rockwell’s lighthearted male-female call and response sing-alongs.
Skate And Surf Festival is about to kick off. Check out the set times for day one below after the jump!
POZ Skate And Surf Preview: Our Must-See Bands And Acts (Day 2)
Skate And Surf Festival is about to kick off. Check out the set times for day one below after the jump!
Many of us reflect back on the early 2000’s as a true golden age for the music that we love the most - the term “emo” hadn’t yet been bastardized by the mainstream, Drive-Thru Records was putting out release after release of foundational pop-punk, and no one had really thought yet to dress up a metalcore breakdown in guyliner. The Skate And Surf Festival, an annual celebration of these acts and genres, leveraged its way into legend status after only three full years of activity by compiling lineups of the best and most important bands of the time, many of which were in their heyday.
Some of those bands have created longstanding and solid careers, and to see a few of the groups that helped to shape such a noteworthy festival of great lore slotted to appear at it’s return is a really cool thing. We’ve selected some of the returners and highlighted their careers in the context of the Skate And Surf Festival’s existence to celebrate the permanence of our scene and reflect with a bit of nostalgia on what exactly some of our favorite bands were doing 10+ years ago.
Fall Out Boy, by Adrienne Fisher
2003: First appearance at Skate & Surf (April 25), release of Take This To Your Grave (Fueled by Ramen, May 6), finalize future signing to Island Records (mid-2003)
2004: Second appearance at Skate & Surf (April 18), release of My Heart Will Always Be the B-Side to My Tongue (Fueled by Ramen, May 18), first appearance on Warped Tour
2005-2008: Stupid amounts of commercial success, release of From Under the Cork Tree (Island Records, May 30, 2005), Infinity on High (Island Records, Feb 5, 2007), and Folie a Deux (Island Records, Dec 16, 2008)
2013: Prodigal return from hiatus, release of Save Rock and Roll (Island Records, April 16)
"Comeback of the year" is the catchphrase of FOB in 2013. Plenty has been spoken, ruminated, yelled, theorized, and waxed about the much-adored pop (punk) act’s return to the fold, and their prodigal return to a festival also making its prodigal return seems nothing short of harmonic. When FOB played Skate & Surf in 2003, Take This To Your Grave was still 2 weeks away from release and and their buzz was only beginning to increase in volume. By 2004, following a tour supporting Mest and Matchbook Romance, the band was still close enough to the underground to be flush with love from every kid involved in the scene, making the festival - once-exclusive to punk and emo - a perfect setting for them before their popularity began to expand outside the boundaries of those genres. Now, their appeal is as widespread as the lineup of this year’s Skate & Surf, making their headlining slot completely appropriate in both homage to the original festival and a salute to it’s current incarnation.
Bayside, by Adrienne Fisher
2001-2003: Formation, release of demos/split with Name Taken, sign to Victory Records (2003)
2004: Release of Sirens and Condolences (Victory Records, Jan 24), appearance at Skate & Surf (Apr 16)
2005: Appearance at Bamboozle (May 1), release of Bayside (Victory Records, Sep 1), passing of drummer John Holohan (October)
2006 - 2013: Release of many, many full-length records - The Walking Wounded (Victory Records, Feb 6, 2007), Shudder (Victory Records, Sept 20, 2008), Killing Time (Wind Up Records, Feb 22, 2011) - as well as splits, comps, Warped Tour stints, and a covers album
To state the obvious, Bayside’s been around for a long time by now. Hailing from Queens and siphoning off a little bit of that Long Island “scene” momentum, these New York natives were just starting to get their footing when Skate & Surf was operating back in the early 2000s. Their signing to Victory Records (which was totally not a bad thing back then) can probably be likened to their leg-up into the ranks of golden-era bands of the time, and their gradual entry into popularity fell very shortly after the heels of the old, golden-era bands. However, the momentum they began to create in 2004 with the release of their first full length hasn’t diminished in the last 10+ years - Bayside’s band trajectory is punctuated by consistent releases, frequent touring and oodles of high profile Warped Tour and festival appearances. They’ve created for themselves quite the legacy - and their slot at Skate & Surf can function as both a celebration of their beginnings as well as the continuation of a solid career.
Streetlight Manifesto, by Erik van Rheenen
2003: Everything Goes Numb is released, the band’s lineup changes start once their four song demo is recorded.
2004: Streetlight plays Skate & Surf with headliners Taking Back Sunday, Brand New, and Yellowcard.
2006: Catch-22’s Keasbey Nights (Victory Records) gets a Streetlight makeover, about which Kalnoky said, “We wanted to get it right for once.”
2007: Somewhere in the Between (Victory Records) comes out.
2010: Streetlight releases the first volume of their ambitious cover project, 99 Songs of Revolution (Victory Records). We’re still waiting on the next 88.
2013: Victory torpedoes Toh Kay’s The Hand That Thieves record, but Streetlight’s pre-hiatus swan song The Hands That Thieve sees daylight after label struggles kept it from coming out in 2012.
Skate And Surf Festival is three days away, and we hope you’re all as excited as we are for an incredible weekend at Six Flags in Jackson, NJ. We posted POZ’s Must See Bands And Acts for the first day of Skate yesterday, and we’re back today with day two! Check out ticket/lineup information for the festival here, our list below, and reblog to let us know who we need to see while we’re at Skate this weekend!
POZ Skate And Surf Preview: Our Must-See Bands And Acts (Day 1)
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, by Sydney Gore
I have already had the pleasure of watching this dynamic duo perform live, so from my own personal experience, I can assure that they know how to show a crowd a good time. There’s so much more to the Seattle based rapper and producer than meets the eye—the same men who made the catchy, lighthearted tracks like “Thrift Shop” and “And We Danced” also speak out about social issues, such as marriage equality, in “Same Love.” The Heist was one of the most anticipated albums of the year, and since its release back in November, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis have earned themselves quite a supportive following. Believe the hype, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis dish out lyrical poetry that does not disappoint.
Glassjaw, by Jesse Richman
Elusive post-hardcore veterans Glassjaw tend to keep a low profile these days; it’s been over a decade since the band released their last LP (though they continue to quietly release the occasional EP), and nearly as long since they played anything approaching a full-time touring schedule. Not that the infrequency of their performances shows in their stage work — ask anyone who’s had the luck to catch them in the last few years, and they’ll gladly let you know that Daryl Palumbo remains as dynamic a frontman as ever. These veterans of the original Skate And Surfs may be fighting an uphill battle against a crowd primed for Macklemore and A Day To Remember and too young to remember the band’s glory years, but Glassjaw are nothing if not fighters. Hopefully the crowd will understand what a rare treat they’re getting when the band takes the stage.
Rx Bandits, by Erik van Rheenen
Ten years after releasing The Resignation,the Drive-Thru standouts are putting the kibosh on their one-year hiatus with a return to Jersey. Nearly four years removed from their stellar full-length Mandala, the progressive rockers will shake off the rust and be back to their old proggy tricks. The elusive veterans haven’t played North American shows in more than a year, and in a day packed with nostalgia, (Glassjaw and Saves The Day, for starters) Rx Bandits will rock the Skate And Surf stage like it’s 2009.
MOD SUN, by Sydney Gore
Selecting two hip-hop artists from the lineup was a happy coincidence, but MOD SUN is definitely one of my favorites. The hippy-hop artist is all about being happy, spreading posi vibes, and living life to the fullest— or the highest. I guarantee that you’ll leave his set with a huge smile on your face and a fresher perspective on life. Anyone who wants to immerse themselves in a fun atmosphere needs to let MOD SUN be their guide.
Saves The Day, by Erik van Rheenen
We the fans can be big complainers. “This band didn’t play all the songs I wanted to hear.” “Where’s that obscure B-side from 2005?” “You guys always play the same set.” So Saves The Day cut out the middleman and had fans vote on the setlist, so even if they don’t play “Sell My Old Clothes, I’m Off To Heaven,” you at least had some say. A collection of fan favorites and deep cuts should be more than enough to pack the pit for Chris Conley and company — who knows? Maybe we’ll get a taste of some new tunes, too.
Skate And Surf will be throwing an after party in Freehold, NJ on Saturday after the first night of the festival wraps up. Check out details below after the jump.
GameChanger World will be making its true debut this weekend at Skate And Surf with artist-to-fan gaming events. Check out the schedule of when your favorite fans will be playing their video games with fans below after the jump!
Skate And Surf is just three days away now. Check out the set times and get building your schedule!
They keep proving that they’re coming back in the right way. It looks like Fall Out Boy’s spring reunion tour is going to be jam-packed with fan favorites and great new songs.
Reports are coming in that Google is launching a Spotify killer today at its I/O Conference. Would you switch away from Spotify or Rdio?
Whether you’re a fan of Rise’s “core” catalog or their new punk route, there is something on RISE200 for you.
William Control will be taking a break from music for the immediate future to regroup is life. He is however definitely not stepping away completely.
Letters Home will be released this July via Bridge Nine Records.
The drama is apparently over.
Skate And Surf Festival is just a few days away now, and the set times for the fun weekend head of us have finally been revealed. Check out ticket infor for Skate here, the GameChanger World app here (Android only, for now), and the set times below!
POZ Skate And Surf Preview: Our Must-See Bands And Acts (Day 1)
Skate And Surf Festival is just a few days away now, and we hope you’re all as excited as we are for an incredible weekend at Six Flags in Jackson, NJ. We thought it’d be a great idea to put together a list of POZ’s Must See Bands And Acts for the first day of the lineup today, with a day two feature coming tomorrow. Check out ticket/lineup information for the festival here, our list below, and reblog to let us know who we need to see while we’re at Skate this weekend!
Streetlight Manifesto, by Erik van Rheenen
Ska fans can wipe that tear from their eyes and pull on their skanking shoes: the beginning of the end may be here, but not before Streetlight plays a homecoming show in Jersey under the bright lights at Skate And Surf. With label woes plaguing the release of The Hands That Thieve, the band will probably blow off some steam at their set and show off some of the new material, which is, in fact, killer. From old fan-favorites to new sing-along anthems, fans will make Streetlight Manifesto feel right back at home. Mostly because they will be.
Balance & Composure, by Adrienne Fisher
Balance & Composure has been fairly quiet ever since wrapping up a pretty hefty winter headliner earlier this year with The Jealous Sound and Daylight, only to reveal just a week or so ago that that time’s been leveraged into finishing up their second full-length record, slated for release sometime this fall. I know I’m not the only one busting out party hats to celebrate that fact, and being that their set at Skate and Surf is the only one publicly on the books for the foreseeable future, we the people should probably resolve to make sure we’re there for it. While we can always cross our fingers for a preview of a new song, the truth is that we’re definitely not over 2011’s Separation and will still eagerly lend ourselves to become soul-crushed by that opening rhythm section in “Burden.” If you’re a Balance fan, make it a point to catch this set – you never know, those songs from Only Boundaries might drop out of rotation once the new record comes out and you wouldn’t want to be that guy whining about how you missed out on hearing the old stuff, right?
Transit, by Jesse Richman
It’s hard to remember the last time anyone in the scene released an album as divisive as Transit’sYoung New England— whether they loved it or hated it, everyone seemed to have a strong opinion. As they bring that album to the biggest stage yet, will the crowd be with them or against them? Has the criticism beaten Transit down or made them stronger? And has Joe Boynton’s voicereally changed? We’re looking forward to finding out the answers.
Andrew WK, by Erik van Rheenen
When it’s time to party we will party hard.
I mean, seriously. What will be more fun than catching a set from the King of Positive Partying himself at an amusement park? Since the eruption of his smash hit “Party Hard” in 2001, Andrew WK’s become a jack-of-all-trades: motivational speaker, TV show host, producer, and of course, sticking to his singing/songwriting guns. Dust off your copy of I Get Wet, reacquaint yourself with some of WK’s early 2000s party rock anthems, and let’s get a party going on Saturday afternoon.
LIGHTS, by Sydney Gore
The 24-year-old Canadian singer-songwriter has a way of enchanting anyone who listens to her synth-pop tunes. With a traveling background as a missionary child, Lights takes the crowd on an adventure of their own to a digital dimension where music is the only savior. Her most recent album, Siberia was nominated for “Pop Album of the Year” at the Juno Awards last year. Don’t let Lights’ “manic pixie dream girl” physique fool you—she goes hard at live shows, especially when the heavy electronic beat start pulsing. Lights is always a delight to watch, so definitely don’t miss out on her set—it’s bound to be electrifying.
Mixtapes, by Erik van Rheenen
Ordinary Silence doesn’t hit shelves until the end of June, but fingers crossed these Ohioans share a few new tunes with us come this weekend. The uber-productive pop-punkers (this marks their second full-length in as many years) keep the bouncy tunes coming, and the dual vocal attack of Maura Weaver and Ryan Rockwell (and their kinda-sorta ridiculous stage banter) is always a blast to sing along with. There aren’t many bands to usher in summer with, and Mixtapes sets are pretty much always guaranteed to be a good time.