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.