Interview: State Champs [March 2016]

By Lais

We spoke to State Champs frontman Derek DiScanio while the band were over in the UK, touring with Neck Deep. They’re currently on the US leg of their world tour. We discussed their second album ‘Around The World And Back’, their upcoming US tour with A Day To Remember and Parkway Drive, and what they’ve got coming up in a very busy 2016.

How’s this tour been going for you?

Very well. This is our fourth time here in the UK. It’s our biggest tour so far and it’s so exciting. It’s been incredible. It’s surreal how many people have been coming out to these shows, making it as fun as it has been.

Even though you must be quite used to it now, it must be insane to be able to go to a different continent and see all these people here to watch your band.

Oh yeah, it’s crazy. It’s still crazy just to see the progress, with more and more kids coming out each time, and to see a lot of kids coming back that have seen us before. Every time we come here, we make new friends and fans, and it’s started to feel like a real thing to us. If it hadn’t yet, now it definitely does. It’s exciting.

Have you been playing much of the new stuff on this tour?

Yeah, I’d say so. We’re trying to play as much as we can of the new songs, especially as they’re going over so well. But we still can’t forget about the old gems as well, because if we did I feel like we’d get a good lashing on the internet from our fans. We have a solid mix on this tour I think, which is nice.

‘Around The World And Back’ only came out in October, so it’s still pretty fresh. And I have to say, I am not a big pop punk fan, but I love this album so much I just want to play it on repeat all the time.

Oh, thank you. Glad to have you onboard! That’s awesome. It’s cool, we’re trying to play as many songs off it as we can. But there’s still some we haven’t ever even practised or played as a band. Some of them we just wrote and recorded in the studio, so even on this leg of the tour we threw in some we hadn’t played ever before until the soundchecks. It’s so fun and cool that we’re getting to play these songs and even today we dove into some of the ones that we like and we’ve been wanting to play on the album but never actually tried. It got us so excited to play them, either down the road or tonight.

I guess before you had limited material, but now you have more songs to choose from.

Yeah, it also makes it harder to pick a setlist too, but I guess that’s not a bad problem to have. But that’s fine though, we’ve been wanting more to play.

You’ve just been in Japan and Australia. How did that go?

Yeah, we just came from there. Super good, yeah, it was awesome. It was great to start the world tour in Australia because it’s my favourite country. Sorry to the UK, I do like it here, but it was our first time being in Australia in their summer time. It was our third time to Australia in general but it was our first time there in their summer time. It was our winter in the US where we got to escape from, because it was dead cold and snow everywhere, so we got to get out of that, and go to Australia where it was sunny and beach weather. We went swimming every day, and I just love it there. Then we went to Japan and it was really cold there but the shows were good so it made up for it. Then coming here, these are the biggest shows of the world tour, so I can’t complain at all. Everything has its pros and cons, but all in all it’s been a great tour so far. It’s going way better than we could’ve expected.

How do you find Japan?

I like it a lot. It’s always a good time, and we always have the perfect amount of time there, because it’s not very big so you can’t play too many places. Although Tokyo is huge and we do the best there. You can play three or four shows there because there’s all these different parts of Tokyo and a lot of people live there. It’s highly populated. As far as the culture goes it’s still a shock to me and it’s very freaky. Some of the guys in our band love it and it’s their favourite country. Our bassist Ryan and Evan our drummer love it and they’ll go shopping every day and they love Japanese toys and the food there. It’s just crazy. It’s cool to be a part of something completely different, at least for a week, and then get out of there.

And straight after these UK dates, you have the US leg of the tour.

Yeah, straight to the US. So we’re gonna end it in the US on the longest run, because the US is obviously the biggest market, so it’ll be five weeks straight. It’s gonna be the long haul to end the whole world tour, but in good fashion.

Then you’ve got So What? festival in Texas at the end of it (I’m coming!).

You are? That’s awesome! It’s a great time. We’ve done it before, about three years ago before anyone knew us, but we had such a good time. The fest is really well put together. It’s on a big American baseball field. It was funny because we had to play and at the same time we were playing the stage – two of the main stages are back to back – and we were playing to maybe a couple hundred people, and in between our songs we’d stop and we’d hear the roar of the crowd. It was Attila playing behind us! To be fair, that year was mainly metal and hardcore bands, so we kinda stuck out a little bit in the first place. But we were a new band and it was before our first record had even come out, so it’s gonna be very cool to get back there this time with our two albums out and see the progress in that city, in Dallas and the Texas area. It’s gonna be exciting and a big contrast from the first time we were there.

Plus you’ll be playing the pop punk day this time.

Oh yeah, so we won’t stick out this time. We’re also gonna stay for the second day too. We don’t have anything going on as that’s the last show anyway, so we’re gonna stay. I’m really fanboying over Underoath. They were one of my favourite bands growing up. Not even a guilty pleasure, I still love them and listen to them all the time. It’s so sick they’re doing a reunion. I’m gonna definitely sing every word very loud.

You’ve also just announced a tour with A Day To Remember and Parkway Drive.

Yeah, they offered us that tour right when we got to the UK which was only about a week ago, or maybe a little bit before that, but it was very on a whim, and that’s not something we would ever turn down. Then they announced it like a week later, so it was the quickest turnaround of events, and everybody seems really excited online, so that’s gonna be a good one as well. A Day To Remember are another band that I grew up listening to, and we can definitely say they’re a band that made us want to be a band, so it’s gonna be a special thing for us.

Do you have anything planned for after that tour yet?

After that tour we actually do have a pretty packed year which is set in stone, but not everything we can announce just yet. But I can already say we will be back in the UK. We’ve already planned that. We’ve got a long summer ahead of us in the States, and then even some more stuff in the fall that’s gonna be in the US as well. We’re ‘go! go! go!’ at the moment, and we’re not sick of touring, and we’re not gonna be sick of it anytime soon, so we’re just ready to keep it going and just ride the wave.

Do you love being on the road?

Yes! Well, yes and no. Obviously there’s pros and cons. We don’t hate our hometown, as opposed to a lot of bands in our scene. We kinda like being at home. We value our time with our families. I’m a huge momma’s boy so I always miss my mom, but at the same time we make it work. We have our time at home, our chill time, and then we’re like ‘Ok, we’re ready to get back out’, and here we are again. We balance it very well.

That’s a good attitude to have, because some bands really hate being on the road, which makes me think they’re in the wrong job.

I’d say so, yeah. But there’s definitely times where you’re like ‘Ok, I’m ready to go home, I’m drained and burnt out’ or whatever. Then there’s times where you’ll get home and you’ve still got another couple of weeks off, and you don’t know what to do with yourself. So you learn to appreciate both sides of the spectrum.

It must be wild to do what you love and have all those opportunities to travel around the world, which a lot of people don’t get.

Oh yeah, and that’s not something we’ll ever take for granted. This could stop at any time, and then we’re gonna miss it, so we’re gonna try and live it up and have as much fun as we can while staying at least a little bit humble about it obviously. We’re not gonna let it go to our head like ‘the rockstar life’. But I would say we’re just gonna stay as busy we can. We’ve got a lot coming up, and I hope everybody’s ready to come along on the journey with us.


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