State Champs

Upstate New York four-piece release their sophomore studio album, ‘Around the World and Back’, this month. Having performed on our shores earlier this year, which include arena shows with 5 Seconds Of Summer, the band will again return in the new year. had a quick fire chat with guitarist Tyler Szalkowski.

Your new album is due for release shortly. Obviously listeners engage with albums in different ways and will have favourite songs that differ from the next. If there were one main thing you hope they can take away from hearing ‘Around the World and Back’ what would it be?

I hope listeners walk away feeling refreshed and that anything is possible. I feel like the record as a whole deals with negative emotions but the overall vibe is overcoming those hardships. We want listeners to feel empowered to overcome their demons.

You played, I’m safe to assume, the biggest stages you’ve performed on when you toured here with 5 Seconds 0f Summer earlier this year. What was the stadium show experience like?

Yes, those were the biggest shows we’ve ever played and will probably ever play! They were massive. The arena show experience was awesome. I felt like a professional wrestler. Walking out and hearing 15 thousand people cheer for you is electrifying. Their [5SOS] fan base was also very accepting and interactive with us and our performance.

You’ve also been announced for UNIFY. You’ll get to see another part of the country this time – performing in the “bush”, what are your thoughts on the line-up and event itself?

We’ve heard about “the bush” but we’ve never been outside of the major cities in Australia. I’m excited to check it out! I don’t know much about the event but the line-up seems awesome. A nice mixed bill, so there’s something for everyone.

Being in a band requires a lot sacrifice, what’s your current balance like between band and outside commitments?

The balance is pretty all right at the moment but it can get hard. I’m blessed to have great people at home [though] who are patient with our hectic schedule.

What have been some of the biggest insights and lessons you’ve gathered from touring and performing so far?

The biggest thing I’ve learned so far is how to adapt and change on the fly when things go wrong. Another insight is that everything is going to be okay.

What are some areas that you’d like to see improved to help up and coming bands?

I’m not really sure, to be honest. Maybe bigger music press outlets giving them more exposure? Everything else is kind of paying your dues, you know?

Favourite album(s) of 2015 so far?

The new Neck Deep, Bring Me The Horizon, Knuckle Puck, Better Off, [and] The Wonder Years [albums]. Some others I’m probably forgetting [too].

‘Around The World And Back’ is due out October 16 via Pure Noise Records / Sony Music Australia. You can read our review here.


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