State Champs returned to the UK for a set on the main stage at Reading and Leeds festival. Before that however, there was the small matter of a sold-out headline show at the Underworld and also a sold-out acoustic set alongside fellow Reading/Leeds attendees Sleeping with Sirens. I caught up with frontman Derek DiScanio before their acoustic set to chat about the success of Around the World and Back, Warped Tour, the recently announced March 2017 UK tour and Dereks favourite Disney character.
You released Around the World and Back last October, which was received really well. Do you have any plans for a follow up?
Yeah, definitely. It’s in the early stages of planning right now. We’ve been touring all year trying to stay busy and ride out this album cycle as long as we can because of how well it was received and how well it’s still going, which is great. I’d say right after we get home from this run, this fall, we’re gonna start the writing process for the next one. We’re just gathering, trying to meet new people to collaborate with, people we look up to, producers, engineers and things and decide who we want to write with and where we want to record this one. So it’s kind of an exciting time right now.
You played a sold out headline show last night at the Underworld, how was that for you?
It was great. It was our first time playing there and it’s obviously an iconic, small club that’s been around for a while. A lot of bands have done things like film DVDs there and live sets and they go down in history or go viral on the internet so that’s what we wanted to do ourselves, we were like “let’s do that too”. So we ended up filming it, we had like 4 cameramen shot it and recorded the whole thing. It was very, very hot and sweaty and it wore us out because we just came from the Warped tour where we were only doing 30 minute sets all summer long. Jumping from that to headlining, which we hadn’t done in a while, playing double that length, and hour long, we felt like we were literally gonna pass out by the end of it. It was so fun, the crowd was so wild and we hadn’t done a no barricades stage dive set in a while so it was great to get back to our roots essentially and do that.
How was Warped tour for you? A lot of bands say that it’s great fun but a really hard tour.
Yeah it was the most fun tour but it’s also the tour that can put you through a test and can break your band. I’ve seen bands that break up on the tour, bands that just go home, bands that just have to rethink their lives after Warped tour. It was our second time on it and we did it in 2014 on one of the smaller stages, we did it in a van, roughing it out like that and we made it through that whole summer. After we did that we thought we could literally make it through anything after that. So it was great to come back two years later after everything that’s happened, be on the main stage, be in a bus. It was more comfortable. It still had ups and downs but as far as the shows go, some of the best we’ve ever had and we’ll definitely be back at some point.
Tonight’s show is an acoustic set, which is a rare treat for your fans in the UK. You’ve done a couple in the States…
Yeah we’ve done smaller acoustic shows. This one though is probably the most different show we’ve played so it’s something we’re pretty nervous about honestly but also excited. It’s kinda cool to get back to the jittery butterfly thing rather than something like Warped tour that we’ve grown accustomed to and do a sort of formula every day. It’s cool to get out of our shell and think outside the box, we have to really break down our songs and play some songs acoustically that we’ve never done before so everyone is going to be in for a treat here and just the vibe of this room is really cool too. This church is so beautiful and the acoustics in there sound super nice, we just got done with sound check that made us really excited about it so it should be fun!
Is it hard to break down your tracks into acoustic?
Yeah, it’s a different thing because we are a pop-punk band or like a loud, fast band and we pride ourselves on our energy so when we break it down and do the unplugged kinda thing, it’s like a curveball essentially. It doesn’t seem like it should work but I like how it sounds actually, it’s a whole new vibe of the way that we’re perceived. The fans seem to like it too, we did an acoustic record a year and a half ago (The Acoustic Things, Pure Noise Records) and we’re gonna play a lot of songs off that which we haven’t played in a while and some of the newer songs off our newest album (Around the World and Back) broken down which we’ve only played a few times when the album came out, we did some in store acoustic sessions that went over really well. So it’ll be cool to take that and put it into a big acoustic setting like this, especially sold out with lots of people tonight. It should be fun!
You play Reading and Leeds for the first time this weekend, are you looking forward to it and are there any bands you’re looking forward to seeing on the lineup?
There’s so many cool bands on this festival and obviously we know the hype about Reading and Leeds, we’ve never been and we’ve never played before so this is a totally new thing for us too. We’re just starting to dive into bigger festivals, we just did one in Belgium, Pukkelpop, and that one was wild. I’m excited to get in there and ripping up main stage too, that’s another one I’m sure the nerves will be kicking in. As far as other bands go, we have probably the best day with Fall Out Boy, The 1975, Third Eye Blind, Good Charlotte, there’s a lot of bands I want to see so I’m glad we play early actually because we can get it over with and I just get to watch bands the rest of the day.
You’ve just announced that you’re coming back over for a headline run in March next year, you’ve already been over a few times, most recently the co-headline tour with Neck Deep, what makes you keep coming back? For once the weather has been okay today but that can’t be a factor (laughs).
I’m actually so surprised by the weather this time around, usually it’s rained everyday we’re here and it hasn’t rained yet! It’s tried to but it hasn’t. It’s really hot here too, we’ve been sweating more than we do in America. I’m excited to come back, we always come back and it’s just the fact that it keeps getting better and better. There’s no signs of it slowing down, we meet new friends and fans every time we come but also seeing the supporters that were there on the first days, like our first trip over here. I think in March when we come back it will be our fifth time, something like that, which is insane. We never thought we’d come over here once in the first place. It’s gonna be really cool and especially now this will be our first big headline tour over here. With the Neck Deep one, it was essentially their tour. We were co-headlining but they were playing last, it still went over so well for us and it was fun but it’s going to give us much more of a kick and pride for us to come back and have it be our show every night. I’m ready to come back. Even though we haven’t left yet.
Just stay for a while longer…
Yeah we’ll just stay here until March.
We always end our interviews with some random questions, are you ready?
Can you tell us an embarrassing story about a member of the band?
An embarrassing story? (laughs) The first thing that came into my mind, Warped tour on an off day I think, we’re driving and we do have a bathroom on the bus but only number 1 on the bus is our rule. For my good friend Ryan (Graham, bassist/backing vocals), that was not the case for him and it’s a deep emergency. He had to tell the driver this is an emergency and we need to stop somewhere now. Our bus driver’s name is Gator, he’s a great guy, just immediately stops in the middle of the freeway, pulls over and says “well go”. Sure enough, he got off the bus and just went at the side of the road. He’s gonna hate me now for this. Somebody has it on film on their cell phone. I won’t get into detail or anything but that’s probably the most embarrassing recent story. There’s plenty more to come around but that’s just off the top of my head.
If you could be a Disney character for a day, who would you pick and why?
That’s perfect! I’m such a Disney freak too! Just booked a trip to Disney World actually, me and my mom, earlier today! Hmm let’s see. Goofy is my favourite but he doesn’t have any special abilities. I’m trying to think of someone who can fly or something, not Peter Pan, somebody more badass than that. Nah let’s go with Goofy he’s my man. I don’t know why though, he’s just funny.
Do you believe in aliens or the supernatural?
I was never big into that, I’m not a huge sci-fi guy. I always get made fun of and yelled at for not liking Star Wars and Star Trek and all that. I did just get into that Stranger Things show and I really like it. It’s like the most over-hyped show right now and I had to see what it’s all about. It’s all about a third dimension and supernatural monsters and characters. It goes into really weird stuff that I never thought I would enjoy but it made me really think about that stuff. I think I’m a believer now. It’s a really good show and it was very over hyped and a little over rated but it is really, really good. There’s not many shows that I can really sink my teeth into and get attached too but that was one for sure. I’ll be a continued fan.
Thank you for talking to us today.
No worries, thank you.