Interview : Tyler Szalkowski / STATE CHAMPS (Eindhoven, Mildtfest 2014)

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Do you guys know State Champs? Of course you do! Plus they’re perfect fit for the season. We spoke on some subjects with their super cool guitar player Tyler back to when we were at that pop punk party in the Netherlands earlier this year (MILDTFEST 2014)
If you want to learn more about the most “fun, energetic and catchy” New York band, then read this!


  • Being in Europe for the first time

“It’s our first time here, so we didn’t know what to expect, of course. The reactions have been awesome and we couldn’t really ask for more, so we’re just being blown away.
It’s a huge culture shock for us, even here, in Eindhoven, we actually walked outside the venue and they have these big outdoors areas where you can walk and shop and eat outside, I mean it’s weird but we don’t really have this where we’re from. We have open places but not really, I don’t know how to say that (laughs). So even the simplest things seem so different to us. Like all the bicycles! We don’t really have actual cities in America where people ride bicycles, we have trains and subways. There are a lot of different things but it’s really cool.
As far as the music scene goes, it’s really cool. It seems like people care more here and they understand that you actually flew across the ocean to get here and so they want to hang out with you, etc. I don’t know how to explain, but I just feel like here it means more.”

  • “The Finest Things”

“It’s been months and months of writing and recording, 6 to 8 months of hard labour. My view of this one before was “oh we made this album, I think it’s cool, hope kids like it” and now, I do realize that yes, we made that and people actually liked it, so there’s no crazy changes, I’m just proud of what we made and the word we put into that.”

“Music never came to me like, “okay, I want to make music”. It kinda happened, when I was like 12 I used to sit in a side of my home with this crappy guitar and I would just play from front to back the Senses Fail record ‘Let It Enfold You’. And I eventually started thinking “what if I could play this song like this and add my own twist?” so it all started like that, there was no turning point, but I knew it kind of came out of me. I don’t know how to explain it, but it’s just what I do now, so I am proud whenever we put out new music. “

“You know, the goal for us is to do as much as we can. Music allows us to come to places to play. Like I’m in Holland, who would have thought? I’m from the suburbs of Albany, NY and thanks to music, I am here and exploring the world…For free. So the idea is to have fun, see the world and do cool stuff but keep doing the music we like and it comes with all its perks.”

  • Making a mark in music

“People say ‘how did you guys make it?’ and I think ‘what are you talking about?’ we have so much more to do! We are in the process of making our mark but we haven’t made our mark yet. Just because we have shirts on sale on Hot Topic doesn’t mean that we made it. I think making it is like being the Foo Fighters or Nirvana and being at that level…we’re far from there. But hopefully I’ll get there someday. “

“I don’t fully understand what makes fans stick to bands but I know the way we handle our social media helps for example, I tend to do a lot of interaction, and I think kids like that, they like feeling that they’re part of something. It’s important to know and realize that fans are important to your band. Right now I don’t really know what could make people stay with us, but we’ll see. Anything’s possible!”

  • State Champs in three words?

“Fun, Energetic and catchy”

  • (europe) Tour insights 

“When I was in Dublin, there was that entire road that was displaying so much history. I like historical things. Also the architecture, like the church outside this venue (eindhoven dynamo), there’s a lot to see here, versus in the US, where it’s pretty boring. It’s really cool for me as a fan of history.

But one strange thing was having to pay to use the bathroom. I think I’ve never seen this anywhere else. We took the ferry, we drove in France and we didn’t stop until we were in Belgium and I realized I had to put these euro cents to use the bathroom and I thought ‘What the f*ck?” and I was just so mad. But it’s all good, it’s just 50cts. Whatever.
As for the food, I haven’t tried much, so I’ll mark Nando’s as best. I haven’t eaten much yet so I haven’t encountered anything disgusting. Also I’m not really picky or anything, but maybe I’ve been just lucky. “

  • Next for State Champs? 

Touring, and touring even more. We’re also putting out an acoustic record this summer, we’ll have probably 5-7 songs, new songs, Warped Tour all summer, going to Australia in September, coming back to UK in November. We’re not going to Europe yet, sorry (laughs)…and then that’s pretty much it. We’re trying to tour as much as we can. It’s the best way to win fans, there’s no doubt about it, you can do anything from afar it doesn’t mean it will work, meanwhile when you’re playing in front of these kids, it’s much more likely that you’ll make fans that way.

  • To finish…

Thanks for reading this interview and supporting this band. Come see our shows!

I have a tendency to seek for new sounds and humbly contribute to its living. I'm a dreamer, I live for today and take the time to appreciate every single thing that life has to offer.

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