They've dropped one of the biggest records of the year in the form of third album, Living Proof and now State Champs are heading this way to see how it shapes up live. Before they land, we caught up with guitarist Tyler Szalkowski to go in depth about the record and how it feels to be the new leaders of pop-punk.
Let’s kick things off with the new album. Living Proof saw you working with John Feldman, Mark Hoppus and Alex Gaskarth, what was it like working with those guys? Did you find it hard to allow someone else to help with the writing process?
It was actually really awesome to work with those people. We also worked with Mike Green and Kyle Black in addition to those above. It wasn’t hard to let someone step in to help us in the writing process. Everyone we worked with made it super painless and just wanted to bring out the best in us. We were all there for the same reason, to make some kick ass songs. There were no power struggles or any loss of creative control.
What’s the usual writing & recording process for a State Champs album? Do you work on the songs all together or do you prefer to work individually?
We usually birth our ideas alone on acoustic guitars recorded into voice memos on our phones. Then we get together and build it out from there. It’s a massive group effort.
Around The World And Back was such a huge album for you, did you feel the pressure to better it with Living Proof?
I think we’ll always feel the pressure of expectation but I think that also drives us. Knowing someone out there is expecting you to do good makes you wanna blow their socks off, ya know? We used the pressure as fuel to beat the last record on every level.
Before you went in to record the album, did you have any set plans or goals for it? Was there anything you learnt from the last one which changed your work style with this one?
We had some plans to try different stuff. To make sure that on a couple of tracks we took a step outside the state champs box and did something different. That’s evident with the tracks, 'The Fix Up' and 'Time Machine'. We like to do this because we want to give you more, to show you more of what we can do.
For you, what does Living Proof stand for?
What Living Proof means to me is I’m still here. I am living proof that you can carry yourself through hard times and come out stronger and more wise on the other side. I am living proof that you shouldn’t give up no matter how bad you want to.
What song do you think sums up the record best?
I think the first single, 'Dead and Gone', really sums up the record. It’s got a hard hitting chorus with an anthemic melody, all tied together with sweet guitar parts and cool drum parts. You can’t beat it.
Have you noticed any of the songs in particular having a big reaction when you perform them live?
'Dead and Gone' has a massive reaction. 'Mine Is Gold' also has a big reaction.
Your upcoming tour will be your first time bringing many of the new songs over to the UK, are you nervous to see how they’ll go down?
I’m not nervous in the slightest. The UK crowds are always the most rowdy and energetic. I know y’all will lose your sh*t, especially to these new songs. And if Slam Dunk was any indication, we're going to be just fine *sunglasses emoji*
The pop-punk scene is forever growing and changing, and you guys are now the leaders of a new pop-punk generation. How does that feel? To now be that band that younger bands will look up to and be inspired by?
It feels really strange, because we still look up to and strive to be like other bands. With so much left to accomplish, it’s really helpful and nice that people put so much faith in us. It really gives us the strength to keep pushing the bar higher and higher.
Who are your favourite new bands right now?
I’m loving the new The 1975 stuff they’ve been putting out. Also been very into The Band CAMINO. Oh! And The Aces.
You’ve already nailed some huge pop covers, but which pop star would you like to see cover a State Champs song?
Taylor Swift probably. Make it all 80s synth style. Would def slap!!
Now that Warped Tour is over, if you were to run your own festival, what would be your dream line-up?
I’d love to do a mixed bill and have Post Malone and Slipknot headline, then have like... I don’t know, The 1975, Beartooth, All Time Low, The Aces, State Champs, and all my friends I never get to see.
Finally, why should everyone come along to the State Champs tour?
You should come to the State Champs tour because we’re a kick ass live band and are gonna be doing some cool production on this tour. Also the set list is the longest and most cohesive we’ve ever done so come hang, have a mosh, have a pint, have some fun!
Want to know what Tyler and the boys listen to whilst they're on tour? This'll give you an idea...
State Champs kick off their UK tour with Seaway, Stand Atlantic and Woes at the end of this month, so don't miss out on this pop-punk party, grab your tickets now!
O2 Academy Leeds: Tuesday 30 October Buy Tickets
O2 Institute Birmingham: Wednesday 31 October Buy Tickets
O2 Academy Bristol: Thursday 1 November Buy Tickets
Want to keep up to date with all our sessions, interviews and more? Why not sign up to our newsletter?