State Champs: ‘We had to Google our lyrics for The Finer Things show’ | Music | Entertainment

State Champs have inadvertently become the pop-punk band of every summer. Once the sun comes out, so, too, does the New York state’s debut and seminal album The Finer Things.

Drenched in sun cream, heartbreak and effortlessly catchy riffs and lyrics, the 2013 record has reached legendary status over the past decade. So much so that the band played a string of anniversary shows in the USA last year to celebrate it.

While the UK never got the same treatment, they got something just as special: The Finer Things played in full across the Slam Dunk Festival 2024 weekend.

Speaking exclusively to backstage at Slam Dunk South 2024, frontman Derek DiScanio praised the festival for asking them to play the album.

“Honestly, Slam Dunk asked us to do it,” he explained. “We would’ve done a normal set, but the album set is something special that I don’t think the UK has been able to see yet.” 

Guitarist Tyler Szalkowski mused that the UK somehow “feels more like a home” to State Champs now.

British fans of the band were no doubt thrilled by the opportunity to see The Finer Things in full for the first time – but did Derek and Tyler in some way begrudge putting so much emphasis on their first record, when they have released three albums since?

“No, no no!” Tyler yelped. “We were playing through the songs yesterday and I was thinking like… [the album] feels immature – not in a bad way, in a fun way! And a lot less responsibility on guitar for me, specifically, so I’m going to have a lot more fun than on a different set.” 

“It’s a nice perspective,” Tyler went on. “We know where we are now, we’re proud of where we are now, we wouldn’t change the journey at all. So, it’s nice to pay respect to [The Finer Things]. And looking at it through a lens of gratitude is really important.”

Derek pointed out that, really, not a lot has changed between The Finer Things and their latest music in Kings of the New Age.

“We never really stopped writing about the things that we’ve written about since The Finer Things came out,” he said. “At least those types of experiences. So it does feel youthful just because of the nostalgia factor – because of how old the songs are. But the messages behind them don’t really change.

“Some of [the songs] do take me back to being in high school and having s***ty girlfriends, but other than that, I think it’s kind of exciting that people still care about songs that bring us back to our roots.”

Still, it was a little tough inserting himself back into that time period, Derek smiled. “I had to, at one point, Google my own lyrics. Because there are a lot of these songs that we haven’t played in a while.” Looking ahead to the looming set, he added: “But I should be all good to go.”

Looking even further ahead, Derek and Tyler confirmed that State Champs have been working on a lot of new music… and there have been some big developments on that front.

“Right after [touring with] Simple Plan we went out to LA and started recording our fifth album… and I’m here to say that it is done!”

With a grin, he added: “It is going to be coming out this year, later this year. New songs will be coming out sooner than people think. We’re really excited about it.

“It’s crazy to be finally working on album five and to be talking about it 12, 13 years into our careers. We think that this one is our best, we can’t wait for people to hear it and agree with us!”

Listen to State Champs on Amazon Music Unlimited here.

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