State Champs Prove They're Kings of the New Age [Q&A] | THE NOISE
In the peak of the most recent pop-punk revival, State Champs have proudly declared themselves the Kings of the New Age.
Since forming in upstate New York in 2010, the beloved band has proven their self-proclaimed royalty by releasing four flawless full-length albums and various EPs, touring around the world and back nonstop, and using their one-of-a-kind sound to bring life back into the pop-punk scene.
While out on their current headlining tour with Hunny, Between You & Me, and more, State Champs guitarist Tyler Szalkowski sat down with The Noise to discuss the band’s epic 2022. To see what he had to say about Kings Of The New Age, their new blink-182 cover, connecting with the “Champs Fam,” and what's next in 2023, be sure to read below. Afterward, make sure to pick up a copy of the band's new Pure Noise Records release and grab tickets to see them out on the road here.
The KOTNA Tour is your final headliner of the year - how has the tour been going so far and what can fans expect from your set?
Tyler Szalkowski: The tour is going very well! We put a lot of thought and care into the whole thing. From building the set list all the way to planning the production, we were hyper-involved. We took some notes from some big pop acts we like as well. You can expect a fun, high-energy show that features all your favorite champs songs.
Now that some time has passed since the release of KOTNA, how do you feel about the fan reaction to the album?
The fan reaction has been awesome. It really feels like the Champs Fam is growing. To be 12 years into this and still playing to and meeting new fans is so reassuring. Thanks for the love!
Earlier this year you released a cover of blink-182’s “What’s My Age Again”, what made you decide to cover that specific song?
We wanted to do a blink song that was popular but wasn’t "dammit" or "miss you." "What’s My Age Again" is simple and fun and we knew we could add our own flair to it without fully betraying the original song. We’re also getting older but find ourselves feeling different than people our age around us. Our “normie” friends at home live vastly different lives than we do being in a band so I think a song like this will always resonate with us.
State Champs is a band that is very fan-focused and you even have your own Champs Fam fan club where members get exclusive perks such as early access to tickets, member-only merch plus more. Where did the idea come from of having such a direct connection with fans and how has it impacted the band?
Navigating a pandemic as a band who usually fosters their connection with their fans on tour was especially difficult. Luckily, Derek was really into Twitch and brought up the idea of us streaming. We started doing twitch streams when we were making KOTNA. The support was unreal. Not only did we have some of our OG fans on there but we made new fans as well. Discovering Champs through Twitch is not something I ever thought I’d hear. As a result, we wanted to have one central location for all of the stuff we were sharing on there. We were sharing loads of BTS and unreleased b-sides, etc. So we brought the idea of a fan club to life and made it extra special by allowing the Champs Fam first dibs on just about everything. They get to hear every new song or album the night before it’s released, first access to merch drops, VIP, and GA ticket onsale.
Its impact on the band has been as positive as it gets. Having a little corner of the internet who holds you down is really special. We can’t thank all of the Champs Fam enough. Without them, getting through the pandemic would’ve been much harder.
As the year comes to a close, what have been some highlights for you in 2022?
Number one highlight is releasing our 4th studio album. To be able to release our 4th record is truly amazing. Very grateful to have been making music long enough to have four albums out! Number two has to be being able to go back on tour across the world. Getting to continue sharing our music with people was so nice to get back.
Do you have any holiday traditions that you celebrate either with your family or together as a band?
As a band, we throw our annual Christmas show “frozen fest” in our hometown of Albany, NY. Usually, we have over 100 guests and most of it is family and close friends so it’s a great way to celebrate the holiday.
What can fans expect next from State Champs in 2023?
The continuation of our quest for world domination.