Exclusive Interview: State Of You talk writing and recording their self titled debut EP!

There is something addictive about this Metal life. You get music in your blood and if you don’t get your fix then there is hell to pay. Inspired by a mutual desire to write some straight up Hardcore Punk songs to expel personal demons as well as wanting to provoke discussion about the issues of this World, State Of You are a new band comprised of former members of Polar, Tessa Jones, Hildamay, Seasonal and Outcry Collective who once again need to scratch that itch. We spoke to vocalist Steve Sitkowski for the second time in a week and the conversation went something like this…

How did your previous experiences writing and recording help to smooth the path for your self titled debut EP? “Personally it’s just something I do without trying to second guess myself. I put a lot of pressure on myself and I try to leave it all in the booth. Obviously being in Outcry Collective helped a lot. Back then we built our own studio and recorded our album all by ourselves so just going into a studio and recording was a lot less work and stress. Every day I have ideas come into my head, even if it’s just a line or two, and I always try and put them into my notes on my phone. I was literally writing lyrics before this interview”

How does the writing process of a new track start? Melody, riff or rhythm first? How does it evolve from there before you consider it the finished article? “At the moment, the way we traditionally do it is that Ollie, one of our guitarists, will come up with an initial song idea and he will also demo the bass and drums. Then he sends it to us and it all gets taken apart and worked on as a band. I try and demo vocals ASAP, even if it’s not a fully formulated idea yet. Then Nick and I work on the vocals until we are both happy. I would say it all starts with a riff though”

You recorded the EP with producer Oz Craggs (of Feed The Rhino fame) at his Hidden Track Studios in Folkestone; what was working with him like and how did you come to choose him for the purpose in the first place? “Max has recorded with him with his band Seasonal multiple times and always had great things to say about him. I knew of him by reputation and I loved Feed the Rhino. He’s a very easy producer to work with in that if you are on top of your shit then you have nothing to worry about. Without question we will do the album with him. I consider him a good friend and someone I’m really grateful to have in my life. I trust him to get the best out of me and he does. If anyone reading this is looking to record you should check him out”

When it comes to the lyrics, they’re very cleverly considered; the depth is there for those that want it but if you don’t it’s not a necessity to enjoy the record. How challenging did you find it to write something that people can find their own meaning in? “Thankyou so much for saying that. The truth is that you never know what’s going to connect so I just write something for me. When we started the band, Nick asked if he could be part of the lyric writing process and I was reluctant at first as I had never done that before. He comes at it from a different angle as a drummer and he knows more about heavy music than anyone I know. If he says it’s cool then that’s alright by me. As I’ve gotten older I’ve tried hard to work on being a better communicator. It’s important to me that you can hear the words I’m singing and that I’m being honest but also not taking myself too seriously. We are all a little fucked up – I’m not special. If someone can relate to me then that’s incredible”

For us gear nerds out there, can you tell us what you’re using gear wise (pedals, strings, drums etc) to get your sound? I use Shure mics and a Focusrite scarlett box to demo on. I’ve asked the guys to tell me what they use – 

Max O’Neil (guitar): “Fender Tornado paired with a Mesa Boogie Single Rectifier and an Orange 4×12. A couple of things that are on the board are a Boss ES-8 MIDI Switcher, Strymon Big Sky, Line 6 Dl4 Delay and the classic TS808 Tube Screamer”

Ollie Jeffs (guitar): “Orange cab, fender tornado and Marshall JCM900″

Nick Jones (drums): “I play Mapex Meridian drums, a Pearl free floating Mk1 brass snare 14”x5.5, Sabian Cymbals, 19” AAX X-plosion crash 20”HHX evolution crash, 20” legacy ozone ride 14” AAX stage hi hats, and a 16” holy china. Gibraltar hardware, paired with iron cobra double kick & matching hi hat stand. Pro mark 5b select forward balance drum sticks with acorn tips. Evans drum heads. 14” Hybrid on the snare, clear EC2 Tom heads, and clear EQ3 kick drum head”

Rick Keenan (bass): “Gibson Ripper bass/Fender jaguar, Marshall VBA 400 head going through a Marshall 8×10 cabinet. On the Board: Darkglass Alpha/Omega. electro Harmonix noise gate”

What difference would it make to you as a band if you could land an endorsement from a gear manufacturer? “I mean we’ve all been sponsored before and it’s incredible when it happens . Being in a band is expensive as hell. Any help from anyone – even if it’s just telling one friend about us is part of what keeps the band going forwards. Nick is currently sponsored by Pro Mark drum sticks, Evans Drum heads and Sabian cymbals. We would all love to be able to have the equipment to make our live show as good as possible so would happily embrace a sponsorship from a company that can help with that in any way whether visually or more importantly audibly. I think I mistook the question but I asked the guys their dream sponsors and they said this –

Max O’Neil (guitar): “Fender, Mesa Boogie, Orange, Strymon and Dr Oetker Ristorante Pizza”

Ollie Jeffs (guitar): “My dream sponsors would be Fender, The Darjeeling Indian restaurant, Marshall and Mesa Boogie”

Nick Jones (drums): “Ludwig, Cosmic Ears, Nike, Red Stripe and KFC”

Rick Keenan (bass): “Fender, Ampeg, Bank of England”

And if they are all saying what they want then I would like us to be sponsored by a petrol company that can pay for our touring. Oh – and the Disney subscription. Rock ‘n’ roll! Remember – Nov 4th at the Boston Music Rooms. Gonna be one to remember. Thanks for talking to us!

Self Titled” by State Of You is out 2nd September 2022 via Silent Cult Recordings

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