Music has a way of bringing people together even if they don’t have much else in common. State Champs are no exception to this rule, bridging a sea of differences and building upon a decade worth of friendship to bring the world a plethora of pop-punk jams.
Frontman Derek DiScanio and guitarist Tyler Szalkowski have known each other for more than 10 years with the duo first linking up in middle school at ages 13 and 14, respectively. The budding friendship took off as they began to attend shows together and eventually start to play tunes of their own.
“We used to go to local shows, and then we played in [different] local bands that would play shows together,” DiScanio says. “We used to be in metal bands!”
DiScanio started out as a screamer while Szalkowski played bass, but each musician soon took a different path that led them to the formation of State Champs.
“I decided one day I like to actually sing,” DiScanio elaborates. “We like songs that people actually sing, and we just started jamming together. It turned into State Champs eight years later.”
The five members of State Champs—which also includes bassist Ryan Scott Graham, guitarist Tony Diaz and drummer Evan Ambrosio—work well as a cohesive unit despite their varied interests and hobbies.
“To the public eye, it wouldn’t even seem like it would make sense that the five of us would be in a band together,” DiScanio explains. “I love sports—I’m a typical ‘bro dude’ when it comes to that—but then we have someone like Tony in our band who loves video games, eSports and wrestling.”
Further elaborating on their backgrounds, Szalkowski reveals how much Graham loves anime to the point he visits Japan twice a year. DiScanio also points out Ambrosio loves motocross and Szalkowski is the “social butterfly.”
“I’m the one who sees everybody,” Szalkowski elaborates. “I just want to check in with my boys.”
The band also make sure to hang out while on tour, finding common interests outside of playing music every night from video games and cards to unexpected viewing entertainment.
“Whether it’s movie night on the bus or actually, we watch a lot of Family Feud together,” DiScanio reveals. “We love to laugh and do impressions and make fun of each other along the way—that’s what keeps things moving, keeps things positive with us.”
State Champs’ latest album, Living Proof, is available now via Pure Noise Records. The band are currently on the road with the Vans Warped Tour, and dates can be viewed here.