About State Champs
Albany, New York-based pop-punk band State Champs have won an audience for their songs that balance joy and angst with strong vocal harmonies and interwoven guitar work. Their music is full of energy and melodic hooks, delivered with taut, precise instrumental work and passionate vocals from lead singer Derek Discanio. State Champs set the standard for their sound with their debut album, 2013's The Finer Things, while 2015's Around the World and Back exposed their work to a wider audience.
State Champs started out in 2010, basing their fast-paced and emotive sound on the influence of masters of the genre like Fall Out Boy, the Story So Far, and New Found Glory. Based around singer Derek Discanio's wailing vocals, the band was filled out by lead guitarist Tyler Szalkowski, rhythm guitarist Dave Fogarty, bassist William Goodermote, and drummer Matt Croteau. The group soon issued a demo, EP 2010, which was re-released in expanded form the following year as Apparently I'm Nothing. In 2012, Fogarty and Croteau dropped out of the group, with rhythm guitarist Tony Diaz and drummer Evan Ambrosio signing on in their place.
State Champs were signed by Pure Noise Records, and their first release for their new label was the Overslept EP in late 2012. After touring with Citizen, Hit the Lights, and A Loss for Words, among others, former New Found Glory guitarist Steve Klein teamed with Sam Pura to produce State Champs' first full-length album, The Finer Things, which came out in 2013. An acoustic revamp of The Finer Things -- The Acoustic Things EP -- was released in late 2014. By the time the acoustic EP was out, William Goodermote was gone, with Ryan Scott Graham taking his place on bass guitar.
The band released their second LP, Around the World and Back, in October 2015. The album would prove to be somewhat of a breakout for State Champs, reaching number 30 on Billboard's Top 200 and laying the foundation for two years of hard touring. They issued a deluxe version of the album with a DVD and a number of bonus songs in early 2017. A third full-length, Living Proof, arrived in 2018 and included the single "Dead and Gone." The set landed inside the Top 30 on the Billboard 200. In August 2020, State Champs released a six-song EP, Unplugged, which featured four new songs performed in acoustic format, as well as stripped-down remakes of "Criminal" and "Dead & Gone." The EP saw State Champs reconfigured as a quartet after rhythm guitarist Tony Diaz left the group. ~ Fred Thomas & Mark Deming