Stateside is an exciting new collective from NYC whose melodic anthems will surely endear them to music fans all across the board. They’ve opened for the likes of Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and I Am The Avalanche, and have gained quite a following on their own. The band’s debut full length Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors has just been released, an exhilarating collection of songs with lyrics primarily focused on the magic and wonder of NYC. In addition to their own composition, Stateside does a super infectious cover of the Taylor Swift song Love Story. Here is a recent interview we conducted with one of the Stateside members to find out more about this up and coming band destined to see their name in big city lights in Manhattan and beyond…
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Stateside, and how long the band has been together.
My name is Phil Zepeda and I’m one of the guitarists for Stateside. The band has been together for about a year and a half.
Where is the band based out of and what is your local music scene like there? Are there any local bands you could recommend?
The band is based out of NYC, and we’re very proud of that! As you can imagine, the music scene here is pretty remarkable — you have pretty much all kinds of music here. But I have to say, our style (post-hardcore/screamo or whatever you want to call it) is probably one of the least popular. Not much of a scene for that here. The craze now is indie and a lot of electropop. There are tons of great local bands here, but two of my favorites are Midnight Masses and our friends My Place Midnight, which are just starting out but are a lot of fun to listen to.
Is there any story or concept behind the CD title Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors?
It’s basically a tribute to NYC. If you’re familiar with the public transit system, you’ll recognize it. If you’re not — it’s the message you hear every time a subway train is about to leave the station.
Please select any two songs from Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors and what inspired the lyrical content.
“Make Your Move” – it’s a fun, high-energy track and a true NYC anthem. Basically Mike talking about how beautifully insane this city can be.
“Sinister Partnership” – Mike wrote this song about the strength of relationships, both with family and friends. They are often tested and sometimes hang on by a thread, but it’s really moving to see how they withstand and remain over time.
What made you decide to cover Love Story and has Taylor Swift heard and commented on it yet?
Um, honestly I think it was just a popular song at the time and seemed like fun. I am almost certain that she has not heard it, but if she did, I am even more certain that she would love it!
Who did the cover art for Stand Clear Of The Closing Doors and how much input did you have on it?
Oh, I’m so glad you asked this question! The cover art was done by a very good friend of mine Benjamin Lande (http://www.benjaminlande.com/). We told him the meaning of the title and he did the rest. I met him when I was in college in Chapel Hill, North Carolina (go Heels!). I think we met through a craigslist ad looking to start a band. We had a few short-lived endeavors, including a Misfits cover band. We also shared a love of Taco Bell, and unlike me he had a car so he could drive us there. Anyway, he is an amazing artist and we are honored to have his artwork on our cover. He’s also one of the nicest, funniest guys I’ve ever met. Definitely check out his work, you will love it!
What could one expect from a live Stateside show?
A group of young, good-looking and ethnically-diverse gentleman playing loud, heavy music. Also some singing, screaming, jumping around, an occasional guitar solo and a few breakdowns.
Who are some of the bigger bands you have opened up for and what was the experience like? Any particularly memorable shows?
We recently opened up for Red Jumpsuit Apparatus and Burn Halo and that was pretty awesome. I was a fan of Eighteen Visions so was especially excited about Burn Halo. It’s really cool to get to play a show then pack up your gear and jump right in the crowd to watch a band you like! Next month we’re also playing with August Burns Red (March 24th in Grantham, PA). That is going to be huge for us, we’re all really big fans.
Has Stateside ever played here in the Los Angeles area or plan to do so in the near future?
No, so far just NYC and surrounding areas — but we would definitely love to!
How did the music of Beyond Hope Lies differ from Stateside?
I haven’t heard much of it, but from what I have it sounded a bit more on the Poppy side, less Hardcore than our sound.
Has Stateside ever played Warped Tour? If so, what was the experience like?
Nope, but we’re trying to this year.
Being from New York, how connected are you to the Broadway scene? Does anyone in the band have any Broadway acting aspirations?
Honestly, not very. I personally am not a fan of Broadway shows. I don’t think the other guys are either. I just don’t like hearing people talking then breaking into song and dance. It’s not for me.
What’s up next for Stateside? Any touring coming up?
Well, we have a big show with August Burns Red coming up next month! We’ve also got a handful of shows booked for the spring and starting to look into possible touring. Lastly, we’re all dying to start writing the next album!
Any final words of wisdom?
As naive as it sounds, I’m a firm believer that the key to success in the music industry is just writing good music. Sure, there are other variables sprinkled in. But if you write good songs, people will listen and share. That’s what we’re trying to do, and that’s my advice to everyone else out there trying to make it!
(Interview by Kenneth Morton)
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