The State Five Takeover Has Begun
The State Five Takeover Has Begun
State Five is an up-and-coming post hardcore band from the Los Angeles music scene who are really beginning to make music fans stand up and take notice. They’ve released an EP What’s Killing Me, and recently issued an explosive single entitled Snake Pit. The band was featured in the LA Rock Collective’s Rock For Life show at the Hard Rock Cafe in Hollywood, and are about to release a series of songs which will eventually result in a brand-new full-length album.
Highwire Daze recently conducted an interview and photoshoot day at Dystopian Studios deep in the heart of Downtown LA. and invited State Five over to participate. Before their session with Vivian Ortega of So Finch Photography, Mario Morales, Abe Flores, and Courtney Charouhas from State Five sat down for an interview. The State Five takeover commences now…
Introduce yourself and tell me what you do in State Five.
Courtney: I’m Courtney Charouhas and I’m the bass player in State Five.
Mario: My name is Mario Morales and I’m the front man for State Five.
Abe: My name is Abe Flores and I’m one of the two guitarists in State Five.
How long has State Five been together and give me a little background on the band.
Mario: State Five has officially been together for two years. It started off with me and the lead guitarist Michael Serrano. A little background on us – we’ve been doing music since middle school. And fun fact – State Five is like a play on from what we were previously trying to do – a project called State Of Mind – but it was State V – so that kind of stuff with the Five thing. It’s been a pretty interesting journey so far. We have our EP – we just released our single. And fun fact about that too – it’s the first single that we’ve all written together officially. Since they were all new – Abe came with us last year. And Courtney was the newest member about a year ago now too.
Let’s talk about the new single Snake Pit. Is there any overall story or concept behind that song?
Mario: For Snake Pit – I think for the most part, we were trying to do not so much a song exercise, but we should write together. So, we were coming up with concepts – me and Abe were already working on Snake Pit in its earlier form. And how we came up with the actual concept…
Courtney: You guys were kind of messing around in the studio and Mario, you kind of started spitting out some lyrics and a Snake Pit kind of idea came up and then we were like “okay, let’s push this project through together.” We were just kind of riffing off each other’s ideas and really coming up with a solid idea for the song and a meaning behind it. So that’s when we kind of listened to the music a little bit and these are kind of the vibes it gives me – and we came up with a story line through there.
Mario: I guess you could say it was an accident, but it was honestly a good accident. Once we solidified what we wanted to talk about, we just started writing and we just went for it.
And what is the song talking about?
Mario: We were trying to think of something in a way that really resonated with people in everyday situations and everyday lives. Like toxic relationships are a very common thing. My friend was going through a toxic relationship, so I kind of got a little inspiration from what he was going through. When I was writing my lyrics, I was thinking about my toxic relationships – anything in the past that I was thinking about. Honestly, I think people get sucked into that toxicity and they can’t get out. We were referencing snakes and toxic venom.
Courtney: We pieced that together – that people can be snakes sometimes. We came up with how it was going to transition throughout the song. From when you first meet that person – you never know what somebody is like when you first meet them. And then as you go through a journey together, you really learn whether they’re a good person.
Mario: And it’s hard to let them go sometimes because you’re so close to them – regardless of how toxic it can be.
Your previous EP is called What’s Killing Me. So, what’s killing you? (Much laughter)
Mario: What’s Killing Me – they weren’t around for that. That was all me and Michael. What’s Killing Me was a project that we started doing that was more so about mental health and all the issues from that. What’s Killing Me was more so about addiction. Each song is like it’s own thing – like Flame was a pretty bad breakup. Dance In The Rain was coping with life and how difficult things can get and just pushing through it. Horizons is finally seeing the bright side of things – “I’m finally going to be okay.” That reassurance of yourself that you’re going to be okay. Hysteria was our attempt at a political like song (laughs) – that was a trial and error sure for Hysteria. But that one is like how everything is not as it seems – like what you’re told as far as media and all that stuff. Show Me was my personal favorite, because that song was about when I was at the lowest point of my life – I just needed to feel something – I just needed to feel that everything was going to be okay. So, What’s Killing Me overall is just a different aspect of mental health and personal issues that we were going through.
What could one expect from a live State Five show?
Abe: At a live State Five show, you can expect a lot of things. You can expect a lot of jumping and high energy. It’s like a religious event and going to a hockey game too. A lot of violence onstage and a lot of screaming and very orchestral choruses – and it’s all beautiful in the end. We all hug each other and have a good time. But in all seriousness, we like to have fun onstage. We have this dynamic with everyone, where we’ll just really get into the music. We like calling to the crowd – I remember one time Mario actually jumped into the crowd and did this wall of death where we had one side run into the other during one of the breakdowns in a song that we wrote. That was a lot of fun. And yeah, we like to have a good time up there.
The first time I saw your band was at the Rock For Life show for the LA Rock Collective and you did Back To Black by Amy Winehouse. Tell me about that selection of the song and how you felt performing it.
Mario: I think why we picked Amy Winehouse, besides being the phenomenal musician that she was – when we were looking into the chat, and they gave us our criteria how you would pick your artist to cover. Someone said they recommended not just choosing a rock band because it would be really straightforward. So, we were trying to be creative and make our own cover – we thought that would be something to show our talents – to write an original cover for Amy Winehouse’s Back To Black. Performing it – oh man, I loved performing it. It felt really nice hearing everybody singing along. Everybody knows Back To Black – so hearing the crowd getting into it too. And it really felt like – (laughs) not that I was Amy Winehouse or anything – but I could feel the energy of everybody with that beautiful moment with that song.
What do you hope the New Year brings for State Five?
Mario: Well actually, we’re working on our album. We have a new single that we’re working on, so we’re going to start tracking that. And we’re hoping to release our first single by March. Once that gets started, it’s singles from there – and then we’ll be releasing an album. So State Five 2023 takeover is definitely coming!
(Interview by Ken Morton – Photos by Vivian Ortega of So Finch Photography)
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