State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Aizya McGee

Naked Mondays And Keegan Tawa Concert/Party For You

If your week’s been a bit stressful and you need to let off some steam, don’t worry.
Because local artists Naked Mondays and Keegan Tawa have got you covered! They’re putting on a free show this Thursday, September 26th, at 733 West College Ave Apt 4 at 8pm.
Show up, party, enjoy your weekend!

You can join on the event’s Facebook page here.

Check Out Capitol Ave's New Album, "Put On Hold"

Today semi-local alternative Hip Hop group, Capitol Ave, releases their first album, “Put On Hold”.

According to their Facebook, they draw from a wide array of influences, from alternative rock to dubstep, which can clearly be heard on various tracks; “Berserk” and “Walk Away” start off with some cool synth sounds, while “The Cross Between” is rapped to a piano melody, etc. Each song on the album tells a story, and each song holds a unique quality.
Equally as unique and impressive as their sound is their story. Even though the lead guitarist is a graduate student here at Penn State, and the rest of the band is still in Omaha, Nebraska, they managed to record the whole album cross the country with live instruments. Their lead vocalist/rapper even came out to State College in February where they shot a music video (you can watch below).

Check them out on their website, and get the album from iTunes! And check them out on Facebook.

State In The Real Interviews David Of Big D And The Kids Table At Warped Tour

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Big D and The Kids Table, are definitely not a band new to the music scene, they have been making Ska music for all to enjoy since 1995. Their ninth and tenth studio albums Stomp and Stroll were released earlier this summer on June 11.
I was unfortunate enough to miss their set on the Domo Stage, but lead singer David was nice enough to take some time out to talk to me about the heat (mostly Nevada), music, and the tour.

How’s your tour experience been so far?
D: So far, this is Big D’s ninth Warped Tour, not full, but ninth time walking out into the field. It’s going good; it’s been a fun summer. I think my favorite bands were Gin Wigmore, Five Knives, and MC Lars. Some of the guys like Stick To Your Guns and Defeater; and Tonight Alive, right at the end we were all like, “yeah, they’re awesome!”

I’ve been asking everybody this, but what have you been doing to beat the heat?
D: Well, you have a bus, but sometimes the bus AC can’t overpower the heat, so the bus will be about 90 degrees. The three worse states are New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada, but at least in Nevada we had a casino, so we just kind of drank alcohol. [We chatted about how hot Nevada was. Many kids passed out] But it’s been a good Warped Tour, we had some van and trailer problems, but Reel Big Fish had the worst; so, nothing to complain about.

Since this is your ninth, how have you seen that Warped Tour has changed over time?
D: I definitely think personally I saw change in the overall attitude of the people coming to Warped Tour. When Paris Hilton and Travis Barker got big, you know that time? Those years where Travis Barker and Paris Hilton were popular, the shape of the concert goers changed more to those kind of people; I guess it’s called the “Me” generation? But you could see it; there was more like the punk rock generation, there was that going on, and then when they [Hilton and Barker] got big, then the new generation started. There’s no good or bad, I mean, going from the 60s to the 70s musically or the 70s to the 80s musically it’s going to change. I think Sierra Lyman said it well, she said, “nothing changed, it’s just a different part of inside you is being opened by the different generations.”

Do you have a favorite song to play on tour?
D: My favorite song on the tour is Black Sheep from Gin Wigmore, but my favorite song for us to play is Healthy Body, Sick Mind, which is a cover from Operation Ivy so it’s not even one of ours. But if it has to be OUR song, I think our new song Stepping Out, that’s the most fun.

Do you notice the audience you play for kind of grows? Or is it different in different cities?
D: What was weird for Reel Big Fish and I this tour is, we asked people, like we have our own fans, but we asked the crowd and we talked in the signings, we go like, “hey, you’ve ever seen us before?” and everyone’s saying, “no, we’ve never seen you before” which is a huge deal, to have new people coming out. For the Ska bands on tour, it was very interesting, but they were like, “yeah, you guys rule!” I think less of our immediate fan base is showing up to the concert because there’s not enough of us for the ticket price, so we’re excited to get new people.

Lastly, what are your plans for after tour?
D: Okay, so the day after tomorrow, [this was second to last day of tour] I have never done this in my life, usually when we go on a tour like this, I drive in the van to the bus or I’ve got a ground crew. For the first time in my life, I fly home; I feel pretty special. And because it’s my girlfriend’s birthday, and so I’m going to fly home; that’s just personally. The band is going to get ready for our Halloween/Fall tour, and we have our DVD coming out, which is footage from 1996-2013, 17 years of footage.

State In The Real Interviews Crossfaith At Warped Tour

Last week at Warped Tour, I was able to sit down with Kenta and Hiroki of Japanese metal band Crossfaith. Formed in 2006 and from Osaka Japan, the band played Warped Tour UK in Alexandra Palace in London.  Their first Warped Tour around the United States, the guys were friendly and eager to return to as soon as they possibly can. Their Facebook about page describes them best, as a “rare and genuine Japanese rock band that can be rated high internationally and their quest of artistic imagination goes on and on.” Their third album Apocalyze comes out on the 4th of September and you can check out the video for We Are the Future, a song off the album, below.

So how’s Warped Tour been for you guys so far?
K: Oh, it’s been great!
H: It’s been amazing. To be here is like my dream; when I was here I’d always listen to the Warped Tour compilation, so I’m so happy now. I already miss the tour.

Do you have plans to come back again?
K: Right now we don’t have any plans to come back here, but we’d love to come back as soon as possible. So I think probably next year, because we already have a lot of offers for tour this year. After this we go straight back to Japan to play a festival.
H:  Summer Sonic (check)
K: And after that, we’ll be in the UK and then Austrialian tour with Bring Me The Horizon and Of Mice and Men. After that, we have Warped Tour Europe, and Warped Tour London.  I’m so excited about everything.

How have you guys been dealing with the heat?
K: It’s been hot!
H: It depends on the place, like before Texas it was not that hot.
K: Around East Coast it was much better, but in Las Vegas it was…
H: It was a nightmare
K: That weather was murder. On stage, my shoes were melting.

What has been your favorite moment so far on tour?
K: I’d like to say that every second is a great experience.
H: Last night our drummer, Tatsuya, he won a drum-off competition. The last round, it was Crossfaith versus Black Dahlia Murder.
K: Which is a true metal band.

Have you had a good reception with fans gathering?
H: Yeah, I think fans are younger here than in Japan. They are about 20, and here everyone’s like 18 or maybe even younger.
K: And Japanese music and Western music is completely different; Japanese music has a different rhythm and different lyrics, different beat and a different melody. So for me, first Western band was Aerosmith, when I was a junior high school student. I think you guys listened to Aerosmith at like 6years-7years old.
H: It’s very different.
K: That’s reason why there’s the different age.

Is there a difference in the way your fans react here and in Japan?
K: Oh yeah!
H: Yesss.
K: Japanese audiences are a little bit quiet, more quiet than here.
H: Especially between the songs
K: But, they don’t dislike the band, just respect for the band
H: They just want to listen
K: They try to listen. It’s very hard for Japanese people to understand because they don’t speak English

So the songs that you play, are they all in English?
K: In English, yeah. Except speech, I always speak in Japanese on there. I think I’m going to confuse our first show, once we get back home
H: Yeah, every time we get back from out of Japan, he always says that after the show
K: I try to speak in English this whole tour, once I get back home I get confused

Lastly, I know you said you’ve got a lot of offers coming up, so what are your plans after tour?
K: After this tour we head back and have Summer Sonic, and Reading and Leeds in the UK
H: Also tours with Bring Me the Horizon and Of Mice and Men and Skindred
K: Also, we’re going to do a headline tour in September

And how is it being on tour?
H: It’s fun! I miss my friends, sometimes I feel homesick, but this is what I want to do
K: Also, there is no time to think about the other things

State In The Real Interviews MC Lars At Warped Tour

If you haven’t heard of MC Lars, this is your lucky day. I sat down with him during Warped Tour and talked to him about his music, his thoughts on Warped, and his plans after tour. A rapper who is more than a rapper, he uses Tetris and Super Mario music as his beat, he has Edgar Allen Poe raps, and he has done ska music. I can only describe him using his own words, “this hodgepodge of the cultural nostalgia, pop culture stuff.” He has joyful smiles and energy all around, whether he is onstage or off.
After our interview, he  told me of how he went abroad his sophomore year at Oxford, studying Shakespeare. “And that’s just the greatest thing I’ve ever done. It allowed me to do this because I met a bunch of punk and indie bands, and I talked them into letting me open for them. If I hadn’t done that, I wouldn’t be at Warped Tour.

So for you, how’s tour going so far?
L: It’s been great. We’ve got a lot of new fans this summer, and I do my literary rap songs. It’s been awesome, it’s my third Warped Tour and I love this thing. But, I don’t think I’ve been this tired in my life ever. But it is joyful.

You said this is your third time on Warped. Do you notice each time that your crowd/fans kind of get bigger and more hyped up into it?
L: Yeah, something that helped us a lot this year was being on the Warped Compilation. We got a lot of younger fans, and then the younger brothers and sisters of people who came before. It grows, every year it grows, and that’s awesome. I think Warped is the kind of thing where, if you really want to work and promote yourself and be nice to everyone and be out at merch all day like I always am, then it works to your benefit; you can then tour and play clubs and headline and it’s great.
[I’m like the William Beckett of rap]

What has been your favorite moment so far on tour?
L: Right now. (not really though…) We had a day off in Northern California, and they rented these houseboats and went swimming, it was great. I also rapped with Aquabats when they were on, and I’m joyful. It’s been great when I realized the set worked cause I was doing more, I’ve been doing more, stuff with the MBK, like the drum machine, and my drummer; realizing that the set worked without a full band—the first times I did it with a full band—and on the dance/hip hop stage you don’t need a full band. So to realize that was all good.

What do you feel you bring to the Warped Tour stage?
L: Yeah, it’s no longer just like Rancid and NOFX and Pennywise, which are great bands. Kevin put me on because I’m the first and only rapper who does like Edgar Allen Poe raps, skanking, and like kids put up their Star Trek rap hands, and we have a mosh pit to Tetris music, you know? And I rap on a Super Mario beat. It’s like this hodgepodge of the cultural nostalgia, pop culture stuff that I grew up with, and I’m able to mix it up like a mixer and put it out, but still bring that punk rock energy and fun. I think Warped Tour is not so much a genre –specific festival, but an attitude specific festival; it’s like, good positive mental attitude, love, family, hard work, respect. There are no rock stars, everyone just hangs out, everyone just hustles, even everyone who comes just to do interviews, and all the people who work in production. It’s beautiful. I would do this tour every year until I die if they asked me to, cause it’s just great and there’s nothing like it, and it’s very eclectic.

What’s your favorite song to play?
L: This summer it’s surprised me, we have this ska song I did with the Aquabats a few years ago, and that’s just somehow become popular with everyone. I think ska is big this summer, you know? So that’s been fun, because I get everyone to skank on stage, and there’s always a skank pit. Today in the mosh pit, for my Tetris song, it got rough, I almost didn’t even make it back on stage. I was actually like scared.

So how have you been managing to deal with the heat?
L: It’s not easy. Me and my drummer, we’re at the merch booth all day, just hydrating. I lost a lot of weight this summer, you know? And that is crazy. It’s fun, it’s fun. Our tour bus doesn’t have AC, which sucks; I’m not going to sit here and complain about my tour bus, but it is not comfortable. You just gotta be hydrating, and I’m so thankful that we’re able to have free water all day and have interviews in this AC San Antonio Spurs building.

Lastly, what are your plans for after Tour?
L: So I have a TV show I’m working on, it’s called “Yes Yes Y’all”, if you go to, you can watch a preview of it; I’m working on that , It’s me and these four robot puppets, we travel through time, we solve crimes, and we meet people from history [think Doctor Who-esque]. I’m working on a book, a History of Hip-Hop book, and I’m doing a new record. And then I go to England with this band called Wheatus.