State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Author - Sam

Movin' On Showcase: Automatic Habit

Automatic Habit, the 5-piece Pop-Rock band from Philadelphia, and one of two winners of this year’s Movin’ On Battle Of The Band’s, are beyond excited to be playing this year’s Movin’ On 2013 Music Festival, the largest student-run festival in the country. By winning this year’s Battle Of The Bands, they earned an opening spot at this year’s festival featuring MGMT, Brand New, Gloriana, Big Boi, and Kids These Days. The band is comprised of Bill Alexander (Bass, and current Penn State Abington Senior), Johnny Costa (Vocals), Jake Sciscio (Guitar),  Bruce Wiegner (Lead Guitar/Vocals), Joey Wooliver (Drums).

Automatic Habit as a whole have been playing music together since 2012, and quickly became a staple in the Philadelphia music scene. The guys are so fun and outgoing, and it’s easy to see that they love what they’re doing when they perform. Their personalities easily shine each and every time they step out on stage. The band strives to create their own sound, while picking up many Pop-Rock and Punk sounds. Their influences include Fall Out Boy, Hit The Lights, Paramore, and many more.

State In The Real (SITR) got the chance to talk with vocalist Johnny and lead guitarist Bruce before they make the road trip up to State this Friday.

Continue reading to find out what it was like for Automatic Habit (AH) to win Battle, what they’re most looking forward to at the festival, their plans as a band, and much more!

SITR: Could you please introduce yourself and tell the readers a little bit about yourself?

AH: Hello readers, we are Automatic Habit, a Pop-Rock band from Philadelphia!

SITR: What made you decide to enroll in this year’s Battle of the Bands?

AH: When we saw that we could have the opportunity to play with such incredible acts, because Bill goes to Penn State Abington, it was kind of unanimous. We figured we might as well give it a shot!

SITR: How was the Battle of the Bands experience?

AH: We had a ton of fun at the Battle despite all the technical problems we had during our set. If you were there, you got to see our guitarist Jake do a sweet air guitar solo. Everyone was super congenial and supportive.

SITR: What was it like when you first found out you were playing at Movin’ On?

AH: We were all shocked. Just kind of like “Did we really just get the opportunity to open for Brand New & MGMT!?” Lots of high fives and hugs.

SITR: What are you most excited for at Movin’ On, the largest student-run festival in the country?

AH: I think, collectively, we’re most excited just to share the stage with such amazing acts…and to see what Big Boi’s fur coat situation is like these days.

SITR: Who are you most stoked to see at Movin’ On?

AH: Definitely Brand New. They had a huge influence on most of us growing up. They are a band we would go and see if we ever had the opportunity so the fact that we get to open for them is simply incredible.

SITR: If you could record a song with any of the Movin On’ acts, who would it be and why?

AH: Again, I think the obvious choice for us would be Brand New. They were such a huge influence on all of us growing up and it would be incredible to work with guys who made such an impact on our lives.

SITR: Speaking of recording, ya’ll just got done recording with John Naclerio and Ace Enders, what was that experience like?

AH: It was pretty amazing. John has worked on some great records so we knew going in it was going to be a great experience. He pushed us to make everything as tight as possible and really challenged us as musicians. I know all of us walked out of his studio with a lot more knowledge about our instruments. Working with Ace was such a great decision. He sat us down and had Johnny go through the vocals right in front of him to really feel out the songs. His input and outlook of songwriting and mindset during the process really opened our eyes and we definitely want to work with him again in the future.

SITR: What are your plans for the summer, musically and otherwise?

AH: We really just want this band to be our lives. As far as summer plans go, we’re still working some of that stuff out. But we’re in a great spot right now and we’re so stoked for these upcoming months!

SITR: How long have you been into music and playing instruments?

AH: We all have been playing music for the majority of our lives whether it was for elementary orchestra, etc. We all started to play in bands during high school and continued through to college.

SITR: How supportive are your friends and family of Automatic Habit?

AH: We have THE most supportive family and friends anyone could ever ask for. Without them, we would probably cease to exist. So we seriously owe so much to our support system. Special shout out to Mama and Pops Wiegner for letting us be loud in your basement and eat all your food. We love you.

SITR: What is your favorite memory of Automatic Habit thus far?

AH: Playing a sold out show in Knoxville, Tennessee. Our buds in On My Honor really hooked us up with an amazing show.

SITR: Katy Perry or Rihanna?

AH: John Cena, next question…

SITR: Favorite food?

AH: Collectively, I think we could all agree on the sanctuary that is Wawa.

SITR: Who of the band is most likely to stage dive?

AH: Probably Bruce. He’s the most aerodynamic.

SITR: Finally, when you think of Penn State, what comes to mind?

AH: Community. After all the events that happened and how the school still stuck together and continued on with the same school spirit was really inspiring. You didn’t let one bad apple ruin everything and showed that by raising over 12 million dollars for the fight against pediatric cancer. If that isn’t an amazing community, then we don’t know what it is.

SITR: Any last words for our readers?
AH: Thanks so much for your time!
You can check us out at:

Thanks again Automatic Habit! Movin’ On 2013, State In The Real, and Penn State are so excited to have Automatic Habit perform in this year’s Movin’ On 2013 music festival and we hope you are too! Check out two of their latest singles, “This Is Misery” and “Play It Again” below and come out Friday, April 26th at 3:35 pm at IM Field West to catch their set and hang with the guys!

Movin' On 2013 Playlist ft. MGMT, Brand New, Big Boi, Gloriana and Kids These Days

We are just 16 short days away from Penn State’s infamous outdoor music festival, Movin’ On! So to better prepare you for the big day, Movin’ On has graciously provided us with a Spotify playlist of all five main acts for this year’s festival including MGMT, Brand New, Big Boi, Gloriana, and Kids These Days. So kick back, enjoy the beautiful weather and learn all the lyrics! We’ll see you at the IM fields April 26th!

Don’t forget we have two student band openers as well! Check out below Movin’ On 2013 Battle winners pop rock band Automatic Habit and ska band The Wondershop Showdown! Make sure to head out to the field early to catch their sets as they open the show!

Automatic Habit

The Wondershop Showdown

Summer Festival Preview: Skate and Surf 2013

Summer is approaching us quickly, Penn State! It’s hard to believe only about a month left remains in our spring semester here at Dear Old State. Although the bitter cold we’re still struggling to deal with may not seem like incoming summer weather, I promise it’ll be here…eventually. Regardless, summer comes with a lot of things: the beach, the sun, the friends and most importantly the music. Whether it’s the song your blasting with the windows down, or the concert you attend on a warm summer night; music can define your summer. Easily, the best part about summer is the outdoor festivals, and this summer is even more so special because 2013 has been graced with the return of New Jersey’s beloved Skate and Surf.

The Skate and Surf festival is returning after an eight-year hiatus to Jackson, New Jersey to kick things off for the “summer festival season”. The festival was originally going to be held in Freehold, New Jersey, but due to capacity it was better suited to move this year’s festival to Six Flags/Great Adventure Theme Park! Personally, I’m pretty involved in the Philadelphia/Jersey music scene, and while I never had the chance to attend Skate and Surf before it went on hiatus, almost all my friends are so stoked to see this festival back. The festival is set for the weekend of May 18th and 19th and is showcasing a wide range of band and artists from all across the board with an emphasis on punk genres.

This year’s line-up includes:

Saturday, May 18th: Fall Out Boy, Timeflies, Lights, Streetlight Manifesto, Of Mice And Men, Andrew W.K., Air Dubai, Balance and Composure, Candy Hearts, Coasta, Complete Confusion, Crown The Empire, Death Spells, Driicky Graham, Escape The Fate, For The Fallen Dreams, Hi-Rez, Hundredth, I Call Fives, Into it. Over It., Jake Miller, Major League, Mixtapes, Paradise Fears, Prime, Seahaven, Sworn In, T. Mills, Tallhart, Transit, Tyler Carter, Wolves At The Gate, World’s Fair.

Sunday, May 19: A Day To Remember, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis,  Glassjaw, RX Bandits, Bayside, Saves The Day, American Authors, Breathe Carolina, Capture The Crown, Cartel, Chris Webby, Complete Confusion, Dangerkids, Daylight, For All Those Sleeping, Gideon, Hollywood Ending, Hopsin, Hostage Calm, I Am King, Ice Nine Kills, Issues, Leathermouth, Miss May I, Mod Sun, My Ticket Home, Palisades, Pittsburgh Slim, The Pro Letarians, Skip The Foreplay,  State Champs, T. Mills, This Good Robot.

Other bands and artists are still getting added on as the festival draws closer.

According to the Skate and Surf official website, “The festival line-up showcases some of today’s top national recording artists as well special reunion performances. During its reign, the Skate and Surf Festival presented the best musical talent spanning multiple genres while keeping to its core mission of artist development featuring up-and-coming acts who then became break-out artists.”

While I’m still a little heartbroken that there isn’t a Bamboozle this year, without this festival, Bamboozle wouldn’t have even existed.  Skate And Surf Festival will also host the “The Break Contest,” a staple of The Bamboozle. The official unsigned band competition is currently being held in several tri-state venues. For more information on The Break Contest, please visit:

It’s pretty awesome to see this festival back and I expect big things in it’s returning year. For a complete list of performers, weekend schedule and information about tickets, please and State In The Real will see you in Jersey!

Movin' On Battle Showcase: Automatic Habit

Automatic Habit, a four-piece pop rock/pop punk band hailing from Philadelphia, is set to grace Penn State with their presence this Saturday, March 23rd at this year’s Movin’ On Battle Of The Bands.  Automatic Habit consists of Bill Alexander (Bass),Johnny Costa (Vocals), Bruce Wiegner (Guitar/Vocals), and Joey Wooliver (Drums). Bill currently attends Penn State Abington allowing Automatic Habit eligibility to compete in this year’s Battle for an opening spot at this year’s Movin’ On festival featuring MGMT, Brand New, Gloriana, Big Boi, and Kids These Days.

The guys have all been friends for a while, performing in separate bands from the Philadelphia area with the exception of Joey, who moved from Tennessee to Philly to play in the band.  Naturally from being friends for so long, their chemistry on stage comes so easy to them. Their personality truly shines when they perform and it says a lot about them as artists as well as their music. Automatic Habit has been performing together since 2012 and have been taking the Philadelphia local music scene by storm. Since the start of the band, they have worked tirelessly to take this band to another level. They have released two singles on their Bandcamp (, and a Christmas song which was released on Alternative Press Magazine. Over Spring Break, the band traveled to New York to begin recording their debut EP with John Naclerio at Nada Recording Studios, the same producer that recorded My Chemical Romance, Brand New, and Senses Fail. In April, the band plans on recording vocals with Ace Enders (of The Early November).  Their influences include Fall Out Boy, Hit The Lights, Paramore, and many more.

On a more personal note, Automatic Habit are my best friends from home and I could not be more proud of them and all their success thus far.  I’ve written about Automatic Habit many times before on State In The Real and I’m so beyond stoked to finally bring the band to Penn State.

Movin’ On 2013, State In The Real, and Penn State are so excited to have Automatic Habit compete in this year’s Movin’ On Battle Of The Bands and we hope you are too! Check out below two of the band’s singles titled “Play It Again” and “This Is Misery” and let us know what you think! Come out Saturday, March 23rd at 9pm in Alumni Hall to hang out with me and the guys of Automatic Habit and catch their set!

Here’s the facebook event for  Movin’ On Battle Of The Bands for more information on the show:

Movin' On Battle Of The Bands Line Up Released

The lineup for Movin’ On’s Battle of the Bands 2013 has been confirmed! Below you will find a list of artists and bands who have been selected to perform Saturday, March 23rd in Alumni Hall. For those of you who don’t know, each year Movin’ On holds a Battle Of The Bands to select two local openers for their festival in the spring. This year, the winners will get the chance to open up for MGMT, Brand New, Gloriana, Big Boi, and Kids These Days. To be eligible, at least one band member must attend Penn State at any campus or grad school and then the Movin’ On CORE committee read through each application and picked the best twelve to battle it out. Check out the Facebook event here and make sure to click attending and support all twelve of these awesome bands:

The 2013 Movin’ On Battle Line Up Includes:

Chester Berks
Dr. Alan Grant
Pantomime Dame
The Wondershop Showdown
Jesse Baker Band
Automatic Habit
Flashback Forward
Keegan Tawa
Hybrid Sessions
Wide Eyes
Dark Tower

Congratulations to all the bands selected to perform at this year’s Movin’ On Battle Of The Bands! This is a huge honor, and we’re so excited to have you! For any State In The Real readers who may not have heard of these bands, below you can read about each one as well as get a taste of their music (if they have accessible links). Click the band names to go to the Facebook page!

Chester Berks (Rapper)
A soulful hip-hop artist from Reading, PA. He mixes hip-hop, soul, and good vibes. He is influenced by Mos Def, Blu, Kanye West, The Roots, Miles Davis, John Coltrane. Chester Berks has been writing and recording music for over a decade.

Dr. Alan Grant (Folk/Alternative)
A folk, alternative, electronica band. Influenced by Dr. Dog, The Avett Brothers, The Shins, and the Naked and Famous. They have a very unique, diverse sound and have played the bar scene in West Chester and Jersey Shore towns.

Pantomime Dame (Glam Rock/Punk)
A loud garage rock, glam rock, indie band influenced by David Bowie, Of Montreal, and The Strokes. Often described as “punk rock David Bowie”, they are described as unique but accessible. Following the semester, they will be going on a tour of the Northeast.

The Wondershop Showdown (Ska Band)
A 10-piece ska band of Penn State students that infuses elements of rock, funk, and alternative into their ever-evolving sound. They have performed at THON and many other shows, and have been featured on local radio shows. The band plans on releasing their first full length album, A Night at the Movies soon.

Jesse Baker Band (Alternative)
An alternative rock band influenced by Foo Fighters, Black Keys, and Switchfoot. They have performed throughout the region where they have earned a reputation as an authentic live rock band.

Automatic Habit (Pop Rock/Pop Punk/Alternative)
A five-piece pop-rock band based out of Philadelphia, where they have been taking the music scene by storm. The guys love to bring a lot of fun and band chemistry to the stage. Their influences include Fall Out Boy, Hit the Lights, Paramore, and many more.

Flashback Forward (Alternative)
A four piece rock band influenced by U2, Colpplay, John Mayer, and “everything that is the opposite of the sounds Nicki Minaj makes.” Often you can find them playing at local bars and venues.

Keegan Tawa (EDM)
Keegan is a live performance Electronic Musician. He produced original pieces with live performance elements such as saxophone, electronic saxophone, piano and vocals. He previously was a solo act but is intending on incorporating Myles Billard, a local rapper, and Annaliese Gaus, a local vocalist.

Hybrid Sessions (Alternative/Fussion)
A nice alternative rock band from Wilkes -Barre with a kickin’ horn section. They are influenced by The Dave Matthews Band, Incubus, Reel Big Fish, and The Mighty Mighty Bosstones.

Wide Eyes (Indie)
An indie/alternative duo influenced by Young the Giant, Imagine Dragons, the Killers, and Coldplay. Most recently, Wide Eye’s performed at Songwritiers’ Club Benefit Concert. They like to provide a new, unique sound to every audience they perform for.

LoveStain (Alternative)
An alternative rock band consisting of three seniors and one junior. They perform every Saturday night at the Brewery, and at other bars in town as well. They just recently finished up their first EP.

Dark Tower (Metal)
A five piece metal band from State College, including an award winning jazz drummer from State High. The band is influenced by Metallica, Slayer, Iron Maiden, and Megadeth. They are most known for turning non-metalheads into fans.

Step Aside One Direction, Say Hello to Johnny Costa

One of my best friends, Johnny Costa of Automatic Habit, likes to post covers of songs. Johnny is a 19-year-old singer/song-writer/guitarist/bassist/ukeleist/drummer/pianist/extraordinaire hailing from Allentown, New Jersey. However, I’m convinced he lives in the actual park of Six Flags (long story). He’s one of the most talented artists I know that’s my age, and he never ceases to amaze me.

Johnny posts many covers to his SoundCloud account, ranging from Macklemore’s “Thrift Shop,” to Pierce The Veil’s “Bulletproof Love,” to TLC’s “No Scrubs,” and just about anything in between. His Macklemore cover in particular has reached over 8,000 views on YouTube! This past week, Johnny covered One Direction’s “Kiss You” just in time for Valentine’s Day (AWWWW!) and posted a video to go along with it. I felt the Penn State community needed to see this video, and hopefully you all love it just as much as I do!

Want to check out Johnny’s other covers? Check out his YouTube channel HERE or his SoundCloud page HERE!

If you like him, then  you’ll probably really like his band Automatic Habit! They have show this Friday, at the Barbary in Philly, with Divided By Friday, With The Punches, and Far From Proper. Come hangout with me and all the guys if you’re in the area! Check out all the details HERE!