State In The Real – Penn State Music Scene

Category - Outsource Interview

State In The Real Interviews Caleb Shomo from Beartooth

At the Holmdel, NJ date of Warped Tour 2014, we got a chance to talk with the lead singer of Beartooth- Caleb Shomo. Caleb was formerly the lead singer of Attack Attack! At the age of 21, Caleb has been in bands touring the world since he was 15 years old. His latest release, Disgusting, is a dark and very personal account of his struggles with mental health and how he has coped. The entire album is hard-hitting and in your face, combining aspects of multiple different metal subgenres to become one of the most interesting releases in the metal scene so far this year. Caleb sat down to talk with us about the new release, and how he has coped since the album came out.

I’m here with Caleb from Beartooth. What’s up Caleb?
Caleb: Just chilling out. It’s been a hectic morning, but I’m sitting down in the shade now so I’m cool with it.

What’s been hectic about it?
I woke up late because I for some reason decided to stay up until 4 in the morning listening to music and talking to my friends. Woke up late. It was a stressful time pushing all of our gear to the stage because security guards here- at least at the front door- were not happy about people walking through so we had to walk all the way around. Got our gear to the stage, found out I had some press to do, so I ran over here. Then I have to run from here straight to the stage and then to a signing. It’s a whole thing. But it’s good, it’s good. I’m fine with it.

It’s good to be busy.
Yeah I’d rather that than have nothing to do at all.

So how’s the tour been so far?
It’s been amazing man. Really good shows. The people that come to Warped Tour are just so excited about music, and that’s very refreshing. It’s just cool to have people excited about coming to shows.

How are you beating the heat?
Shirtless. Lots of water. Trying to find shade. You get used to it after a little while. My strategy is just go out and suck it up and get really sunburnt for the first three days, and then you get a base burn and hopefully that tans over. It’s a terrible way of going about it, but it’s how I’ve made my peace with the sun.

You released your new album Disgusting just a little while ago. How has the reception been so far with that? Have you found that people already know all of the words or are jamming to all of the songs?
It seems like- at least the ones we play live- people seem to know a good bit of, which is very cool. I mean so far from what I’ve seen online and from my friends the response has been very good. So I’m definitely happy with it.

With the new album, a lot of it was very personal. There were songs on there, like the last one, “Sick and Digusting,” one take-
Yeah, very personal stuff.

Very personal. I know the album was a lot about mental illness, and struggling with anxiety. Was there then anxiety or fear about releasing something so personal like that?
Oh absolutely. Insane amounts of anxiety about that. I still question whether or not I should have put it out. But at the end of the day, I’m happy I did because it’s an honest song, and that’s kind of the whole point of Beartooth in general- me being as honest as I can with myself. So I guess I’m glad I put it out.

Was there [an emotional] release after you put that out? Did you feel better a little bit, or no?
*laughs* I’m still not sure. We’ll see as time goes. But as of now, I mean, it doesn’t really bother me. Most of the time it’s just that, you know, we don’t really touch on that song very much, and we’re playing more of the happier songs on this tour to keep the vibe light. So it’s okay- I’ve been doing alright.

What advice would you give to people who are struggling with anxiety, stress, mental disorders, or anything like that?
I guess in my own personal discovery, I think more important than anything is really making a choice daily to wake up and decide to have a good day, because there’s going to be all these things that come at you that kind of mess with your head and mess with your day. But you have control over your own mind, and as much as there’s chemical imbalances and mental disorders that kind of bog you down, it’s worth sitting down in the morning and meditating for a minute and clearing your head and deciding that it’s going to be a good day. Get a lot of sun and a lot of exercise as well. That really helps.

I didn’t mean to put a damper on your day or anything, but thank you very much for talking with me.
No absolutely not. I’m having a great day. No problem, and thank you.

Exclusive Interview – Betty Who

While on the road, Betty Who took a moment to provide State In The Real with some insight into her sound, career and live performance. Check it out!

Also, connect with Betty Who on YouTubeFacebookInstagram and Twitter. Her official site can be found here.

What inspires you to create? Do you write from personal experience?

My every day environment.  I learn from my relationships and my friends relationships and experiences.

Describe your dynamic with producer Peter Thomas.

He and I are best friends first, before we are creative partners. He understands me musically and emotionally far better than most people do, and we’ve been working together for so long now that our working relationship is usually really seamless and easy.

Heartbreak Dream” has a sense of pop euphoria that makes the complexities of a relationship seem bearable. Is there a story behind the track?

There is definitely a long story behind the track.  There was a man in my life that I couldn’t seem to let go of for a couple years, even though I knew we were so bad for each other.  Every time we would get together, he would make me sad and I would make him angry and it was this never ending cycle of passion and hurt.  I wrote this song right around the point in my life when he and I probably both decided that we needed to make a break.

What elements of the recorded music do you aim to include in a live show?

I want people to recognize the tracks and the recorded songs as they are but with live elements and real instruments so you still have the energy of a live show.

Have you discovered fans enjoying any particular aspect of the live performance?

High Society is definitely a fan favorite.

You make music in a genre often forcing artists to change. How have you managed to be the exception to this trend?

I make music honestly and about what I feel and love.  I think what was helpful is that I spent a few years developing the project on my own before I brought on a bigger team.

Where do you see the current state of pop music heading? Have you thought much about this when recording the full-length album?

I think pop music is alive and well and the internet is only making things more exciting.  Good pop music will continue to stand out as good music and I truly believe in it.

What can you share about the upcoming record?

It’s coming along nicely… I’ll let you know more when I know more!

Okay. Rapid Fire. First thing that comes to mind.

Chardonnay – through the day

Love – hard but worth it

Selfie – always

Sweaters – cuddles!

Thanks! You rock.

State In The Real Interviews Kevin Devine at Arts Crawl

We got a chance to sit down and talk with Kevin Devine last month when he (and the Goddamn Band) was here for SOMA’s Arts Crawl 2014. Kevin and the entire band were extremely friendly and polite, and we were very lucky to get a chance to talk to them. But before Kevin Devine and the Goddamn Band put on a great show in a packed, 3rd floor room in the Visual Arts Building, we did an interview with Kevin. Watch parts 1 and 2 below.

Check out the music video for their song “Bubblegum” of their album Bubblegum!

State In The Real Interviews Crobot at Levels

(Above, from left to right: Bishop, Paul Figueroa, Eric Poluhovich, Jake Figueroa, Brandon Yeagley)

Space-rockers Crobot recently embarked on tour with Clutch and The Sword. Before their show at Levels on Wednesday, January 15th, State In The Real got the chance to talk with the guys from Crobot, about everything from space rock and a new album to facial hair and hot sauce.

Eric: What’s up guys, this is Eric from State In The Real and I’m here with Crobot. Can you please introduce yourselves?
Jake Figueroa: Hi I’m Jake. I play bass.
Brandon Yeagley: I’m Brandon and I sing and play the harmonica.
Paul Figueroa: I’m Paul and I play the drums.
Bishop: And I’m Bishop and I play guitar.

Eric: Can you give us a brief history of how the band started and how it came to this line up?
Bishop: A brief history? *laughs* Well Jake and Paul had played together in different bands. Jake and Paul were in a band called Thick Leather Brick, which was really awesome. They were very similar to Crobot and we played a lot of shows together and we always wanted to be in a band with them, and we finally got the opportunity and it worked out really well.
Paul: That was actually a really good summation- spot on.
Bishop: Yeah that was really quick right?
*band laughs*
Brandon: It was a really good nutshell.

Eric: So you guys have a “space rock” kind of sound. Is that a self-described thing?
Paul: Probably yes and no.
Bishop: It sort of came into that with the effects I was using and the spacey-ness and the throwback old-school vocals. That s***’s cool to us, y’know? We love the space stuff.
Brandon: We’re geeks at heart, for sure.

Eric: And it just came to that naturally?
Bishop: Yeah it was never a forced thing. We basically just wanted to be like Black Sabbath, and Clutch. And here we are.

Eric: And it says that you’re influenced by sci-fi novels and movies. Is there some specifics that you’ve used while writing? Were there specific movies or books you read, and then you like “Okay I’m going to do this then write a song” ?
Brandon: Actually, there was one specifically. The song “Wizards.” I’m trying to remember the quote verbatim, but it was a 1976 cartoon based on two wizards fighting each other, and one was a wizard of technology and the other was a wizard of old magic. It was just based on the sentence description from Wikipedia that the song was written.
Bishop: Post-apocalyptic, science-fiction fantasy something.
Brandon: It was a pretty crazy quote but that’s just one instance where something of the sort was taken and ideas were made from for sure.

Eric: And you have plans to possibly make a graphic novel based on your album The Legend of the Spaceborne Killer? Is that something you still want to do?
Bishop: Eventually yeah. Right now, I do all the art for the band and we’re all working on concepts and ideas for album art and stuff. That’s where we’re at. We started with sketches and stuff like that but I think that’s something that will just come to be from pieces and sketches that I’ve done that we’re never used. I’m sure Brandon would just come and write to it. I think it could be something really cool eventually.
Paul: We’ve got a lot of ideas that surround stuff like that. We want to make video games and movies and stuff. We want to do it all.
Bishop: Action figures!
Paul: Very ambitious.

Eric: I was going to say that. Ambitious ideas. Very ambitious.
Paul: We’ve got hot sauce, and air fresheners.
Bishop: We’ll see what happens though.

Eric: I was going to ask what’s next. Like music videos or another album? Or just going to go straight to video games and action figures and hot sauce?
Paul: Yeah we’re going to stop making music actually after this tour.
Bishop: We just recorded actually. We just recorded with a guy called The Machine. He’s a producer who’s worked with Lamb of God, Clutch, Every Time I Die, a lot of really big bands. Some of our favorites. That should be coming out in 2014. We’re not really sure when.
Paul: March or April.
Bishop: Yeah March or April. We’re also going to be shooting a video in hopefully March or April for that. The single is yet to be determined.

Eric: I’ve heard mixed things about Machine. What do you guys have to say about him?
Band *collectively): Really? Oooh. Can we infer as to what things you’ve heard?

Eric: I’ve heard that he’s kind of blunt and unconventional.
Bishop: He doesn’t have a sensor. For sure.
Paul: Yeah if he doesn’t like something, he lets you know. He’s very passionate about letting you know that he doesn’t like something. But in the same breadth if he does like something he’s just as passionate and enthusiastic.
Brandon: Which makes it totally worth it. To see someone get so excited about something you’ve done is really f***ing cool.
Paul: The dude will like jump on couches…
Brandon: Screaming. Literally screaming.
Paul: ….and be like in the room, always with the headphones on, always in the room with you. He’s like the 5th member for the whole two months we were there. He’s really got some great ideas.

Eric: Very cool. Is this your first national tour? Have you done smaller tours?
Bishop: We’ve done a few smaller ones and a few people attended some of the shows.
*band laughs*
Brandon: This is the first big like, sell out.
Bishop: Because Clutch and The Sword are like two of our favorite bands, as well as like everybody else in the world. So it’s awesome to be the first band on because people are there early. If they’re not there to see us, they’re damn sure not going to miss The Sword, so we get to reap the benefits of that, y’know?
*car drives by blasting Nickelback*
Brandon: As Nickelback plays in somebody’s radio.
*Everyone laughs*
Paul: That was like a Camaro too…

Eric: I was going to ask specifically about tour with [Clutch and The Sword]. What is that like? Are you guys trying to learn as much as you can?
Bishop: Absolutely. My biggest way to describe it is, when we’re home for a day off, you know that feeling you get when you’re star struck from someone? That just doesn’t go away. You think you’re just going to be buddies and stuff, but these guys come up to you and you’ve looked at them your whole life and sometimes words don’t come out. You know you feel like an idiot.
*band laughs*
Bishop: But it’s cool because they’re cool and they’re really nice people and they all respect us and everyone here just loves music.

Eric: Very cool. So do you guys have any tips on facial hair care? Anything specific?
Bishop: Don’t shave.
Jake: Don’t shave. My beard doesn’t really look good.
Paul: This is a year of not growing. That’s it.
Bishop: It’s just lack of responsibility and care for oneself. That’s really all it is. It’s cool though.

Eric: Useful advice. Is there anything else you guys want to say?
Bishop: Herwig’s [Austrian Bistro] down the street is a great place. They have cinnamon bacon cinnamon rolls. Those are awesome. And they’re really nice there.
Paul: The wiener schnitzel was amazing.
Brandon: I’m going to leave it at that.
*band laughs*

Eric: Thank you very much guys.
Band (collectively): Cool, thanks dude.

State In The Real Interviews Jean from St. Lucia

We did an interview with Jean-Philip Grobler, lead singer of the synthpop outfit St. Lucia. He was very friendly, and was happy to talk to us. If you missed our radio show yesterday, State In The Real Music Mondays, don’t worry! You can read/listen to the interview below!

Eric: This is Eric from State In The Real and we’re here with Jean from St. Lucia. What’s up?
Jean: Hey man.

Eric: How are you doing?
Jean: *laughs* I’m good, how are you?

Eric: Good. *laughs* So I’m just going to ask you a few questions. You had a bit of an unconventional start to music. Do you want to talk about that, how you came to singing, and how you came to where you are?
Jean: Sure. Well I was born in and grew up in South Africa. I was born in Johannesburg, but when I was about 10 years old, I went to this boy’s choir school called the Drakenberg Boys Choir School and it was a very intense musical education, as well as just being in normal school. It was in this very rural area of South Africa in the mountains and we’d do 2 hours of choir practice every day. It was very classical, but not only classical. We would also do African music, and there was a local rural African school and we would go there sometimes to learn songs from them and we would tour the world with this choir and we beat the Vienna Boys Choir in a choir competition once. So it was a legit thing, so I guess that’s the unconventional part. When I was 19, I moved to England and I went to music school in Liverpool in England. After that I moved to the States and here I am. I’ve been here for a few years.

Eric: So what’s it like being signed to a label that’s had artists associated with it like Passion Pit, Gotye, and Ellie Goulding? How does that feel for you?
Jean: I mean it’s great. Lizzie and Derek from Neon Gold are two of the loveliest people. Obviously when they approached us we were excited because of the artists they’ve worked with, and obviously they’ve helped a lot of artists. I mean in someway I guess we’re similar to Passion Pit and Ellie Goulding because it’s synthpop. I’d like to think we’re a bit different but some people put us under the same heading. But it was mainly because they’re really really nice people and they’re super passionate about music. They’re not doing, at least I think they’re not doing it, to get rich. I don’t know if anyone is getting rich from the music industry these days apart from Psy. But I think they’re in it for all the right reasons and I think we are too, so that’s the main reason we wanted to get involved with them. But it’s obviously exciting that they’re involved with all of these bands as well.

Eric: I believe you did a tour opening for Passion Pit and you have a tour coming up opening for Two Door Cinema Club. You guys are a newer band, so what’s it like for you, going on tour with these bands that are more established, have been around, and are making a name for themselves?
Jean: Well we never actually toured with Passion Pit but we did play a show with them. But yeah touring with bands that are more experienced is always really educational, because I think the more time you spend on the road and the more time you spend doing this, you learn things. You learn, “this is obviously not working, we have to change it.” Sometimes when you tour with bands that have more experience it’s like you get a head start. Instead of learnign from your mistakes you can learn from seeing the way that other people do it, who’ve been doing it for a while, and you can just learn from what they’re doing and how they’re sort of living life on the road, because it’s not always easy.

Eric: What’s the hardest part about being on the road?
Jean: You know, just being uprooted from your every day life or normal life, if you can call it that. Being forced to eat really s****y food a lot. Just your whole routine is thrown up in the air, you can’t exercise. It’s just being thrown into this really tumultuous washing machine for a month at a time. That’s the hardest part. But it’s also loads of fun and amazing at the same time.

Eric: This past summer you played at Firely. What was it like being able to play at Firefly, since like I said before, you guys are a newer band breaking into the scene, and you’re already playing such a huge event. What’s the like for you?
Jean: Firefly was amazing. The weather was perfect. We played a bunch of other festivals this year where the weather was terrible. We played Governor’s Ball and we played Boston Calling. Both of those festivals it was torrential downpours. Everybody at the festival was soaking wet and it was cold. And then we got to Firefly, and the weather was amazing. The crowd was amazing, it was an incredible experience. It was great.

Eric: You released a new music video today. Do you want to talk a little bit about that?
Jean: Sure. So we released a music video for our new single “Elevate”. Basically the story behind the music video was that, basically, we have a studio in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, which is where we live. We don’t live in the studio, we live about 3 minutes from the studio. But we found out about a few weeks ago that we’re being evicted from the building because they’re turning them into condo. Y’know, luxury apartments. And, we’ve been delaying it and it and delaying it, pushing it back, writing to the landlord. But now we have to be out in November, so we decided because this is kind of the end of an era, and there’s so many people in this building who make amazing music, as well, that we would just make a music video that’s a celebration of that area and basically have a rooftop party on the top of the studio building. So that’s what we did. My best friend directed it and it was a very family vibed video that was just done with a lot of love.

Eric: Awesome. Just a couple more questions if that’s okay.
Jean: Yeah dude! Of course.

Eric: You have a unique sound and it sounds like you draw influence from a lot of places. Do you want to talk a little about what some of your influences are?
Jean: Sure. I mean I’m influenced by a lot of different things at a lot of different times. Obviously the music of St. Lucia is very influenced by the 80’s. I grew up in the 80’s. I think that the music that enters your consciousness when you’re really small is the music that effects you the deepest, or that you come back to at some point. But I think one of the things that I’m most influenced by or inspired by is artists that try and break out of the boundaries of their perceived genre or what people expect of them. I think a current example of this is Kanye West. He’s really driving hip-hop forward. Some people hate him, but I think that’s often the sign of a brilliant artist, is when some people love them, some people hate them, but no one can really ignore that person. In the 80’s, Kate Bush was doing that, Peter Gabriel was doing that. That’s something that really inspires me because I inspire to that myself. I don’t always want to be thought of as an electro-pop artist. I’m going to try and extend those boundaries and hopefully push the genre forward in some way.

Renae: What do you think of Miley Cyrus?
Jean: I mean, I think she’s winning obviously. *Renae laughs* No she really is. Everyone has so much bad to say about her, but isn’t she #1 at the moment? (Renae responds, “#1 human!”) Just in every way. It’s just a product of our time. Who’s to say that she can’t do what she’s doing? I think the thing that was surprising for everyone was the fact that she was this big Christian girl who was Hannah Montana and then she swung around, like “I’m a woman now I’m gonna get naked!” So that’s the surprising thing, but I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with what she’s doing. It’s funny.

Eric: So you’re doing this tour with EXPRESS. Did they approach originally or were you talking with them? How did that come together?
Jean:I think they approached us actually. We just heard from my manager. It’s not actually a tour. It’s just a one-off show. I think they have a great online shopping experience and some great clothes so we were like, “Sure, we’ll do it,” and it’s always good to come to colleges because it’s a different experience to play for kids in college than to play for a normal audience. I think kids in college are more receptive to new music than people who are slightly older and are out of college.

Eric: So what’s next for the band?
Jean: Well we have this big tour coming up, like you said, with Two Door Cinema Club. Our debut album is coming out on the 8th of October, which is in a few weeks. And yeah, hopefully just going to be touring and releasing more singles and making more videos and I’ll be doing some more remixes and hopefully working with more other bands. I don’t know, just keeping making more music.

Eric: Is there anything else you’d like to say?
Jean: I think that was a very well researched and questioned interview, so I’ll just leave it at that.

Eric and Renae: Thank you so much.
Jean: Thanks a lot guys.

Check the band out on Facebook here and on Twitter here. Listen to their new single “Elevate” here!!

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

image from

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.