Already Heard Recommends: State Lines

Hailing from Long Island, New York State Lines have been compared to the likes of Tigers Jaw, Saves The Day, Brand New, and Alkaline Trio. However their new self-titled EP sees the band defining their own sound with a mix of punk energy combining with pop hooks. Whilst lyrically the band carry a youthful spirit and optimism.

The end result is a refreshing collection of lo-fi pop-punk songs that have a instant impact and leaves you wanting more.

With such an enjoyable EP, Already Heard recently spoke to guitarist Tom Werring to discuss their formation, the new EP, joining Tiny Engines, working with Sainthood Reps’ Bradley Cordaro and more.

Already Heard: First of all can you introduce yourself and your role in State Lines?
State Lines: I’m Tom and I play guitar and sometimes sing in State Lines.

AH: For new listeners how would you describe your sound?
SL: Well, we all listen to a lot of punk music, so I guess I’d say we’re a punk band. It’s all relative to the listener, so it’s up to them to decide what we sound like.

AH: I understand the band started in late 2010. How did you all come together?
SL: I met JD (Jonathan Dimitri – vocalist) when I was a sophomore in high school after seeing his old band We Laugh At Danger play, and ever since then I would jam with him on some of his later projects. Johnny (Wims – bass) and JD were friends from home, and I knew Johnny when he played bass in his old band Badfellow. JD wanted to start a new band so after he self-released a demo under the name State Lines, we all just came together and played a couple shows. After a while, we needed to find a new drummer, so we asked Teddy (Sahr ) from his old band No Good News if he could fill in for a while, and eventually he became our full time drummer. I really don’t think we’d have met each other if it wasn’t for us all being in different bands playing around Long Island.

AH: You’re releasing a self-titled EP later this month on Tiny Engines. What should new fans know about the EP?
SL: Well, we self-released a full length last summer called ‘Hoffman Manor’ based on a cohesive set of songs that we all initially jammed on for a while. Once we knew we wanted to put out more music, we decided a four-song EP would be best. I really think the EP just showcases that we’re growing as a band, still trying to push things. The EP is definitely faster and louder than ‘Hoffman Manor,’ and the new songs are a blast to play live. We’re all really happy with it and think we’re still progressing as a band.

AH: How did you join up with Tiny Engines? Was there any specific reasons to join that label?
SL: Well our friend Ricky has been helping us out with managing everything for a while, and he told us that Tiny Engines was interested in working with us. I knew Tiny Engines was putting out some of my favorite records at the time, and I was psyched that people were actually paying attention to our band. We were operating on an upstart DIY label on Long Island called Meadowbrook Records, so the whole transition to Tiny Engines was really easy coming from our mutual DIY backgrounds. The great thing about Tiny Engines is that they just really care about bands and getting smaller bands some sort of attention while they all stick to their roots. Plus, we’re all really excited to have our music on record. Tiny Engines rules.

AH: The EP was recorded with Sainthood Reps’ Bradley Cordaro. What input did he have on the EP?
SL: Brad was a really great dude to work with. He was super welcoming and open to ideas and really worked hard to make every little thing sound right. He helped us work out some of our parts and took a really active role in producing. It was hard for me personally during the recording process because I was still at school at the time, so I had to keep coming back and forth to record, but Brad would really help us out and was really patient with everything. Really cool dude to work with and a good experience.

AH: You’ve been compared to bands such as Tigers Jaw, Saves The Day, Brand New, and Alkaline Trio. What are your thoughts on this?
SL: I always think its really cool when I see the bands people compare us to, because we never ever sought to sound like any particular band, but every band we’re compared to is my favorite band. Like those four bands are all my personal favorite bands, and everyone else in State Lines looks up to them. But we never thought we sounded like Tigers Jaw for instance, but people hear that for some reason, and I’ll never say that’s a bad thing. It’s just cool how people can hear our influences without us making an effort to emulate them.

AH: Do those comparisons put any pressure or expectations on you?
SL: Absolutely not. Like I said, we never try to sound like anything, it just kind of comes out. And I’m sure over the course of being in this band that our influences will change and people will probably pick up on it. For right now, I don’t think anyone should have any expectation on us. If you find a connection with our music, then that rules, but I don’t think we want to limit ourselves to a particular sound. Things might change, as long as we can make another record and play another show.

AH: Besides those bands, who else has influenced State Lines?
SL: Well we’re all really really different in our tastes. Our influences go from Saves The Day to Against Me! to Op Ivy to The White Stripes. We’re all over the place. Me and JD always appreciate when a band can write a record, so there’s a lot of bands that we all love that make great records.

AH: You’re from Long Island in New York. How has the area’s music scene and history influenced State Lines?
SL: I know for me personally, and I’m sure for the rest of the guys, the Long Island scene is hugely important. I think about Long Island’s history and my own personal history growing up here and I’m so proud to come from a place with such a rich background of great music. And that’s not limited to punk music. Bands like Brand New and Taking Back Sunday are classic examples, but for me growing up in Rockville Centre, the music scene here was in and of itself.

I grew up wanting to play in a band, and when I saw bands like Show Me Action and Wilbur and Tomahawk Chop, they made me want to really do something about it. We all had our own separate groups of friends that played in bands before State Lines got together, but all of the groups eventually came together thanks to East Coast Collective. Once pay-to-play started taking over all the venues on Long Island, we all were kinda stuck, and we hated selling tickets to play shows so we rarely got a chance to play. When we saw what East Coast Collective was doing based on a do-it-yourself model, we all just kinda came together and everything started growing. Guys like Jake Zimmerman and Sam Gursky give State Lines so many opportunities to just play shows and teach us so much about the history of DIY on Long Island, and we’ve really learned from them and grown as a band and what our ideals are. We’re really lucky to come from a place that values music and community.

AH: Are there any up and coming bands from the area you would recommend?
SL: First check out Tomahawk Chop because they’re the best band ever and have been for years. A few relatively new bands that I love are Broadcaster, Starving Arts, and No Good News. There are way too many great bands from around here and people should start paying attention.

AH: Finally why should fans listen to State Lines and the new EP?
SL: I can’t tell anyone why they should listen to us, but we really just love music and playing shows and making records, and if you want to have a good time with us then you’re more than welcome to. And if you actually enjoy our company you can pick up the record and a nifty t-shirt through Tiny Engines or coming out to a show. Gucci? Gucci.

‘State Lines’ by State Lines is released on June 26th through Tiny Engines.

State Lines links: Facebook|Bandcamp|Tumblr

Words by Sean Reid

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