Children of the State: “We just wanted to let the dust settle for a while and ensure we had something to say when we returned…”

Exposed catches up with Sheffield Peyote punks Children of the State, who have been tinkering away on a new single at Liverpool’s Parr Street Studios and will be stepping onto the Tramlines Main Stage this summer.

It’s been a big couple of years for the band – with a debut EP released in 2018, followed by a big Tramlines appearance, new music and a UK tour. How do you reflect on your growth as a band during that period?
John: It seems to be a natural progression; we went Crystal Stage, Leadmill Stage, Main Stage each year. I guess, applying this formula, the logical next step is headlining the Saturday night. I best get some new sunglasses.
Corey: When we started we were very much a four-piece indie rock band but with the help of Nathan Saoudi, Ian Skelly, and a few others we’ve managed to introduce elements we would have never thought to of our own accord: saxophones, drum machines, lap-steels, oysters, etc. We’d never eaten an oyster before recording at Champzone. The most important thing is that the music is constantly evolving, adding new elements to pull us away from the straight up indie rock element. Life’s too short.

How are you aiming to build on things this year?
John: Gigging. We’re getting a lot of gigs in the north with some world class acts like Temples, The Mysterines, Julia Bardo, and Circa Waves. So hopefully sniping a few new fans and recording some new music.

You’ve recorded a single in Liverpool with Ian Skelly at Parr Street Studios. What can you tell us about the tune?
Corey: The song is called Big Sur; it’s about wanting to go to the beach.

What was Ian able to bring to the table production-wise?
John: It was ace. Ian has some great production references and knows how to make 60s/70s production references sound modern. It’s ‘futuristic nostalgia’ I guess (which I’m pretty sure is the title of a Dua Lipa album, so take from that what you will).
Corey: He kept referencing the Beach Boys. That’s how we knew we were onto a winner.

You’ve kept yourselves busy out on the road over the last 12 months. Any standout gig stories or places that surprised you?
John: Our first gig in London was accidentally at an Irish bar in Croydon to an audience that were expecting easy-listening pop covers on a Saturday night. We were anxious about meeting the set length requirement imposed by the venue (2 hours) so ripped into a psych-prog interlude for about 20 mins to make up the time, and we inevitably got cut off. The sound man ran to the stage in disgust and said: “Who do you think you are, The Velvet f***** Underground?! F*** off back to Sheffield.” And that was our first trip to the big smoke.
Corey: Yeah, that was a weird evening.

There’s a big hometown show on the cards too, playing with Temples at The Leadmill. Looking forward to stepping out in front of a Sheff crowd again?
Corey: One hundred percent. Last time we played here was Tramlines last year, not for any particular reason, we just wanted to let the dust settle for a while and ensure we had something new to say when we returned, and we do, so here we are.
John: Temples really are a great band. Saw them at Queens Social (RIP) a few years ago, so it’s an honour to be on the bill. We’re also playing with Julia Bardo on the 21 March at Delicious Clam. Julia’s music is amazing, one of our favourite artists at the moment. She is going to be a superstar.

Another Tramlines slot beckons, on the Friday Main Stage lineup with some massive names. As a local band how much does getting a gig like this mean to you?
John: It’s huge. The songs that were conceived in our rehearsal room in Doncaster to a huge stage is fantastic. We are just serving the songs, advertising them to the public. Our songs are for everybody to live inside. We are selling audio real estate.
Corey: Something like that.

For those out there not yet in the know, how would you succinctly describe the Children of the State experience?
John: Apocalyptic retro-rock.

Children of the State play at Delicious Clam with Julia Bardo on 21 March. Tickets available here

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