Interview: Children of the State

Inviting you to open your mind and expect the unexpected, ‘Kill Your Darlings’ is the debut EP from self-described “peyote punk” band, Children of the State.

Providing a soundtrack to the dystopian reality of modern day life in Britain, this EP offers something a little stronger than hooky choruses and that distinct indie-rock sound that we all know and love. Children of the State are here to take you on a psychedelic trip. A trip that is equal parts wonderful and frightening. Eleanor Fidler had a chat with John McCullagh, Nathan Keeble, Corey Clifton and Conor O’Reilly to discuss their sound, Tramlines and piña coladas…

Your debut EP seems to be opening a new door in modern music rather than just mindfully trying to fill a gap on the scene or following a crowd, what’s the inspiration behind your sound?
In all our previous projects I think we’ve made music that we though other people would like, sort of an emulation instead of an ejaculation of streams of consciousness. In this project we’re making music that we want to listen to instead of just making tunes with hooky choruses.

The names ‘Kill Your Darlings’ (the film based around the great poets of the Beat generation) and Children of The State (the FBI’s name for the Charles Manson ‘family’) are both references to 1960s culture, would you say this era mirrors your sound?
Definitely, the whole attitude and image is what we love. But it’s important to not get all starry eyed with nostalgia; you have to keep looking forward for new ideas.

What was it like working alongside Nathan Saoudi (Fat White Family), Dean Honer (The Moonlandingz) and Jack Howorth (Mysteron) to create ‘Kill Your Darlings’?
Jack and Nathan were fantastic producers over at ChampZone Studios. They really pushed us out of our comfort zone and that allowed us to experiment with drum machines, xylophones and vocoders. Dean at The Bowling Green is a mastering wizard. Anybody in Sheffield who doesn’t send their tracks to him is daft!

Which other musician’s fans would Children of The State appeal to?
We think if you dig Fat Whites, Velvets, Zombies or Radiohead, then you’ll like us.

Which is everyones personal favourite track from the EP, and why?
Conor – ‘Kill Your Darlings’, it’s the most fun to play live and has the most groove.
John – ‘Tomorrow We’ll Drift’ because it feels like a moonlight drive.
Nathan – ‘The Afterglow’, because it sounds like the end of the world.
Corey – ‘The Afterglow’, it goes down the best live.

Now is quite an exciting time to launch into the Sheffield music scene, which local bands are you into right now?
We love International Teachers of Pop, Liberty Ship, Mysteron, Femur…

People can catch you at the Crystal Stage at this year’s Tramlines, are you excited to properly unleash yourselves onto the scene?
Yeah we can’t wait to make our Sheffield debut, such a great Tramlines stage too. Expect special guests, piña coladas and all the hits.

This EP is the perfect soundtrack to a Tarantino-esque American road trip.  If you were to go on a road trip together which songs would make the cut?
It’s got to be ‘Kill Your Darlings’, in the desert sun with a Colt 45 in your back pocket, a Stetson and a bottle of moonshine. Fuck ’em.

The ‘Kill Your Darlings’ EP is out now. Catch Children of the State at the Fringe at Tramlines on the Crystal Stage on Friday 20 July.  Image credit: Duncan Sandelind Stafford. 

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