Band Of The Week // CHILDREN OF THE STATE
Sending feel-good vibes and sunshine-doused melodies, Children Of The State are the perfect accompaniment to the good weather that you didn’t know you needed.
It’s difficult not to feel at least a glimmer of optimism as you listen to the dazzling new track from Children Of The State. The Doncaster and Bolsover indie rock quintet conjures up images of seasides and beaches in recent release Big Sur, as wavy guitars reverberate alongside a warbling bass line and smooth vocals that trickle like honey through your ears. The band offers a sound reminiscent of decades past, drawing upon the sunny nostalgia of the 60s and the glam rock of the 70s to cultivate a warm bittersweetness in 2020.
Sharing more about the track, the band explains:
‘Big Sur’ was born out of a lot of grey days on an industrial estate in Doncaster wanting to be at the beach. We were listening to a lot of Dick Dale and Beach Boys at the time and wanted to capture that 60s surf sound but bring it into 2020, but struggled to capture the vibe in Sheffield. We figured we’d get closer to the coast, so got in touch with Ian Skelly from The Coral, and spent a few days there creating it.
Finding the lyricism and the yearning melodies resonating strongly with us, we spoke more with guitarist Nathan Keeble and singer John McCullagh about how the track came about, and their brief stint by the coast.
What’s a motto you live by?
John: I’m gonna ride the wave until the grave and hope it never stops.
Nathan: Uhhh, gotta be Dylan, It’s life and life only.
If your sound had a colour, what colour would it be and why?
Nathan: Ochre – A colour that seems to crop up a lot in our artwork clothing – It’s a colour that is warming and inviting and works especially well in the hallways of our music.
What is an escape for you when things are starting to get a bit overwhelming?
John: Playing music and trying to get through ‘Ulysses’ by Jame Joyce, haven’t managed it yet but I will do one day – now is the perfect time I guess.
Nathan: I like to watch a good film or spend some time thinking by myself, I like to be absorbed in a different idea which helps me take my mind off the world.
How do you tackle feelings of loneliness? What advice would you give to listeners who are struggling with that feeling?
John: It’s something I think everybody feels, especially in the modern world. Our last EP Gideon’s Bible each song was themed upon loneliness really. I guess the best way to combat that feeling is to reach out to people. Message new people, the internet can be weird and perhaps maybe even accentuates the feeling of loneliness when comparing one’s life to others, but it also does a lot of good in allowing us to socialise with anybody at any time. Just have to tap your fingers against some glass.
Nathan: I think it’s good to read, you can sort of manually hi-jack your train of thought with somebody else’s, a great writer or journalist.
What are your fondest memories of working with Ian on the track?
John: Ian got the track from day one, one of my personal highlights was drinking beer and laying down the slide guitar on the ending. Proper Mississipi vibes.
Are there any behind-the-scenes stories that you can share with us?
Nathan: We used an amp previously owned by Status Quo which was designed to sound like Revolver era Beatles – that was the whole concept of this particular amp, which is what the fuzz guitar on this record is through, pretty cool that an amp was created specifically to sound like another band.
Were there any surprises, whether pleasant or unpleasant, that you came across whilst recording?
Nathan: How bloody hard the castanets are to play. We tried to get them on this record but none of us could play them.
John: Ian suggested we use a harmonica microphone to record the hi-hat which gave a really cool hip-hop effect to the hats in the verses.
What was the biggest impact of the changing locations from Sheffield to the coast on the final track?
John: It seemed natural, everything about this song and the time of our lives is about moving. We’re daydreamers really, and wanting to be somewhere sunny with a Pina Colada is what I dream about.
Nathan: It seemed to suit the song, the lyrics and how we’re feeling at the moment. It felt like a logical progression to move on, and we went westwards to Liverpool.
And finally, slightly cliché but what does music mean to you?
John: If time goes by that I’m not either listening or making music it’s time wasted, and I mean that. I don’t have a job or anything, I exist for music.
Nathan: For me it’s a way of conveying how I feel and getting to project ideas and melodies to an audience, it’s a great honour. I feel like a CEO.