I met up with Richie from States and Capitals behind The Irving Theater in Indianapolis Indiana to discuss the bands upcoming LP and a few other things. The bands tour manager, Peyton, was helping get all of the equipment together with the bass player James and the drummer Steve along with Richie. The band had just finished up their set when I caught up with them. The wind was blowing really hard and there were a few raindrops falling on us throughout the interview. A car alarm went off several times during the interview, making for a bit of humor. Richie had a great attitude about it all.
Michele Blue: You have a new LP being released in early August, are you ready for that and how excited are you for it to finally be coming out? Richie: Very excited. It was scary for a while, because it’s the first album I produced myself. So very scary at first and then leading up to it all… but as we go and as we play the songs live it’s getting more and more exciting. I think by the time it comes out, hopefully all the nerves will be away. Very excited and happy to have it all out. A lot of the songs I’ve had for like 2 or 3 years now. I was living on the west coast, writing for, you know, a while and never really putting anything out. Yeah, it is a long time coming, so we are very excited.
MB: A lot of time artists have a work in progress or like one song that they are working on for years because something just lines up for them. Did everything flow out this year for you, or were there some work in progress songs? R: Yeah… it has been a work in progress for mainly 2 or 3 years. Feelings I would say is the one that went through a lot of different trial and errors. I went to a couple of different producers and we tried some stuff out, but it never really worked. Somehow... I don’t know. I always kind of loved the demo the most. That was really what inspired me to make the album myself and try to produce something myself. That was the first song that I finished off. A lot of the songs were 2 or 3 years in the making. There were a couple of them that were written at the end of 2018. It all varies, but within the past few years… you know, since the last EP came out. It’s gone through a lot of different versions for sure.
MB: A lot of artists keep journals. They write their songs down; do you have a process that you do when you write songs? R: I do it the very modern way. I use voice memo. I have like 200 voice memos I’ve never even listened to yet. I like to write stuff down after I have something going. Mainly, I’m just a voice memo person. Maybe pick up a guitar or hum it or something. So that’s like my own little journal in my pocket. MB: So modern technology took over. R: Yeah, but even before that. I was pretty young, like 12 or 13 I would write stuff down. Like garage band kind of stuff. But since I’ve really been serious about writing myself, I’ve had a phone. That’s definitely my go-to. Peyton: Easiest way to do it. MB: I totally understand, as I am standing here using voice memo to record this interview.
MB: Any plans to tour again this fall, or will you be wrapping up at the end of June when this all wraps up? R: We are planning on being on tour all the time. We finish this tour and then in July we are going to take time to really go around and promote the album. Do some acoustics and some one-off shows. And then in August we are looking into doing a couple of weeks, but that is all in the making now. Then we are planning on doing a full US tour in the fall. It is all in the process, so don't take my word for any of it. That’s the timeline, but we’re always looking to tour. I am hoping that within the next year or so we are just constantly going.
MB: Any plans to get back in the studio once touring has wrapped up, are you more of a winter studio kind of person? R: I am! I was just talking about that the other day. I love touring in the summer and then winter studio. I have the luxury of having a studio in my house, so I am always demoing. Now that I’ve done this record I’ve kind of made it so that I can make songs to put out. I am kind of just always making the final version, you know what I mean? Like trying to make them. So, I’m thinking that that once I have a couple of new ones that feel finished I’ll go back and…
*A car alarm started going off really loud next to us*
R: So yeah… I’ll go back and try to put together something. See what works and see if there is anything for an album. It is kind of always making music, it is just a matter of when we want to put it out and when I feel it is comfortable to put it out.
MB: Where did the name States and Capitals come from? R: It’s a long story… no, it’s a short story I guess. A fellow musician had a list of names for an old band I was in when I was like 13 or something and it was just the only name that really stuck with me and I couldn’t get it out of my head. I actually made the Twitter and Instagram handle’s like 2 years before I even made the project. So, it just always stuck with me. It was on a list and for me to remember it... I knew that there was something there. I was always looking forward to making a project with that name.
MB: I read that you started getting into music around age 7 and you were part of the School of Rock in New Jersey. Do you feel that being part of that gave you an advantage coming into the music world, verses someone who maybe has only had public school music in their past? R: For sure, yeah. It was definitely an advantage. When I was younger School of Rock was just starting and they didn’t even take kids my age. They let me come in because we kind of nagged them to let me try out. Actually, that is what made it be all ages. It definitely gave me an advantage because when I was like 7 or 8 I was playing shows in Manhattan and bars and you know it was cool. I got to experience it all very-very young so now at 22 it is like… I mean I’m brand new to the world but to me I feel like I’ve already had a lot of experience with it. So, when we roll up it just feels really natural. Definitely an advantage on stage. Learning how to easily work with other musicians. Like even the bass player on this tour, we had only practiced for like a week before the tour. I feel like School of Rock is the reason that I can easily and comfortably do that. It teaches you how to work with other artists and be fair and you know, just have fun with it. I think it has changed a lot since then, but back then it was very just... all about the music and all about the kids. Trying to build it and it just kind of stuck with me.
MB: I ask this of all young artists… How do you handle the added stress of travel and being on tour? Do you feel like you can get the support from your band members, or do still rely on family from back home to help get you through any issues? R: Well, she is my girlfriend, so yeah… for sure. 100%. She [Peyton] runs it all. She’s the reason we are all like you know… she manages the merch, she travels… Peyton: I drive. R: Yeah, she does everything. She really helps me out, so I have that as such a great outlet, so I don’t have to focus on that. So I can just focus on the music. And then with these guys, we are really tight friends. We all just get along so great. Actually, the bass player, James, is my cousin. So that’s easy! And then Steve I’ve known for years. I met him in School of Rock back in the day. This group is so easy…
* car alarm started going off for a second time *
R: [laughing it off] with touring it usually is very stressful and very hectic, and you’re always worrying about what everybody’s doing, but this tour has been the most… just show up, do your stuff, and go. It has been very easy and very stress free. Everybody knows what they’re doing. We’re all just very locked in and very focused on it. We believe in it and we have such a fun time. It is like second nature to us. I think going through all the years of learning it as a teenager and as a kid really helped. So now, even though we’re still young we kind of feel like we just have it together. It really is a blessing. Also, my parents and everyone that helps us prepare for it all. It is all a really great group, and I am lucky to have everyone with me.
MB: I got a bit of an 80s vibe from your new LP, so do you have a love for the 80s? R: Yes! That’s where it all started. My parents were huge… they’re more like hair bands from the 80s, so when I grew up it was all about AC/DC, Guns n Roses and you know, just all of that stuff. Then as I grew up I got into more of the pop side of the 80s. Like Michael Jackson, Prince and just all the chorus and guitars. I feel like that is all coming back as well. Bands like the Night Game, The 1975, you know just a lot of 80s influences. With this album I kind of felt like because I took so long I had a little bit of all my influences from my whole entire life. I think the 80s thing is kind of the biggest influence with growing up on that. And also coming into the pop side of the 80s with Michael Jackson and all those guitars, the big beats, and the very simple one big… you know, I love all the very… Like Kiss by Prince is just a drum beat a synth and his voice. I love that stuff. Definitely a huge 80s influence.
MB: Clearly you like The 1975 because you played the song Chocolate, but do you have any artist or musician that are alive or dead that you would love the opportunity to play with, record with, or even write a song with? R: John Mayer is a huge one for me. I would love to just… even if we just talked for like an hour about guitar and songwriting. That would be insane. Michael Jackson is a huge one. There is a smaller band called The Night Game that I love. I love his songwriting and I would love to pick his brain. Angus Young would be pretty sick too. That’s a random one, but when I grew up that was like my favorite band, AC/DC. I think if I wanted to go back to my roots, I would love to sit down with him.
MB: Last question here. What kind of message do you want your fans to take away from your music? R: I just want kids to… just let go man. Just have fun. With shows for me, I kind of just tune out and not overthink. Just let go and have fun. Nothing’s too serious. Live in the moment, life’s too short to sit there and be sad or anything like that. Just have fun. All the shows are really based on that. I don’t even talk much on stage. I don’t wanna feel like I need to. We’re just all here just listening to music and dancing having a good time. That’s always been my number one. I just want kids to have a good time and forget about it all. Just come hang out, you know, we’re all the same. We’re all here, let’s just have fun and listen to music. That’s definitely my biggest message I want to get out there.
MB: It was very nice meeting you both. R: Thank you so much, I really appreciate it. P: Thank you.
June 10 - Smiling Moose Pittsburgh, PA June 11 - Mahall's Lakewood, OH June 12 - Big Room Bar Columbus, OH June 13 - The Crofoot Ballroom Pontiac, MI June 14 - Irving Theater Indianapolis, IN June 15 - Subterranean Chicago, IL June 16 - High Noon Saloon Madison, WI June 19 - Uptown Theater Kcmo, MO June 20 - Fubar Saint Louis, MO June 21 - The End Nashville, TN June 22 - The Masquerade Atlanta, GA June 25 - Neighborhood Theatre Charlotte, NC June 26 - DC9 Nightclub Washington, DC