Rock band

Albany State Champs rock band seizes the pop-punk moment again

The Albany outfit released their fourth album, “Kings of the New Age,” on May 13. It was their highest-profile release to date, with Target and Urban Outfitters selling exclusive copies of the CD and LP respectively, and the band launching a show album release at London’s Electric Ballroom to rave reviews.

On Thursday, June 9, they celebrate the release of “Kings of the New Age” locally with a headliner at Alive at Five. From there, it’s a headlining summer amphitheater tour culminating in a spot at the When We Were Young festival in Las Vegas, a sold-out multi-day extravaganza featuring little nearly every pop-punk and emo act that has existed in the last 20 years.

For State Champs lead singer Derek DiScanio, the journey from opening local clubs to headlining shows for thousands of spectators has been extraordinary.

“This is crazy, man,” DiScanio said. “I remember when we were just excited to play Bogie’s in Albany or maybe open for some of our favorite bands at Upstate Concert Hall. We were asking to open for Bayside and the promoter was like, “Great, you just gotta sell 50, 100 tickets.” Now the same promoter is begging us to play our own show.

“It’s a full circle moment,” he said. “Not many bands get four albums in a career. It’s very humbling, but we keep moving the needle, we always see springboards that we want to hit.

Moving forward with “Kings of the New Age,” State Champs chose to take a sonically step back to their debut. The band’s 2018 album “Living Proof” focused less on youthful vigor and more on showcasing their maturation as musicians and songwriters.

With “Kings of the New Age”, the band had two goals. The first was to celebrate his deserved status as pop-punk mainstays. The second was to just have fun and work with genre friends like Ben Barlow of Neck Deep and even rising country star Mitchell Tenpenny.

“We decided to go back to our roots and ask ourselves why we started in the first place,” DiScanio said. “‘Living Proof’ – our last album – we decided to make a ‘mature’ album and we decided not to go that route and to be immature and selfish and to show our position in the scene (à la We are no longer those fresh young faces; we wanted to put our flag in the ground and show that we are established.

“So we went back to our roots and asked why we started in the first place,” he said. “We didn’t want to take ourselves too seriously and we didn’t want to put any limits on anything. That’s why it was cool to work with Mitchell Tenpenny and do something original for us.

Since “Kings of the New Age” was recorded at a time when the band couldn’t tour, State Champs ended up having “the space and time to write a lot more and it shows in the final results”. DiScanio said the band brought 30 songs to the recording sessions, leaving them with a slew of extras — from demos and unreleased tracks to rehearsals and studio footage — which they’ll likely eventually make available through the fan club. Champs Fam that they created during the pandemic.

In the meantime, State Champs is just relishing in the moment. After going on hiatus from normal activity for the past two years, the band is feeling a renewed energy on stage and DiScanio is thrilled that, 12 years after their debut, they are still having fun.

“Everyone craves live music and people sing along, even to the new songs,” DiScanio said. “The pandemic has shown that anything can happen, so we are delighted to be there and the atmosphere is better than ever.

“I always want it to be fun and I’m proud of the music and art we’ve created. If it ever feels like a job, then I’m doing it for the wrong reasons.

Status fields

When: 5 p.m., Thursday, June 9

Where: Jennings Landing, Albany

Tickets: Free

To learn more about State Champs, visit statechampsny.com