Of course, pop-punk's 2022 renaissance transcends MGK – Avril Lavigne made her comeback at the end of 2021, Paramore headed into the studio in January after a five-year hiatus, WILLOW is collaborating with anyone and everyone, and that's before we get to the new gen of Meet Me @ The Altar, Pinkshift, KennyHoopla and more – but you have to wonder how other bands feel, seeing a former rapper-turned-rocker-turned-rapper-again get all the glory, when they’ve been making genuinely good pop-punk music for years. Do they ever get bummed out?
“I mean, yeah we do,” admits Derek. “But it’s not that easy – some people get things handed to them. And we’re not gonna make decisions that aren't true to us to get there. Like, will I ever be onstage in a pink sparkly disco ball outfit? No (laughs). But if people like it, they like it. I’m not in any position to be dogging on that when someone like MGK’s way richer than I am.
“I just think people are excited about guitars and drums on the radio again,” he adds, always ready to spin something into a positive. “And I’m happy with it. It creates a cool buzz and it opens us up to receiving an influx of new fans that we may never have had. If people are going to listen to MGK then find related artists on Spotify, and it somehow leads to All Time Low or A Day To Remember, and then that leads to State Champs or Neck Deep, then it’s a pretty cool cycle and we need to use it to our advantage.”
And that's where Kings Of The New Age comes in, State Champs’ fourth record in 12 years as a band. The title was born from a lyric on album opener, Here To Stay, and between them they send and emphatic message.
“We’ve been doing this for so long, and we like to think we’ve been the kings of our age, in the Warped Tour scene,” explains Derek. “But now there’s this new era, and new brand of pop-punk happening, and we just wanna put ourselves to the forefront of it and say, ‘Here we are, whether you like it or not! Check us out, and get on board.'”