Our WorldArts Spotlight Artist of the Month is State Line Syndicate! This socal-born DIY trio prides themselves on their authenticity, and has showcased their fierce brand of pop-punk on stages all over Los Angeles and beyond. Check out our exclusive Q&A with the band to hear about their biggest influences, their latest single Borrowed Time, and what’s next for the band!
1) Tell us about how you got started in music?
MakeShift Mike: I got my first guitar December 26th, 2001 and never looked back! Started trying to become a more serious singer around 2005. I have been writing my own songs since 2002 as well!
Mikey Virgin: Music has always been around the house, and my father, grandfather, and uncles all play instruments, I guess it was natural for me to pick up something as well.
Joe E: I used to be incredibly shy in high school and I just wanted girls to talk to me, so I asked the cool rocker musician kids what the easiest instrument to learn was…They all said “bass”. So, at that exact moment, I knew right then and there that I was going to be a bass player!
2) What inspiration(s) do you draw on when you create music?
MakeShift Mike: I like to write about my personal experiences. I find that songs that are written based on real life experience tend to connect with people on a more personal level.
Joe E: Every song is different, whatever your feeling at that time. Sometimes stuff we already recorded, I’m changing it up because it either evolved, or i got bored.
Mikey Virgin: All of my favorite artists/bands.
3) What part of Los Angeles did you grow up in and what was the music scene like when you were growing up?
Joe E: I grew up in Burbank (The Valley) I used to take the Bus as a teenager to the Sunset Strip and dreamt of playing places like The Whisky and The Roxy, and used to sneak into The Rainbow with a fake ID lol.
MakeShift Mike: I grew up in Riverside county and there was no music scene in my area.
Mikey Virgin: Northeast San Fernando Valley. There used to be a cool, close-knit punk scene in my area, but I have no idea what’s going on anymore.
4) If you could go on tour with any artist (past or present) who would it be?
MakeShift Mike: The Gaslight Anthem is my favorite band and I would love to be able to spend time picking Brian Fallon‘s brain.
Mikey Virgin: Led Zeppelin or Dropkick Murphys. The Copyrights or Teenage Bottlerocket.
Joe E: Blink 182 or Green Day, or Motley Crüe (I read “The Dirt” and would have loved to have seen some of that chaos on the road).
5) What’s your ‘go-to’ karaoke song?
MakeShift Mike: Can’t Stop by The Red Hot Chili Peppers and Stand By Me by Ben E. King.
Joe E: The Wanderer by Dion and the Belmonts & Semi Charmed Life by Third Eye Blind.
6) WorldArts is all about giving tools and opportunities to artists. What advice would you give to aspiring musicians?
MakeShift Mike: Don’t ever give up. It sounds cliché, but no matter what happens you have to keep going. Momentum is everything.
Mikey Virgin: Keep going. Keep at it.
Joe E: So many platforms at your fingertips, use them! Most are free (like WorldArts). Even if it costs a little bit of money, this is your business. Sometimes it takes money to make money. You can’t win the lotto, if you don’t spend the buck, or play.
7) If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
Joe E: I think the music industry is changing all the time and that’s one reason why it seems chaotic. New technologies and platforms are popping up all the time, and the record execs can’t keep up. I would love for the record companies to go back to BANDS, not just a someone with a laptop and a producer, but with REAL instruments…
Makeshift Mike: I would make it easier for lesser known bands to be discovered via sites like Spotify. Too many related artist sections don’t offer enough smaller bands, making it harder for lesser known bands to get discovered.
8) What is the best way you’ve found to market yourself as an artist?
MakeShift Mike: Having a genuine conversation with someone about music usually works best. Obviously, you won’t be able to reach hundreds of people at once, but people will want to know more about what you do if you are willing to have a conversation with them.
Joe E: Mike is right, the BEST WAY is in person, but there are sooo many great tools (like WorldArts) to showcase your music to people around the globe, who otherwise wouldn’t even have the chance to find you or your music. We’ve done everything from online ads to going to concerts and passing out free CD Samplers.
9) Tell us about your latest single Borrowed Time and the inspiration behind it?
Joe E: Mike wrote the lyrics, I’ll let him tell ya… But I do feel how the world is today, I wonder if we are all on “Borrowed Time”.
Mike: The inspiration behind Borrowed Time is that there is only so much time each of us have and you don’t want to wake up 20 years down the line thinking “what if …I would have done this?”
10) What’s next on the horizon for you?
MakeShift Mike: New songs are being worked on right now! Maybe as singles or as an EP, but we are so excited to be working on the new stuff and cannot wait to show it to everyone!
Mikey Virgin: We’re planning on going back to The Blasting Room Studios in October to record a few new songs.
Joe E: We just played The Viper Room supporting The Ataris and The Queers! Then the next day we played at the O.C. Fair. I guess you could say it was a SLS SoCal weekend!
State Line Syndicate