States came together a few years ago when two prominent indie rock bands—Lydia and Copeland—broke up. While these two bands were known for their fluid indie rock, States plays full-bodied pop-rock that you can be proud to jam on Spotify.
The band, composed of Lydia’s lead female vocalist Mindy White and Copeland’s guitarists Stephen and Bryan Laurenson along with drummer Jonathan Bucklew and bassist Dean Lorenz, recently re-released their latest album, Room To Run. The album was produced by Aaron Sprinkle, who has worked with bands including Copeland, Every Avenue and The Almost, and it did as well as can be expected for a self-released album. But this month, States teamed up with Tooth & Nail Records to re-release the album, making it fresher and giving fans much more to listen to.
States recently played The Parish along with The Rocket Summer and The Scene Aesthetic, and before the show started, we caught up with White, Bryan and Stephen to talk about what exactly is on the new Room To Run, the status of female musicians in the scene right now and what musical direction States will be taking for their next album.
You announced that you’ll be re-releasing Room to Run with Tooth & Nail Records. What is this album going to have that the original didn’t?
Bryan Laurenson: It has seven bonus tracks, a couple of acoustic versions from the EP, a couple alto versions – demos – from the new record, a remix and then two brand new songs.
Why did you decide to feature these new songs on the re-release instead of holding off for your next album?
Mindy White: I guess just to make the CD more appealing for people who already bought it. I feel like there would be a very small percentage of people who would buy a CD after they already have one version of it without any of these songs on it. It’s something that we wanted to do too. It’s kind of cool to put the demos out there. We were asked by a lot of people, “Can we hear the original demo?” because we actually put it out on videos. So I just think it’s something that we’ve wanted to put out for fun anyways.
What made you go with Tooth & Nail for the re-release over another record label?
Stephen Laurenson: A few of us were in a band before called Copeland, and we released our final record with Tooth & Nail, so we already had a pretty good relationship going on with them, and we had some friendships going on. We had originally tried going the indie route, and it was kind of just a product of right timing. They came along and had been a fan of the band from the beginning and we were fans of what they do, so it just felt natural.
Why did you decide to record Room to Run with Aaron Sprinkle?
Mindy: Because he’s the man. I had heard of him from them. After I had found out who he had worked with and bands he had worked with and listening to what he had done, I was like, “Yeah he’s awesome.” And these guys, you knew him.
Bryan: Yeah it was kind of a similar situation with Tooth & Nail because we had done the final Copeland record with Aaron, and we had just hit it off completely, just on a friendship level. We had stayed in touch with him, and we share really similar views on styles of music and styles of production. I think when Stephen and I started writing songs for States we always thought that Sprinkle would be the perfect fit.
Did he also record the new songs on the re-release?
Mindy: Actually no.
Stephen: The two new ones we did on our own. Kind of a hodgepodge of Bryan’s apartment and my little room.
Bryan: Most of the bonus tracks are stemmed from the past two years of different recordings we’ve done on our own at home. So the bonus tracks are not Sprinkle produced.
Stephen: Yeah, they’re States produced.
What was your writing process like for Room to Run?
Mindy: A lot of them stem from ideas that Bryan and Stephen had had of just bare songs with nothing on them, and then they would send them to me. For me when I’m writing a melody, I’ll hear it immediately the first time I hear the song. So they would make sure it was bare, and I would write a melody and add words to it later. That’s pretty much what we did for every song. There was a lot of times when we would get a song and a half and then we would get into a room and everyone would add their own kind of thing. Jon would redo the drum idea, Dean would create his own idea. So basically through email. We live in Nashville, they live in Florida, and so we would just be like, “Hey, what do you think about this?” “Awesome.” They would add stuff to it and just go from there.
The new song “Brighter Lights” that will be on the Room to Run re-release has a very dreamy feel to it. Is that the kind of sound States is leaning towards now?
Mindy: I don’t know, maybe.
Stephen: I think there will definitely be some elements of it on the next record. I think this record, at least for me, probably the only thing I would have changed about Room To Run is maybe having a couple more stripped down songs and a little bit more ballad. So I think we definitely maybe want to add a couple songs on the next record that definitely have maybe that feel.
Mindy: Yeah, we really wanted to have a ballad, we just ran out of time. We were on such a strict time, and literally we tracked “As Good As It Gets” the last day before we flew out, right? So we just didn’t have time.
How did your experience with Lydia/Copeland affect how you approached States?
Mindy: It definitely made me more knowledgeable. I say all the time, “I wish I would have done this, started this band when I was 18, fresh out of high school, instead of joining a band and doing that.” But at the same time, not at all because I learned everything that I know and I feel like I would have done this wrong had I been 18 and been a deer in the headlights every night, not knowing what to do. At least for me, it was definitely a learning experience and got me to these guys anyways because we toured together.
Stephen: For Copeland, Bryan and Aaron [Marsh] were very much the writing force and then everyone added their little things to it. Then with Lydia, Mindy didn’t get to do a huge part of the writing, and same with me with Copeland, so for us it was a big step to be able to put out creative process in and writing and do more of that.
Mindy, how do you keep your female individuality as the only girl in States?
Mindy: I feel like there’s definitely some times where I feel really girly around these guys, but for the most part I don’t. I played sports my whole life, and I was around boys my whole life. I feel like I’ve gotten girly over the last couple of years.
Stephen: Yeah you have.
Mindy: I really have. I never used to wear dresses with flowers and stuff. It’s really strange, but I don’t know. I mean, just different stuff that I’m into and having that time to get up earlier than these guys do so I can curl my hair. I don’t think I’m that much of a diva, maybe.
Stephen: I think you’ve taken a lot of your style from me too. I mean, you’re always stealing my dresses and my heels.
Mindy: When I put pink in my hair, I definitely ripped that from Stephen. He was bleaching his back hair pink.
Stephen: My back hair? Ew. Just on the record, I have no back hair! Actually, there’s one. I plucked it.
A few years ago, there were almost no females in the scene, but we’re slowly starting to see more girls in bands. What do you think is spurring this and do you think that trend will continue?
Mindy: The ‘90s. The ‘90s are coming back. I hope so. Definitely I feel like one of the biggest bands of this time would be Paramore. I remember seeing her at Warped Tour before I actually knew her, and I saw her dancing around, and I was like, “Man, that’s what I want to do.” I think it’s just really encouraging for everybody so people are stepping out and trying to do their own mix of that, in their own way, their own music. You know, the ‘90s had a ton of girls in bands. I think it’s making its way back.
What’s on the horizon for States after this tour?
Bryan: Going home after this and hopefully starting to write some more and start thinking about maybe another record. Hopefully in the fall be back out on tour, and then later in the year maybe start working on another record.
Mindy: Yeah, I want to be on tour all year.
Live photos of States performing at The Parish in Austin, Texas on June 16, 2012.