You gotta simply love Umeå, the landscape around it and the whole country of Sweden, with its quietness, the Scandinavian lifestyle, infredible sunrise, dark forests and local destinations full of magic :) That’s why I’m always super excited to meet more bands from this part of the world. THE STATE THE SEA LEFT ME IN (another hard-to-remember name, I know!) is a melodic emo / post hardcore band from the gateway to Lapland, who has just put out its debut EP called “Barely Skin Deep” (streaming below). Their passionate coverage of subjective lyrical poems will mesmerize all fans of the atmosphere known from TOUCHE AMORE or THE SADDEST LANDSCAPE‘s records. Play it and read up their story below.
Hey guys! It’s so nice to have another Swedish act featured here on IDIOTEQ. What’s up in Umea?
Hey man. Thanks for having us!
It seems like Umeå always falls into the center of attention in some way. It’s not hard to see why though, with all the great culture. A handful of bands out there today hail from this very city, like CULT OF LUNA and REFUSED (and well, every other band Dennis has been a part of). The town actually goes under the title “European Capital Of Culture 2014”. Look at that.
I’ve always been fascinated with new places and cultures. What exactly is it about your city that makes it such an interesting destination?
As previously mentioned, it probably has a lot to do with the wide range of culture the city has to offer.
However, this whole “European Capital of Culture” thing has gotten a lot of critique from the locals as it seems that the people who run this town have just used that program as a means of economic growth by exploiting the culture to attract tourists, without much regard to those who practice it, or to the locals either for that matter. A very large amount of money has been spent on the whole thing, money that was needed in other places or could have gone to more important things.
The town is great though. Urban in its way and still pretty “scandinavian”. A lot of cool and inspiring people, great places to skate if you’re into such things, and a handful of upcoming bands that we look forward to hear more from!
Can you recommend some cool venues and spots to check out?
We have “Verket“, which is an incredibly important venue for the music scene here. It’s very DIY driven, all shows are arranged by bands and committed people, and there are shows there practically every weekend! There is no age limit (although you obviously have to be 18+ to drink alcohol there) and it’s never too expensive, so anyone can afford going there. It’s always a great vibe there, everyone gets along and enjoys the music. Definitely worth checking out!
Local bands and bands passing through town most often play either at Verket or at “Scharinska“, which is a club that often hosts shows with great arists. Also pretty cool.
Cool. Are you all from the same city?
Not really, Johan is the only one who is born and raised in Umeå. However, Magnus and
Ludvig come from a smaller community located just outside of Umeå. Victor grew up in a small town, and Emil grew up in a village, both pretty far from Umeå.
And just to clear things up for you and avoid any potential confusion, our good friend Viktor the photographer (mentioned below) is not the same person as our guitar player Victor.
That picture from your front EP cover. Is that your neighborhood?
Yeah, something like that.Our good friend Viktor is the photographer for that image and we just grabbed it off his flickr-site. Viktor also did our latest pressphotos we shot some time ago.
Great guy, fine beard.
Speaking of school you mentioned, you’re all very young, right? Have you had a chance to travel a bit or to learn about other cultures?
The youngest of us is 17 and the rest of us are 18 or 19, so most of us will finish “high school” in a few weeks.
Since we’ve only been a band for like half a year, we have never toured or anything like that. We’d love to though. Soon enough.
Photo by iktor Asbaghi Sandström.
So how did you guys team up for this band? What’s the story?
We just did. Emil moved to town for our senior year and knew Victor and Magnus since earlier. Magnus was already in a few bands but had time for yet another one, and Victor got involved after a discussion at the local skatepark. Ludvig and Johan joined later on.
At first we jammed and wrote most of the songs for Barely Skin Deep in the music classrooms of our school. Teachers and students would often come in to politely tell us to shut the fuck up. It got pretty loud. When we decided to turn the jam sessions into a somewhat serious project we moved into the basement of Umeå’s number one musicshop. We still rehearse down there.
“Barely Skin Deep” turned out to be very atmospheric. Despite its rawness, it sure sounds very warm and sincere. Was it your intention to make it this way?
Yeah that pretty much sums it up. We are all pretty huge on “musical drama” and try to make sure to leave nothing unsaid with our songwriting. The warmth and pop sounding influences come straight from our love to the classics in emo, such as SUNNY DAY REAL ESTATE and AMERICAN FOOTBALL. We try as humble as possible to make use of our early influences and combine it with the speed and strength of modern post-hardcore.
We produced Barely Skin Deep all by ourselves because we felt that the rawness and honesty that we wish to deliver sound pretty rad in demo-form. At least as a first release. PMA.
Have you already played some gigs together?
Yep! After the catastrophe in the Philippines late last year, some friends of ours arranged a show at Verket back in January where all the money was given away for that cause, and lots of people showed up to support it. It was great to be a part of the lineup that evening.
But that is the only gig we have done at the moment. We have some more planned however, May the 24th we are playing at an event in Umeås local skatepark together with some other great bands, which will probably be a whole lot of fun!
Overall, we have spent most of our time rehearsing, developing a sound and producing the demo.
And how about your future plans? I mean both recording and touring-wise, how do you see the nearest future for THE STATE THE SEA LEFT ME IN?
At the moment, our focus is pretty much on writing new songs. The plan for the summer is definitely playing more shows in, and hopefully, outside of Umeå. We also have plans for recording and are talking about releasing something before the end of summer, probably a single. But by the end of this year we should also have had the time to record another EP, if that’s not too optimistic!
Awesome! Thanks so much for taking some time with me here at IDIOTEQ. Is there anything else you’d like to expound on?
It was our pleasure!
Not really, we are writing material as crazy at the moment and we try to make the best out of 2014.
Hopefully, more stuff is to come not long from now. The best way to stay updated is via our facebookpage.