Rock quartet State Of Illusion, have released a new single turned video of the song called "Blind", off their latest full-length album "Aphelion". Whilst this album has been out for some time, the band still see's it fitting, to release content from it, as they have been spending time, playing shows, writing all new music, with even more shows in the works! The whole band got together to talk about these matters and some background of themselves and how their music came to be what it is here and now.
1. Can you tell me as to why you went with the band name State Of Illusion, is that in reference to anything or anybody in particular? Who are all of the band members and which instrumental parts do they play in?
Jacob Porter (Vocals/Guitar)
Cameron Price (Guitar)
Bryce Chism (Drums)
Brandon Rodgers (Bass)
Jacob: For such a cool name, this is actually a very anti-climactic story! The night before our first show (a high school battle of the bands), our then-drummer and I were on the phone tossing terrible band names back and forth. I had "State of Illusion" in my mind, but was kind of shy of saying it, so after we went through this list of horrible names, I pitched "State of Illusion". Chet doubtfully said, "Well, that’s the best we’ve got, so let’s go with it for now." The next day at school, when I told everyone that our band name was State of Illusion, they all said, "Do you mean "state of the union?" That’s lame!" Either way, we stuck with it!"
2. What is your music background? Tell me your story in a short and concise manner.
Cameron: I started playing around 12 and I learned all the songs my parents liked to listen to, then the songs my friends liked to listen to, then the songs that my brother learned on the drums so that we could jam. It just kept building and keeps building. I love playing and I love learning. Music keeps me going.
Brandon: I started playing music when I was 11 and I was instantly attracted to the bass. My 8th grade history teacher worked with me on theory and pulled strings to get me into orchestra class, where I played the upright bass. From that point, I bounced from project to project, looking for a band to call home. Luckily, State of Illusion found me with the help of our mutual friend, Tom Carden of Solarist.
Bryce: For as long as I can remember, I have loved music. My dad brought me up with a lot of 90’s grunge and I was so fascinated by it. Like, "how do they create something from nothing?" I tried to play guitar at a very young age, but just couldn’t "click" with it. I gave up for awhile, but around 7th grade, I wanted a drum set because I listened to Avenged Sevenfold for the first time and fell in love with how Jimmy "The Rev" Sullivan played. I never knew I would get an opportunity like this, though. I knew I did not want a 9-5. I wanted to express myself, leave a mark on the world, and that’s where I am today, fighting for my chance to do so.
Jacob: I can trace my musical background to the 90’s, when I was a kid and in love with the Backstreet Boys. I loved the songwriting and picking out the vocal harmonies, and listening to all of the oldies that my parents grew up on. I took piano lessons in middle school, but didn’t really care for it…I struggled to read the music but could play by ear. Then, rock music hit me. Bands like Staind, Cold, Seether, etc., and I taught myself to play guitar by ear to Seether’s Disclaimer and then started writing songs. The rest is pretty much history! A couple of years ago, right after we released Aphelion, I started taking vocal lessons from my friend Mike Semesky from Raunchy, Rest Among Ruins, and Ordinance. That changed the game!
3. Why do you want to record and release your own music? Go ahead and be very honest about it.
Cam: I feel like music, for me, has always been the friend I needed when there was nobody else. To say that music saved my life would be an understatement. I can think of things that have happened and look back and pin point the exact song that kept me going in those situations. I want to write music I enjoy playing but also for others to feel. Hopefully my song can be the song to catch someone who is falling or stick in their head when they think of a loved one. Music has helped me overcome so many obstacles and I would love for someone to use my music to help them get through whatever hardship they are facing.
Brandon: I think the reason we decide to record and release our music ourselves is to preserve the sound and chemistry we have.
Bryce: I want to see what I can create and achieve. This has never been just a "hobby". This is a life-changing passion of mine. I want to take it to the next step and make this my everything.
Jacob: I just can’t not make music. Music is always in my head. I literally can’t go a second without thinking about it or thinking of a riff or vocal melody or recording idea. I love music. On top of that, it’s a way for me to get out some things I don’t normally talk about. I feel like it’s what I’m called to do and I enjoy what we write. I write what I want to listen to and I think others would want to listen to it as well, so why not record it and release it to the world? And just to back what Cam said, music has always been there for me, even when it felt like no one was, so hopefully our music can resonate with someone with way others’ music did for me.
4. Who is your fan/customer, analyze this question thoroughly for us?
Cam: State of Illusion’s fan is someone who loves tasteful music but has an emotional side. The songs are all very deep and instrumentally intricate. They listen very well, so I feel like anyone who loves modern rock music, hard rock, or slightly more progressive music would love our album.
Bryce: Someone who wants to hear something new, but can also pick up the chorus lines really quick and sing with us. To play songs like "Falls Apart" and know that they’re not alone with anything they are facing.
Jacob: Maybe I’m crazy but I think our music transcends musical genres; not that we play in multiple genres, but that I’ve found that listeners of all genres have enjoyed our music. I think the reason for that is because our music is very accessible, intricate, and honest. I’ve written all of our lyrics honestly from very personal situations and in a way that I think listeners can hopefully relate. So to make a long answer even longer, I think that our general fan is just a fan of rock, but anyone can enjoy the music or relate. Great songs are great songs, regardless of genre.
5. What are your songs about, what themes would you say they cover?
Jacob: Our songs cover a variety of topics but they’re all very personal. "Reach the End", for example is about not giving up on chasing your dreams. Some songs are about coming to terms with who you are and some are about trying to help people who are unwilling to help themselves or being part of an interpersonal deterioration. "Wings and a Rose" is one of the most personal songs I’ve ever written. In its basic form, that one is about realizing that you can’t save someone that is unwilling to turn from the path that they’re on, and coming to the understanding that, sometimes you just have to watch from a distance and be there for them when they need you.
6. Do you write your own songs, can you disclose the songwriting process in detail?
Jacob: Yes, we write all of our own songs and the process is actually very simple. Normally, one of us will bring in a riff or the skeleton of a song and we’ll jam on it for a while and throw ideas back and forth. Then, we’ll record it on our phones, take it home and listen to it and come up with more ideas that we’ll bring into our next rehearsal. Once all of the music is done, I’ll write lyrics to the melodies that I’d been humming since the process began and we’ll just keep adding more and more layers and intricacies.
7. Who are your musical influences, that you think you would turn to the most when crafting together your music?
Cam: I personally turn to Shinedown and Periphery. Periphery is so technical I love bouncing off their chord shapes and really challenging my hands when I write. Lyrically, I love Brent from Shinedown’s flow. I try to find out where I can find some words like that and dig deep to pull out the emotions I’m trying to express.
Bryce: Definitely Breaking Benjamin. The way they create songs is mind blowing. They put so much time into making every song count and making not one song unlikeable. I also love to put on Silent Planet and focus really hard on the drummer because I just absolutely love his playing ability.
Jacob: Early influences were bands like Staind, Cold, and Tool. Those bands showed me how to write songs and be so lyrically open and essentially set me down the musical path that I’m on. Nowadays, I’m really into bands like Periphery and The Contortionist. They’re on a different level. I can’t say that I directly take all of these influences into account when I’m writing, but I’ve certainly learned from them and they’ve helped me grow as a musician. When I write, I just write what I want to hear and don’t really think about other artists or what they would do.
8. Can you tell me about your recently released single for the track "Blind"?
Jacob: "Blind" is a really old song. I wrote it in the middle of the night in October 2007, sitting cross-legged on the floor in front my Marshall 4x12 and using my Hagström Swede and a Line 6 Flextone II with a loop pedal. For whatever reason, all of the parts just came to me in that moment and I wrote the entire song including the leads in the verses and choruses, melody, and lyrics right there in one sitting. At the time, the lyrics were about something specific that was going on in my life. The next day, I demoed it and played some awful drums to it, but the guys liked the idea and we pursued it. A decade and several versions later, we have the current version of "Blind". In fact, it hasn’t changed all that much over the years. The structure is identical, but on the version we released on Aphelion, the guitar solo has changed, the lead guitar in the chorus changed very slightly, we added some extra guitars in the chorus, and I added some vocal harmonies. After we released Aphelion, a lot happened with the lineup that kind of made State of Illusion take a step back, but since creating the current lineup of the band, we decided to release "Blind" as a reworked and remixed single and shoot a music video for it to help gain some more momentum for the band and Aphelion before heading back into the studio. In the current version, Cam went in and re-tracked his leads, I re-tracked the rhythm guitars and changed some of the lyrics to update the song to be relevant to where the band is today, and re-recorded the vocals. We added in tiny bits and pieces of old recordings of some of our former band members and then got Greg Macklin to remix it. I couldn’t be happier with the growth of the song and of the band as a whole. I love those guys and am so happy that we get to do this together. The fact that it is this lineup in the music video pleases me to no end. We could’ve done this before, but it feels like it was meant to be this group.
9. That track comes off your full-length album titled "Aphelion", that has been out for a while now, have any new music in the works?
Cam: Yes, new music is on the way. After several lineup changes and finally nailing down the group of guys we have now, I feel like we can finally move forward and create an even bigger sound than Aphelion projects. The band has been around for over a decade but there have been periods of time where Jacob was the only member left in the band. We are ready to work hard and develop what I believe the band deserves. The passion between the four of us is phenomenal and I am very excited for what we have coming.
Jacob: The new pieces that we have worked on are awesome. I think that we are really expanding on Aphelion’s sound and creating new textures while still having the same heart that Aphelion does. Not only that, but it really helps to be surrounded by a group of guys that WANT to do this and WANT to have their place in the songs. Everyone brings something unique to the table.
10. Why should people go forth and still invest in "Aphelion"?
Cam: People should still invest in Aphelion because we are still investing in it. It’s a big album. We are still doing live shows around Aphelion and most things we do make the album stay present. I do not feel Aphelion has finished its job yet. Though I am ready for new music, I believe there are lots of folks who need to hear this record and we haven’t had the opportunity to reach them yet.
Brandon: Aphelion was written and recorded almost exclusively by Jacob, but with each new member joining the band, we all brought with us unique elements, breathing new life into an already great album.
Bryce: Before I joined, I was a huge fan. That album never stops hitting you. It’s an experience like no other. This is from an avid fan. Yes, new music is wanted, but if you haven’t listened to this album yet, you REALLY need to--it’s something you will never forget.
Jacob: I wrote Aphelion mostly in 2012 with our then-bassist Josh Breland. It took quite a while for it to be mixed and it’s been quite a while since the album was released but I’m still not tired of playing these songs every day. One of my goals was to write songs that you can feel and sing along to that weren’t too complex but still intricate enough to keep you coming back and hearing another layer that you didn’t hear before. Not only that, I wanted to write what I felt would be timeless music, meaning not falling into any trends—something I wouldn’t be ashamed to show my grandkids. Therefore, when you listen to Aphelion, you’re not going to hear something that sounds like 2014, you’re going to hear something fresh. And keep in mind that, any new band member in any band always wants to write new music that they can be a part of. The guys in State of Illusion are still passionate about Aphelion even though they weren’t present for the creation or release of Aphelion. In fact, they outvoted me on pushing Aphelion a little while longer before really digging into creating new material. That is how much they believe in the music--just as much as I do--and it speaks volumes.
11. What are the plans that you guys have in-store for this next year?
Cam: 2018 is going to be a big year for us. We are going to try to stay on the road and do a lot of writing in between. I would expect a new State of Illusion album in 2019.
Bryce: Bigger and better than ever. We’re talking: on the road, new music, live performances like you’ve never seen, festivals, you name it.
12. Would you like to say or want to add anything more?
Cam: I would like to add a personal thank you to anyone who has supported us this far and anyone who supports rock music in general. I love what we get to do; I just want to do more of it!
Bryce: Thank you so much. Without the support of my friends and family, without the fans, without the people like Natalie's World talking to us, etc., we would not be here doing this. I wouldn’t be here, so thank you very much. I love you all very much and I hope to see you on the road!
Jacob: While I will say that I would continue to push State of Illusion without support, anyone that is not in a band that is actively working to make music their career does not understand how disheartening and difficult this path is. That is why I want to say a huge thank you from the bottom of my heart to everyone that has supported us, bought a CD, sung along with us at a show, sent us a message, commented on our videos, shared our music, patted us on the back after a show, or come to talk to us at the merch table. You guys do more for us than you know. You lift us up and make us feel welcome when just about everything else in this business brings us down. If I can ask for one thing, it would be this: please continue to share our music. That is the best thing anyone can do to help us out. We love you guys and I can’t wait to see everyone on the road!