Indietronic dance rock band, State Disco, was conceived in a dream about an imagined European realm where people rave at government-sponsored dance parties. One listen, and you’ll lose yourself in driving, urgent beats, melodic synth and guitar, and soaring vocals. A fresh, danceable sound and energetic live show are quickly earning State Disco recognition as one of Omaha’s most exciting new bands. Led by vocalist and multi-instrumentalist, Cody Rathman, the four-piece is rounded out by Jay NeSmith (keys, vocals), Nate Fowler (drums) and Jared Bakewell (bass, vocals). We got the chance to interview this incredible up and coming band and hear more about tour, music, and their story.
AltWire: How did all of you start music? What drove each of you to music and then how did your band come to be?
Cody: The band got started with me and Jared trying to write weird dance music on some synths and a drum machine. We had a bunch of people over to jam with, but nothing felt right until Nate, my longtime friend, moved back to Omaha making him our drummer. We met Jay through Hear Nebraska, a music blog, and he had great hair so we added him in and got after making this music.
AltWire: Can you tell us a bit about your music? It is a really interesting mix of a bunch of different styles and is totally different from a lot of what I have heard. How have you developed this sound?
Cody: We knew we wanted our shows to be parties, not just concerts so everything we make has to be danceable. Jared’s influenced by 80’s synth-driven pop. He typically brings in the original idea and then we build the song from there incorporating everyone’s influences which are pretty all over the place from jazz to punk rock. We like to imagine it would be the soundtrack if John Hughes made an 80’s movie in 2018.
AltWire: Let’s talk about your EP Going to Sleep Is Giving Up, what is the story behind the EP and what was the process of writing and working on the project like?
Cody: Since our inception as a band, we have all been through a lot. Making music is cathartic like few other activities and our rehearsals are usually pretty late at night. Calling it a night in the midst of hatching a new idea or a melody before it’s finished feels like giving up. Jared spends a lot of late nights working on weird creative projects and has a hard time giving up on the day so he named the record after that feeling that straddles insomnia and manic creativity.
AltWire: Have you had a favorite song to work on (released or yet to come out) and why?
State Disco: Our song “Chameleon” went through some big changes in the studio and has become one of our favorite songs on the album. It was always a favorite of the band, but became even more so after Graham Ulicny worked his studio magic on it. It might not be the best song on the record musically, but it smokes live and it’s usually the show closer.
AltWire: What about anything else in the works? What ideas do your have for upcoming music?
Cody: As of right now, we are planning on releasing several more music videos by the end of the year. Our record release party is coming up on April 21st at The Waiting Room in Omaha, NE. This will be a big night for us as we finally play to our hometown crowd after a long break from local shows.
As for new music, we still have five more songs that we hope to record in the future. With things settling down, we are looking forward to more writing sessions as a group. Settling on the five songs for Going To Sleep Is Giving Up was a challenge as we all had our different favorites within the band as well as some crowd favorites that we knew had to be on the first record.
AltWire: What has been your favorite memory as a band so far? Any crazy experiences or specifically great moments?
Cody: We shot our “Million Miles Away” video at O’Leaver’s where we actually played our first show. Returning to that spot with a polished record instead with those first show nerves was a cool experience. Being in a band with three other creative, adventurous guys makes playing out of town fun. We just got back from playing three showcases in Austin and had a blast down there.
AltWire: Do you have any artists you love right now that you think we should listen to?
Cody: On our adventures at SXSW we found some new favorite bands. Check out Charles Fauna and Vesperteen. These artists really got our attention. At our record release party we have the honor of having Twinsmith and The Kickback play with us – these two are easily our favorite local/regional bands and are very excited to share a stage with them.
AltWire: Lastly, and thank you for your time, where can we find you and your music online?
Cody: Head on over to our new website at www.statedisco.com for our music, video, photos, and social media connections. Thank you for taking your time to interview us, and thank you readers for supporting indie artists!