The Fallen State Interview
Jon - Lead guitar The Fallen state
The Fallen State are on a headline tour of the UK this October.
When did you decide that a career in music was for you?
When I was 15 and started listening to Nirvana. Was like a switch that flipped and I re-geared my education all around that. Still going there!
Who are your musical inspirations and why?
There are so many but I’d focus on my early ones the most as they are the ones that started it all. I was dead into grunge like Nirvana and ALice in chains. As I got more into playing guitar... it was all about Dimebag Darrell… just the accuracy which that guy played with was something I wanted to be able to do so much! In more recent years, I really admire Rise Against’s sense of story-telling in their songs and Periphery is just straight awesome on every front!
Can you tell me 3 things about yourself that people might not already know?
1 - I have a degree in music but I also have one in history
2 - My family are exiles from Eastern Europe who escaped the Soviets over the East German border in the 1950s so there are plenty of interesting stories there
3 - I sleep in my box room so the master bedroom can be put to proper use as a production studio. Who needs sleep!
What song of yours best describes you and why?
Ha ha.. Lyrically or musically? Lyrically it would probably be Sons of Avarice… the lyrics came from me at an interesting time in my life. Musically, probably For My Sorrow. It’s very guitar driven just like I am!
What has been the best gig you have done to date and why?
Shepherd’s Bush last year with Tremonti. Big full venue and everything just clicked that night. Stage sound was great and a London audience that is really into it is thing to behold.
If you could perform a gig at any venue where would it be and why?
Wembley stadium because why wouldn’t you? That’s apl ace of musical legends. I’d also be curious to try out the now passed CBGB in New York. I really enjoy east coast hard core and read a lot about that though IU’ve never been there!
What has been your best achievement to date and what would like to achieve in the future?
Getting our album ‘A Deadset Endeavour’ out this year. I’ve been involved in loads of bands and recorded hundreds of tracks but that took something more. It was a real step up for us and gives us a starting place for the next album. Touring continental Europe was great as well. In the future, I just want more of that!
Tell me a story from backstage or after a gig?
So many things happen but can’t talk about most of them! Some of the funnier moments can be more mundane.. Nothing like watching an entire touring party huddled into a small corner of a large backstage because it’s the only place in the venue they can find wifi. I think it’s more important than food on tour!
What do you like best about being a musician and why?
Being a musician and being in abwo different things to me. The second is where you can express some of your musical identity. The first is where you do what it is that makes you tick. For me, the best moments are when you are playing something all involving and your just dead in with it… like everything is happening in slow motion and you are just on top of playing in that moment. It’s a feeling you chase all the time and when it happens it’s so empowering.
If you were not in the job you are now what would you be doing?
I’d have probably ended up being a soldier weirdly enough… family traditions and all that.
What has been the best gig you have been too as a fan and can you tell us about it?
Sick of it all at Download in 2006. Most of the fstival had gone to watch GnR on the main stage meaning only the hardcore were actually there. It was full enough and large enough to have amazing atmosphere but there was enough space to move and really get into it. They are an amazing band live.
What would your ideal festival line up be and why?
One with ‘The Fallen State’ at the top! If it weren’t us, I’d really like to see Periphery given a big summer festival slot immediately before Rise Against. Periphery are a bit niche to truly crack those big slots but I think, seeing how amazing those guys are that they’d do something fantastic.. And Rise Against have just got so many passionate lung emptying classics it would be superb.
What would you say is the best piece of advice you have ever been given?
Occam’s razor - Suppose there exist two explanations for an occurrence. In this case the one that requires the least speculation is usually correct. It can save you a lot of grief in life!
What things make you happy and what things annoy you?
For me happiness is in that moment mid-activity flow... whatever you’re doing.. When you are fully engrossed and not worrying about what comes next or went before.
The most annoying thing ever… that I complain about all the time.. Are overnight motorway closures. Why why why? You’re burnt out and knackered and just want to sleep and they send you on an expedition through deepest darkest Somerset!
What things do you like to do when you are away from music?
Fitness and learning.
Do you think social media and the internet are a good thing in the music industry?
The question is almost irrelevant as it is here and isn’t going anywhere. May as well ask if electrification or digital audio or are good. For some its amazing, it gives a platform for hardworking people to shine without having to do ‘the band thing’. The sharing of practice and ideas is amazing. The tougher thing about it is how it squeezes the small money that most artists get even more. I think it also has a darker side in the way that you can’t escape from the musical world as much. I’d imagine this inescapable pressure contributes a lot to some of the high profile cases involving musicians and depression.
How important do you think you look and image is when it comes to being in the music industry?
Key word there is industry. When you express yourself musically you are telling someone something about yourself. For them to understand that you have to speak in a shared ‘language’ they can understand. You have to look like your message is genuine or people will reject it. So if you want people to enjoy your music for what it is then you have to appear the way you want you music to be heard. This doesn’t mean you need to ‘fake’ it… you need to create one that fits for you and that’s where you can be creative.
Can you tell us about any tattoos have and the significance of them to you?
I do. It’s ll monochrome and is full of imagery that speaks to me. There is nothing specific about them but it tells you a little about how I feel about the world.
If you run the country for a day what would you change about it and why?
The education sector without doubt. Education is the single most powerful way of changing society for the better. This doesn’t mean it should be made easier because challenging people’s preconceptions and societal prejudices is part of it. That includes demonstrating why learning things children and their parents think isn’t valuable may well be. I would remove direct department for education control and put it into the hands of the teachers. It’ too easy for shortsighted ministers to kick it around for easy headlines and too many newspapers think they know what a good one is. Put it into the hands of the teachers who do so much to enhance and improve the future. I’d also try to reopen it to adults. Why should you only get one shot as a child? Education is valuable from the cradle to the grave.
What would your ideal day consist of?
Today’s been pretty close. Wake up, get a few hours of guitar in. Nip to the gym. Go play a show.. Have a party.. Rinse and repeat!
Can you tell me one thing about each member that people might not already know?
Rich is a champion golf player when he remembers his golf clubs. Greg was a great footballer in the past and supports Liverpool… but he supported Man United when he was a young kid because he looked like Peter Schmeichel. We’re from North Devon so don’t have any big local teams (don’t hate us!). Ben is a great chef. Dan has excellent comic timing and produces some of the best laughs we’ve ever had.
Can you tell us about any new releases gigs or anything else coming up in the future?
Out album ‘A Deadset Endeavour’ came out this year. Go buy it! It’s great... honest! We have our headlining tour later this year. We had to delay it until October because Dan had surgery for lung cancer but he’s recovering well and is raring to go. Tickets are available here http://bit.ly/2JhgfWg
If you could say one thing to your fans what would it be and why?
Thanks for being with us on this journey.. the best is yet to come… I can feel it in what we are writing right now...
How would you answer the question Who are The Fallen State ?
I’d refer you to our bio haha! Nah, we are the sum of 5 guys and all their music idiosyncrasies coming together to make the most cracking music we can.
What was the first record or song you purchased and why?
Nevermind by Nirvana. There was a girl on the school who was listening to it and I quite fancied her... I remember her putting ‘Come as you are’ on and that lick just got into my brain..
What would say to someone thinking about becoming a musician and getting into the music industry?
Be really good at playing and learning your instrument. Your industry/business fortunes may go up and down but if you apply yourself to truly being great at your instrument that will more joy than anything else. Mastery of an instrument is tough and will never be complete but it’ll bring so much value into your life. Youtube has revolutionised this.. What used to be ‘dark arts’ passed in small circles is now there for everyone. Learn it, use it and love it!
If you could collaborate with any other band/singer or musician who would you choose and why?
Periphery would be cool, so would Pantera or Martin Miller. It’s one of those bits of advice I heard somewhere (but I can’t remember where).. Always be the worst musician in the room.. That way you will learn more. All of those guys are/were great!
If you could have written one song from history which would it have been and why?
Haha.. so many again.. maybe ‘Country Roads’ by John Denver.. That song simultaneously captures the longing for home and has ‘livened’ up a lot of karaoke nights out!
What things make you uncomfortable?
Wilful ignorance. When people take pride in not being educated about something and use that pride as an argument as opposed to a place to learn more.
If you wrote a book about yourself what would it have in it?
Honesty, self-deprecating humour and a lot about the art of playing guitar
What has the rest of the year go in store for you?
It’s all about the tour. I’d love to meet all you guys reading and talk about shared passions. Come find me at the shows!