OOE Talks With: Mindy White of States

Interview questions by Paige Kochanski

With the perfect blend of pop and indie rock, States are gearing up for the release of their second full-length album, ‘Paradigm’. We talked with singer Mindy White about the new album, Kickstarter, and how she dealt with bullying as a kid. Check it out!

Open Our Eyes: States set up a crowd-funding campaign to help with the new album. Through Kickstarter, the band was able to raise more than your original goal in a month. How did that feel?

Mindy White: It was mind-blowing. I was way against the whole Kickstarter idea from the beginning. I didn’t think we could raise any money and it would be a huge disappointment. When we found out that we had made thousands over our goal, I was honestly shocked and incredibly humbled. Thank you guys so much.

OOE: How is the album process going?

MW: It’s great, it’s taken longer than we thought it would, though. Doing an album all by yourself takes so much more work and more time. Not only are you creating and recording, you’re also doing all of the producing, mixing, and mastering as a group as you go… without engineers and studio help. Plus, at a real studio, you can work every single day, all day long. We had to work specific times when the music wouldn’t bother Stephen or Bryan’s (guitarists) neighbors-we did the album at their houses-which interrupted the creative process and was sometimes difficult to get back into.

OOE: Tell us about the direction of the album in terms of sound. How does it differ from ‘Room To Run’?

MW: Honestly we didn’t have a specific “direction” for this album. With ‘Room to Run’ I felt too much pressure to make the album sound a certain way and make it all make sense. This time we just wrote what we wanted and wrote a TON. We had about 30 half-song ideas that I wrote lyrics and melodies to and, towards the beginning of recording, we went through and picked the ones we felt best about. I feel so much more carefree with this album. Every song has it’s own identity. I think that’s how it should be.

OOE: What have been your sources for lyric inspiration this time around?

MW: I didn’t realize how indignant some of the lyrics are until I heard them back. I’ve been reflecting back a lot lately on things from years ago. Some from the present. I don’t want to. I don’t know whats going on. Maybe I’m going crazy.

OOE: How do you think that self-producing and releasing benefits the album rather than having help with this?

MW: I think it shows the true drive and passion behind the band and the music. I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it as much as I do now, as an artist; now that I know how much really goes into the process. I think listeners want something that’s home-grown and real. Not something manufactured and forced. This album is really special, in that it’s 100% done by us. I would have loved to be able to do this album with a kick ass producer, in a great city, at a nice studio, but it wasn’t in our budget. But I love the guys in this band and they’re incredibly talented and fun to work with.

OOE: What is your favorite part of the recording process?

MW: Adding all the extra fun stuff at the end, after all the vocals, guitars, drums, bass have been tracked. And definitely when I’m DONE tracking, haha. I LOVE singing, but I get so worked up while tracking. I’ll knock out 3 songs in a day, and really push myself hard, so I basically have NO voice during recording weeks. I always feel so lame because if friends want to hang out or call me, I have to reply with a text, “I’m sorry, I’m on voice rest” and I always feel like the worlds biggest douche.

OOE: Do you have a general idea of when fans should expect the new album?

MW: It’s almost done right now. It’s just being mixed and mastered. It’s been a waiting game with everything, but if all goes well, I’m crossing my fingers for sometime in November. I really felt like this was a “summer album,” but we ran out of time. I mean, I listen to Christmas music in June, so whatever.

OOE: Any touring plans for 2014?

MW: None yet, but once the album is out I know we definitely want to tour. We will be looking!

OOE: Open Our Eyes raises awareness about suicide and depression in teens. You have talked briefly about being bullied as a teenager. How did you stay positive through this?

MW: Kids are mean. They don’t realize (or don’t care) that what they do and say could affect someone’s entire life. I went into a black hole of depression at one point and didn’t care to get out. I found my strength in music. I would come home, play my CDs, and zone out. I would write in a journal, but not “dear diary” stuff. I didn’t know what I was writing, but now I realize I was writing lyrics. I never felt like I fit in anywhere until I started going to local rock shows. I realized that a lot of the other kids were there for the same reason that I was. For an escape from the madness. For a chance to feel like we mattered, even just for the night. I kept hold of that, and I knew that when I graduated, I wanted to write music and tour, and be that person for someone else.

OOE: Was there any music in particular that helped you cope with this?

MW: The bands that I can remember coming home and blasting the most after a bad day were My Chemical Romance, Brand New, Dashboard Confessional, The Used, Saosin, Distillers, Fear Before The March of Flames, Taking Back Sunday, The Postal Service, The Early November, Further Seems Forever, Death Cab, Underoath, As Cities Burn, Saves the Day, At the Drive-In, and Sum 41.

OOE: How does it feel to know that now your music has changed a fan’s life or helped in some way?

MW: Incredible. Honestly, when people say that to me, I feel like I probably overcompensate telling them how much that means to me, but it really does. I mean, music saved my life. And if something I create can help someone else, that means more than anything. I feel like we’re given specific talents and abilities for a reason, to use them for something spectacular. I feel like mine was to create and perform something–that just so happened to be the exact same thing that saved me.

Keep up with States on facebook and watch out for ‘Paradigm’ later this year.

photo by Ethan Luck

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