The Refrain Interview: State Run Radio

A lot happened between late 2001, the last time Brian Schatzel was in a band, and late 2020. Donald Trump, following 8 years of our first Black President, made racism acceptable and divided our country more than it has been since the civil war era. Then the pandemic hit and locked us all away. Needing an outlet more than ever, Brian began playing bass guitar and eventually assembling what would become State Run Radio. The band’s lineup was solidified when drummer Matt Pursino moved to second guitar and Dan Pursino joined Brian, Matt, founding guitarist Thomas Berghorn and vocalist Joe Mazzeo, to take over behind the drums.

The band is fueled by Political disgust and Media distrust which comes across in everything from the band’s name and Mazzeo’s lyrics to their cover of Marginal Man’s Missing Rungs and their Evil Mic artwork by Billy Sidebyside. State Run Radio released 2 EP’s back to back in August and September of 2022 while playing with Murphy’s Law at Amityville Music Hall in-between.

We had the chance to ask State Run Radio a couple questions as part of The Refrain Interview Series. Check it out below.

Refrain Music Blog: Thanks for taking the time to do this interview. You have a new album out now. What’s it called? 

Matt Pursino: We have 2 releases. A self titled 6 song EP, plus a 4 song EP, called the Early Year. We called it that because those were the first songs written before our lineup solidified. Both EPs are included on the 12” vinyl release.

Brian Schatzel: The 3 songs on the early year were recorded in 2020 but never released because of the pandemic. So when we went in to record the self titled EP we also re-recorded those, added a cover and put it on the b-side

RMB: How many songs on the album?

MP: These are our first 2 releases we did together. 

BS: Dude, are you even listening to the questions??? 10 songs in total, 6 on self titled, 4 on the early year.

RMB: Is this your first album? If not tell us about your previous work and how this differs from your previous work.

BS: Here I am thinking Matt’s an idiot, meanwhile he’s a mindreader.

RMB: What’s the story on how it was recorded?

MP: George Fullan, the vocalist from LIHC Band Clockwise produced, recorded and mixed both EPs. We recorded everything in his home studio except the drums which we recorded at his friends studio the Workshoppe East. Everything went pretty well, other than some Covid delays.

BS: I think recording was spread over like 5 months between someone always having Covid and George working in the streaming industry for MLB. As soon as spring training started before we were done we knew we were in for a marathon. Brad Boatright at Audiosiege Mastered it all.

RMB: Do you have a favorite song on the album? Tell us about it?

MP: My 2 faves are Rent the Garden and Our New National Anthem. They’re both catchy, and fun to play.

BS: Of course you picked the 2 you wrote! RTG has a great rock feeling riff and Anthem has guest vocals by George. But since Matt stole those I’ll say Rat Bastard. It’s short and thrashy, we actually play it twice back to back. On its own it sounds like a different band but on the record or before or after a more mid tempo song in a set it fits in so good.

RMB: Are there any overarching themes on the album?

BS: I think the entire theme of the band comes through in our name and artwork. We don’t plan to go away from that. We hate the media and we hate politicians.

RMB: Who are some of your biggest musical influences?

MP: I’d say we’re influenced mostly by the punk and hardcore bands we grew up listening to and going to see.

BS: I feel like I just listened to a baseball player say his influence to play baseball was baseball players. If I had to say there was one band everyone agreed on making an influence on our sound it would be Dag Nasty but we all have pretty different backgrounds musically.

RMB: What’s the one thing you are most proud of in your career so far?

MP: I’m pretty proud about just releasing a record, and playing the songs live with other fun bands. When you’re playing the songs, and you see people dig it, that’s pretty cool.

BS: Not being a Dick. I was the vocalist in another band back in 2001 and we were young and dicks. I randomly bought a bass during the pandemic and taught myself how to sort of play it. Starting a band was never in the plans but then I was like fuck it, why not? I can get a redo and not be a Dick this time.

RMB: If you had to pitch your music to a potential fan in less than 10 seconds, what would you say?

MP: Our stuff is fast, short, and catchy. Listen to it.

BS: You haven’t heard us yet? You should be ashamed.

RMB: What’s one piece of advice you’ve gotten that you think everyone needs to hear or that has meant the most to you?

MP: Practice your songs, until you know em every which way. When you play em live, you want em to sound good. 

BS: Pat chicken wings dry before you season them and throw a tablespoon of baking powder in the seasoning. Boom, so crispy!

RMB: If you could go back in time, what’s a piece of advice you would give to a younger you?

MP: Don’t be lazy, then I’d prob be a lot better guitar player. 

BS: Don’t buy a house.

RMB: What’s coming up next for your musical project?

MP: Right now we’re just writing new stuff and playing shows whenever we can. Hopefully we’ll have some new material out early next year.

State Run Radio is:

Vocals – Joe Mazzeo
Guitars – Thomas Berghorn & Matt Pursino
Bass – Brian Schatzel
Drums – Dan Pursino

Connect With State Run Radio:
Website / Instagram

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