Interview: Rival State (Download 2015 Preview)

When the stage split was first announced, New Zealand rockers found themselves lined up on the Fourth Stage alongside some of the UK’s most talented up and coming bands. A huge achievement for any band, they were rightly proud of their position. Fast forward a few weeks and the quintet found themselves propelled up the poster on the Second Stage alongside the likes of Black Stone Cherry and the legendary Thunder. We had a good old chinwag with the bands bassist Stef to gather what the mood is like in camp Rival State running up to Donington!

Rival State play the Second Stage on Friday

Rival State play the Second Stage on Friday

DD: Hello there! First of all, thanks for talking to us. Who have we got here, what do you do in Rival State, and what are you up to right now?

No problem, I’m Stefan, I play Bass Guitar in Rival State, I’m literally just enjoying a coffee in the sun at the moment, and band wise we are just gearing up for the festivals!

DD: This is going to be the first time you guys have graced a stage at Download Festival. How excited are you to finally make your début appearance?

Our excitement levels are on full throttle at the moment, we are honoured to be a part of the festival and definitely don’t take the opportunity for granted.

DD: What other festival plans do you have over the summer, and how does Download compare to these other festivals?

We have Camden Rocks and Hyde Park coming up as well and they are all amazing events with great line ups! You Brits are definitely spoiled for choice when it comes to the summer festivals.

DD: Are you planning on soaking up the full weekend experience this year? What bands are you looking forward to seeing, and what bands are you looking forward to hanging out with?

Yeah we are definitely going to make the most of it, there isn’t that many opportunities to see this good of a line up in one weekend so we will be front row and centre for a lot of bands. Slipknot, Rise Against, Parkway Drive, Andrew WK, Every Time I Die, and the list goes on… The hardest thing for me is trying to split my time between Muse and Marilyn Manson who are on at the same time. Im a huge fan of both, so I’m going to have to develop some form of organisation skills to jump between the stages, but I’m up for the challenge! Festivals are great for meeting fellow bands, so I’m sure we will bro-down with a lot them! We have been chatting to a few bands on the bill on Twitter so it will be good to put some face to face banter on these chats, haha.

DD: You guys come all the way from New Zealand, right?! Are their any similar festivals over there that compare to Download? What’s been your favourite festival so far?

Yeah we are from a small town in New Zealand called New Plymouth, so being a part of Download Festival is a huge deal for us! When we were kids, seeing a Download poster with all our favourite bands seemed so far from reality, so to experience it in the flesh is special. NZ/Australia has some pretty cool festivals – Soundwave, Big Day Out, and a few smaller ones but I dont think anywhere in the world does festivals like you guys do over here!!! Favourite festival I’ve been to so far? My first ever Big Day Out in NZ (nothing beats the first festival experience).
DD: I think at one point maybe a few weeks ago you were pencilled to play the smallest stage at this years festival. You’ve now been bumped up to the Second Stage. First of all, how fucking awesome is that? Secondly, does playing on such a massive festival stage compared to a club show change the way you prepare for a set?

When we got the news we were fucking gobsmacked and that still doesn’t do our mind set justice. To be on that stage with all those amazing bands; its a milestone moment for us. We are definitely giving this set the attention it deserves and with the space and buzz of the stage we want to do it justice. We are bringing in a few little extras to give it that Kiwi vibe and show a little bit of where we are from. Go big or go home right?

DD: Your new EP Gutter Mouth comes out only a few days before the festival kicks off. Can we expect to hear a number of new songs off that record?

Yeah totally! We are doing a good mix of Youth Tax / Gutter Mouth tracks and we have been working on the set the last few weeks and are really happy with the flow. The new stuff compliments with the old well and we have gone with the volume on 11 approach so expect a full on set! Start the day how yah want to end it in my opinion.

DD: There’s going to be a whole load of kids making their first trip to Download this year. If you could give three pieces of advice to the festival virgins, what would it be?

Well I’m gonna give them the advice I should have taken myself the first time i went to a festival!

1) Bring Gumboots (wellys i think you call them here?). Festivals are no place to make a fashion statement, you’ll end up looking the “dick” trying to navigate the obstacle course of mud.

2) Baby Wipes (enough said)

3) Dont spend 70% of the time watching the show through your cell phone!!! Be selfish and enjoy the experience first hand.

DD: OK, a light one to wrap things up. Imagine you are camping at Download this year. You can only choose ONE of the following luxuries. A) a tent, B) a sleeping bag, C) a stack of beer. What one do you choose, and why?

I’m going to go practical on this one and say the tent. A sleeping bag will only do you justice until the sun rises and a stack of beer without anywhere to pass out is just a bad look, haha.

DD: That’s about it from us. Thanks so much for taking the time to answer some questions. Any last words to our awesome readers?

No problem, anytime mate! Famous last words eh… hmmm – I feel like I should motivate the youth of today with something inspiring and life changing but lets face it, Im not above some good ol’ shameless self promotion, haha! Check us out online, watch a few videos, and we hope to see yah at the Secind Stage, Friday at Download!!