No one has put a gun to our heads saying “you gotta do better” explains State of Shock front man Cameron Melynk.

The career or Vancouver based band State of Shock is similar to that of an uphill slope, gaining traction with each record released. 2004’s Guilty by Association introduced the quintet as a heavy, alternative rock band. Moving towards ballads and pop friendly tracks, the band hit gold with 2007’s Life, Love & Lies nabbing the attention of major labels and raking in numerous awards.

Now, here’s the pivotal point: with the release of 2011’s Rock N’ Roll Romance the band can continue on climbing the success ladder or they can fall off into music obscurity. Regardless of the outcome, Melynk insists either way the band is content.

“We’re happy with the record,” emphasizes Melynk. “If Joe Blow isn’t, that’s cool. People can say what they want, I hope they do. Its art, all you can do is your best. Once it gets to the people it is its own machine.”

As much as the humble band downplays success, one would assume there’d be mounting pressure to not only hit the same level but surpass it, especially after joining the big leagues, leaving former independent label Cordova Bay Records for Universal Music Canada.

“People think that our label has their meat hooks in us trying to make us sound a certain way,” says Melynk.

On the outside, this is exactly what it looks like. The band found success once they lightened their sound, added a few ballads, and shifted towards pop-rock. Seemingly, trading in their rock ‘n’ roll roots for radio friendly tracks. But this isn’t what happened.

“The record was done before we were signed,” explains Melynk. “All of our records were done before record deals were signed. These are our records we wrote, not somebody in an office.”

Not impervious to cultural trends, Melynk admits, “We’ve tried it in the past years ago, tried to be something we are not, and we’ve always just ended up putting on our own t-shirts and our own clothes saying, ‘this is who we are.’ It’s easier to be yourself, honest, and authentic and that’s what people relate to.”

As for those still bitter about the shift in sound Melynk justifies, “The album might sound a little more pop heavy, but we’re always going to write rock songs. The record may sound polished, and maybe it is, but we’re evolving. We’re musicians,” and anyway, “it’s like shooting yourself in the foot anytime you try to compete with your last effort.”

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