August 11, 2009
It’s both a testament to the diversifying taste of the punk scene and the vision of Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman that the wide range of bands on the Warped Tour has gotten even wider each year. A festival that used to be a predominantly punk festival with a handful of other acts has gotten truly varied in recent years.
One band to benefit from this is Colorado’s 3OH!3, an electronic and hip-hop duo that is now in its second year on Warped, and the kids have been really receptive.
We caught up with, Sean Foreman, half of 3OH!3, while the band was taking a couple days off in their hometown before finishing up the Warped Tour.
RC: How’s the Warped Tour been this year?
SF: Great. It’s a really fun tour, and Kevin Lyman has helped us out by putting us on the tour last year. This year’s just cool, it’s the 15th anniversary, and there are a lot of cool old school bands on it. We’re lucky enough to share the stage with a lot of these guys that have been doing it for a long time, and our crowds are great; they’re massive, so it’s pretty cool.
RC: Yeah, I saw you guys in Detroit, and the crowds seemed to be really into you.
SF: Yeah, that was gigantic.
RC: Which begs the question, it’s a question that comes up with a lot of Warped bands with a different sound – a lot of people seem like they want to lean toward the question of what it’s like to not be a punk band on something that’s considered to be a punk rock tour, but Warped Tour’s becoming less and less exclusively punk, isn’t it?
SF: I think Kevin Lyman keeps it a little diverse. It’s cool because it always has been; I know it is seen as a punk rock show, but anyone who has been going for a long time knows that Iced T has played it, Eminem has played it, it’s always been pretty diverse. It’s cool because it gives looks at new bands and upcoming bands, but especially lately it has been leaning in a different area.
I think you can still get your punk rock fill from bands like NOFX and Bouncing Souls and Bad Religion, but at the same time you might catch something you enjoy in a different vein, whether it’s like P.O.S. rapping, or Innerpartysystem, which is electronic. It’s cool.
It’s definitely changing, and for the Warped Tour purist, it might be a little weird and shocking, but I think it’s important to keep change in mind, especially in music. Even if you don’t always like the new stuff, I think it’s important to hear it.
RC: Yeah, it’s definitely a new direction. Like years ago at the Warped Tour, you’d go and Ice T would be the hip-hop act for the day…
SF: Right, yeah, there’d just be one, and now it’s so diverse, such a range. It just changed. Punk rock has bred a lot of different stuff, whether it’s bastardized certain genres or whatever, but it opened the door for hardcore, and hardcore became a sort of weird pop scene, and that’s there, so there’s this new age hardcore there, there’s punk rock, there’s hip hop, there’s electronic music.
It is kind of crazy; it’s a circus and I think that’s the point. It’s always been kind of a freak show and a circus, so it’s cool to see a lot of different stuff.
RC: And while we’re talking about origins, where do you guys draw your influences?
SF: It is a lot of different stuff. I grew up doing a lot of hip-hop. Writing kind of mix tape CDs, or doing MC battles, listening to a lot of underground hip-hop, stuff that’s more avant-garde. And also at the same time, I kind of got into punk music, and electronic music, I started listening to bands like the Faint, that redefined what would be an indie band by using electronic, heavy beats and pop-influenced beats, and also listening to heavier stuff like Lil Jon that reinvented Dirty South and crunk music.
I think it’s just drawing on our hip hop influence, then more melodic singing and then pulling in undeniably heavy and aggressive electronic music, which is stuff that Nat has been more keen on doing with production – pulling these abrasive electronic sounds and making cool music out of it.
RC: You talk about how much you draw from hip hop, but I think one of the most interesting things about you guys is how hip hop always has a lot of posturing, a lot of egos going on, but you guys seem to go out of your way to not take yourselves seriously sometimes.
SF: Yeah, I think that’ the whole point. It’s something we got really sick of. It’s something that happens in every scene, especially the more pure parts of the scene. Sometimes it becomes more close-minded, you draw lines around what you believe is sacred, whether it’s underground hip-hop or with punk music, and you just become closed-minded to anything that might be different, or pulling that circle a little further, and we’re just kind of sick of it, because we like so much different music.
You can take any genre and I can tell you something I like in it. It’s not like I’m one of those people who be like “Oh, I hate country,” because I think those are people who just haven’t listened to enough country to understand or be learned on it.
I think basically it’s just important to be open-mined, and for us it’s about breaking down those barriers and having fun, and giving people an excuse to come to a show and not stand there with their arms crossed, gauging whether or not it’s cool or hip enough for them to do it. Just come out and dance; there’s nothing more to it. It’s party music. It’s fun. We like that mentality, there’s just too much elitism sometimes in music, and sometimes you just need a good song to dance around to, and kind of have a good time.