Vans Warped Tour is primarily known for its punk rock acts, but it does flirt with the occasional genre changes. It’s hosted metal bands, rappers and even full-fledged pop stars. One group that’s combined pop music with the bratty spirit of Warped Tour surprisingly well is 3OH!3. The Colorado duo first played Warped over a decade ago and have since scored chart-topping hits like “Don’t Trust Me” and “My First Kiss” with electronic beats and crowd-ready choruses.
Sporting long blonde locks and a camouflage tank top, Sean Foreman sat down before his group’s nighttime set at Warped Tour in Wantagh, NY to talk about what 3OH!3’s done since starting at Warped, how it feels to be back and the atmosphere of the final cross-country Warped Tour.
This is the first part of a two part interview with the two members of 3OH!3. For our interview with Nathaniel Motte, click here.
TYF: When you guys were first at Warped, what was it like for you guys? You were pretty new and this was your first big national showcase. Were you nervous at all?
Sean: Yeah, I was a little bit nervous. I guess for us, our sound is not what I thought was so conducive. Once I got familiar with the tour I realized that it is home to a lot of different genres. Obviously when you think of Warped Tour you think of punk rock, pop punk, maybe hardcore, but Black Eyed Peas, Eminem and all of these different people played this tour dating back. It’s always kinda had a diversity in that way. Once that became apparent, we never had any issues. The fans here were great and always responded well so we kinda just felt at home after that.
TYF: How have you guys felt that you and the band have grown since you and the band started out?
Sean: Well I’ve got a lot of grey hair now, that’s one thing. I’d like to think that rather than grow, we’ve hopefully regressed. In a way, I want to keep that primal energy of when we started, you know? That’s a big thing for us. Obviously we’ve grown in certain ways: we’re adults and are trying to handle our stuff. We’re married and all of these domestic things. But as far as our shows, we want to keep that energy in the place where we found 3OH!3, which is we want it to be one-to-one between us and the fans. There’s no glitz and glamour onstage that isn’t in the crowd. It’s just primal energy that we like to have and communicate between us and the fans every single show.
TYF: When you heard that this was going to be the last cross-country Warped Tour, how did you feel about that?
Sean: You know what, I felt a mixed bag because I’m good friends with Kevin Lyman and we were talking about it. His intentions have always been really good with this tour as far as including nonprofits and having the ticket price be affordable. I think for him it’s like, “It’s time for me to move on, it’s time for someone young to step into that void and see what they can do.” And it’s not like the fans and type of bands are going anywhere, so I think it’ll be interesting. Hopefully someone who dreams as big as he does and has the right intentions steps in and sort-of corrals something. I’m not gonna say that it’s time for this tour to be done, but I think he has good intentions with closing it down and I think there will be a semblance of what it is even though it’s not the nationwide thing. He’ll still be shows.
TYF: Do you find that the spirit of Warped Tour itself has passed on and come into the mainstream all over places and kids spread it out beyond the Warped Tour environment?
Sean: Yeah I mean Warped Tour I think is a culture and the bands that it includes have definitely altered music. I was talking to someone earlier about how I’ve got buddies who are with traveling bands for Demi Lovato or Nick Jonas, and they’re all Warped Tour people. These are people who are the hardest-working people in the music industry, they have the right reasons for doing it and I think that permeates any of that culture because these are the people that are around and will be playing music for the right reasons. But also there’s the fans, like I was at our Meet and Greet today and I met so many fans saying, “I saw you ten years ago at Nassau,” and stuff like that. So it’s not something that goes away, this isn’t a radio show where the next hit song comes and people just gravitate to whatever is on the radio. These are people that get the names of their bands and lyrics tattooed on them and it’s the same way that I love music. There’s a passion there and that’s something I can appreciate with all of the fans.
TYF: How was the Meet and Greet? Was there anybody in particular that you felt was really special?
Sean: I mean, everyday there’s always stories. I think a lot of culture nowadays and bands here, and there’s not hate on their end, but I think people are trying to find ways to monetize different things to keep their band afloat. But we don’t make anyone pay or buy anything to meet us, we just like to meet as many people as we can in the given day and this is a great way to do it. We hear stories everyday. Someone drove from Minneapolis today for the show because they saw one show already but they wanted to make the road trip. It’s always pretty incredible and inspiring and it shows a mirror on that this is fun for us. We love doing it and the way we created it is fun. It’s impactful how much this can alter someone’s life, some people say it’s gotten them through hard times through middle school and stuff like that. It’s something that I didn’t necessarily make our music with that intention but it’s powerful to know that that has happened.
TYF: When someone mentions Warped Tour offhand, what’s a memory of your time on Warped Tour that pops into your head?
Sean: I think the first thing is porta potties but that’s maybe because of stockholm syndrome. Second thing is…man, it’s such a family that I think fondly of us sharing a stage everyday with Travis [Clark] of We The Kings when he dances with us and Simple Plan plays with us for the last song. When we started, Katy Perry, the only time she ever stage dove was off our stage during “Don’t Trust Me.” I think things got a little weird when she stage dove so she didn’t want to do that again. But that’s the stuff I think about and that’s the stuff I look back on. The shows are just incredible shows and the fans, these are diehard fans.
TYF: Is it weird to do the Warped Tour vibe in a different city and different environment night after night?
Sean: Yeah it’s different. It’s a little bit of a traveling circus but it becomes your homeostasis in a way. It’s a marathon, I mean we’re on for twenty days in a row right now which is very long and I don’t know other tours that do that. Once we get through this, you find the simple pleasures. You don’t think about it when you’re in home life but it’s a blessing everyday to wake up and walk out and get that sun in your face and be able to breathe the air and the shows keep you going.
TYF: How do you feel about this being the last cross-country Warped Tour?
Sean: I take my things day-by-day, that’s just me because I want to be present. It’s tough not to be big-picture but I think it’s one of those things that once it’s over, I’m really gonna look back on and really understand what it meant to me. Everyday, I just look at the challenges and the blessings that I get everyday with the shows and make sure I give it 100. It’s sort of like being an athlete in a way, but I think it allows me to be present and enjoy and deal with the things that come my way. The big picture will hit me once we’re at home.