Interview: Nathaniel Motte of 3OH!3 (Part 2)

If you went to school dances in the late 2000s, you were most likely familiar with 3OH!3. This synthpop duo, made up of Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte from Boulder, Colorado (the band name is taken from their zip code), deserves the exclamation point in their name—their songs are undoubtedly full of energy. They’re arguably most famous for “DONTTRUSTME,” whose “I’m a vegetarian” line is well known by a certain generation. They also made waves with “STARSTRUKK” and “My First Kiss,” which featured pop queens Katy Perry and Kesha, respectively. In 2018, the guys haven’t lost steam—they’re still just as hyped-up onstage, and they’re about to embark on a cross-country tour.

I had the chance to chat with Motte at Warped Tour in Columbia, Maryland. Our conversation covered Warped Tour memories, the “DONTTRUSTME” video, Alice in Wonderland, and more.

This is the first part of a two part interview with the two members of 3OH!3. For our interview with Sean Foreman, click here.

TYF: This is the last Warped Tour; what have some of your favorite memories from this year’s tour been so far?

Nathaniel Motte: For us, it’s been amazing to get back out. We do a lot of college shows and what we call one-off shows, but we haven’t done a steady tour like this in a couple years, so to get back out and see that the crowds are huge, and to do what we love to do, just rock the party and make sure that everyone out there is having a good time… That’s what’s been happening here. And we see people at the meet-and-greets who tell us they grew up with their music, and it’s pretty surreal and pretty great.

TYF: You guys are kind of like Warped Tour regulars at this point. You’ve been on Warped Tour many times. What are some of your favorite memories from past years?

Motte: You know, we have memories ranging from Katy Perry stage-diving off our stage in 2008 to the first time we ever played Warped Tour, which was the first time I had ever been to Warped Tour, which was 2007 in Denver. More than memories, I think it’s just [about] the friendships we’ve made—[with] other bands on this tour, [with] a lot of the people behind the scenes who work so hard and are so efficient… And then there’s the shows and connecting with fans. [Warped Tour is] a tour that really breaks down a lot of walls, figuratively and literally. Like, if you’re interested in meeting a band, you can go meet the band, shake their hands, say hi. For us, that’s just as important as [it is for] the fans of our music, I think—to come face-to-face with people who support us and love to do what we love to do.

TYF: For sure. How would you say that Warped Tour is different in 2018 than it was in 2007, or even 2016?

Motte: We’ve heard some horror stories about the catering [when Warped Tour first started]. The food here [now] is really good. We have a company called Ta Da Catering that’s run by our friend Shelleylyn, who’s amazing. I think [Warped Tour has] become relatively comfortable. It’s still crazy, because it’s still 500-600 people. You kind of pack up a whole city and move every day. But I think the music has evolved a lot. Kevin [Lyman]’s always been great about bringing different musical acts out. [There are] punk and pop punk and those acts, and then Eminem and the Black Eyed Peas and those kinds of acts have been on the tour. It’s always been varied, and I think this year is a continuation of that.


TYF: You guys are releasing your 10-year anniversary edition of your album Want, which kind of started it all. Do you feel like you’ve changed a lot as a band or as people since then?

Motte: Yeah; it’s been 10 years. It’s been 10 years since that Want album, so we’re pressing vinyl for it, which is cool. And we’re planning a tour for the fall to celebrate it, [which] we’re gonna announce in a couple of days. You grow and you change, but I think our music and our shows have always kind of stayed the same. They’ve always been about including people, making sure that everyone who comes can have a good time, can let go of things that might be bothering them, and just have fun and just party. And that’s the same thing we do onstage. It’s great.

TYF: Now let’s revisit your iconic video for “DONTTRUSTME.” That’s one of the most nostalgic songs from the late 2000s. How’d you guys come up with that idea, and what was it like filming it?

Motte: We came up with that idea in collaboration with our buddy Isaac Ravishankara, who was one of the directors on it. He’s actually from Boulder, Colorado, where we’re from. He’s a good friend of ours. And then it just kind of spiraled into this thing where it was like, “Oh yeah, we gotta get you wrestling outfits, and we’re gonna paint your bodies while you’re half-naked.” At that time, we had kind of come to believe that the first thought we had creatively was the best thought, and we didn’t question anything. So I guess that was just a result of (laughs) not having too much of a filter about anything.


TYF: You guys have a certain famous lyric in that song about being a vegetarian. I’ve always wondered… Are you actually a vegetarian?

Motte: So Sean wrote that, and at the time, he was, yeah. That particular line is his. He’s no longer a vegetarian, but…

TYF: You guys have larger-than-life lyrics, and some people have suspected that this is satirical, to a certain extent. Would you say so? Are you just having fun?

Motte: I think the one thing that ties everything together is a sense of fun, and there is a sense of humor in our songs. I mean, we have a song called “My Dick.” That’s obviously very tongue-in-cheek, and there’s parts of “DONTTRUSTME” that are tongue-in-cheek. So yeah, some of the songs are overtly meant to be funny and to make people laugh and smile, and then we’ve got songs that were fun to make, but are fairly serious lyrically and compositionally. But yeah, we try to inject that sense of creativity and having fun into everything we do.


TYF: One of the other popular songs from Want was “STARSTRUKK” with Katy Perry. What was it like working with her?

Motte: It was great. We actually met Katy through Warped Tour. She did all of 2008, and that was our first tour, as well, so we got to be really close with Katy, and she’s a great person. To be able to work with her… We had been essentially collaborating with her all summer ‘cause her instrumentalist would come and play with us during our set, so to be able to actually pin it down and do the collaboration was amazing. She’s an incredible singer.

TYF: You did a surprise set at Emo Nite LA earlier in the year. What was that like?

Motte: It was great. Those are homies of ours. They’re great people. We see a lot of parallels [between] what they do and we do in shows. It’s people coming to have a good time, to reminisce and dance, really, and that’s kind of what our shows are all about. (Mysteriously) Stay tuned…

(Writer’s note: a few days later, 3Oh!3 would announce this tour in collaboration with Emo Nite LA.)

TYF: You also did Warped Rewind at Sea. What was that like? What are some of your favorite memories from that?

Motte: It was amazing. I think we were all a little bit antsy to just go on a cruise, a cruise that’s attempting to be a music festival. It was so successful. It was a lot of fun. Everybody just came together, and it ended up being kind of like a vacation for us, too, because we brought some of our loved ones.

TYF: You have a song from a while ago called “Love 2012.” When the whole 2012 craze was happening and the whole “end of the world” thing was going on, how did you guys react?

Motte: We were kinda tongue-in-cheek about it. We weren’t too worried about it. Once we got past the year 2000, Y2K, we were all good. It’s all coasting from here.

TYF: Very true. You guys also did a song for the Alice in Wonderland (2010) soundtrack a while back. If you were going to go to tea with any character from Alice in Wonderland, which would you choose?

Motte: I mean, it’s gotta be the Mad Hatter, right?

TYF: For sure.

Motte: He might not be a great conversationalist. I feel like he’d just talk at you. He’s, like, one of those guys who doesn’t really ask you questions, you know. Just tells you about his life. But his life is probably interesting.

TYF: Probably. What would you ask him about?

Motte: All the weird drugs that he does that I don’t wanna do. I’d just kinda listen to him.

TYF: For sure. Is there anything else you guys would like to say to the readers and fans?

Motte: We’re really excited. It’s been amazing being on this last run of the Warped Tour. Obviously, we love the people who come out and support us, and who have been coming out to Warped Tour for so long. It’s amazing for us, too, so we’re excited to wring it out. We’ve just got a couple of shows left here, and as we mentioned, we’ll be back out touring soon in the fall. I think we’re coming through the DC/Maryland area soon, so stay tuned!


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