98.7 AMP RADIO Presents: 3OH!3 with OUTASIGHT and SILAS at the Crofoot Ballroom
3OH!3's playful sense of humor has always been matched by their tireless work ethic, both of which are at the forefront of the band's latest album OMENS. Like their self-released debut, their latest album was produced by the band and sees this duo further expanding on the musical motifs that have endeared them to fans worldwide, while simultaneously stretching forward to redefine what 3OH!3 represents today. Oh and don't worry, it will still make you dance.
Admittedly the process of making OMENS—which saw the band writing, recording, producing and mixing over 20 songs—was intense and unforgiving at times, but it allowed for a completely unfiltered snapshot of what Sean Foreman and Nathaniel Motte are capable of when it comes to ingenious wordplay, inventive beats and a one-of-a-kind sensibility that can turn everything from a V.I.P. nightclub to the main stage at the Warped Tour into an instant party.
“With all of our records it’s always just been us,” explains Motte—who recorded the album in his basement studio in Colorado—when asked about the band's autonomous nature. “Since we made our first record four years ago we’ve learned so much about songwriting and production as well as the actual logistical and technical side of making a record, so we really wanted to explore the idea of allowing this record to showcase who we are as people and musicians.”
While most acts in their position would choose to work with big name producers or stack their disc with special guests, for OMENS the duo decided to get back to their roots to recapture the magic of 3OH!3’s humble beginnings. “We didn’t try to think too much about the songs we wanted to make, we just really tried to have fun making this record and at times it made us feel so giddy it was like we were back in college again,” Foreman explains. “That love of music without all the pressure has always been at the core of our sound and we never want to lose that.”
Correspondingly OMENS features songs like “TWO GIRLFRIENDS” and "BLACK HOLE" with sexually charged, pop-culture-heavy rapping that has endeared them to countless fans. For every hip-hop banger there’s also an infectious club-friendly rocker such as “YOU’RE GONNA LOVE THIS” and “MAKE IT EASY.” “I love a song like ‘YOUNGBLOOD’ because it’s very positive and hopefully brings out something in people that’s inspirational without being too heavy,” Foreman explains. When asked about “BACK TO LIFE” Motte adds, “we’re all about including people no matter where they came from or genre they associate with, and that’s what that song represents to me.”
Having collaborated with some of the biggest names in pop such as Katy Perry, Ke$ha and Lil John over the past few years, 3OH!3’s expanded musical palette now extends beyond their own band. "Every time I work with an artist like Ke$ha and It Boys! it's a huge achievement and we've had so much fun working on every session whether the song blows up or not," Foreman explains. Similarly Motte—who has written with everyone from huge rock acts like Maroon 5 to underground hip-hop icons like AWOL ONE—adds, "Since me and Sean write and produce all our own music it's only natural to work with other people and we're really excited to continue doing that and see what happens."
That said, 3OH!3 have also had plenty of success on their own, most notably having their 2008 album WANT go Gold. "We're the kind of band who are still making albums, not just one song after another, so to have that come to fruition and have it take a couple of years it was really obvious that the work that we've been putting into the band has paid off," Foreman says. "When Sean and I were making that record we were excited that anyone was going to hear it, so having it sell half a million copies four years later was really encouraging and flattering for us," Motte adds.
Anyone who's familiar with the band knows also knows that the duality between the band’s hard work ethic and party-friendly message has always laid at the core of 3OH!3 and they manage to further explore that balance on OMENS. “It’s funny because as a band we walk a lot of razor thin lines and there’s always been this kind of conundrum in the art itself between what’s fun and what’s legitimate art—and our whole ethos is that they shouldn’t be mutually exclusive… and they aren’t in our case,” Motte explains. Another game-changing aspect of OMENS is the fact that Foreman has expanded his vocal style and felt comfortable expressing himself in new ways. “I love our past work but I was always finding my footing of what I was comfortable doing and with this one I feel like I found this really unique hybrid of singing and rapping,” he says. “I actually felt confident hearing my own voice this time around, which is something that’s new for me and I’m really proud of the way each vocal line syncs up with the instrumentation.” Then again none of this would matter without the constant support and validation that the band receive from their fans and they've continued that relationship by maintaining a strong online personality that's gained them over five million "likes" on Facebook.
"Our online presence is something we've always prided ourselves on because from the beginning we've always wanted to have a dialogue with our fans since they're as like-minded as us," Foreman says. "With this album we've been teasing parts of the album and getting feedback with fans in a way that wouldn't have been possible a few years ago, so that's incredibly exciting," Motte confirms.
Having already performed everywhere from The Tonight Show With Jay Leno to American Idol alongside Ke$ha, 3OH!3 have racked up an impressive resume that's seen them vying for MTV Video Music Awards, selling out shows worldwide, racking up platinum singles and blowing away audiences at festivals like Reading and Leeds. OMENS is just the latest step forward for a duo who just can't be categorized. As you might expect, neither the fans nor the band would have it any other way.
The viral video for Sammy Adams’ major-label debut single “Blow Up” is a pretty accurate look at what life is like for this rising young artist. Adams reels off lyrics asking “What’s it gotta take for a young kid to blow up?” to a hypnotic head-nodding beat and a recreated sample of the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind” (a nice nod to Adams’ Boston roots). The clip captures the 24-year-old performing for ecstatic crowds everywhere from roof-raising club gigs, to jubilant college shows, to massive outdoor festivals, including Lollapalooza and Bamboozle, where ten thousand people turned up at the Jumbo Stage just to see him.
A boyish-looking, sandy-haired charmer from Cambridge, MA, Adams fell in love with music as a kid. “My dad played drums in a rock band for 25 years and my mom sang back-up,” he says. “They loved music — everything from the Rolling Stones and the Beatles to Led Zeppelin and Canned Heat.” Adams began playing piano at age seven and learned to improvise at age 11. “Everything changed for me at that point because it was my type of thing,” he says. “I didn't have to read sheet music of someone else's song. I could come up with my own.”
Already a fan of hip-hop and rock, Adams began to write rhymes and create beats while in high school, which is when he developed a taste for such progressive techno-trance artists as Tiesto, Armin Van Buuren, and Kaskade. A soccer player throughout his life, Adams would make warm-up mixes and play them in the locker room to pump himself and his teammates up before games. “That’s when I realized I could put together all different types of music — hip-hop, rock, techno, and electronic dance music — and people would get into it,” he says. “It inspired me to start experimenting more with vocals and making actual songs.”
It was while sitting in class at Trinity College (where Adams was a political science major and captain of the soccer team) that he came up with the idea for his breakthrough single “I Hate College” — a cheeky remix of Asher’s Roth’s “I Love College,” which he recorded in his dorm room. After Adams’ friend posted it on his blog in August 2009, the track spread like wildfire among students across the Northeast. Encouraged by the response, Adams booked shows at colleges, impressing his peers with his freestyle ability, relatable lyrics, and unbridled energy. “We weren’t playing venues, we were doing frat-house basements where the electricity would short-circuit,” he recalls.
Adams built such a sizable following through touring that his independently released album Boston’s Boy shot to the top of the iTunes Hip-Hop/Rap chart on its first day out in March 2010, selling nearly 8,000 digital copies that week and outpacing albums by Lil Wayne and DJ Khaled. “We basically marketed the record on Facebook,” Adams says. “The buzz from ‘I Hate College’ really helped. Nearly all of our Facebook fans bought the album on the first day.” With its pop-rap sound and lyrics about coming up as an artist in college, Boston’s Boy earned kudos from local critics, one of whom noted: “There’s no falsity in his songs. He captures campus life with unparalleled specificity.”
With his Facebook fan page growing by the thousands, Adams was ready to take things to the next level, he just needed to figure out how. "I had been going to all these DJ shows, watching guys like Rusko and Skrillex, who were selling out huge 100,000-capacity festivals,” Adams says. “Kids would be going insane to these big drops and bass sounds. I really liked that style of music and wanted to incorporate it into my live show.” In September 2010, Adams released his first mixtape, Party Records, a seamless blend of dubstep, bass music, and electro-house with beats by Rusko, Deadmau5, Bassnectar, and other EMD giants.
“It was a passion project that really elevated our live shows because kids loved dancing to these kinds of songs,” Adams says. “It made a huge difference. We toured with Boston’s Boy mostly in the Northeast. With Party Records we could go anywhere.” Indeed, in addition to opening for such artists as Kid Cudi, Drake, Nicki Minaj, LMFAO, Ludacris, and J. Cole, Adams performed 180 headlining shows in the U.S. and Canada over the past year and sold out 160 of them, including a high-profile gig at New York City’s Terminal 5.
It’s with that striving spirit that Adams will take on his next challenge: forging a name for himself as a pop artist. “I want to make music that’s universal, that anyone can relate to,” he says. “I’ve had my biggest success so far with pop songs like ‘Driving Me Crazy’ [from Boston’s Boy] and ‘I Hate College’ and it has inspired me to write super-catchy hooks that people can jump up and down to. It feels authentic to where I am creatively at this point and I’m excited to continue to explore and play with this kind of music.”
Adams has been in the studio with his songwriting and production collaborators J.O.B., Bei Maejor, Alex Da Kid, Supa Dups, and others, working on the songs that will be included on his debut album for RCA Records, which he plans to release in Spring 2012. In the meantime, expect to see him popping up onstage whenever he’s not in the studio. “I’m motivated by how much I love entertaining and the connection I have with my fans,” he says. “I want to make music that makes them proud.” Which is why he ends the viral video for “Blow Up” with the following message: “For my fans, Every moment, every day, this is all for you. Thank you for making me what I am. I am humbled, proud, and excited. Everything has just now begun.”