3OH!3

3OH!3 doesn't like to brag. Sean Foreman and Nathaniel 'Nat' Motte say that making their loud, distorted, electronic-pop music is not about the trophies and notoriety. No, forming 3OH!3 (named after the duo's area code in Boulder, Colorado) was always about something larger than themselves. It was and remains about being FUN!

If we go back to the beginning, we can find Sean in his parents basement, clicking incessantly on his mouse for 'friend-requests' on 3OH!3's sparkling new MySpace page. Meanwhile, across town, Nat is working on earth-shattering beats, hunched over his computer, in what he charmingly referred to as his 'dungeon' apartment. There, in a pair of blown-out computer speakers, Nat brought to life what the world currently knows as 3OH!3. Those sounds and songs became the band's 2007 self-released album, which were handed off across the states until they fell through the mail slot at Photo Finish Records and into the hands of label president Matt Galle.

Blown away by Sean and Nat's visionary production and clever lyrics, Galle immediately flew the boys into scenic Beltsville, Maryland, to record with the brilliant producer Matt Squire. Feeling at home in the studio, Sean and Nat worked day and night, piecing together their 2008 success, Want. With the help of their furry little producer friend Benny Blanco, 3OH!3's first single, "Don't Trust Me," crawled slowly up the charts for 15 months to attain a No. 1 spot at pop radio, going double platinum and selling over 2.6 million tracks in the process.

3OH!3 hates to brag, but if they had to they would tell you that they were nominated for "Best New Artist" alongside Lady Gaga, Kid Cudi, and Drake, at the 2009 Video Music Awards. Though they didn't bring home the moon man, Nat and Sean had just as much fun performing "Don't Trust Me" in Radio City's hallowed halls. Nat was actually happy 3OH!3 wasn't announced best new artist as he claims he would have peed his pants, having not been able to find a bathroom all night. "Drinks impair the ol' judgment," he says.

These two guys are no strangers to national television either. Appearing multiple times on late night TV (Jimmy Kimmel Live and Last Call with Carson Daly) and alongside the glittery Ke$ha on American Idol, 3OH!3's learned a few things about working the camera.

I know 3OH!3 would never say this, but they are one of the best live acts in the business. Their dedication to putting on an epic and fun show every night was rewarded by a nomination for the 2009 MTV Woodies' Performance Award alongside artists like Green Day, Animal Collective and Phoenix. These boys sell out shows from the rainy streets of London to the Gold Coast of Australia, where, by no coincidence, their songs have gone gold and platinum and continue to sell by the thousands. It's no wonder that 3OH!3 has been invited to play legendary festivals like Reading and Leads and Warped Tour again and again.

With such a non-stop touring schedule, it must have been a real relief to retreat to their mountain sanctuary in Breckenridge in January to record their next album. In a snowy cabin, far above the world, Sean and Nat went a little crazy, writing as many as two new songs a day for 14 days. "We had all these songs built up over the past couple years," Sean says, "and it was like a mental vomit of all the stuff we had been thinking." This was not gross-tasting vomit, however, this was like roses and gold and everything nice, finally let loose on the world. Before things got weird in the mountains, the boys packed up their gear and headed out to LA to start recording the album that would be known as Streets of Gold.

Back in the studio with the usual suspects Matt Squire and Benny Blanco, 3OH!3 took all they had learned from touring and experience and put it to use. "There are some crazy sounds on this record," Nat says, "It sounds like robots making love." Nothing says love like their first single off the record, "My First Kiss" featuring Ke$ha. "It was like our first kiss with Ke$ha," Nat says, "It was the first time we met her and she definitely used tongue." Within a few hours of being released on iTunes, "My First Kiss" jumped to the no. 2 on the overall song chart.

3OH!3 was very selective when it came to collaborating on Streets of Gold. Having greatly admired his work with Lily Allen and The Bird and the Bee, 3OH!3 sought out producer Greg Kurstin for their own music. "I think Greg has attained a perfect synthesis of electronic and organic music in his work, and he was someone whom I really, really wanted to work with and learn from." Additionally 3OH!3 teamed with Benny Blanco's mentor, hit-smith Dr. Luke on "My First Kiss" and "Streets of Gold" (the title track to the record). With help from those production Titans, it's a safe to say a few more songs off the album might lend "My First Kiss" some company at the top of the charts.

Streets of Gold is the album that 3OH!3 has been struggling to create for their whole musical lives. Showing a wide range of tastes—from the car rattling battle raps of "I Can Do Anything" to the post-apocalyptic love ballad "Love 2012" to the throwback casbah sounds of "I Know How to Say"—3OH!3 has evolved into a super-human machine. With Nat's surgical precision (Nat was destined to be a doctor after all, and has been deferring his acceptance to medical school for a few years) and Sean's one-two punch lines, every song is bound to be permanently engrained in your head. "We try to make music that is fun and comes across live," says Sean. "This album is epic," says Nat, "it has a little piece of everything we like and do. We write and co-produce all our own music, and it was so satisfying to apply all that we learned in the past couple of years."

On the road again, 3OH!3 is testing out the new tracks and making more friends. "We've played some of the new songs without a single fan knowing the lyrics," says Nat, "And people are going fucking BANANAS. It's a great sign!" There are many great signs for 3OH!3 as they take their journey on their own street of gold. Nat, as a writer and producer, has been working with other artists. Sean is keeping busy with his own cowrites—including Ke$ha's platinum selling "Blah Blah Blah"—and as a result was named the #9 Hit Songwriter in the UK by Music Week. The future is looking bright for these two Boulder boys.

Nathaniel Motte and Sean Foreman are two very busy guys. If they aren't filming mini-movies for the deluxe package of Streets of Gold, drawing comic books, or modeling (yes, they are Ford models), they are spending time with their friends or getting outdoors. Sean was crazy enough to sign up for the Chicago Marathon in October, running it to raise money for the American Cancer Society. And Nat is crazy enough to continue his deferral from Medical School at the University of Colorado. What does the future have in store for 3OH!3? "We're going to JAPAN!!!" Nat answers.

Well, that might be true, but I have a feeling we will be seeing a lot more from 3OH!3 and then they will have a hell of a lot more to not brag about.

"There's this Bruce Springsteen quote that always inspired me," explains Brian Dales, frontman for The Summer Set. "He was talking about how 'Thunder Road' was the first song on Born to Run. He said it was an invitation to a story. I've always held on to that thought."
There is a story – actually, a lot of stories – that went into the making of Everything's Fine, the second album by the Scottsdale, AZ upstarts The Summer Set. It's a story about a band that made its mark as teenagers but has since grown into adulthood – and faced some uncertainty along the way. It's a story about a band reinventing itself….without losing touch with what made them stars in the first place.
It's also a story about a girl. Or, more specifically, "About a Girl," the first song on Everything's Fine, a contemplative, acoustic/orchestral number that may surprise fans of the band who caught the energetic group on the Vans Warped Tour last year. It distinctly sets the mood for what follows, a loosely-based diary of a relationship from beginning to end, and one that both veers into previously unchartered territory and greatly expands on the group's upbeat guitar pop sound, last heard on 2009's Love Like This.

"We couldn't have written a song like 'About a Girl' three years ago," says guitarist John Gomez. "I mean, I was 16 or 17 when we worked on that last record. I couldn't see us musically or lyrically being able to write that then."
But to say The Summer Set is simply growing up is an understatement – and, actually, a disservice to the collective experience of the group. Although the band released its first EP in 2007, Gomez was only 11 when he and his brother (and current bandmate) Stephen started playing music together, and still just teenagers when what became known as The Summer Set was formed, with drummer Jess Bowen, guitarist Josh Montgomery and Dales. (Fun side note: Jess, Stephen, and John used to be in a band with Kennedy Brock of The Maine).
Growing up in Arizona, the group led a new scene of punk upstarts, inspired by the likes of fellow Arizonians Jimmy Eat World and The Format. "It was a cool scene," says Gomez. "We'd play for 1000 kids on a Friday night. And there were so many good young bands, they would inspire us and push us to get better. It was sort of like a competition."
More experience came from the road. After releasing their first full-length album (Love Like This) in 2009, the group went on tour…and never really stopped, playing 300 shows a year and a main support slot on the 2010 Vans Warped Tour. By the time The Summer Set were ready for album number two, it was almost like they'd become a different band.
"We had a lot going on in the last two years," says Dales, who went from writing a song for a girl ("Chelsea") on the band's first record to essentially documenting his breakup on their latest. "And we were really young on the first record, so I don't think that record was so personal. This time out, I wanted to tap into that. It's hard for a listener if you don't believe what the singer is singing. I wanted to make this a really believable experience for both me and our fans."
For Everything's Fine, the group spent some time songwriting with Paul Doucette of Matchbox 20 and Mike Daly of Whiskeytown in Nashville, and recording with veteran producer John Fields, whose work stretches from the likes of Har Mar Superstar to Paul Westerburg to Andrew WK. "He pushed us hard, and he brought so much in us," says the singer. "We had some early demos that sounded like our last record, but when we were done, everything sounded so new and different."
Sonically, there's a lot of new territory on Fine –the big choruses and stomping drums of "Thick as Thieves," the more acoustic flavor of "Someone Like You" and "Love to You," and even a hint of country on "When We Were Young," The last part wouldn't be much of a surprise if you knew the band. "A lot of us love country music," says Dales. "That's why we spent some time recording in Nashville, and why we've covered Taylor Swift songs (2010's Love Like Swift EP) in the past."
Besides finishing a new record, the band has been busy recently opening for All Time Low and Yellowcard, as well as experiencing their music in a whole new context: blanketed all over television, from VH1 to "Jersey Shore" to, most notably, "Dancing with the Stars." It was there where Dales' ex (actress Chelsea Kane) danced to the band's first hit "Chelsea." Says the singer: "They had to dance to a personal story, so she called and asked, and I was flattered. I mean, that's millions of people hearing that song, and now I have all these moms thinking I'm super romantic. I'll take it!"
Everything's Fine presents a more nuanced story of The Summer Set. Even the sad face on the album's cover is a hint that there are several new sides to the group. "The title is a bit sarcastic," admits Gomez. "Our first record was just one emotion. Everything's Fine is yin and yang. We've had some ups and downs recently, some breakups, some general trials and tribulations. This is a record that says we're young, but growing up and experiencing new things. So in a way, it's optimistic, too.

Wallpaper. is, in many ways, Ricky Reed. The indulgent and ever-stylish frontman is more than just a sweet pair of shades and a gold-plated microphone. He's a bona fide viral hustler, a disco ball-busting showman and an extremely gifted producer expertly blurring glitzy pop and raunchy rap with anthemic rock and electronic funk. But Wallpaper. is other things too—a raging four-piece, for one, but most importantly, Wallpaper. is you. You and me and everyone we know on our best night ever, positively #STUPiDFACEDD, champagnin' with no plans in the morning.

When first we met Ricky Reed, he was busy crushing Oakland house parties and selling CD-Rs out the trunk of his car. He'd called upon his earliest influences—P-Funk, Afrobeat, Bay Area rap, Prince—and come away with sweaty, swaggerful beats imbued with a real musicality. Meanwhile, his Lynchian video blogs (a little David and a lot of Liam) and inventive remixes and mashups earned him out-of-town props, particularly when his sax-blaring remake of Das Racist's "Combination Pizza Hut & Taco Bell" went totally freaking atomic.

Wallpaper.'s debut LP, Doodoo Face, was a masterful collision of buoyant percussion, synth blurt, heavy bass and wild narcissism as strong for its legit songwriting chops as for its illicit party-wrangling. Naturally, the live show evolved in step with the music, into a truly visceral thing with double drummers pounding out a thunderous beat behind Ricky Reed and his partner, the charismatic and supremely sassy Novena Carmel. Witnessed in person, whether in a theater or a college quad, their sound is busting at its well-tailored seams, outsized and overpowering.

Ricky Reed initially self-released Wallpaper.'s breakout single, "#STUPiDFACEDD," dubbed an "awesomely doltish ode to Saturday-night oblivion" by Entertainment Weekly. The subsequent video was hand-picked for MTV's Indie Music Month coverage and has since racked up over a million views. The song infiltrated several episodes of Jersey Shore too, and inspired MTV and Extreme's HYPE Music to team up with Evan Bogart's freshly launched Boardwalk Records for an innovative release partnership. Enter the #STUPiDFACEDD EP, a genre-bending, thump-addled set featuring a guest turn from Bay Area rap legend Too $hort, serving to sate appetites until Wallpaper.'s Boardwalk LP arrives.

Now, as radio stations fight over which format has dibs on him—Top 40, Alternative, Rhythmic—Ricky Reed continues to do what he does best: put in work, create, tour, entertain. He's currently co-writing music for Andrew W.K.'s next album, recently completed a song with funk godfather George Clinton, and covered Adele with a little help from raunchy rising Detroit emcee Danny Brown. He's an in-demand remixer, working with artists as diverse as Britney Spears and Local Natives, and a beast on the road with a band that blares arena-sized energy. Ladies and gentlemen, look outside—if it's the weekend, check the mirror—Wallpaper. has arrived.

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3OH!3 with The Summer Set, Wallpaper, New Beat Fun

Tuesday, November 5 · Doors 6:00 PM / Show 7:00 PM at Cannery Ballroom