Where were you ten years ago? Go ahead, think about it.
Maybe you were flat-ironing your hair, listening to your Zune while your step-brother banged on the bathroom door, screaming about how you’d been in there all day. Maybe you were Febreeze-ing your parents’ basement hoping they wouldn’t notice the smell of stale weed and Jägermeister puke from the party you threw the night before. Maybe you were getting gains at the gym, squatting for that PR (Personal Record) while your bro Chad yelled encouraging obscenities in your face. Or maybe, like me, you were the designated laptop-DJ for a house party, hoping you could change Kristie’s boring potluck into an all-out rager.
Even if you weren’t doing anything remotely like these in 2008, I’m willing to bet you were still listening to 3OH!3.
That’s right: ten years ago 3OH!3 burst onto the scene Kool-Aid Man-style and blasted the world’s eardrums with a brand new sound. The duo, fresh out of school (one foregoing medical school and the other forgoing a promising career as a bike-sandwich-delivery-guy) released their first single, “Don’t Trust Me” in June of 2008. The record found its way into the nation’s heart like bacon grease; blending undeniable synth magic with a tongue-in-cheek, extremely catchy hook. This is the song that had an entire generation of youth screaming, “Tell your boyfriend/If he says he’s got beef/That I’m a vegetarian and I ain’t f****** scared of him.”
Like wildfire, “Don’t Trust Me” climbed the charts for 15 months before topping the Pop radio charts at Number One.
“We were okay with the idea of being one hit wonders,” laughs Sean Foreman, one half of the dynamic duo. “That means one more hit than most acts.”
And that might have been the case, if not for 3OH!3’s friendship with Katy Perry. During one of 3OH!3’s infamous sets, she stage-dove, crowd surfed, and helped make Warped Tour history. (Go ahead, YouTube it!) “She was a fan,” Nathaniel Motte, the taller half of 3OH!3, explains. “We knew from that day that we’d make something great together.”
That “something great” was the whistle-laden pop hit “Starstrukk,” a song that thrust 3OH!3 into international stardom. “It was insane,” Sean muses. “That summer we’d be flying to London for press and flying back to the States that same day to make the next show. We felt like The Beatles–but, like, back-of-the-plane-middle-seats-next-to-the-bathroom instead of first class. So, maybe we were more like The Cockroaches.”
Thankfully, “Starstrukk” landed more successfully than Sean’s joke, pushing 3OH!3 in the Top Five on Pop charts around the world. Their album W ant was a bonafide hit, going Gold in an era of pirating and before streaming metrics.
“To this day, every show we play we get requests for songs from that album,” Nathaniel says. “We try to play a ‘3OH!3 Greatest Hits’ for all of our shows… so we basically just play Want.” And for good reason. Fans are rabid for that inaugural album. “I drove all the way from Austin for this show,” fan Ariselli says, shivering in the snow outside will-call at a venue in Denver. “I’ve been such a fan for so many years. W ant changed my life! I love these guys.”
But 3OH!3 didn’t stop at Want . In 2009, they recorded “My First Kiss” featuring Ke$ha. (Yes, this is back when she still had the dollar sign.) When the single was released the next year, The New York Post deemed it “one of the catchiest songs of 2010.” The first single off the album S treets of Gold, it kept the Colorado duo on the road as it climbed the charts. The song hit Top Ten internationally and went Platinum in the US.
So, beyond touring, where else has 3OH!3 been the last decade? Nathaniel explains.
“We’ve put out some albums we’re very proud of: O mens in 2012; and, more recently, Night Sports in 2016,” he says. “We started doing this for fun and for our fans, and these subsequent albums are a full-circle return to just rocking the party and having fun.”
2018 finds Sean and Nathaniel just as enthusiastic about shows and touring as they ever have been. One thing is for certain: the duo still loves grabbing a mic and going wild on stage. When they aren’t performing, the two can be found in the studio, exploring the world of songwriting and producing.
“We’ve really jumped into working with other artists and producers, writing for their projects. It’s really invigorating–honestly, it’s the best way to hone our craft and progress our own stuff,” Sean says. And, as with their own music, it’s hard to argue that the two have been anything but successful in the world of production and songwriting.
Sean, has penned hits for and written with A-listers such as Ariana Grande, Fitz and The Tantrums, Lil Jon, Katy Perry, Kesha, and Two Door Cinema Club, to name a few. Sean says, “I love writing for other people and having that moment where they say ‘Oh, no, that’s too bold–I can’t do t hat lyric,’ and I get to be like, ‘Awesome, then that can be a 3OH!3 song,’”
Nathaniel has had his own sucess working for other artists, recently co-wrting and producing MAX’s hit record “Lights Down Low,” the longest-running song at US Top-40 radio of 2017. In addition, he’s written and produced songs for Maroon 5 (“Love Somebody”), Kaskade (“Disarm You”), and The Lonely Island (“Should I Move.”) Nathaniel says, “I love working for other artists – it’s the perfect way to counterbalance our own artistry as 3OH!3. We get to help other artists and other projects have fun, and that’s a really rewarding feeling.”
Success hasn’t made the duo complacent, however.
“We’ve still got a lot up our sleeves,” Sean notes. “Songwriting is so different from being an artist because, as a songwriter, you don’t get to pick and pull the trigger with some of the stuff you make, even when you’re all about it. But when you’re an artist and writing your own music, you can constantly keep pushing and making great stuff that you can give directly to your fans. There’s so much new 3OH!3 content we have waiting in the wings, and we can’t wait to have see the light of day.”
So, maybe instead of asking, “Where were you ten years ago?” the real question is: “Where are you now?”
There’s arguably no better answer than this: being at a 3OH!3 show in 2018, losing your mind in the crowd, reminiscing, and letting loose with Colorado’s best boys. Stay glued to 3OH!3’s online accounts and socials for BIG anniversary news.
HAPPY TEN YEAR REUNION EVERYONE!!!