The Vans Warped Tour turns 20, and remains one of the most exciting concert going experiences in the United States and beyond. A press conference was held at The Grammy Museum in Downtown Los Angeles, where Warped Tour founder Kevin Lyman presented the kick off to what is sure to be another glorious Warped summer.
One of the big announcements was that the first date of Warped will be webcast live on June 13th! The presale tickets for Warped have been remarkable, perhaps due to the fact that parents accompanying their kids will be admitted in for free. As Kevin Lyman stated, “Parents get in free. I saw a lot of kids wanting to come to Warped Tour. I was looking at our tickets counts yesterday and we’ve already sold 103,000 tickets for this summer. 103,000 kids have tickets. We don’t know how many parents are going to come with those kids, but I encourage the parents to come out.”
Alaska has been added the schedule, which Kevin Lyman commented on, saying “It was the fastest show I ever booked. I think it took an hour and a half to book the whole thing. It wasn’t that hard to call bands up and say ‘Hey, you guys want to have a little adventure?’ There’s very few places to have an adventure anymore. And Alaska, they get to go fishing, go out on the glaciers or see a moose! We’re going to have a nice group of bands go up there and have a great little trip.”
All of the artists were then invited onstage for a photo opp and then it was time for the Vans Warped Tour Kick Off Show across the way at Club Nokia, featuring Issues. Secrets, Bad Rabbits, One OK Rock, This Wild Life, Watsky, and Wax.
Featured below are six of the artists we interviewed at the Vans Warped Tour Press Conference…
Introduce yourself and tell me what you are going to be doing on Warped Tour this year.
My name is Brian Marquis. I am the producer of the Acoustic Basement Stage and I’m also a performer on Warped Tour all summer long.
You were recently signed to Equal Vision Records. Was that something you already knew when I interviewed you in November of last year?
No it wasn’t. When I saw you, I had completed my recording and I had just started talking to labels. Actually Equal Vision came to that show the night that you went to, and that was kind of the precursor to us having talks later on. So yeah, it came together right after that – right before Acoustic Basement Tour – throughout the tour I negotiated it and then we finished it up right after I got back from tour in March.
What’s the record going to be called and what’s the story behind the title?
It’s called Blood & Spirits and it’s going to be out May 13th on Equal Vision Records. Blood & Spirits refers to what you’re made of – the physical part, the blood, the thing that you’re born with – your heritage, your genes, the things you have no control cover. And then your spirits represents all your decisions in your life – all the things that follow, leading you up to this very moment – have shaped you along with what you are given. So it’s the combination of the two that makes you who you are – it’s about being reflective on why I do what I do and the music I do.
You’ve been doing a lot of touring lately. What has that been like to take the Acoustic Basement on the road on your own?
It’s been great! It’s been really cool to watch it grow! This year I did my second Acoustic Basement Tour in February in the United States and that went really well – I saw a growth from last year. And then I got asked by the people who did the Warped Tour in the UK to come over and do the Acoustic Basement Tour in the UK in April. That’s going to be my first International Tour as a solo artist as well as my first International Tour as a Producer. So I’m very excited for that. And we’ve got a great lineup for Warped Tour. And hopefully we’ll continue to do more interesting and different Acoustic Basement events.
Brian Marquis on Facebook
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Divided Heaven, and what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your IPOD?
My name is Jeff Berman, I sing and play guitar in Divided Heaven. And the most embarrassing song I have on my IPOD would be a Sheryl Crow song – it goes (sings) “You don’t bring me anything but down.” I think it’s called Anything But Down.
What are you going to be doing on Warped Tour this summer? You’ll be on the Acoustic Basement Stage…
Yeah, I’m doing the last week of it in the Midwest. I did it a few years ago and I’m excited to be back! I love Warped Tour! I love the Acoustic Basement stage.
How many times have you been on Warped Tour altogether?
This will be my second time playing. But as an attendee, I used to go in the 90’s, I went in the 2000’s, and now I’ve gone in the 2010’s. This is my third decade of going to Warped Tour but it’s only my second time of being a part of it. I’m excited!
Select two songs you might be playing at Warped Tour and what inspired the lyrics.
I have a new record that came out last week called Youngblood, so I’ll definitely be playing the title track for that. And that song is about realizing at maybe the most inopportune time – like when you’re asleep on the floor at an airport – that you need to go home and take care of your business and change your life and get your shit together. Another song I’ll be playing is called Gin – which is a song I wrote about missing my old friends. Every time I play that song, I feel like I have a connection to people who are in England or in Japan, or in Mexico or on the East Coast. That song is my way of feeling connected to people that I’m not actually physically near.
Do you have messages for people you should go to your stage and check Divided Heaven out?
Yeah, do it or I’m gonna be pissed! (Laughs) Even on the days that I’m not playing you should go to the Acoustic Basement Stage because it’s calming – it’s so cool and fun – and it really is the most personable stage on the Warped Tour. There’s no barrier – there’s no backstage – everybody that you see there you could go up to them and shake their hand – get an autograph or a picture. And nine out of ten times if you buy something at the merch table, you buy it directly from the artist – it’s not at some far off tent with some merch person. It’s a really, really personable experience – and I think it’s the best addition to Warped Tour in the last few years.
Divided Heaven on Facebook
THE WORD ALIVE
How many times have you been on the Warped Tour?
Telle: This will be my fourth and The Word Alive’s third time.
What are you looking forward to the most about Warped Tour this year?
Telle: In the last couple of years of being off, it’s hard when you’re seeing all of your friends having fun – and now we’re getting to join in again. It’s going to be the first time with our lineup that we’ve had in the last couple of years – so I think it will be a big difference for people who maybe have not seen us since the last time. Now this is who The Word Alive is, and I’m real excited to showcase that.
Is there any story or concept behind the album title Real?
Telle: We know there’s been a lot of things that music is becoming. Everything is “Let’s classify it as this” and “let’s classify it as that.” “It needs to be this genre or this genre.” We just want to be known as real musicians who care about our fans – and we want to make music we love – and that’s just all this album is. It’s for all of our fans but it’s also for us. It’s just us making real music that we love. We wanted to make a statement about it – that it’s real, passionate, heartfelt music that we’re really proud of. And hopefully our fans can connect with it, because that’s what music is all about – the connection. That’s what we’re hoping for – that people connect with it and that it will feel really genuine to them – and that’s what it was meant to be.
Tell me about the first single and what inspired the lyrics.
Play The Victim is the first single that we released a couple weeks ago. The lyrics are about a couple of things. It’s half kind of a rhetorical statement of why we do what we do. Every person seems to hurt the people they love the most. And that’s because you are so close to them and you feel so comfortable – a lot of the walls have been brought down. But then it’s also about the people who are enabling negativity to ruin and run their life – and how at the end of the day you have to wake up and see what you’re doing – your atmosphere that you’re projecting – and how it’s affecting not just others – but yourself. It’s just about taking a look in the mirror – you should stop trying to focus on the negative things and trying to have a story, but to just be yourself and live your life and try to be positive. Life is too short to always be looking for sympathy and looking for negativity – when if you focus on positive things, you’re just going to be a happier person.
I just see negative posts all the time online. This whole self-harm thing is a real trend right now. Unfortunately there’s people who are really struggling with it. And then there’s the kids who bring razor blades to every single show – and they don’t have a bad life – they’re not even cutting or doing anything. They just feel like they need to have a story so they could meet the bands or so that people will notice them. It shouldn’t be about that. It should be like, be a good person and be yourself and let that be what people know you for. Not for the things you’re gonna (regret) when you have kids who are seeing these stories – because nothing on the Internet is gonna go away – when your kids are looking back 20-30 years from now and are like, “Why were you doing that?” It’s going to be kind of embarrassing for them to be like “Well, I just thought it was cool and it got me attention.” None of that is going to matter five years from now, let alone beyond that. It’s kind of like wake up, take a look at your life, and start living just to be a positive person and hopefully people will see that.
What advice would you give fans coming to Warped Tour this year?
Stay hydrated! I know everyone wants to catch every band and go to every signing – and that’s why Warped Tour is awesome! So many fans are really diehard about all of the bands. But you’ve really got take care of yourself and your body first. And then make sure from there that you’re enjoying yourself. Get your money’s worth and make it a day that you won’t forget.
The Word Alive on Facebook
This year you are now Warped Tour Veterans. How does that feel being on Warped for the second year?
Noah: It’s good. Last year, we didn’t know what we were getting into. And this one, we know what it’s like – we’ve been through it before.
Sydney: We know how hot it is!
Noah: We know how to handle it. We’re gonna try our best and make it a fun time.
What was the best and worst part and worst part of Warped Tour last year?
Sydney: The best part is the community there with the fans and the bands – with each other. You make so many friends – people you expect and don’t expect to make friends with too. The worst is probably just the weather. You just have to learn how to adjust to super, super hot or super-hot and pouring rain.
Noah: The humidity and the lightning – it’s very wild.
Sydney: It’s kind of crazy. The weather’s the worst part, but you could deal with it and there’s thing to do. So we kind of know generally what to do this year now.
What kind of feedback have you received from your song Cool Kids?
Sydney: A lot of people relate to that song, which is really cool. I think everybody goes through a phase where they want to be like somebody else. It doesn’t just happen in school – it could happen at work or in everyday life. We relate to that in different ways too, so we thought it was a really important thing to write about. Life is really about accepting who you are and who you aren’t – and that’s what actually makes you cool – accepting yourself and being yourself. So that’s what we are trying to get across with that song.
How close are you guys to writing and recording new music?
Jamie: We’re always writing and still being creative. Right now, a new album is a bit off in the horizon. Right now, we’re just touring off this one (Talking Dreams), trying to get it out – because a lot of people still have not seen us live.
What’s up next for Echosmith between now and the Warped Tour?
Sydney: We are preparing and practicing for Warped. We have a whole bunch of random little shows and radio shows and things like that in between. But we’re staying busy.
Do you have any messages for people who’d like to check out your band this summer at Warped Tour?
Sydney: We love to have fun, and that’s kind of our goal with this. There’s no other point, except to have fun and try to make a difference. That’s what we want to do, and usually when you have fun, everybody else does to.
Echosmith on Facebook
Introduce yourself, tell me what you do in Issues, and what’s the most embarrassing song you have on your IPOD.
Michael: I’m Michael and I do vocals. Probably the most embarrassing song on my IPOD – maybe Jonas Brothers – I have some pretty ridiculous stuff – Kei$ha maybe.
Sky: I’m Sky – I play bass in the band. And I’m not embarrassed but I’ve had to explain Fuel being on my IPOD a lot.
Fuel is good!
Sky: I know, right! I love Fuel! But people are always like, “Oh, that’s like that Creed band!” And I’m like, no, they’re good songwriters! They’re sick! Get off my back!
So what are you looking forward to the most about being on Warped Tour this year?
Sky: Literally, just to be on the whole thing is a really cool opportunity. Last year we were on for ten days, which was awesome. I got a little taste. Both of the singers in our band got to do the whole thing before in an old band. I’m fresh to the scene, so it’s going to be a whole new experience for me – just kind of getting into the culture and meeting a lot of the people – getting integrated to the summer camp that is Warped Tour.
What advice would you give a band about to go on Warped Tour for the first time?
Michael: Be prepared to bust your butt. It’s gonna be hot – it’s gonna be sweaty. But once you complete it, you feel so accomplished. Once you do it, you’re like “Wow, I tackled Warped Tour!” It’s gonna kick your butt, but you’ll be in shape. Be prepared to sweat a lot.
Tell me about the song Stingray Affliction and what the lyrics mean to you.
Michael: It has a lot to do with bullying – whether its verbal abuse or physical abuse. Actually just standing up. And how a lot of times, how the bully himself is the one who is actually suffering. They pick on other people because they feel bad about themselves.
Which do you prefer, tours like Warped or regular touring?
Sky: Fesitval shows are always fun just because the crowds are usually bigger and its outside. But then it’s a lot easier to get into a routine on a normal tour.
Michael: The cool thing about Warped Tour though is that you could definitely reach a bigger fan base. If somebody’s walking by your stage and they like what they hear, you’ll pick up more fans that way. But the club tours are more of a routine – an easy going, laid back kind of thing.
What could one expect from an Issues show on Warped Tour this year?
Sky: Lots of movement. You have the right to stand still and be a lame duck, but probably not in the middle of our crowd, because nobody will let you do that.
Issues on Facebook
What are you looking forward to the most about Warped Tour this year?
Richard: I am looking forward to playing music on a stage. That’s my favorite part about any tour. I’m there to play music and meet new people. And food too! I love food.
I hear the food on Warped is pretty good!
Richard: Yeah, they have fantastic catering. It’s really good.
Mike: I’m Mike and I ditto that.
Aaron: I’m Aaron. We talk about food a lot. The food there is good. I’m mostly excited to get on the road again. It’s fun to be on the road with all my dudes. We always have a good time.
Joe: I’m most excited for meeting new bands and making new friends with everyone – big community. And food!
This is your second time on Warped Tour and you could be considered veterans. What advice would you give a band about to attempt Warped Tour for the first time?
Aaron: Hang in there. It doesn’t get any easier, but hang in there.
Pick a song you’ll be playing at Warped Tour this year and what inspired the lyrics.
Aaron: We’re playing Fragile Figures. That song was inspired, honestly, by our fans. It’s kind of a song for the fans.
Richard: One of the songs I’m most excited about playing is Fragile Figures. It’s the self-title off our album. It’s basically about how sometimes we can feel like how we’re not meant to be doing what we’re doing – we’re not meant to be playing music, but we still keep trying. We do it because we want to change people’s lives and to save people – it’s a never give up type of song.
Do you still keep in touch with the former Secret’s singer Xander Bourgeois?
Joe: We’re from the same town, so occasionally either we’ll cross paths or see how he’s doing – checking out his new music.
What could one expect from a live Secret’s show at this years Warped Tour?
Mike: Good fun. A lot of good stage presence. Just have fun with us.
Aaron: We will be playing a couple of new songs too.
How close are you to recording these new songs?
Aaron: We may or may not have a few songs coming out in the near future. I cannot confirm or deny it.
And do you have any messages for your fans out here in the Los Angeles area?
Aaron: This is a great kick-off party because it’s our hometown. We love all you guys for being out here and kicking off this tour the right way with us.
Richard: We love L.A.
Secrets on Facebook
(Interviews by Ken Morton – Photos by Jack Lue and Edward Brandon)
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