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15 years old by definition means that you just got your braces off, you're learning how to drive and you are probably gearing up for that first kiss. But if you're Warped Tour you're making out with the quarterback, you've bought a Harley and you're modeling on the weekends. 15 years is a long time for a tour to last, but as this one has been so eloquently named "The Tour That Will Not Die," you can imagine that it has big plans for the next 15. While celebrating its birthday this year, it was nice enough to add Kansas City as a stop. This year the bill brought names like Chiodos, Bayside, Flogging Molly and recent Boulder sensations 3OH!3. But for my Warped, I spent the day with a few of the other acts. And all in the luxury of the air conditioned press room. I break down everything from new albums, recent publicity and daily W.T. routines:

The Architects
Seeing as how these guys call KC home, it wouldn't be far fetched to think that they were well received at this stop. And you'd be right. When any band finally makes it back to "their" town, it's naturally going to be day filled with family visits and friendly reunions. So it was actually very lucky that I was able to snag Brandon Phillips (guitar/lead vocals) for a few questions. And of course with Brandon, nothing can be same-old same-old. So just moments after we decided where we were going to have the interview, a band started to play a mere 30 feet from my recorder. Imagine that. So needless to say, this interview went a little quick:

Hybrid Magazine: The pre-Tour anxiety that was originally there, is it all gone?

Brandon Phillips: No real anxiety now. Just pretty much fatigue.

HM: This is your 35th stop on the tour, are you a well oiled touring machine by now?

BP: More or less, we do this in a state of being half asleep. So yeah, I'd say we're a well oiled machine.

HM: How has the acceptance of wholesome Midwest Rock band been amongst these crowds?

BP: It's been great. This is the year that screaming, metal, gore shit is huge. So honestly, that's huge and it brings in a lot of kids just to see that. But we're certainly not getting anything but positive vibes.

HM: Run me through a day-in-the-life of The Architects on Warped Tour.

BP: Wake up at 8 o'clock in a parking lot, grab the merch tent; load up the dollies with merchandise. Run to the stage, unload the truck, grab some catering, fill out a bunch of postcards with set time, and hit the lines before doors open with the postcards. Play the show; go to catering, go back to sleep. Repeat.

HM: Been able to get a lot of advertisement out about the new album?

BP: Yeah, new album promotion [is] going well. So far. We get tons of awesome messages and comments on our MySpace and email. From people that just ran into us at Warped Tour and loved us. Very positive.

HM: Have you made any connections with other bands that could prove to be beneficial?

BP: Yeah, I don't know, we'll see.

HM: Nobody you want to mention?

BP: No, not yet. (sly smile shows up)

HM: Has this marathon of a tour allowed the band to make any adjustments to approve the general live show?

BP: A little bit, but mostly when we adjust the show it's for about whether or not we're bored. Like "I'm sick of playing that, let's play something else." We're not really changing the show for the Tour very much.

HM: Would you do it again next summer? Would you do anything different?

BP: If I did, I'd be in a bus with like a crew of 5. The Tour itself though is totally healthy. I got no problems with the Tour besides the fact that I'm not in a bus.

Now I've done my fair share of inconvenient and oddly placed interviews. But never before had I done one, like this, practically on stage. However, if you want the interview, you take it, whichever way it may come. So I left Brandon (and the hardcore band), with a little ringing in my ears and a little less of a voice. Though that's pretty typical for anything post-Architects. Their set was "well-oiled" and chalk full of good ole' Midwestern Rock 'n Roll. A perfect way to take out all hostility towards government, or the economy, with a few well placed thrashing guitar riffs and methodically played drums.


Madina Lake
Third times a charm? Or maybe it was fourth. Eh, either way I've seen Chicago's own Madina Lake more than once. And as long as they keep releasing incredible albums I will keep hitting up their concerts over and over again. Well with the recent release of Attics To Eden (see my album review in Reviews), they decided to take the new album on the road with the Tour. Luckily for me this meant I was given a third (?) opportunity to chat with bassist Matt Leone:

HM: So you released the new album and then pretty much headed straight to Warped. Was that the original plan with the album?

Matt Leone: Absolutely. We're more of an international band, than American band. So we spent the first 4 or 5 months of the year doing international work. The record released in April or May, but we really didn't start doing work until Warped. So this is like the launch of our album here.

HM: Compared to From Them, Through Us, To You how have your fans accepted the new album?

ML: They've really connected deeper to it than they did to the first one. We have this sort of community of Madina Lake fans that are really super connected. And they have taken our hands and dove deep into this record with us. The people who were kinda Madina Lake fans, are probably not too into Attics, but people who are really into it, I think like it better.

HM: The new album seems to have a general tone that's a bit harsher and a bit darker than the last, maybe even a touch of dance. Was it written differently?

ML: It was. I think we were kind of motivated by the frustration we saw when touring on the first record for 3 years. We saw everything homogenized, everything was safe, and everything was the same. All the bands looked the same, sounded the same and acted the same. They did the same moves on stage. So we sort of built up this resentment to the "boys club." We wanted to challenge that sentiment and challenge ourselves. And that's what we did. We made this alternative rock record. What they love about it in the U.K. is that you can't define the genre, and the same comment in America, is what they don't like about it is that they can't define the genre. We think that's the ultimate compliment.

HM: What's a day in the life of Madina Lake on Warped Tour?

ML: We kill ourselves on stage everyday. In our minds, if we're not demonstrating that we care, why would anyone else? The transition to doing the whole tour is interesting. In a lot of ways it's like high school with the cliques. And we are the guys who are cool with everybody.

HM: You've done Projekt, supporting tours and now Warped. Is there a tour that you prefer? Do you have a fav?

ML: They're so different, that it's hard to pick one. Projekt Revolution was fantastic because you had a captive audience, because you only had one stage running at a time. But on Warped Tour, our stage is always kinda hidden off to the side somewhere, so people have to find you and then any kind of cross traffic are the people that you go after. There are so many distractions here. It's sort of apples and oranges, but we look at everything like an opportunity. So it's been very effective for us.

HM: So up next is the video for "Let's Get Outta Here" - what can fans be anticipating?

ML: We are also shooting a video for "Welcome To Oblivion" for the single after "Let's Get Outta Here," which is already active in Europe and the U.K. So we're going to shoot a video that's going to go overseas first.

Matt is easily one of the nicest guys in the business and an excellent interviewee, so meeting up with him is always a pleasure. It's just a bonus to the fact that their music is wonderful. With the new album mixing in a bit more alternative and dance sounds, they keep their fans interested and always wanting more. Definitely keep an eye out for the music video!

Innerpartysystem
The first time I caught Innerpartysystem live was a set about the same length as todays would be. However it was in a theater, so we were able to enjoy the light show as well. And after only about 30-40 min, I was exhausted. Exhausted from the energy and the insanity that happens on stage with these guys. Seeing them live made me go back and really listen to the entire album, allowing me to appreciate every aspect that went in to the music and thus the genius that resulted. Needless to say, I was thrilled when I found out I'd have a chance to pick apart this genius for a session in the press room. So about 3 o'clock I met up with Kris (guitar/keys) and Jared (drums) and we snuck away into the small corners of the press room (i.e. the closet) for awhile:

HM: How's Rock-n-roll camp going for ya?

Kris: It's everything that everyone said it was going to be. It's [the] best and worst time of your life. You meet tons of people, but you sweat your ass off and work your ass off.

Jared: It's definitely going better than I though it would, from just what I've known of Warped Tour in the past. It's been awesome for us and the reception from the crowd has been great.

HM: You've essentially released several singles off of your self-titled album. Is there a new album in the works, or will you continue to release singles?

Jared: No, we're writing, we're definitely writing right now.

Kris: We actually play one new song in the set. It's kind of a snippet of it, it's not entirely done. But we're definitely trying to write.

Jared: We're trying to finish it up this year, a goal is to finish up some sort of EP or album and get it released as soon as possible. Or we might put some songs on iTunes first; it's kind of up in the air at the moment.

HM: What's a day in the life of Innerpartysystem on Warped Tour?

Jared: Now, its a little more Warped Tour than it was. We kind of got lucky early on, 'cause Skullcandy had a gear truck that we could put all our stuff on, and so we didn't have to get up early. But now we have to lug all our stuff to the stage everyday. We get up about 8:30 or 9:30, drag shit really far. It's a little different from bigger bands, because we don't have a tech per-say, to help. So we drag everything down, get the merch set up before 11am, you find out your set time and then plan your day accordingly.

HM: If you could change anything about Warped Tour, what would it be?

Kris: Separate catering lines.

HM: For who? How would you separate it?

Kris: So say, today I just wanted a salad. But I had to wait through the entire line, to just get a salad. But I could just got to the separate "salad line" or separate "vegan line." It just seems like it could be done more efficient.

Jared: Or just split the line up in two.

HM: So, why 3OH!3 for collaboration? What initially drew you to them?

Kris: We did that when we went on tour with them. I think it's starting to get a lot more traction now because they got massive.

Jared: It came up from just meeting each other and trading remixes. It's kind of what we all for fun as hobbies with friends' bands.

HM: Is that what fans can be anticipating for the band, more collaborations in the future?

Jared: We all just do that stuff all the time, as hobbies on the bus. So I'm sure there's tons of stuff that we've done that hasn't been released yet. I know there's some remixes that have been done. But a lot of it is kind of haphazard. If we get something done and everyone digs it, then we'll throw it up for free. I would love to do remix swaps like that more often.

HM: I was going to ask, is there a band that you'd love to remix with?

Jared: I know Jesse just did something for Thursday, I really like to get stems from P.O.S. that's on this tour and we just got some from Paper Route.

Kris: We might actually do 3OH!3's new single "Starstrukk" too.

Their interview and their set were easily the highlights of the day. Even though the bright, blinding sun was the only "lighting" we had, the set was still on energy level 10. This is one of those bands that keeps me asking: "why don't more people know about them?" The composition between the precision guitar work, the multiple levels of keys and the non-nerdy electronic effects is masterful. And just for their fans, they were ever so gracious to release Summertime in Gameland: Official Summer Mixtape which consists of mixes from TONS of artists like The Killers, Missy Elliot and Keane. If this is what they do in their free time, then I hope they never get busy!

~~~~~

We actually ended the Tour with a few songs from Philly boys Valencia. Who had seemed to punk up their normally melodic and mellow set. With performances during the day ranging from Chiodos to Meg And Dia and even Senses Fail you can imagine the amount of exhaustion that finally set in roughly about 7pm. So caked in sweat and layered in sunburnt skin, we left the Tour for cooler pastures. After 15 years they seem to have their stuff together. It'll be interesting what another 15 will bring.

-Rachel Fredrickson

Warped Tour
Capital Federal Park at Sandstone
Bonner Springs, KS
August 4th, 2009

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