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3PM Leads A New Generation Of Pop Punk Bands
Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Pop punk has always been a youthful genre of music, so it only makes sense that of the three members of the Baltimore, Maryland, pop punk band 3PM, only one of them is old enough to order from the bar.

Ranging in age from 16 to 22, guitarist Scott Montgomery, vocalist/bassist Brennan Stark, and drummer Brandon Millman hit the ground running in 2013 with their debut album Change of Plans. As the album started generating a buzz, 3PM’s plans ended up involving working with producer Paul Leavitt for their sophomore effort, Slow Me Down, which will be released this week, hopping on Warped Tour, and opening for All Time Low.

While driving to a recent show, the three busy boys from Baltimore took some time to speak with me about their new music, tell some tour stories, and talk about what goes on at Warped Tour Prom. They also revealed which Disney soundtrack they have an unusual affinity for, and it may surprise you.

Adam Bernard: Your band name is 3PM. What happens to all of you if you randomly hear Matchbox 20’s “3AM?” Does it put some sort of a rift in the time-space continuum?

Scott: Yeah, the worlds collide.

Brandon: Our vision goes red, and we get really angry, and we wake up in the middle of a field naked.

Adam Bernard: So if we ever see you in a bar, and there’s a jukebox, you could be in trouble.

Scott: Yeah, we try to make sure people don’t play that one.

Adam Bernard: Your sophomore album, Slow Me Down, will be released this week. Why are you asking to be slowed down?

Scott: In the past couple years, with the three of us being in the band, we’ve come a long way, we like to think. We’re doing a lot of stuff, and it’s busy, and as fun as it is, sometimes we like to take a second to slow down a little bit and relax, but you can’t really do that, so we decided to call it Slow Me Down, and the title track reflects that theme, as well.

Adam Bernard: That being said, the music isn’t slowed down in the least, right?

Scott: Not one bit.

Adam Bernard: You mentioned being busy. What were some of the things going on in your lives that inspired the album?

Scott: All of us are in some kind of school. Brandon and Brenn are in college, and I’m still in high school, so we had that to deal with along with being in a band. That’s a lot to do at such a young age. No time to rest, or anything, so it gets stressful at times, but it’s still a lot of fun. We love it.

Adam Bernard: You worked with Paul Leavitt (All Time Low, Senses Fail, The Dangerous Summer) for this record. How did his working style differ from how you recorded your previous effort?

Brennan: First off there was a big upgrade as far as equipment goes. More guitars to mess around with, more drum tones, and bass tones, and a better vocal booth. When we recorded the first album (Change of Plans) we recorded it at UMBC (University of Maryland, Baltimore County), which is a local college around us, and the vocal booth I had to sing in was literally a microphone with a blanket around it.

There’s that, and Paul has a million good ideas that he’ll insert randomly, even without talking to us. He put a really cool effect in one of the mixes on the new album, and we had no idea it was there until he sent it, and it sounds amazing.

His creative mind, and his equipment, made a big difference.

Adam Bernard: You performed at Warped Tour this year. I know Warped has been experiencing a heavy EDM influence in recent years. Is there any feeling that as pop punk artists you need to remind people that the genre is still going strong?

Scott: Definitely. We liked doing it, and also a bunch of great pop punk bands like Real Friends, and I know Neck Deep was there, and also other rock bands, like Mayday Parade, Yellowcard was there, of course, so there are definitely still lots of great bands there, and it was cool to be a part of that, and we got to meet a couple of those bands, and hang out, as we went to Warped Tour Prom. It’s pretty awesome, and we were happy to be a part of that.

Adam Bernard: For the uninitiated, what is Warped Tour Prom, and did it involve a corsage?

Brennan: The people that run Warped Tour like to throw these little parties, or cool little events, for all the bands on tour for all their hard work. A lady that works for Warped Tour named Bethany (Watson) invited us to the Warped Tour Prom that was the night we played. There was a barbecue, a DJ, and a bar, and some people even got dressed up in like prom dresses and stuff.

Scott: We were still in our sweaty clothes.

Brennan: Yeah, we were still in our sweaty clothes. Some of the bands went and just hung out, and drank, and partied. It was fun.

Adam Bernard: A traditional prom sometimes ends at a hotel room with a very special moment for a young man and a young lady. Did any of that happen at Warped Tour Prom?

Brennan: Well let’s just say that me and Ryan Key of Yellowcard are now pretty close. {laughs}

Adam Bernard: Was there spooning?

Brennan: Maybe. I like to call it forking.

Adam Bernard: What originally drew you to pop punk as artists?

Brandon: For me it was definitely Blink 182. That was the first pop punk band that I heard. Actually, the first time I heard them was “All The Small Things.” I saw the music video and I didn’t like it at first because I thought they were a boy band, until I realized they were making fun of boy bands, and I was like wait, these guys are awesome, and I became obsessed and addicted, and that’s why I started playing drums. That’s how I got into pop punk.

Scott: Honestly, it was just about the same for me. I’ve always loved Blink 182, because my brother got the Enema of the State album for Christmas one year when I was maybe three, and he played it every single day, so that’s like all I heard. Then I got into Green Day, and my dad really liked Green Day, as well, so every day I would just listen to basically Blink 182 and Green Day, and when I started learning guitar I would learn a lot of Blink 182 songs and Green Day songs.

Adam Bernard: What would you consider your most “payin dues” moment from coming up in the ranks?

Brennan: We recently opened for All Time Low, and that show was insane. Afterwards random people we’d never met in our lives asked us for autographs, and photos, and wanted to talk to us. They were all over us, and we met so many new fans. The next day we had a show in Hagerstown (Maryland), which is like 45 minutes away from where we all live. Coming off the heels of this amazing show we played with all these amazing people, we were all kind of like, alright, this show isn’t going to be as good, of course, but it turned out that the audience, the crowd that was at the show, was no one.

Scott: Literally.

Brennan: We performed for the other bands.

Scott: Not exaggerating at all.

Brandon: That weekend really encompassed everything we are going to experience in the next couple years, as we make a career out of this. Everything and nothing.

Adam Bernard: Since you’ve noted your highest high, and lowest low, what’s been the wildest, or most interesting, thing you’ve seen, or experienced, while on the road, or performing at a show?

Brennan: At the All Time Low show, beforehand we passed out a bunch of our wristbands with our band name and website on them. The venue was the Baltimore Soundstage, and I think it holds a little more than a thousand people, and while we were on stage doing our set, at one point I asked everyone in the crowd to raise their hand if they were wearing one of our bracelets. Pretty much 950 people raised their hands. They were all cheering for us. They loved us. That was pretty wild, seeing all the people that were enjoying us, the biggest crowd we ever played for.

Scott: This is more of a kind of a funnier thing. When we were at Warped Tour we were about to go to the Prom after loading all of our stuff in the car, and we passed by Yellowcard, and instead of going to the Prom they were playing Magic with a bunch of other people by their tour bus. That was kind of interesting. It was cool, though.

Adam Bernard: You’ve mentioned Yellowcard, and All Time Low. Is there any particular band, or person, who has floored you with their kindness?

Brennan: All Time Low was pretty nice. Jack (Barakat) from All Time Low actually took selfies with Scott.

Scott: We’ve become good friends with a couple bands, one called Heavyweights. We played one of our first shows with them, and became really good friends. They’re really nice people. You should check them out. They’re one, definitely.

Adam Bernard: Moving outside of music, out of the three of you, who is the most likely to land the rest of you in jail, and what would it be for?

Brennan: It’s probably me. I have no idea what it would be for, but it would definitely be me. One time, this was about a year and a half ago, I was kind of more immature than I am now, and a cop pulled us over.

Brandon: Oh my God. They pulled ME over.

Brennan: And the cop was really being a complete jerk, and totally overusing his power and authority, and just being mean and rude for no reason, so as he walked away, and Brandon was rolling the windows up, I’m like “FUCK YOU!”

Adam Bernard: How’d that go over with the cop?

Brandon: He didn’t hear, THANK GOD! I’m like, you’re gonna get me arrested.

Scott: That was hilarious, though.

Adam Bernard: What were you pulled over for?

Brandon: Nothing. We’d had a show, we were going home, we were tired, and had a car full of gear. I missed a turn, so I hit my breaks, and the cop said I looked awkward. He thought I was drunk. He said I was being irrational. I got a warning. That’s all.

Adam Bernard: Finally, staying in the car, what’s the most embarrassing thing someone might catch you singing along to while you’re driving?

Brennan: All three of us are big fans of the animated movie Frozen, and if we hear the song “Let It Go” on the radio...

Brandon: I don’t like “Let It Go.” I like “Love is an Open Door,” and “Do You Want to Build a Snowman.” Great songs.

Adam Bernard: Does the world have a YouTube video, or a Vine, of you singing these songs in the car?

Brandon: Yes.

Brennan: Yes, there’s a Vine of these guys singing “Love is an Open Door.”

Brandon: We’re not telling you our user name. {laughs}

Interview originally ran on Arena.com.


posted by Adam Bernard @ 2:07 PM  
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