Breck says goodbye to 2012-13
Ryan Summerlin April 12, 2013
It’s always sad to see another ski season depart, watching the trees shake free of their white coats and start the muddy rush of spring. To ease the sorrowful transition, Breckenridge Ski Resort has put together one last hurrah of long ski days and rocking party beats from Front Range band 3OH!3 and singer-songwriter Matisyahu.
The crazy whirlwind of adventure never stops for electropop duo Sean Foreman and Nathanial Motte, better known as 3OH!3.
The pair recently released a video for “Back to Life,” a song from their new album “Omens,” which will hit stores on June 18. The video was directed by Mickey Finnegan and is based, bit for bit, on a story that Motte wrote a couple of years ago.
“When it came about to do a video for that song, I saw that (story) and it made sense with that song,” he said. “The idea was just a strange and ironic, funny and not too serious video. (Finnegan) did a wonderful job.”
3OH!3 had been in Vegas filming for another video and arrived on the scene and cranked out “Back to Life” in one night, taking over a grocery store from 6 p.m. to 8 a.m.
“It was a strange experience to stay up all night, but everyone working on the video did great,” Motte said.
The video was posted to YouTube on March 5 and already has more than 180,000 views, but “Back to Life” is just the beginning for the new album.
“We’re getting everything going with that ‘Back to Life’ song, the flag bearer for our record,” Motte said. “We have a history of doing a lot of college shows, so we’re doing a bunch of that in April, and we’re co-writing and producing for other acts. That’s a fun thing to do, work on someone else’s artistry. It’s really rewarding; we’ve had a lot of fun doing that the past couple of years.”
Thrown in with the college shows is an appearance at Breckenridge Spring Fever on Saturday to close out the ski season. Aside from growing up snowboarding and being psyched to get in a few runs before the show, 3OH!3 has a deeper connection with Breck.
“Breck is awesome,” Motte said. “We wrote the majority of our last record at a big house that we rented in Breck. It symbolizes the mountains and the Colorado way of life: Get out and explore and be alone but also hit the great bars and restaurants.
“We played a show there on the Dew Tour in 2008, maybe, and it was pretty incredible and got kind of crazy. We’re looking forward to it. People come there to have a good time, rocking a big party.”
The energetic pair become an electrified group on tour.
“We actually have a live band, so we have a lot of live elements going on – drums, guitar, bass, keyboard,” Motte said. “We take our studio tracks and try to break them down for the live element.
“For us, it’s important for our live show to be a live show, not just a karaoke performance. We take the beefiness of our studio sound and incorporate live elements to create a weird bastardized mix of all of that sonically.”
It all centers around having fun and having a good time, Motte said, whether that’s watching videos or all of the other ancillary things that go along with 3OH!3’s music.
“We’ve always kind of built our entity across our songs and our live shows around a sense of fun, make it progressive and interesting,” Motte said. “We started doing live shows right when we started making music; it’s all about rocking a party. We’ve grown up in Colorado, we’ve been back and forth to Breck a lot, so we’re really excited to play.”
For contemporary reggae fans and music lovers in the know, the live performances of Lubavitch Hasidic rapper and reggae singer-songwriter Matisyahu are not to be missed. Born Matthew Miller from White Plains, N.Y., Matisyahu skyrocketed to fame as the Jewish reggae sensation-carefully incorporating hip-hop, dance hall and electronica into his unique style.
Blowing the minds of gentiles and Semites alike between 2005 and 2010 and selling more than 2 million albums, he drew on influences from his upbringing in New York and the international themes of reggae music. His live performances in small venues were closer kin to spiritual experiences than mere concerts, and his beatboxing alone is legendary.
His top-40 hit single “King Without a Crown” from “Live At Stubb’s” (his first album) earned him a Top Reggae Artist ranking by Billboard. The album “Youth” was nominated for a Grammy, and “Light” also received critical and popular acclaim before he returned to Austin to record “Live at Stubb’s Vol. II,” further cementing his rep as a rapper and truly inspired performer of reggae music.
Essentially having reinvented himself since late 2011, sans beard and payot, Matisyahu’s “Spark Seeker” (his fifth album, released in 2012) is distinctly less roots reggae but perseveres in innovation, passion and inspirational lyrics.
Matis recently returned from Europe, where he’s been recording live acoustic versions of the songs off this latest album, and “Spark Seeker: Acoustic Sessions” is also one for the vault.
“I’m really writing and recording new music right now. I rework the songs all the time. In my performances, I play songs from all the records … but we improvise within the songs a lot,” Matis said.
Touring and creating, Matisyahu isn’t interested in what other people say about him; he just focuses on the music. And despite his unique international reputation and blend of reggae, hazzan and beatbox, to name just a few of his influences, he doesn’t look back but instead chooses to look forward, saying he’s still very much inspired and informed by the past decade spent as a Hasidic Jew.
He’s earned a seemingly permanent place in
pop music and in the minds of his fans but has chosen to embrace change instead of rolling with what was working.
“Things are not as black and white as we would
like to think. Not everything can be oversimplified,” Matis said.
He chooses to push his boundaries, and what we are seeing now is part of that dynamic evolution, just like the one we all go through in life and just like his songs when he is performing on stage.
And so the reggae sensation continues to bring his music to the people. Matisyahu will perform on the mountain for free at Breckenridge Ski Resort on Sunday as part of the area’s annual Spring Fever Festival, recognized as the longest and biggest spring celebration in the high country.
“I like coming to Colorado; it’s a great place – I like the air, I like the mountains. …Coming to Colorado, I’ll probably improvise more than I would … because it’s a place I know people appreciate improvisational music,” he said.