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Originally published Friday, August 14, 2009 at 12:00 AM

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Q&A with Nat Motte of 3OH!3, headed for the Vans tour

The Vans Warped Tour is coming Saturday to the Gorge Amphitheatre. Punk bands, including 3OH!3, Senses Fail, Saosin, Less Than Jake, and Bad Religion join the tour's lineup for its 15th anniversary. We caught up with summer-hit makers 3OH!3 for a quick Q&A.

Seattle Times staff reporter

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3OH!3: www.myspace.com/3oh3

Concert preview

Vans Warped Tour

Noon Saturday, Gorge Amphitheatre, 754 Silica Road N.W., George, Grant County; $35.05 (800-745-3000 or ticketmaster.com).

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The Vans Warped Tour turns 15 this year.

In celebration, the punk fest has classic bands such as Bad Religion and newbies such as 3OH!3 in its lineup.

3OH!3, a duo from Boulder, Colo., is responsible for one of the hottest singles of the summer: "Don't Trust Me," which climbed to No. 9 on the Billboard Hot 100. Made up of Sean Foreman, 23, and Nathaniel Motte, 25, 3OH!3 (pronounced "three oh three") playfully mixes pop, hip-hop and electronica.

They play the Warped Tour on Saturday at the Gorge with such groups as Senses Fail, Saosin, Less Than Jake, Flogging Molly and Bad Religion.

Foreman took some time out from touring to talk — from Scranton, Pa. — about the quick rise of 3OH!3.

Q: Where does the clever name come from?

A: I had a tattoo based on our [Boulder] area code. It was 3OH!3 and we decided that was a simple solution.

Q: How would you describe your sound mix?

A: Electronic is a very important word to keep in mind with any of it — electronic hip-hop, electronic rock — because all of our stuff is based on software.

Q: How do you transfer your electronic sound live?

A: We base our entire sound on whether it can be live, meaning that when we write a song, we test it out in a live venue and test the momentum, whether it has the charisma to carry itself.

Q: Your single, "Don't Trust Me," has a pretty memorable line: "Do the Helen Keller and talk with your hips."

A: It obviously has this tongue-in-cheek value. Some people are going to get it and think it's funny. Some people are going to be obviously offended. Some people are just going to listen to it as any other lyric. I just like to have fun with it.

Q: How do you deal with the people who do think it's offensive?

A: I feel for anyone who has to deal with ... disabilities. But at the same time, the nature of how it's written and how it's carried, it's supposed to be about just dancing. ... Obviously, it's not meant to be misogynistic or anything. It's just based solely on the fact of speaking with your body.

Q: You are working with Lil Jon on a song?

A: It's definitely a pop-py song, but it has the elements of Lil Jon, with his style of rapping on it. ... Hopefully, it'll be on his next album. ... It was sort of a dream come true for all of us.

Q: Was he like how Dave Chappelle portrayed him? Both serious and a little crazed?

A: [Laughs] Not quite that much. He's very smart though. His persona on TV or video, he's just yelling. He's still like that. He's still very fun-natured, but you can talk to him. He's very levelheaded. He's not out of his mind. ... He knows how to make a good song.

Q: You also worked with Katy Perry?

A: We kind of started off the same time. Her song springboarded off earlier than ours. We played together last Warped Tour. We went on tour with her in the U.K. ... She's the same in a lot of ways as Lil Jon, in the same sense that she's very smart about what she does. She's someone you can talk to and approach, doesn't have the biggest head, because she definitely worked to be where she is.

Q: You two just graduated from the University of Colorado before the tour; what are you planning to do with your degrees?

A: I did English and math, and Nat was pre-med. I think I was planning — still planning, eventually, down the line — to go back to school, to pursue English further, maybe teach, be a professor. I know Nat actually got accepted into med school [at the University of Colorado] and just deferred for two years. I think he appreciates the place he is in now [rather] than being in med school.

Q: And if this musical career lasts longer than two years?

A: I feel like there's always time to go back to school. ... It's not only a job, but a fruition of what we've always done.

Marian Liu: 206-464-3825 or mliu@seattletimes.com

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