Last week, OC represented itself in the world of reality show contests yet again thanks to a teenage trio called
who took the stage on Fox's the
for a live audition. The
, 19, and brothers
(18 and 15 respectively) seemed like an easy pick to face the gauntlet of judges
. Take three stereotypical, pretty boy heartthrobs (formerly known as
the American Scholars
) who may or may not be able to sing and put them in front of the American audience and see what happens. Then again, these guys aren't exactly fresh off the bus.
Aside from playing shows in both their native Washington and around OC, the HB residents spent the last year doing shows at places like the Hard Rock Cafe, The Roxy and Rock N' Road's Orange County Battle of the Bands--which they won last year. They've even been one of those bands who plays out side at places like the Block at Orange and the Lab in Costa Mesa.
After passing last week's audition with a notable amount of praise, the band--an amalgam of pop, reggae, hip-hop and Bieber-esque hair swooshing--experienced an instant profile boost overnight. We recently caught the guys on the phone to talk about their experience on the show thus far, the random explosion of their song "Sunset Blvd."on iTunes and their attempts to combat the boy band label that will undoubtedly be ascribed to them on this show despite their obvious lack of choreography and the fact that they actually do play and record their own instruments. Check out our interview after the jump.
OC Weekly (Nate Jackson): Take us into that moment right before you stepped in front of the judges on the audition show, what was it like to follow the guy before you who totally bombed? Were you nervous?
Keaton Stromberg: We were backstage just psyching each other up and did a little huddle and we're like 'This is it, we gotta go hard!' And we actually didn't see that kid perform, which is funny because the way the show was edited, it kinda made it seem like I was saying 'Wow, that was really lame,' but I was actually talking about his handshake. When he came off, I shook his hand and his handshake was really weird. So I wasn't talking about his performance because I couldn't actually hear it.
Did you expect to get some weird looks from the judges when you decided to do an original song?
Wesley Stromberg: I completely felt confident in it and putting it in front of people. I wasn't scared really.
You guys have some history performing in Orange County, including your win at Rock N' Road's Orange County Battle of the Bands last year.
W. Stromberg: Yeah and that was actually our first show in California as Emblem 3. Our second show after that was at the Hard Rock.
Drew Chadwick: Ever since we started, we 've had sort of a good luck streak as far as shows go. We played one house party that was pretty wack in L.A. I don't even wanna talk about it, the vibe was so serious and awkward.
How did you guys get the idea to audition for the show?
K. Stromberg: X-Factor approached us based off our YouTube videos and they asked us to make another audition video for the song so we sent that in and they called us back to come audition for the judges. What are your feeling as about possibly being perceived as a boy band on the show?
Chadwick: The whole boy band thing is a completely different vibe from our style, normally we'd be playing our instruments on stage but for the show we weren't allowed to. We wanted to explain that to everyone, we're not a boy band. We've got this reggae, rock genre going on. I feel like the stereotype of a boy band can narrow us down to like 12 year old girls. I want my friends who are guys who are 20-years-old to wanna bump E3 and I want them to respect our music. These are our songs that we wrote and we want people to know that. We just grew up listening to Sublime and stuff like that, we look up to those guys.
Screen shot from iTunes
Emblem 3's Facebook
So ideally you guys want to play your instruments on stage?
K. Stromberg: I think it'd be cool if we could whip out our instruments and maybe jam just like one song to just show that we're capable of that, we'd like to switch the vibe of the show up. We have a lot of versatile things we could do.
How have things taken off for you guys as fars as iTunes sales and social media followers since the audition?
Chadwick: We're pretty high on the charts in countries like New Zealand, it's insane. We live in a house together, we don't have a lot of income coming in, we're not rich or anything like that so our dreams are coming true.
W. Stromberg: We got something like 20,000 followers overnight.
Chadwick: The coolest thing for me right now is that we're up on iTunes right next to Cold Play, and Green Day and Foster the people all these huge names and we're actually beating some of them on the charts...like, are you serious?! We were up to #16 at one point on the iTunes charts in America, which is insane considering we were only on TV for one performance. It's bizarre.
What was it like staring Simon Cowell in the face?
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W. Stromberg: It's was awesome. I love Simon like a son, a brother and a father all at the same time.
Nate Jackson is the gatekeeper to your dreams of local dive bar stardom. If he writes about you, expect your band to be offered at least one more drink ticket than the rest of the bands on the bill. Get his attention with some groovy tunes and he might just do it. Then, boy will you feel special.