Springfest with the Artists: On and Off Stage

You may remember being intensely curious during your middle school days about how 3OH!3’s band member’s first kisses actually went. “I think we really spelled it out in the song pretty well: (kissing sound) and twist!” said Sean Foreman, one half of the band’s iconic duo.


“Actually it happened at a family reunion,” Sean admitted. Now, he did clarify that the kiss wasn’t with a family member, though that rumor floated around for a while. No–Sean’s first kiss was with a girl named Darby, whose last name he didn’t want to expose, and Sean said “it was actually really magical.”


There it is folks: sounds like there wasn’t a whole lot of twisting with Sean Foreman’s first kiss.


3OH!3 was one of four artists featured at the University of Redlands’ Springfest on Saturday, March 25th. The Griswolds, NOLAJ, and HOLYCHILD were also featured at the all-day music festival in front of Memorial Chapel.


Each of the artists joined Shapari Samimi, sophomore and KDAWG Station Manager, for an interview with KDAWG, the University of Redlands official radio station, before taking the stage. I was lucky enough to sit in on these interviews and witness these artists’ larger than life personalities in the quiet green room, far from the noise and energy of the stage.




NOLAJ was the first artist to take the Springfest stage and this was his second time performing at the University of Redlands. He was accompanied to the KDAWG interview by a host of friends, DJs and the hypemen who helped put his show together.  


Jalon, the artist behind NOLAJ (see what he did there!), became interested in music at the age of three and has been rapping since his sophomore year of high school.


“I was inspired by Neyo, Lauren Hill, Tupac, and anything with a jazzy vibe,” he admitted.


As his musical vision developed over the years, Jalon has become increasingly interested in raising awareness about his home: Detroit, Michigan.


“I want people to know that Detroit is a historical place.”


Jalon explained that with the current water crisis in Flint and the amount of schools that are currently closing, “the youth population is really in need of leadership.”


NOLAJ hopes that his music resonates with the heart of his listeners. He revealed that his fans can expect a lot of music inspired by “real life,” coming soon. This next project is expected to be released next month.


NOLAJ and his team signed off KDAWG with heart-melting shoutouts to their children.


“I hope my life shows my daughter to live by her own rules,” NOLAJ expressed.





Louie strutted into the KDAWG green room dressed in a periwinkle t-shirt adorned with rhinestone bunnies holding carrots, an item Liz picked out just for him.


The quirky and ever-fashionable Louie and Liz make up the pop duo, HOLYCHILD. The two met at George Washington University in a modern dance class that Liz was taking and Louie was accompanying for.


“I had the piano going with my hands, the drum tapping with my feet,” Louie said. Yet, the dance instructor would make requests for him to play other instruments at the same time as well.


“I was like an entire orchestra,” Louie claimed.


The duo classifies their sound as “rap pop” that features commentary on gender roles and the societal obsession with fame.


“Today, feminism is sold on a shirt at Old Navy,” Liz said.


Liz described her and Louie’s struggle of staying true to their message without commodifying activism.


“That’s why it’s really inspiring to be at schools. We figure the more educated folks are in this day in age, the better,” Liz said.


In addition to navigating the waters of activism, HOLYCHILD is also getting back into the rhythm of performing regularly, with Springfest being the first show they played in a year.


HOLYCHILD mentioned their next album will have more of a personal feel, which will contrast the more politically charged music they have previously released.





Yep. The stereotypical Australian love affair with Vegemite is true. At least for Chris Whitehall, that is.


“I have a suitcase full of it!” Whitehall laughed.


Chris is the lead singer of the Griswolds, an indie rock band that hails from Sydney, Australia. The motley crew of band members and friends, who all sat in on the KDAWG interview, met while checking out the music scene in Sydney, and they decided to form a band themselves.


“It was a bit of a romance… the rest is history!” Chris laughed.


The Griswolds have performed for audiences around the world and recently toured with Walk the Moon. The band revealed the bizarre realities of fame, and one member described the memorable experiences of a fan showing up at his parents’ house.


Although the Griswolds have recently garnered significant recognition in the music industry, they claim they still haven’t had one single “made it” moment.


“Honestly it’s moments like this where we feel like we’ve made it,” one member commented as he pointed to the KDAWG radio equipment. The friends unanimously decided that this interview was the best radio experience they have had thus far!


The group discussed how they enjoy performing for college audiences, although they admitted that sometimes people study during their shows.


“We’re basically college students just 25 years older,” Chris added.


One of the interviewees, decked in a t-shirt reading “tapatio,” revealed that the Griswolds are currently exploring a “Motown Dubstep” vibe for their new album.


If you’re confused about this, stayed tuned. It sounds like the Griswolds have already broke ground on this new project.




Nat and Sean, the 3OH!3 duo, met on match.com….or was it farmersonly.com? They suggested both of these theories during the KDAWG interview, until finally settling on the fact that they actually just met at college in Boulder, Colorado.


In addition to basing their songs off real life experiences, like that of their first kisses, Nat and Sean have a tedious songwriting process.


“We do a lot of research. We go to the library and find books that span years of philosophy and base our songs off the things we find,” Nat revealed.


Though this sounds like a perfectly reasonable process, Sean admitted it is actually more like throwing words onto the refrigerator and seeing what sticks.


“Having fun is at the center of what we do,” Sean said.


Nat and Sean both write and produce songs for other artists, and their favorite collaboration has been with Lil’ John, who they said is hung over every day and texts them in ALL CAPS.


Though they described their career as a gradual climb to fame, the duo admitted a few of their career highlights have been performing at Red Rocks, a famous venue in Colorado, and shutting down Grad Night at Disneyland.


Sean and Nat exclusively revealed to KDAWG Radio that neither of them are vegetarians, a burning question which, I’m sure, you’ve had since hearing the famous lyrics, “I’m a vegetarian and I ain’t f****** scared of him,” from the song “Don’t Trust Me.”


However, Sean said that he was in fact a vegetarian when he wrote the song. After all, 3OH!3’s songs have to be rooted in some sense of reality, right?




Sophomore Faith Pejsa is the Director of Major Events for ASUR Social Affairs. Springfest was the culmination of months of planning and organizing on her behalf.


“I had to redesign the entire event on Monday because there was a 60 percent chance of rain on Saturday. The event was originally going to be on the lawn of the quad. We changed it to be on Chapel Drive, and we added the tents just in case it did rain.”


“I think it was a very smooth day in that we didn’t have any big issues,” Pejsa said. “We had almost 600 people there. Everything worked out the day of.”


In a typical year, Social Affairs will choose to do either a Fallfest or a Springfest. Last year, they happened to do both. But according to Pejsa, Social Affairs will probably stick to a concert in either the fall or the spring in future years. The two events have significantly different moods, as Pejsa suggested.


“Instead of an evening concert ‘feel’ like Fallfest, we wanted Springfest to have an afternoon festival ‘feel’, with activities in addition to the concert.”


This year’s Springfest featured a host of independent vendors that offered balloon animals, photo booths, and live graffiti. A variety of Rockstar energy drinks were available for free, and In -N-Out Burger and Joe’s Grill a Dog were available for purchase throughout the day.  


A henna tattoo vendor was originally planned as well, but the weather forecast necessitated that money be moved around to fund rain tents.


“We were partnering with the ASUR Executive Director of Inclusion, [Emma Wade], to make the henna tent an opportunity for people to both receive tattoos and be educated about the culture surrounding henna.”


In addition to hosting big name bands, Springfest also featured student artists, like Cassidy Mason, an independent DJ who works for KDAWG. Mason performed between each of the artists.


“As a startup DJ, it is really fun to see people get excited about the music.” Cassidy usually plays house parties, and she said that this kind of exposure is like a dream come true for her. “It’s like the start of a career for me.”


Junior Blake DeWalt had a unique motivation for attending the event. “I really wanted to revisit my past. The last time I saw 30H!3 I was 13 years old–that was 2009.”


DeWalt admitted that the members of 3OH!3 haven’t changed much. “They have grey hair now, that’s about it. Middle school Blake was a huge fan, and that hasn’t changed much either.”


all photos contributed by Halie West, Redlands Bulldog photographer


  • Allie Kuroff

    Allie Kuroff is a University of Redlands' sophomore anthropology and music student. She is a culture and news journalist for the Redlands Bulldog and trip leader for Outdoor Programs.