“I’ve been reading the Urban Tantra,” Wesley Stromberg says when asked what he does to make Emblem3’s tour bus feel like home. “It’s kind of like the Karma Sutra, but a modern version told from the perspective of this girl that lives in New York. I’m also reading a book about Neil Young. Everything that he went through is so inspiring.”
That’s the kind of dichotomy that defines a conversation with the members of Emblem3. On the one hand, they’re the So-Cal version of a boy band, with all the dashing good looks and skater-boy charm that implies. On the other hand, their biggest idols are Blink-182: for the music, the shock factor and the boyish sense of humor.
As for what else is happening on the back of Emblem3’s bus, Keaton Stromberg is mastering the new Grand Theft Auto game on his XBox 360 and Drew Chadwick is binge-watching Breaking Bad. They call it their lair and they’ve tricked it out with a mobile studio. The idea is that the former X Factor finalists, who are signed to Simon Cowell’s Syco Music imprint, can write and record songs while on the road as Selena Gomez’s opening act, never quite slowing down their pace. Their latest focus is a new video for their current single, “3000 Miles,” a real tear-jerker of a power ballad.
“Would you say, even, buzz ballad? Like, ‘I’m falling even more in love with you,'” Chadwick asks, breaking into Lifehouse’s 2001 hit “Hanging By a Moment.” He segued smoothly from that into Eve 6’s “Here’s To The Night,” Bush’s “Glycerine” and Third Eye Blind’s “Jumper,” completing some sort of ’90s rock power ballad circle of life.