Sammy Adams is all grown up but he’ll never take OG party tracks off his set list
When you think Sammy Adams, you probably think back (or maybe not so far back) to your red solo cup chugging days while blasting “I Hate College” or “All Night Longer.” But just like you’ve graduated from college, or simply from the days where you would black out on a Tuesday night, Sammy Adams has too – sort of.
The man previously clumped in with frat-rappers is sharing the stage with everyone from metal to pop-punk bands at Vans Warped Tour this summer and his sound is shifting along with him. In fact, instead of making plans to rage after a long day running around the festival grounds, he told me that he was going off to NYC early that evening to meet up with his girlfriend.
We talked with Sammy about long distance relationships, the magic of Warped Tour, and how every artist who says they’ve never hooked up with a fan is lying. Check out his latest remix along with some exclusive photos below.
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So you’re going to NYC to see your girlfriend later tonight, is it hard being on the road all summer?
Nah, not really. It’s like a lifestyle, you either cope with it or you can’t. [It’s] definitely hard, but it works, it’s just like anything else that has its ups and downs ya know? It fucking sucks, but we make it work, so yeah.
What’s one necessity for you when you’re on the road?
To be honest, a necessity is communication with everyone. There’s nothing worse than being like on a bus and no one knows what’s going on.
Sorta that, and the character of who you are as a person, like I need to check you the fuck out before I share my life and my success with you. Other than that, everyone’s a good person, as long as you have a good heart and work ethic, you’re a hundo with us.
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Are you sharing a bus with someone?
No, no I was just saying. It’s just us – my project manager and two other guys.
So how does Warped Tour compare to other festivals you’ve played or even your own headlining tours?
Crazy different, it’s fucking awesome. I always think it’s a really great thing for artists who do their own tours and fill out their own shows to be put on their ass and hung up in front of people who don’t know who they are.
A perfect example is when I went out to Oregon, and they don’t really know who I am, but they still came. The difference between [being on Warped] and headlining shows is you have your eye on the clock already, and you have a bunch of people who are already heavily influenced by you as an artist. Here people just hear something they like and gravitate toward it, I really like that about this. At festivals you have a plethora of artists that are fucking huge, and then other people fill in and people show mad love but it’s not like [the love that] Kendrick gets and stuff like that.
[Warped is] amazing, like every day you don’t know when you go on. I think for a lot of people it’s stressful, but for us we’re just rolling with the punches. And it’s during the day, which is amazing. The fact we don’t have to play from 10-12 every night. That’s really nice and a really cool change, but I don’t know, it’s just so different than anything I’ve ever done, but I was so ready to do it and I’m having a blast so it’s super rad.
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There aren’t really a lot of other rappers on Warped Tour, especially this year, do you kind of feel different because of that? Or is it just whatever?
It really depends. A lot of it has to do with basic songs and your set. I mean I don’t even have a band or a DJ, it’s just me. [You need to make sure your set] has enough breaks to be like, ‘”what are you doing?,” “where are you?,” “how are you?,” because they don’t know you, so you can’t sprint through your set. I learned that the first day, and by the second day I was like, “let’s cut this, let’s play more of our original music.” Because kids really do just gravitate towards good music here. I mean any other artist walking around the festival is like a festival goer, I hear shit that’s interesting and way different. So I go over and listen to it – it’s fucking sick.
So I know you have a girlfriend now, but have you ever hooked up with a fan previously?
Yeah, 100%. Anyone who’s traveling on a tour bus and says “no” to that is a fucking liar [laughing].
I ask that question a lot and guys will be like, “um, no comment,” and I’m like, “okay, we know that means yes.” So how would a fan get your attention?
Uh, I mean there’s multiple ways, but a lot of fans get attention from like it’s just the right time and I’m on my phone. DM’s are kind of off limits, just because you’re probably talking to him [referring to his manager] and not me, but I don’t know. It’s semi easy to get my attention with just all of the platforms that there are, depends on what kind of attention you want.
What’s the craziest thing a fan has done to get your attention?
The craziest one was when we were on our tour bus for like half a tour and this girl traveled with us, no clothes in the bag, no anything, just a phone and a wallet. It was pretty fucking interesting.
Oh my gosh.
It was almost like, “Get the fuck outta here,” after a while.
How did she end up leaving?
She got back to Iowa City, that’s all that matters [laughing].
[Laughing] Okay, okay. So lots of your songs, especially your more famous songs, are about partying – is music you’re focusing on now still about partying? Or are you kind of moving into something else?
Not at all. I’m very glad you asked that question. It’s just after working with so many different people and on so many different styles of music I’m pretty jaded in that lane, and I know there have been some bangers.
I’ll still obviously play them, but in terms of the music now, it’s more self-aware. Some of it’s hip-hop and others are just feel good shit. I have some new stuff I’m about to drop. I think the direction I’m going in is the best I’ve ever sounded. It’s not hard to sound good live when it’s only a hip-hop act, but adding a lot of singing parts and taking vocal lessons and having other production…I really love having the daytime sets but I also hate them because there’s no production. Which is what we’ve been doing a lot of for six years, it’s a great change but I’m really confident the crowd will translate with our sound, not that they don’t already.
But I’m stoked, it’s kind of our passage to play with punk and rock bands that are fucking rad like Neck Deep, their fans come over and rock – [it’s] definitely awesome. I think this is just such a good scene for us and I’m happy to be a part of it. My name will forever be embedded in Warped Tour 2017, that’s fucking dope.
Is there like a specific party that directly influenced one of your songs, like a huge banger?
Not really. A lot of the songs are just a combination of a bunch of crazy shit and it’s just all happening in one song. I don’t think any one party in history really did it for me, I mean in the history of partying – there’s definitely been enough content to make a few more. I mean, I’m not saying I’m not going to make a few more. The new stuff is just very much more mature – which I love. It’s just a little less like when I was younger. Now that I’m on my own label I have so much more fun, and I work so much harder. I’m the boss, so it’s like, “Alright dude, let’s go, pick up the pace.”
What kind of music do you listen to if you’re getting ready for a date?
Probably like whatever, maybe a Spotify station. Let’s see what I’ve been cranking lately, I’ve been crushing this group called The Disciples, and then let’s see, actually Elvis Presley. My mom and dad have a lot of his records and shit. A lot of hits I heard growing up. I just remember my dad singing, “I’m all shook up.”
What’s the best advice you’ve gotten about the music industry and who was it from?
It was from Pharrell and he said, “Make sure your path and all of your parallels – from the music you play to what you want to make in the future because you’ll grow out of yourself.” It’s always been so insane for me because I’ve felt it.
We were talking about it before, on your regular tour, everyone might wanna hear [one song], but you don’t want to play it, but you have to play it. That was really good advice because I feel it, it’s music going from partying to going indie to finding your own new fucking wave. It makes you feel good about the direction it’s going in because so many people give up because there’s nowhere to go. There’s nothing to do, I mean if you rock 50 shots in 10 minutes it’s something to sing about. But staying relevant is difficult in social media terms because there’s motherfuckers from Santa Fe, New Mexico, that have more followers on YouTube than me and they like, paint lipstick on their foreheads. I’m just here for the music.
Do you feel like since you started in the music industry that you’ve had to spend a lot more time on social media or even just crafting your brand?
I think it depends. I mean the cool thing about social media is when it comes from you it’s fucking awesome. It’s really see-through to see if someone else is running your shit. Because [if I captioned a photo], “I have Austin with me here today and I can’t wait for our show,” I would never write that or say that to anyone. So, I think on a personal level I’m gaining real truth and loyal fans and it’s incredible. And the access to finding new bands on your own is awesome because it gives you that sense of ownership. That’s what the coolest part about social media is because I guarantee half these kids never dished CDs out of their backpack. It’s a totally different hustle.
Since you have a girlfriend at home, what is some long distance relationship advice you can give us?
Communicate and find a girl that you like talking to on the phone. If you don’t like talking on the phone and you’re not going to be having sex for a few months, don’t fucking do it.
When can we expect new music from you?
In a couple weeks.
Awesome, so you’re releasing it while you’re still on tour?
Yeah, two of them will probably come out on tour, and the rest will follow.
Photos by Keri Dolan