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Vans Warped Tour - Chula Vista
Warm Greetings! This is Arianna “Ari” Segla coming to you through your computer! I did a couple of interviews at this year’s Vans Warped Tour, precisely at the Chula Vista location in the Sleep Train Amphitheatre. I interviewed several upcoming stars such as Hiroki Ikegawa and Kenta Koie from the band Crossfaith, Sean Foreman from the duo 3OH!3, Lindsay Vitola and Anthony Isoldi from the band Mighty Mongo, James Morris of James Morris Band, Dan Lambton from the band Real Friends, rapper MC Lars, solo artist William Beckett, Beebs and her Money Makers, and Novena Carmel and Ricky Reed from Wallpaper. All these artists shared their bullying stories, how they stayed resilient, and how they are allies. Each interview inspired me more and more to further conduct interviews and brings out the good in the music we listen to today.
What is like being a solo artist?
William: Well, when I began playing music, I started as a solo artist. So in a lot of ways, it’s kinda like me getting back to my roots of where I started, why I started, my performing and writing music. And it’s amazing ‘cause I can just be myself, do what I feel like doing, say what I feel like saying. You know, when you’re in a band, a lot of things get muddled and “edited”. So it’s like, ‘don’t wear that’ or ‘don’t say that on stage”, but as a solo artist, I can truly be myself and embrace who I am.
So we’re going to take it back a couple steps to high school. Were you ever bullied in high school and, if you were, how did you stay resilient?
MC Lars: I think for any young person out there, find something you’re passionate about. The things that make you uncool in high school ultimately make you super cool, like this Zelda chain. I wear this to remind myself that like life is like a journey, you get through each level. I love Legend of Zelda because Link is always, you know, trying to get next level, trying to find the meaning of life and that’s like my life. What makes you uncool in high school, like I said, makes you cool later. I was a nerd in high school and now being a nerd is just who I am, it’s part of my whole thing, and that’s kinda punk rock, you know?
Sean: I think I certain had my share, did my fair share, not too much, but of bullying just ‘cause I realize now that I had those moments where I was very insecure and I would, you know. Whether it was talking to someone or talking, you know, crap about someone to a friend and then you go through it and I think as long as there’s awareness and there’s, like you said, a community of people that you can turn to as problems come to.
Novena: Yeah, I felt like middle school was tougher than high school even ‘cause it’s like you go from a safe, elementary school to something that’s a little bit more like, more free and kinda like changing the way you look and you’re more aware. People are more aware of how you dress, how you talk, and everything like that. I was scared in middle school, sometimes, like somebody had threatened to beat me up because I like, looked at them the wrong way, it was confusing, ‘cause you don’t even know like what you’re doing wrong half the time for people like to be mad. They don’t even know why they’re mad, they just want to have something to say. A lot of times, people that are like bullying are trying to figure themselves out too, it’s just they think that the way of doing is in a bullying way. So I think that everybody just like, the more guidance they can have makes it easier, you know like, if you’re a bully or someone who gets bullied. You know, I ran track and I quit track because I got bully at a track meet.
William: I was bullied in high school. I was tall, like I am now still, so like no one was physically bullying me but it was more like verbal you know. They called me gay and faggot all the time, because I was different. I dressed differently; I was friends with who I wanted to be friends with as opposed to who’s popular. So for me, I mean, I just had to have a thick skin, you know; I had great friends. One of the most important things to remember is when you are bullied and you feel that, you know, you feel ashamed, you feel like everything is wrong, nothing feels right. You need to truly focus on what is positive. If you have one friend, that’s all you need, just one person to support you. And if it’s not a person, if it’s music or art, dance or whatever it is that you’re passionate about, immerse yourself in that. You need to drown out all the negativity that’s around you. ‘Cause when it comes right down to it, bullies are just people who are trying to make themselves feel better because they’re insecure, really insecure, probably more insecure than you are. So perspective is an important thing.
Beebs: In high school, I didn’t have a Facebook so it was a little easier, I think, than now with Facebook and everyone being so self-absorbed in social media and Instagram and Twitter and all these things and people can spread rumors about you in the touch of a button to thousands of people and being in high school, it’s very traumatic. I also think that kids should just love themselves and not worry about what other people think. Everyone is awkward in high school. Even the cool, popular kids are awkward in high school. That’s why they’re mean….
Did your school have a GSA (Gay/Straight Alliance) on campus?
Lindsay: We did not at my high school but in Anthony’s high school they just formed one last fall and we’re playing at their first benefit concert in the spring of next year so we’re super stoked about that. We come from a really really tiny town, very closed minded so it’s kinda a big deal for them to have something like that.
MC Lars: Oh yeah! They were at my high school and my college. I had a lot of good gay, bisexual, straight friends who were a part of that. My cousin is gay, he recently got married, I am so proud of him, to a man.