For many people in the world right now, the ongoing saga of COVID-19 has resulted in lost income, lost employment and a growing sense of fear and isolation. Shit is wild right now as everybody rides the waves of optimistic hope and existential dread – there’s really no telling what tomorrow brings. But, hey, at least music fans have been on the receiving end of an apparently endless stream of live performances, right?
By now, you’ve probably had the chance to see some of your favorite artists – both independent and mainstream – take to IG Live or other arenas to drop some of their greatest hits. Man, when all the dust has settled, I really hope people pay mind to the medicinal value of the arts. ‘Cause I don’t know about you, but music has been a saving grace for me as the days of quarantine stack up. But you know what’s better than one artist playing live on IG? How about nearly 20 artists playing live for five hours…
Enter Fake Fourantine.
Yup. On Saturday, April 4th (that’s tomorrow if you’re reading this at the time of posting), fans from across the globe will have the chance to attend a Fake Four festival from the comfort and socially distance-approved safety of their own home. All you have to do is hop on Fake Four’s Twitch channel to enjoy an evening of genre-defying, risk taking and enigmatic performances from the Fake Four family. No signing up, no cover, no masks and no gloves.
Hxppy Thxxghts had the opportunity to speak to some of the artists performing to discuss the Fake Fourantine, the impact of COVID-19 on independent artists and the artists they’re most looking forward to catching live. Enjoy the Fake Four commentary below and be sure to join the fun and enjoy the music on Saturday from 4pm-9pm EST.
As Oscar Goldman so eloquently put it, “dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to show our love for Fake Four.”
First things first – how are you doing and how are you feeling with everything that’s going on in the world right now?
E-Turn: Very up and down. Some days are better than others. I don’t feel an insane amount of fear, I think that ultimately some good can come out on the other side of this. But I am definitely dealing with some stress as almost all my income vanished overnight. I also worry about my family and friends. I want everyone I care about to be ok and not knowing where this is headed instills some anxiety.
Andy the Doorbum: I’m hanging in there at the moment. I was on tour with my friends Lankum from Ireland when the pandemic announcement hit and things really started to be taken seriously in the states. I self-quarantined as soon as I got home to be safe for those in my life and, not long after, the state of California issued a shelter in place order. I’ve been trying to stay productive and creative but also spending lots of time just staring at the walls as well, since I’m on day 18 of not leaving the house and I am alone here. Luckily, I’m no stranger to being alone with my thoughts as I’ve done that a lot in my life with touring and also just seeking refuge from internal struggles alone. This is a bit different though.
Spoken Nerd: I am well. It’s been a testing world situation that I don’t have a lot of control over but I am personally staying happy.
Oscar Goldman: Staying creative.
Televangel: As of now I’m fine. I definitely feel like one of the privileged ones. Haven’t been able to gauge any loss of income yet, since I didn’t have a tour planned. And luckily my wife has been able to work from home through all this. It’s still obviously quite depressing and frustrating and seeing so many people in panic and stressed is heartbreaking.
Factor Chandelier: I have to admit it isn’t great timing to be promoting and releasing a new album. I had to cancel my album release tour with Ceschi, Kay the Aquanaut and Taylor Jade. Sucks even more because we had/have a dope show planned with visuals from Riley Deacon. We will reschedule though!
Ceschi: Doing alright at the moment. Was supposed to move out of LA yesterday & ended up extending my lease here. So it’s just a time of great confusion – but at least I’m surrounded by the nicest weather. My family is also fine back in New Haven. The scariest thing for us is that so many covid cases show no symptoms…so I’m just laying low on the west coast till this shit settles down, or a proper quick test is readily available because I wouldn’t want to endanger my fam.
Chris Conde: I’m alright, you know? I’ve always been the kind of person that does well when the chips are down. I’m just that kind of person. I thrive. Like when a team is down 20 points and there’s only half a quarter left, it’s like, let’s just do this shit. I’m that kind of person, I’m a survivor – I’ve been through so much on my own and I’ve been in worse circumstances so I’m just like, you know, I’ve been through worse things so I’m not that concerned. I am worried about other people – I want people to survive and get through this. I live in San Antonio and a lot of my friends own venues now and a lot of them aren’t going to make it. Unless there is some sort of loan or something – it’s all very questionable and everything is sort of up in the air. I know I’m going to be OK but I’m more worried about my friends and making sure they’re going to be OK.
What are your thoughts on the Fake Fourantine going down on Saturday?
Chris Conde: There were a few people – do you know Niki? She had mentioned something about live streaming but I had never heard of anybody doing a whole music festival. And I was like, I bet we can figure this out. So I hit up Ceschi like, yo what do you think about this as a way to basically engage our audience and be able to put on a show for everybody and also have a way to supplement lost income. For a lot of Fake Four artists, including myself, I had like 12 or 14 shows lined up between SXSW and future gigs…Moodie Black, they had their tour with Ceschi that got canceled. There were a lot of people affected by this, obviously, and a lot of Fake Four or Fake Four affiliated artists were affected by this. So I was like, let’s try to do something and he’s like, yeah, if you can figure it out, do it. OK, cool.
Spoken Nerd: I feel that the festival is an excellent way to bring Fake Four enthusiasts together from all over the globe. This is also a great opportunity to reach fans who, for whatever reason, would not be able to come to a show at a brick and mortar venue. One of my good friends told me recently that he has always wanted to see one of my shows but his job requires him to unload trucks at 4am and he works at a restaurant in the evenings.
Andy the Doorbum: I’m excited for it. So many wonderful friends and amazing artists are going to be involved. I’ve done quite a few things like this since the quarantine started. One show with my friends in my old hometown of Charlotte and an international singing festival of traditional songs. I love to see people being resourceful and coming together despite separation and isolation. Our ability to be creative in these times will largely determine how well we weather storms such as these, in my opinion. I think that’s one of the primary purposes of art.
Ceschi: Saturday’s festival is mostly an exercise of solidarity amongst a bunch of artists affiliated with the label. It’s showing that Fake Four is a community, first and foremost. In many ways I think we are doing it for each other. To entertain – to showcase – to support one another.
Televangel: I guess I’m hoping that people actually enjoy these live stream things. It’s hard to substitute actually being in the same room. But I’m also excited because I don’t put together sets very often. So it gives me something to focus on, and connect with other people going through this thing.
E-Turn: I’m a little nervous because it’s an entirely new thing for me and anxiety likes to make me nervous about NEWNESS lol. But I’m also excited. It’s really great how it manifested so quickly and it’s just a reminder that I’m part of something amazing. I’m excited and just…curious about what it’s going to be like. So many cool people on the bill. Should be an interesting time. I had mentioned to Niki something I heard in a webinar yesterday…live stream shows, though so heavily seen as a lesser version of a real live show, offer different types of connection and different experiences we don’t get at those real live shows. I think this is opening up an opportunity to create more dynamic with our lives shows, if done right.
MC Homeless: I think it will be a great opportunity for the community to come together virtually.
While fans have the opportunity to make donations during the livestream, what are some of the best ways people can help support independent artists right now?
Chris Conde: The livestream is going to have a way to make donations to Fake Four directly. Whatever money we bring in is going to be split between the artists – it’s basically like a door split if this was a regular show. Then, while each individual artist is playing, there is going to be a small little banner that’ll have their name, their Instagram handle and their Venmo or CashApp, so people will be able to tip or donate directly to them while they’re performing. And we’re going to have everybody’s information on the Facebook invite, so people can go there and check out their music. Just going to purchase their music, going to Bandcamp, buying their music or vinyls or any kind of merch they have – that’s an awesome way to support artists. Other than that, just giving money directly.
And we’re telling people if you are in the position to give, then do that. But if you are not, then just come and enjoy the show. Use this as an opportunity to celebrate community. That’s what Fake Four has really been about. I think Ceschi would be the first person to tell you that – yeah, this is a label and it’s about showcasing a variety of different kinds of artists that are doing really interesting and amazing work at a high caliber. But also these are all friends. I’ve never felt more comfortable playing shows as a queer person of color than I have with other Fake Four artists. If I know there is another Fake Four artist on the bill or if it’s an entirely Fake Four show, I feel like I can let my hair down and be my authentic self. At the end of the day, we want to be able to celebrate community. If people are in a position to give, cool. And if not, then we just invite people to come and hang out and connect with each other.
Televangel: Buy that merch you’ve been thinking about buying. Sign up for their Patreon if they have them. Buy music off their Bandcamp. Obviously there’s not a one size fits all solution, and this is assuming that the fans can still afford to do this as well. But for those who still have their livelihood, now is the most important time to support the arts!
Ceschi: A lot of the artists doing the livestream are still building their followings. Many of them were included on our annual Freecember releases – the label releases 4 pay-what-you-feel albums on Bandcamp every December. So – donations are awesome – but there are plenty of passive, free ways to support new artists. Follow them on social media, download their free material, stream some songs. Most importantly – give them a shot.
Factor Chandelier: Buy their records and merch, honestly sharing some content for them anything helps 🙂 First Storm 04.15.20 Thanks.
Oscar Goldman: I think the best way to help musicians is buy merch…and just spread the music. That’s all we can do.
Dope Knife: For me personally, I’m trying to get them streaming on Spotify.
Andy the Doorbum: Donations are definitely helpful, but as artists we have to remember that everyone is struggling. I see some artists pushing merch orders and such, which I fully understand but haven’t personally been doing because shipping out physical items right now creates a bit more risk in the community, though I’m not knocking anyone who’s doing it. I think ways that are always helpful to artists such as myself in the digital/social media world is to react to posts, comment on them to help increase their visibility in the algorithm, sharing them. Those things help way more than many may know. Any type of support for independent artists is huge and greatly appreciated no matter how it comes. It doesn’t have to be financial necessarily. We’re all in this together. Just being there for each other is immensely important during times like these.
E-Turn: Sharing and re-sharing to their network. Helping with artists’ online algorithms by liking and interacting on their posts. Obviously purchasing music and merchandise is always a help and is a big percentage of artists’ income. If an artist drops a digital single and 500 people buy it for $1, that’s a big chunk of bills for an indie artist. Sometimes people underestimate what their small contribution can do. Also, just being connected and engaged and maybe sharing any creative ideas about making money. This Fake Fourantine wasn’t just the label working to make it happen but it was also the supporters, the Fake Four community…that “coming together” is a huge help. To be able to alleviate any pressure off indie artists who have almost entirely lost their livelihood over the past couple weeks is priceless. Reaching out to artists personally to simply ask, ‘how can I help?’ or ‘is there any way I can help?’ might be a good thing, too. We may all have different things going on and different things we need help with.
Also making sure that supporters take care of themselves as well and aren’t depleted in the process is very important if we want a healthy scene after this is all said and done. Hopefully the artists that people are supporting are able to heal with their music and art in a way that replenishes what is put out. That’s the goal, right? To provide people with an experience that enriches their lives.
There is obviously an enigmatic and eclectic range of artistry taking the stage on Saturday. Are there any performances you’re especially looking forward to?
MC Homeless: Andy the Doorbum, for sure.
Dope Knife: I want to see what Factor does.
E-Turn: Ceschi is always medicine for me. Looking forward to Squalloscope, Dope Knife, Gregory Pepper, Andy…honestly everyone.
Oscar Goldman: Ceschi, Bleubird, Squalloscope, Dope Knife and, of course, my big homie Ersatz Splynter.
Andy the Doorbum: That’s a hard one. I have some very close friends performing. Ceschi. Squalloscope. Bleubird. It’s always an honor to see them perform and I will always look forward to those. But I’m excited about the entire line up because I actually haven’t had the chance to see many of them live even though we are part of the same family. It is truly going to be a special evening.
Spoken Nerd: I am really excited about Gregory Pepper. I love his latest album and really wanted to catch him live on the last tour he did with Ceschi. I’m really excited to see his performance since I’ve recently listened to him a lot. E-Turn, Televangel and Chris Conde are pretty exciting as well.
Televangel: Don’t make me choose! Well, I regard Ceschi as one of the best live performers ever. But there’s a lot of folks on this bill that I haven’t seen perform – actually most of them.
Factor Chandelier: It’s the fam! I can’t wait to have a couple drinks and watch the whole festival.
Chris Conde: I really love Gregory Pepper – I think he’s just an amazing artist and it’s always really interesting watching him play. And also, I’m really stoked to see Squalloscope and I think it’s super cool that this is international. Definitely E-Turn – E-Turn just goes so hard. But obviously everyone – I think it’s super cool that we have such a variety of artists playing and everyone sounds very different.
Ceschi: I’m seriously just ready for the whole thing. There are so many talented artists that will be a part of it. Spanning many genres. There will be plenty of top notch raps, beats, guitar based sets, electronic pop, experimentation…it’s all over the place but we’re all family.
Anything else you’d like to leave the fans and supporters with before the Fake Fourantine kicks off?
Televangel: Just want to thank everyone involved, especially people organizing to make this happen, like Niki. And you of course! I feel really encouraged by how much people care for each other, and how community is everything even if it’s just virtual for now.
Spoken Nerd: Thank you to everyone who is creating and celebrating art. It’s an honor to be a part of something like Fake Four and I can’t wait to see what we make next.
Andy the Doorbum: I’d just like to also thank you for your time on this. It means the world to me to be included in these sorts of things and especially during these times gives a sense of purpose. I am very thankful for every single person who has taken the time to look into what I’m doing or put any of their resources into supporting it. It is humbling and truly an honor.
Chris Conde: We’ve been working nonstop, it’s a lot. I woke up this morning and just…I meditated today and was breathing. OK, alright…we’re gonna be good. It’s a lot of moving parts.
E-Turn: I just really feel like this is an opportunity to rebuild a better foundation in our world if things continue crumbling. It’s an opportunity to show our true selves and come together to help each other…not rebuilding the foundation on greed but understanding that we are meant to work together. We aren’t meant to live in constant and extreme competition. How we respond during this crisis will say a lot about where we end up when it’s over.
This Fake Four special event will be hosted by Chris Conde! Join us FREE for a virtual Fake Four Festival on April 4th, (4/4) at 4pm EST. Watch from anywhere- Livestreamed on Twitch.tv/fakefourinc | Donations and tips for artists, some of the hardest hit individuals due to loss of tour and gig income, are welcome and appreciated. Info will be provided during the event.