After years of dedicating himself totally to music, Pierce The Veil vocalist Vic Fuentes was craving for a brand new function. As destiny would have it, he was about to discover a monumental one by means of the Living The Dream Foundation. Now, he’s extending the corporate’s capability to make desires come true even in mild of the pandemic.
After serving as an envoy for 3 years, Fuentes stepped on as the CEO and co-chairman of the inspiration in 2019. The charity, which supplies music-related “Dream Day” experiences for terminally sick followers, had not too long ago chanced on some monetary hardship. Although the frontman had never expected to run a nonprofit, he hoped to make use of his platform to lift obligatory consciousness.
In fact, he was quickly introduced with a problem nobody noticed coming. With COVID-19 hindering reside music occasions and posing appreciable dangers to the immunocompromised, the crew needed to rethink their method. The outcome? Digital Dream Days that give company the chance for one-on-one, distraction-free conversations with their favourite artists.
Fuentes caught up with Different Press to speak in regards to the distinctive method and its implications for the corporate going ahead. Put together to have your heartstrings pulled as he describes the unimaginable emotional journey he’s discovered himself on.
You’ve been put on this fascinating place as a comparatively new organizational chief. I believe it’s fairly straightforward to imagine that hitting a pandemic throughout your first yr posed some challenges, however have you ever discovered any benefits in your particular person state of affairs and distinctive perspective? It looks as if this might be one in all these eventualities the place not being firmly rooted within the trade and operations may create some home windows for innovation.
I simply strive to usher in no matter I can, no matter I’ve realized over time whereas constructing my band. No matter I can provide to Living The Dream, I carry it in, whether or not that be connections with artists or simply figuring out the touring world and advertising and marketing. So when the pandemic hit, it simply felt like a pure shift to check out Zoom. [For] what we do, it’s tremendous easy and very easy. These are simply texts and telephone calls to mates that we’re making, [requesting] little favors right here and there to fulfill these individuals and make such a big impact. To us, it’s no-brainer, straightforward stuff to make these connections. That’s what’s so superb about Dwelling The Dream. It’s not obscure. It’s not prefer it’s rocket science. We get individuals requesting which have had a super-rough experience and are going by means of rather a lot. Then, for essentially the most half, it’s often fairly straightforward for us to make it occur.
We didn’t anticipate the Zoom factor to be as particular and superb because it’s been. We’re used to bringing youngsters out to live shows, and so they get to face on the aspect of the stage and see the fireplace from Slipknot’s manufacturing. It’s this extravaganza of a second. However as we began doing this, it was virtually extra particular as a result of there’s no hustle and bustle of the backstage. There’s no, “I’ve obtained to be right here in two minutes, and we will do that actual fast.” They get to full-on cling and have a one-on-one dialog with someone that they love and are impressed by. It lifts everybody up, not simply the company. It’s an all-around constructive, cool factor.
You informed Different Press last year that your go-to query for a difficult state of affairs is, “If we had been beginning over right now in 2019, what would we do? What would our first steps be?” Did this equation think about in any respect along with your response to the occasions of 2020?
Yeah, I believe that query is [one] that I ask for all the pieces, not only for Dwelling The Dream or Pierce The Veil. It’s an excellent query to ask your self for something, and I give it some thought rather a lot. Like, “What would I do if I had been to not do any of this and turn out to be a carpenter tomorrow?” I believe it’s a fantastic query as a result of it actually makes you assume fairly critically and really all the way down to the foundation about what you’re doing.
I believe once I jumped on with Dwelling The Dream, it was a restart for the entire thing. The Zoom factor was positively a pivot as nicely. I wouldn’t even name it a restart. That is an addition that we didn’t see coming that we in all probability ought to have been doing years in the past. I believe it’s a brand new benefit for Dwelling The Dream to assist extra individuals and to do extra work as a result of now we will do these quicker and everywhere in the nation with out having to fly wherever. And it’s safer for our company as a result of they’re essentially the most in danger, particularly throughout the pandemic. Shifting ahead, I don’t understand how comfy a number of our company are going to be getting their sick youngsters out to reveals. So that is in all probability going to be, for the foreseeable future, the best way that we do issues.
Do you anticipate that this method will change operations in any respect going ahead? I’m certain many followers will go for in-person experiences the place attainable, however do you assume it will open the door to those that could also be extra restricted by their diseases?
Yeah, I believe that is going to open up a number of doorways for us, actually—much more alternatives and methods to assist folks that we didn’t take into consideration. I don’t know for those who’ve ever had a second in your life the place you work one thing out, and also you’re like, “Oh, my God, I’m such an fool! Why didn’t we do that years in the past?” I believe that having this new manner to do that goes to increase all the pieces that we do. It permits us to achieve anybody now, like individuals who can’t depart their homes or are within the hospital. I’ve obtained my head turning proper now.
It sounds prefer it may drastically reduce down on the related bills. Do you are feeling that this method could assist you to lengthen such alternatives even additional by way of serving to extra followers?
Completely. That was the large factor about it from the start. The explanation that I had come on was as a result of LTD had misplaced their predominant sponsor. They had been surviving off that, so now it’s all been about, “How can we survive shifting ahead? How can we self-sustain?” And that is for certain a less expensive option to do issues. It’s a blessing in disguise that that is the best way that this labored. It permits us, particularly throughout the pandemic, to save lots of our cash and prepare for when touring does occur once more so we’ll be capable of cowl flights and stuff like that. It’s a way more efficient manner, money-wise.
Once you got here on final yr, your objectives appeared to largely emphasize elevating consciousness and public identify recognition for the inspiration. How have the occasions of 2020 influenced your method?
It feels good to do one thing constructive, clearly. Quite a lot of these youngsters that we’ve talked to have been dwelling this manner for years due to their situation. I bear in mind speaking to this one boy that 3OH!3 met, and he was like, “I’ve been quarantined since day one.” So I believe it’s simply good to have one thing uplifting for our company and everybody following Dwelling The Dream. It’s nearly inspiring from a really actual place that makes you have a look at life slightly otherwise. I believe this complete pandemic has made us all have a look at life slightly otherwise. It’s good to place one thing like that into the world proper now.
On the identical time, it looks like a tough time to ask for donations and stuff. Asking individuals for cash is a tough factor for me that I’m attempting to work on. [Laughs.] To be fully sincere, I believe that’s the place the problem of the pandemic is for lots of nonprofits and companies on the whole. Everyone’s simply attempting to remain afloat. I’ve been doing cameos to principally herald earnings for Dwelling The Dream, which has stored us alive just about this complete time. In order that’s been an actual blessing for us. We’re nonetheless constructing this complete factor. We wish to carry on extra individuals ultimately, in all probability fairly quickly. We’re attempting to construct this crew up slowly however certainly.
Do you are feeling like coming in with your entire trade connections has been considerably useful to the inspiration?
Yeah. I’ve hit up all my mates that I do know can assist me, like my supervisor and tour supervisor. Anybody I do know that may assist me get in contact with somebody. It’s simply a few texts or emails away. For instance, we’ve [an upcoming Zoom] with [Deryck Whibley] from Sum 41. He’s assembly this woman Andrea, who has Marfan syndrome. I simply hit up our tour supervisor, Dave Shapiro, who I believe additionally booked for Sum 41. So the connections are positively an enormous benefit in what we do by [giving us] the flexibility to achieve these individuals. That’s the simple half for us as a result of we have already got a number of these mates. We’re assured that we will at the least come up with anybody on the market.
What number of of those digital experiences have you ever completed because you began coordinating them?
I believe we’re about to do our eighth. We’re hoping to ramp that up. I’d like to get to the purpose the place we’re doing [a Dream Day] as soon as per week. That’s my purpose. It’s been gradual attempting to determine all of the logistics of it, however I believe we’ve it just about down now. We’ve got an excellent system [with] the best way that we get the video, ship it to the videographer and get all of it edited proper on-line. We’ve obtained the method down now, so we’re going to do extra.
Have you ever seen elevated effectivity in comparison with what you had been doing in particular person?
I believe we had been doing extra reside as a result of we had been very linked in with the pageant circuit. For instance, the Danny Wimmer festivals. He places on these rock festivals and we’d exit [with] a brand new visitor each single day. So we had been actually capable of do a number of work, particularly throughout pageant season, after which a number of one-offs throughout common touring. We had been actually on a roll, it was nice. We had been very locked in with our mates at Danny Wimmer as a result of they actually help what we do and so they gave us full entry. They know we’re going to be backstage and doing contests and all types of stuff to lift cash. In order that stored us actually busy up till the pandemic. We’re already locked in to begin up once more with them as soon as they begin doing reveals once more. So, when the time comes, we’ll be able to get again on the market. Yeah, this new shift remains to be constructing however I believe we will get to a degree the place we’re doing much more than ever.
Do you are feeling like persons are extra comfy speaking over cameras than they inherently could be seeing somebody nose to nose? Is there much less of a shock there, so to talk?
I believe each particular person is completely different with the best way that they work together, however the focus is there. There’s no distraction. On tour, all people’s [living a] very fast-paced life. Everyone’s obtained to be someplace. I believe that’s the place a number of our ability is available in as an organization. We’re very acquainted with that world, and I believe that’s an enormous benefit for us. We all know the best way to navigate backstage and speak to the tour managers and artists and never get in the best way of the guitar tech and stuff like that.
It’s very intense once we’re on tour. It’s a number of shifting issues. That is a lot extra easy and targeted, and that’s what actually [showed] us how particular this was. It’s an elevated model of our Dream Days [with a] fully completely different vibe, however the purpose is [the same]. We nonetheless recognize the assembly of the 2 individuals and the inspiration from either side. All the weather are nonetheless there, simply another way. I believe it’s a extra particular manner now.
How had been you capable of formulate a digital Dream Day expertise that you simply really feel lives as much as assembly your favourite band in particular person?
We watched it unfold naturally, actually. All we did was put them into the Zoom collectively and watch it occur. The entire thing blew our minds. We had been like, “Oh, my God, that is so particular. That is very emotional on a brand new stage.” Simply due to the intimacy of the dialog and the way they will share life experiences. We’re within the background, muted, and crying and laughing and watching the entire thing occur. It’s simply such a pleasant second.
We actually wish to present the world these moments so we will get some extra submissions from individuals all over the world that we will join with their heroes. That’s what that is about. I wish to let individuals know what we’re doing to allow them to unfold the phrase. If they’ve a buddy or one thing who’s sick and needs to have a cool expertise, we will completely make it occur.
Has this pivot modified the stability you struck between the Dwelling The Dream Basis and Pierce The Veil? You beforehand confirmed work on the following file, but it surely looks as if you’ve obtained your fingers fairly full in the intervening time.
I believe it’s an excellent stability proper now. It feels good to do one thing apart from music in my life. I believe that I had targeted 100% of my life on Pierce The Veil for thus lengthy that I used to be actually craving for one thing else with slightly extra function and one thing extra to face for. Dwelling The Dream was like destiny. It actually fell into my life in such an natural manner the place I believe we each wanted one another.
Clearly, it’s been an adjustment of determining [how to] work on two issues now. They’re so completely different, however in addition they intertwine in such a stupendous manner that it’s been very nice. It’s all occurred the best way it was purported to, I suppose. I didn’t have any intention of ever operating a nonprofit or entering into this world. It simply introduced itself to me, and I had a selection. I used to be like, “Yeah, let’s do it.” I didn’t need them to vanish. I needed Dwelling The Dream to be round without end. That’s our founder Scottie Somers’ dream—that Dwelling The Dream will outlive him. He has cystic fibrosis, and he is aware of he’s not going to reside without end, and he needs this to reside on. In order that was his purpose as nicely.
I’ve typically considered what a psychological and emotional problem the pandemic should pose to the terminally sick, provided that conventional bucket checklist experiences at the moment are so tough to return by. What message do you hope to ship to those individuals proper now?
I realized rather a lot from our founder, Scottie. He’s been like a mentor to me so far as figuring out this complete firm and the way it works and dwelling with a life-threatening sickness like cystic fibrosis. They informed him he was going to die at 16, and he’s like 53 now. He’s lived well beyond what he was purported to. I like to observe him speak to those youngsters as a result of he’s obtained nice recommendation for them. He’s been by means of what they’ve been by means of. He’s been within the hospital for weeks and months at a time. And he actually instills in them the struggle. Like, “It’s a must to struggle. You’ll be able to’t surrender.”
The folks that he’s seen that don’t make it, they offer up their struggle. He’s at all times like, “You’ve obtained to maintain respiration. You’ve obtained to maintain strolling. It’s a must to struggle.” His saying is, “The dream is right now.” He’s all in regards to the second, and the dream is about each single day being a celebration and a purpose to maintain going. He’s very adamant about that. [Laughs.] He has a tattoo on his chest that claims “Terminal.” It appears like someone stamped him. He’s obtained rather a lot stuff like that and a lot power within him. He’s going to survive all of us. That’s loopy. So he’s tremendous inspiring to me.
They need to put on it like a badge of honor, proper?
Yeah. He tells them that they’re heroes to different individuals though they don’t even understand it. We glance as much as them due to their power and the way a lot they undergo simply to get by means of every day. And he reminds them that they’re inspiring individuals and that persons are watching this and interested by them. I believe that lifts them up rather a lot and reminds them of how superb they’re.
Do you are inclined to echo related sentiments though you’re not in the identical state of affairs as Scottie?
Yeah, I’ve positively realized rather a lot. This complete expertise has modified my life rather a lot simply from being so shut to those individuals, listening to them converse and forming relationships with them. It places issues in perspective and makes you worth every day. To start with, it was truly slightly tough for me emotionally to do that. Particularly whenever you’re in particular person as a result of a few of them are terminal, and it’s rather a lot to soak up. So lots of them are simply such rad individuals.
It’s tremendous unhappy, however on the identical time, it’s such a contented expertise. That’s what it’s all about. It’s purported to be inspiring and uplifting. I’ve positively had some conversations with our crew like, “How do you cope with this?” That is every day. How do docs do what they do, coping with all that stuff? In order that was one thing sudden that I didn’t actually understand that I needed to expertise and determine. It may be fairly intense, but it surely’s stunning. It’s superb. All of us really feel on a Dream Day that it’s one of the best day ever. It simply feels good.
Did you get a full sense of that when you had been concerned as an envoy?
No, I didn’t. At that time, we had been only a band who they labored with fairly a bit. Pierce The Veil labored with them for years. We’d be enjoying reveals, and [Living The Dream] would give you some child and be like, “Hey, do you wish to meet Johnny and his household?” We’d take some photographs and hang around, and we fell in love with doing that with them. In order that’s once I knew that there was one thing particular occurring with Dwelling The Dream. They grew to become our favourite charity, our No. 1 nonprofit that we beloved to work with. After which once we heard that they had been going underneath and had been possibly about to cease, I used to be like, “There’s no manner. We’ve got to save lots of this as a result of that is too superior.” In order that was once I jumped on and tried to do no matter I may.
Do you thoughts if I ask you what one in all your extra profound experiences has been?
There was a pageant known as Again To The Seashore that we did. We had this man named Kelvin, and I believe he had some type of mind most cancers. His head was shaved, and he had all kinds of scars from his surgical procedures. He had his complete household there, his daughter and spouse. We obtained him onstage for the total pageant. He obtained to fulfill Travis Barker, and it was a extremely cool factor. After which Bert McCracken from the Used introduced him onstage, and so they obtained to sing collectively. So, moments like that, which occur organically, are one of the best. Our woman, Casey, who does the precise Dream Days and takes care of our company, is tremendous good at making issues occur within the second that we don’t anticipate. I can’t wait to begin doing these once more. I simply really feel like I’m alongside for this experience. I’m loving it. I’m like, “Oh my, God, that is so superb.”