My best friend Jeff is hosting our members-only community, “The Club”, and he’s been sharing exclusive news and upcoming hints with the members! Today, I wanted to share one of the newsletters he sent with you all! Enjoy!
To join “The Club”, click here.
I have the chance to be seated in a very inspiring place, in Alex’s home down in Virginia. It’s such a quiet and peaceful environment that it always takes some time for anyone visiting Alex to adjust to it, especially after experiencing a couple of months within the frenzy of our studio. It’s a real blessing for me to be here. I love to simply listen to the wind going through each and every tree standing tall just outside my window, and getting lost in my thoughts as I look at the mountains taking me away for a few minutes. It’s so inspiring to simply dwell on the nature this special place has to offer, I can’t get enough of it! So many beautiful and wonderful details are being revealed to my eyes and ears as days go by.
I arrived here last week and it’s been heavenly ever since I left Montreal. Taking the plane in a COVID-19 context was quite fascinating, to say the least…! I was basically all alone in the Montreal airport for a little while, which, for someone who is used to traveling at least once a month like me, felt very gruesome, almost terrifying. There are so many procedures and controls. Regardless of their necessity, it’s incredibly surreal! It made me a bit nervous too, until I flew above the clouds, a place that I know quite well and really enjoy every time!
I think the most difficult part facing that very strange period, besides the emotional implications that come with seeing so much distress and confusion all around, is to adjust to the very different life rhythm that comes with it. As I share through those missives, Alex and I are used to a lot of fast-paced action, both of us being at the heart and soul of every project. Whether it’s about a new album, a new tour, or a new t-shirt, we’re part of every step and detail, so it’s a bit unusual for me to not really know what will be the context for what we want to do next.
In a way, I knew this trip would be quite special because of its context alone, but especially because of its meaning. Alex and I hadn’t seen each other for over a month – which had not happened since he came back from Tangier – and we worked really hard on giving life to this new space so we could connect with you on an even more up-close and personal level, so I was really looking forward to presenting it to you all.
Therefore, I’m very happy to introduce you to your new digital home!
THE SPECIAL CLUB
We’re really thrilled to welcome you in a unique place we see as a personal hub for all of Alex’s projects, but also as a way to embrace, share, and expand the defying creative culture of our label, Hopeful Tragedy Records, by now going under the simple name of HTR Store!
Alex and I founded our record label back in 2006 as a way to nurture the communal identity of our band, Your Favorite Enemies, to remain true to our DIY ethos, to freely let our expressive and community spirit evolve based on our human values, to sustain a fair balance between art and commerce, and to resolutely stay away from any corporate ambition and control, all that while being determined to support friends’ projects as much as we could.
Over the last 15 years, HTR has been a sort of experimental lab for our projects, an inspiring environment where many people have honed their crafts and have been able to grow from the kids we were to the slightly more mature kids we are today! It has always been a place where the notion of “impossible” was challenged on a daily basis and where friendship and family have been the core of it all. As we all have to face a world that feels like an ever-growing turmoil, it was imperative for Alex and I to be way more upfront about not only our social values, but about honoring the people who embody those values of equality, openness, and compassion by bringing our label and its foundational soul at the forefront of our new upcoming endeavors, where art meets with the people redefined it.
The Club will have a very special place on the HTR Store platform and I will guide you through its evolution every ongoing step of the way, from the exclusive news to updates on projects, limited editions and collector pre-sales priority, contests, and more.
Alex recently shared regarding his music:
“I believe that music is all about communion and I feel privileged to share it with people on such a personal level. Once shared, the music is no longer mine, and it is perfect that way, it’s how I believe it should be and why I always prepare myself to let go in the weeks prior to every release. I prepare myself to remain honest, to respect the integrity of the songs themselves, to honor that moment with anyone joining me, to make sure I won’t let my demons stand in the way of what is blessed for me to dwell in music itself – with everyone…”
Therefore, it didn’t come as a surprise to anyone at the label when Alex decided to offer his special “Upper Room Studio Session” Digital EP for free to The Club members! That’s what I like about him, as for him art is about people, and it’s based on that vision that he lives and makes his decisions. And to everyone’s great surprise, as we never talked about it in The Club’s membership section, we decided to offer free downloads to every member.
In fact, this new feature became one of the things we were truly excited about. So no matter if you’ve been a member of The Club or not at the moment of their official release, you can now download every single project Alex has released throughout the “Upper Room Studio Sessions”, starting from the extended version of “Shadows of Our Evening Tides” we released during the 2019 Record Store Day, up to “Snowflakes in July” that came out a few weeks ago… All that in the quality format of your choice!
Again, it’s all about the connection such special musical moments offer us the privilege to share all together.
THE CLUB’S EXCLUSIVE STORE SECTION
As you now know, Alex and I are always trying to create this perfect line bridging art and commerce. It’s quite a challenging and fine line sometimes but I do believe that following our vision enables us to remain faithful to our commitment towards the nature of our projects and our desire to create real connections with you through those. That’s why we take so much pride in being transparent with you regarding the reasons why we are doing what we do and remain carefully opened to any of your suggestions and ideas, one of them being the establishment of an exclusive store for The Club.
Alex and I talked about it for quite some time before actually deciding to do it. The main subject of our numerous discussions was the necessity for us to find valid reasons to do it, other than the usual “ask your fans more cash by selling more stuff” motive behind most exclusive fan club stores! It needed to be as engaging and fun for you as it would be for us to use that new platform, and we found several interesting reasons that will take place in the upcoming weeks! One of those fun reasons is about releasing limited collection items we had retained in order to replace any damaged ones or lost ones during shipping, so you will see some sold-out items offered exclusively, as well as brand new surprises only for you! Trust me, I can’t wait!
In fact, the way I personally see this exclusive store, especially knowing Alex the way I do, is quite simple but eloquent nonetheless! Let me share this with you, even though Alex might think I’m exaggerating! When Alex invites us all home, he likes to welcome us with special treats, local products tastings, etc! But once a year, it’s a whisky tasting from all the places we have traveled to! So, that exclusive store to me is exactly the same! Alex is the very fine whisky tasting host welcoming every guest with delicacy and sophistication, offering the finest of all whiskies, making sure everyone feels at home, that everyone is comfortable. As the host, he will meticulously take the time to share the stories behind every bottle, explain the places where he bought them, the reasons why he picked that one over another as the evening goes.
But as the great host that he is, he always keeps a last bottle for people who are, let’s say, a little closer to him, turning an already memorable evening into a more personal one, like a twist leading somewhere we never saw coming, which is ultimately a way to keep the moment going a little longer! He always does that with me, and after fifteen years of friendship, he always manages to surprise me in grand style! So that’s how I see it… It’s never detrimental to those who are not part of The Club or in any way personal, but always paramount flavors adding up to the story, to the proximity we’re building and to this communion we’re all offering ourselves… And that’s often where we get to know Alex a little better, even when there’s no whisky or wine involved 😉
This is what this exclusive store is like to me; a wonderful excuse to stick until the end of the evening! And this, my friends, is only the beginning!
SOME DETAILS ON WHAT’S NEW & COMING UP
I already shared with you just how persistant I have been towards Alex so he would release the absolutely incredible concert he gave for the prestigious Festival International de Jazz de Montréal! Well, it seems like my resilience has been rewarded as Alex decided to seriously look into it (YES!!!!). I will share a little more details with you in the next Cult Missive, since we are only starting to listen to the whole concert again, as well as the different video takes, but it’s quite exciting to say the least! I told you… I knew my trip to Virginia would be special!
Again, thanks for your precious friendship! Enjoy your new digital home and keep sending ideas and suggestions so we can implement them and make the whole experience a way for us to commune in a greater way!
Your host and friend,