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Request[AMA Request] Matt Furie, creator of Pepe the Frog

Sep 30th 2016 by tgr001 • 12 Questions • 70 Points

Hey guys. We're assuming most of you didn't watch us on X Factor, but we'll make a long story short.

We were both going to college and making music in Florida when we saw an ad for a Simon Cowell singing competition. We never thought about making it on the show, or the repercussions, but we thought if we sent in a video that some producer would see it and hook us up with someone to work with in LA. (The naive logic of kids who knew NOTHING about the business.) Months later we get a phone call to audition in person, and eventually we find ourselves in LA. Simon Cowell becomes our mentor and we stumble our way through being on live television (FYI: it's not as fun as it sounds) and end up winning the whole thing. Us = "WTF?!"

Prior to being on the show, we had never written music together, so we also stumbled our way through putting an album out. We were signed to Columbia Records and Syco Records, had an army of people telling us what to do, had huge photo shoots, music videos, we played the Today Show, Radio City, went on two tours with Colbie Caillat, Andy Grammer & Rachel Platten.... and then no one talked to us for 3+ months. We found out we were dropped through a text message to someone we had just met who had a friend at one of the labels.

So we got dropped by our labels, agency, lost our publishing deal, and our manager all at once. After having some significant, not mind blowing but significant, success. We spent some time thinking and now we have new management that rule, but we're doing everything else independently now. We just released an EP to get music out while we work on a full length.

You can buy it here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/as-seen-on-tv/id1138118582

Or listen for free on Spotify cause we're good with people streaming our music.

Ask us whatever you want! Proof: https://twitter.com/AlexandSierra/status/784091326006427648

EDIT @ 11:55am PST: We're starting rehearsal now, but we'll come back to this and answer more questions during our breaks!

Q:

Who was the rudest celebrity you have interacted with?

A:

DON'T MAKE US ANSWER THIS hahaha.

We have been very lucky that most of the celebrities we've been around have been very nice and kind and really just like any person you'd meet on the street. A few are our friends now and it's weird to think of them as "famous".

There are some people we've met that weren't great experiences, but we don't wanna call them out. Who knows what kind of day they had, etc.


Q:

I only discovered you recently and then watched all your X-Factor performances (There's a YouTube playlist of all your performances). Love the way your voices blend together. My question is kind of silly. Why do you only promote your iTunes album? I bought my copy from Google Play. Why aren't you promoting everywhere your album is sold?

A:

That's actually a good question, and we don't really have a great answer for it... I guess there are a lot of moving parts that go on when you're releasing an album, so we seem to focus on the thing that creates the most buzz. iTunes is definitely where the majority of our sales come from, so we tend to promote that the most.... but now that we think about it, it sort of feels like a self fulfilling prophecy.


Q:

For the both of you, what is your go to shower song?

A:

A- Use Me -Bill Withers... I like to rock a stank face through the whole thing too.

S- I have a speaker that connects to my phone in the shower hahaha.... so I have a lot of shower songs. Lately it's I Wanna Dance with Somebody - Whitney Houston.


Q:

Hey Guys!

I loved your rendition of Trouble, which you sang on one of the nights (cant remember which one exactly). I was rooting for you all the way! Did you realize how tough and messed up the music industry would be once you got your foot in the door? Does it feel better now that you're independent?

Thanks!

A:

Ah thank you so much! That was during big band week! It was definitely some of the most fun we had on the show.

We had NO IDEA how tough the industry would be. Obviously we grew up hearing how rough the entertainment industry is and how messed up Hollywood can be. As far as friends, we've been very lucky and we actually really enjoy living in Los Angeles. And the people working in the industry aren't ALL bad, but many of them don't want to develop or put too much effort into an artist. They want money. So they want churn out whatever will go #1, whether or not they think it's quality music.

It feels great being independent, but we'd be lying if we said we didn't miss the pros that come with having the backing of a label.


Q:

How much time did Simon really spend with you guys when getting ready for each weeks performance?

A:

As far as behind the scenes preparation, we would spend a few hours with a music producer to get the rendition/length/portion of the song we were covering down. Most of the practicing came down to how much time each individual contestant wanted to set aside. We would spend a day with a choreographer that would block where we would stand/what we would do/where we would walk. (With us, this was always kept really simple) and the day of the show would have a warm up with a vocal coach.

Simon would come in the day before the show and would watch our dress rehearsal and give his comments. So we would usually see him definitely once, sometimes twice before each performance. If we saw him more than that, it was to film us interacting/talking. We saw him more and more often as the weeks went on.

Most of our time was spent with producers/coaches that never made it on the screen.


Q:

will you release your old covers again?

A:

That's basically what "As Seen On TV" is. This is our final nod to the X-factor days! :)


Q:

I am LOVING every song on the new album. When will you be releasing your tour dates? I will see you Saturday in Costa Mesa.

A:

Thank you so much!!!!! :) Right now the tour is being routed and the logistics are being worked out, so we'll post them as soon as it's booked! See you soon :D


Q:

I have loved you guys since I saw you on the xfactor! At my wedding me and my husband danced to your cover of 'the best song ever' because your actual CD hadn't come out yet. After hearing the songs I have wondered why so many of them seem to be about almost breaking up but staying together. Are you going to have happier love songs? 😋

A:

This makes us feel SO many feels. Congratulations and best wishes to you and yours! <3

Honestly, we feel like that's a common misconception. We understand that our most popular covers/originals are definitely the sad love songs. But people tend to forget that we wrote songs like "Just Kids" (happy & drinking summer tune), "Give Me Something"... (sex hahaha), "Here We Go" (festival? sex kinda hahaha), "All For You" (jazzy love song about how everything is for the other person), etc.

On the show we covered a lot of sad songs because the producers/Simon saw what worked best and got the most reaction. We think that it's just something that a lot of people can relate to. Even at the happiest times of my life, I love a good cry to a sad song. (-S)

But our new originals aren't sad! "You Will Find Me" is a "happy" love song, even though it sounds somber. "Animals" is.... well... about sex. Hahaha. And "Take Me" is about wanting to be with someone all the time and getting in their thoughts and wanting to be with them even while they're dreaming. :)


Q:

I really love you as musical duo, and have since your audition. You are so considerate to each other vocally, and that really is like a unicorn and almost impossible to find. What are some other vocal duos you think work together at a similar level of compatibility? Who's your inspiration?

A:

Thank you so much! We've always been inspired by The Civil Wars as far as duos... their harmonies are haunting and beautiful. The same with Simon & Garfunkel. Good harmonies are the key to our hearts.


Q:

what's the hardest part of being independent?

A:

Labels put A LOT of money into acts they want to push; they've got guys going to radio stations calling in favors and getting them to play their artists. They have a lot of connections and can get their artists amazing opportunities. They support tours and rent the buses and get sponsors, etc.

The hardest part of being independent is probably just getting our name out there and getting people in the business (venue owners, radio stations, etc.) to take a chance on artists that aren't backed by a huge label and the money that comes with that.


Q:

Hi guys.

I've been doing music the hard way (touring, no-budget, self releases) for the best part of 10 years and I have watched many of these so-called "talent" shows come and go. I have seen the buzz following different contestants from year to year followed by their disappearance altogether not long after (even for the winners). I want to know if you feel like you deserved better considering that you decided to take the shortcut to fame, instead of grafting your music and being prepared to live and/or die by your creations?

A:

Funny you say taking the shortcut to fame... Alex here btw. I initially thought the same thing, that we were taking a shortcut, that we were jeopardizing our art just to get some fans. I actually was doing the same thing as you just before the show started. And was on my 7th or 8th year of playing bar gigs and restaurant gigs to no one who cared to listen, minus my family and friends. I would wake up some days and think "Man, there's no real future here, you're going to be playing these same covers and originals to your parents and cousins forever." Then there would be days where I'd wake up and I KNEW that something was going to happen eventually; that I would happen to be at the right place at the right time in front of the right people. Then Sierra brought the audition tape to my attention. Immediately I wasn't into the idea; here I am years into creating a following, however small it was, and I'm just going to hand everything over to the man... give Simon everything i've been working for. A buddy told me that the thing about luck is it's just where preparation meets opportunity or something like that. That's what X factor was... the opportunity. I had worked my ASS off for years to learn how to perform, learn how to write, learn how to mess up and keep going, learn how to be heckled, learn how to play guitar and X factor was just the second half of the luck.

Sierra is in the same boat. She spent her entire life dancing. Learning to be on stage, learning how to handle something going wrong, learning how music makes you feel, how it makes you move. Preparing for the opportunity to show itself. We've both worked really hard to be able to be in this position.

And to actually answer your questions, we don't actually feel like we deserve anything... We're working our way up the ladder just like everyone, we just happened to find a way to skip a few rungs. That doesn't mean we aren't still living or dying by our creations. It just means we're able to create without the looming fear of being completely broke. We're lucky and we know that, but don't let these shows trick you into thinking that it doesn't take work to be on one, let alone win. It took work and it still takes work... A lot of work.


Q:

How does it feel to be a complete waste of life?

A:

Not sure.... You'd probably be better equipped to answer.