Remember events? Nah, me neither. It’s been about three months since we started taking the coronavirus pandemic seriously in the US, and pretty much every large-scale event in the spring or summer was canceled or postponed long ago. But even as many states have begun to reopen, things like concerts and sporting events with fans present are looking less and less likely for the remainder of the year. Today, Billboard reported that Coachella, originally postponed from April to October, will not be happening in 2020.
That’s right, you can officially hang up your flower crown for this year, pack away your festival clothes, and cancel that Airbnb in Palm Springs (good luck getting your deposit back). This week, AEG, the parent company of Coachella promoter Goldenvoice, made some drastic cuts, and announced in an internal memo that they’ve essentially canceled everything for 2020. Along with laying off 15% of their staff and furloughing over 100 employees, the memo stated that it is “clear” that live events, including Coachella, will not return until 2021.
The bad news doesn’t end there. The memo suggests two options for Coachella 2021: either an April festival in “smaller form,” or a full capacity festival in October. So it’ll either be next spring, and tickets will be impossible to get, or there won’t be a Coachella for 16 more months. Honestly, I’m not really a music festival person, so it makes no difference to me, but for all those people who shape their personality around their Coachella Instagrams, this is rough news.
While lots of people are sure to be disappointed that they won’t get their ferris wheel pics this year, AEG’s decision not to have a festival at all in 2020 is probably a solid public health decision. After all, it’s not hard to imagine that 100,000 people crammed into a field daily for two weekends in a row could be a nightmare in terms of a potential second wave of coronavirus. Just imagine trying to get all the people
doing drugs having a great time in the Sahara tent to cough into their elbows. A nightmare!!
While several states have seen spikes in COVID-19 cases in recent days, it’s impossible to predict where things will be a few months from now. So far, there’s no word on whether the 2020 lineup will be carried over to next year, but maybe they can use this time to find room for a headliner who’s not a man? Idk, just a thought.
Images: @andrewruiz / Unsplash
UPDATED: Goldenvoice released a statement Tuesday evening confirming that Coachella is being postponed, writing, “At the direction of the County of Riverside and local health authorities, we must sadly confirm the rescheduling of Coachella and Stagecoach due to COVID-19 concerns. While this decision comes at a time of universal uncertainty, we take the safety and health of our guests, staff and community very seriously.” They added that Coachella 2020 will now take place October 9-11 and October 16-18; Stagecoach will take place October 23-25, 2020. All April tickets will be honored for the October dates, which again, makes things difficult for me, a person who cannot plan out three days in advance, let alone seven months. Ticketholders will receive information on how to receive a refund by Friday, March 13.
Well, fam, it looks like it’s happening: after a weekend speculating whether or not Coachella 2020 would go on amidst the rapid spread of coronavirus, Billboard has reported that that Coachella is being postponed to the weekends of October 9 and 16, 2020. Unfortunately, that means you’ll have to keep your flower crowns packed away for another few months, and you’ll have to settle for posting TBT pics from last year’s festival, since no influencers will be making the pilgrimage out to Indio this spring. Pour one out for all the missed Instagram likes, as well as 99% of Revolve’s profits for the year.
While it hasn’t been confirmed by Goldenvoice yet whether or not Coachella is being postponed, Billboard said “high level sources” should know within 48 hours whether Coachella can be saved or not. Similarly, they are seeing if Stagecoach can be moved to October as well. While I’m glad that rich white people may still hopefully be able to catch headliners Thomas Rhett, Carrie Underwood, and Eric Church, if Stagecoach doesn’t happen until October, that means there will be no storylines about the festival on Bachelor in Paradise. Guess Blake is going to have to resort to Bumble for his hookups, like us plebeians.
my main coronavirus fear is that if Stagecoach gets canceled there won’t be any storylines for Bachelor in Paradise
— Dylan Hafer (@thedylanhafer) March 6, 2020
On Sunday, Riverside County declared a public health emergency after its first case of the virus had been discovered. The patient in question was reported to be treated at Eisenhower Medical Center in Rancho Mirage and was in isolation. On Monday, three more cases were confirmed.
Coachella 2020 was gearing up to be a big year, with headliners including Travis Scott (who, also this past weekend, officially got back with Kylie Jenner), and Frank Ocean, who finally got let out of whatever basement Def Jam has been keeping him in for the past three years. If anyone from Def Jam is reading this, though, I still need proof of life from Frank. Throw me a free Cameo video and I’ll call it even.
Then news that Coachella is canceled comes right after Ultra announced they were canceling this year’s festival, also because of coronavirus concerns. Originally scheduled for March 20-22, 2020, it has been moved to March 26-28, 2021. Flume, Major Lazer, and Zedd were supposed to headline, although it’s not yet clear if they will still headline the festival next year. I can’t even make plans for next weekend and feel confident I’ll stick to them, so planning an appearance a full year in advance sounds near impossible. SXSW was also canceled, and I predict more festivals will continue to fall while the coronavirus panic reaches a high. My advice? Don’t go buying any Bonnaroo tickets just yet, and hold off on booking any nonrefundable flights.
Canceling Coachella was probably for the best, considering last year, the festival ended up in the news for the rampant transmission of a different virus: herpes. HerpAlert, an online diagnosis and treatment website, reported almost 250 inquiries within the first two days of weekend one last year. Now, that doesn’t mean that herpes was spreading like the coronavirus (too soon?) but it does mean that enough people were having sketchy sex and worried they could have herpes. Yeah, probably not the best idea to throw hundreds of thousands of millennials who are hooking up, not showering, and sharing
drugs drinks and sh*t in close quarters in the midst of a global freakout. Not to mention, any hand-washing station at any given festival is unusable within like, the first four hours—so it would take like, one die-hard Frank Ocean fan to f*ck up everybody’s sh*t.
Coachella can’t get canceled bc I need a group of universally hated people to make fun of for 2 weeks straight
— Betches (@betchesluvthis) March 8, 2020
Coronavirus has already messed with a lot of random things, and it looks like festival season is its latest casualty. Damn it, and I was totally going to score an invite to Revolve Festival this year!!
We’re still waiting for an official update from Goldenvoice, but dare I say that even if the show does go on, nobody in their right mind would attend? Actually, who am I kidding, people will do literally anything for Instagram—putting themselves at risk for an infectious disease actually ranks pretty low on the list.
Everybody go wash your hands, and check on your influencer friends to make sure they’re ok.
Images: Aran Mntez / Unsplash; dylanhafer, betchesluvthis / Twitter
On Thursday night, the lineup for this year’s Coachella festival was announced, and of course, there was a lot to process. When I saw the lineup, several important questions came to mind. Is Rage Against the Machine still a thing? Is this sh*t still owned by Trump supporters? Which Bachelor rejects will be the thirstiest this year? (The answers are I guess so, yes, and TBD.) But most importantly, I had to wonder—where the f*ck are the women?
Since the first Coachella in 1999, the festival has done a sh*tty job of putting women on its biggest stages, with men filling 54 of the 59 headlining slots over the last 21 years. After Björk’s second headlining appearance in 2007, it took Coachella a full decade to book another female headliner, but it finally looked as if some important progress was being made. The last three years each featured a female headliner, with Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Ariana Grande all turning in showstopping performances to packed crowds. But apparently the festival organizers weren’t really so committed to that representation, because this year’s festival is just a f*ckton of male performers.
While it would seem like a logical step (and a good PR move) to try having not one, but TWO female headliners (can you even imagine??), this year’s Coachella lineup has zero. This year’s headliners are Rage Against the Machine (who return for their third headlining slot), Travis Scott, and Frank Ocean. They’re all talented performers, and they didn’t do anything wrong here. And yes, we’re all so excited to see Frank Ocean finally grace the stage, we could die. Still, I’m not super impressed with the festival organizers’ decision to not at least have a female performer headline one day out of three. Like, what the hell, was Lizzo busy?
In particular, fans were upset about the choice of headliner for day three, where Lana Del Rey was relegated to the second row. Lana is coming off a year where she released her most critically-acclaimed album to date, is nominated in two major categories at the Grammys, and has announced that she’ll release another album this year. Whether or not she’s more famous than the other headliners is debatable, but she’s certainly famous enough to justify a headlining position, and that’s what’s so frustrating. Whether or not the organizers actually care about equal representation, they could’ve just made Lana the headliner, and then I probably wouldn’t even be writing this article. But alas, they don’t care, so here we are.
Lana Del Rey's name being JUST below this year's Coachella headliner after releasing what's arguably her strongest album to date is…something else. https://t.co/i9zGzrxFKG
— Pusha Bi. (@BiancaEnRogue) January 3, 2020
The lack of a female headliner is disappointing, but taking a look at the rest of the lineup is even more depressing. Out of the 22 top-billed artists on the 2020 lineup, only six are women. SIX. Less than 30%. It seems like a shockingly low number, especially after a year where so many women were at the top of the music industry, but sadly, it’s not that surprising. At Coachella in 2019, women also took up just six of the top 22 spots. In 2018, the number was even lower, with just five out of 22. It’s great to see dynamic female artists (especially WOC) like Megan Thee Stallion, Summer Walker, and FKA twigs getting prime placement this year, but it seems crazy that the disparity is so great, and it’s clearly a consistent issue.
This is a double pronged issue: Coachella should a do a better job booking top female talent, but they should also take a harder look at the placement of artists on their lineup. Someone like Charli XCX, who has hundreds of millions of Spotify streams and opened for Taylor Swift on her most recent tour, could easily have been bumped up to a higher billing. Ditto for Anitta, dubbed the Queen of Brazilian Pop, who has broken down international barriers (and has 43 million Instagram followers). While lineup placement might seem like a small thing to worry about, lower-billed artists get paid significantly less, and placement at a major event like this can also have an impact on artists’ booking fees in the future. Essentially pushing women down the lineup, Coachella is holding back their earning potential.
I think one of the main issues here is that the organizers don’t really have stakes anymore. No matter what they do, the festival continues to sell out faster than ever, and brands and influencers plan their year around making the most of those two weekends in the desert. Along with the lineup announcement yesterday, Coachella announced that weekend one is already sold out—people are buying tickets for an experience, not because of anyone on the lineup. If the festival never feels pressure to do better, or change with the times, it’s no wonder that there hasn’t been nearly enough progress.
And while it’s easy to use the Coachella lineup to bring up the issue of representation, it’s an issue that is pervasive throughout the music industry. According to Women in Music, the music business is roughly 70% men, which isn’t so different from the percentage of top acts at Coachella this year. While Coachella can, and should, do better, the entire music business needs to do the same.
Images: Coachella / Instagram; biancaenrogue / Twitter
In the past few years, Coachella has become the epicenter of influencer marketing, and weekend one is arguably more about the branding opportunities than the music. Influencers of all shapes and sizes—wait no, most of them are skinny af—descend on Indio, California for a thee-day explosion of sponsored content. This includes basically all the creatures of Bachelor Nation, who come for Coachella, and obviously stay for Stagecoach. But not everything that happens at Coachella stays at Coachella, and Bachelor alum Amanda Stanton is now facing a lawsuit over some of her Coachella #content.
The whole thing started when Amanda Stanton was given a Chanel bag by the store Moonstone Vintage in LA. The bag, a black leather backpack, was worth over $3,000, and in exchange for the gift, Amanda was expected to tag the store in her post. Tagging an account in a post is literally the easiest thing in the world, but Amanda still managed to mess it up. When she posted the photo below, she tagged several other brands for her outfit, but not for the bag. She’s now added the tag, but it’s too little, too late for Moonstone.
Aside from the agreed upon post, Amanda can also be seen wearing the Chanel backpack in at least two of her other Instagram posts from this spring, including one at STAGECOACH!!! Do we think the backpack met Blake? Did Blake hook up with the backpack? Were there DMs exchanged? Honestly, I’m surprised the backpack wasn’t on this season of Paradise.
But back to the matter at hand. Moonstone Vintage says that Amanda Stanton didn’t uphold her end of the deal, and now they’re suing her for the cost of the bag, as well as shipping and handling. The total amount of the lawsuit is just under $5,000, and while that’s not an earth-shattering amount, I think the suit in general is meant to send a message to these influencers. While actual sponsored content is pretty cut-and-dry, the guidelines around gifts and barters are kind of a gray area. It’s unclear if Moonstone Vintage had any kind of actual contract with Amanda Stanton, but even if they didn’t, tagging the brand would be the considerate thing to do.
A rep for Amanda spoke to TMZ in response to the suit, and honestly, what they said is comical: “There was miscommunication between Amanda and the brand. Amanda didn’t have full confidence in what she was advertising, and was trying to negotiate with the brand to cancel the deal. We are working to settle this privately.”
Girl, what? She didn’t lack confidence that the bag was cute enough to post in three different photos, did she? If she decided she didn’t want to continue working with the store, that’s fine, but she still accepted a $3,000 gift from them. It seems like an Instagram tag was the least she could do, whether it was technically required or not. If she was really trying that hard to “cancel the deal” she probably should have left the bag in the package and returned it ASAP.
Amanda Stanton will definitely be fine, even if she has to shell out the $5,000, but let this be a lesson to all of us. Next time someone gives you a Chanel bag for free, make sure to tag them when you post it on Instagram. This might not sound relatable, but I’m really trying to manifest some free Chanel in my life, so just go with it.
Images: Shutterstock; amanda_stantonn (2) / Instagram
It goes without saying that none of us are Beyoncé.
I am not Beyoncé. You are not Beyoncé. Your coworker with the mug that says “you have the same amount of hours in a day as Beyoncé” is delusional—and also not Beyoncé. If Beyoncé is reading this, then she is, in fact, Beyoncé, but I have a feeling she is not taking time out of one of those precious hours that you apparently also have to read what I have to say. However, if anyone finds evidence to the contrary, please send it my way ASAP so I can ride that high for the rest of my life.
Lest you live in a cave in the Appalachians, you’ve likely heard of the Netflix documentary Homecoming, which follows Beyoncé in the run-up to her groundbreaking 2018 Coachella performance. The film covers her journey from the very beginning all the way through to the actual show, detailing creative concepting, rehearsals, and the kinds of preparation she underwent in order to be ready for such a performance just a little under a year after giving birth to her twins.
How does one manage to look the way that Beyoncé did on that stage a mere 10 months after housing and then birthing two human children? Well for starters, by cutting out every enjoyable food group possible. “In order for me to meet my goals, I’m limiting myself to no bread, no carbs, no sugar, no dairy, no meat, no fish, no alcohol.” You know what else she said? “I’m hungry.” It’s the only thing we’ve ever had in common.
If this sounds unhealthy to you, that’s because it pretty much is. Doctors say so. My body said so. Hell, even Beyoncé admitted it, going so far as to say that she’d “never…never push that far again.” She was likely referring to the strict diet combined with insane rehearsal hours and general exhaustion that accompanies raising two infants, but I’m still going to use it to validate myself.
In short, and as we have covered multiple times across multiple journeys, extremely restrictive diets are bad for you. Full stop. All of the food groups that you’ve been taught to avoid like the plague—carbs, dairy, anything that isn’t leafy green—have nutrients your body needs, in moderation. But for some people, myself included, it’s easier to deny yourself of something altogether than to limit yourself to small amounts of it. It’s the definition of all-or-nothing and a terrible crutch to go through life with, but this is real, this is me.
You see, I’ve never looked at one single thing Beyoncé has done and then thought to myself “hey, I bet I could do that.” The singing? Not with 100 years of vocal coaching. The dancing? You’d have to replace every single one of my joints with functioning ones, and it’d still be a stretch. The ability to look at Jay-Z post-Lemonade and still want to have sex with him? God given. But this? A sh*tty diet? This is my wheelhouse. At last, Beyoncé and I might be on equal footing. Her footing may be exponentially more coordinated, but equal nonetheless.
Lol, jk. I never stood a chance.
Like almost every other aspect of her life, the exact details of Beyoncé’s diet are shrouded in secrecy, leaving me to make a lot of assumptions and take a lot of liberties. Just the way she would have wanted it, I’m sure. Basically, if she didn’t say I couldn’t have it in that single quote from the documentary, I ate it. This allowed me to introduce legumes and nuts into my regimen, which became vital in both not starving to death and not becoming entirely narcoleptic.
For three days I tried eating like Beyoncé and all in all, it wasn’t terrible. Sure, it could have been a lot better than it was, but I was never truly miserable in the ways that other diets have made me feel. But instead of detailing my day-by-day experience for you, which was relatively mundane, all things considered, I’ll present some learnings that will come in handy should any of you decide to embark on the Beyoncé diet on your own.
1. You Will Have To Try
I live in a vegan-friendly city and know there are a lot of great options out there, but none that I felt like tackling on my own. Rather than expend any real effort on things like meal planning or, I don’t know, actual cooking, I stuck to salads, vegetables and hummus, and fruit. For three days, this was totally fine. Any longer than that and I imagine things would have gotten real boring real quick. I have a feeling Beyoncé has a chef on hand to prepare meals that are far more exciting than my lentil salad but that’s a luxury that, tragically, I couldn’t afford.
2. You Will Be Tired
It’s difficult to come across protein in diet that consists almost entirely of fruits and vegetables. I did my best with the addition of beans and nuts, but it didn’t really compare to the meat I’m used to consuming on a daily basis. I wasn’t brave enough to venture into the world of Tofu or meat substitutes, and wasn’t even entirely sure it was something I was allowed to have, so I spent a lot of time being tired and then trying to compensate with black coffee. You know what doesn’t sit well on a stomach full of greens and almost nothing else? Black coffee.
3. You Will Be Hungry
Not all the time—just more often than usual. Fruits and vegetables can be filling, but not for long periods of time. I found myself needing more frequent snacks than usual, especially in the afternoon during the time I’d typically still be full from a normal lunch. Thanks to an office kitchen stocked with Beyoncé-friendly snacks, I took to walking around with a pocket full of pistachios at almost all times. It’s not a cute habit, would not recommend.
4. You Will Need To Re-Evaluate Meals
You know what I’ve learned over the past three days? Time is a social construct, as is the food we assign to it. Once upon a time, breakfast meant eggs and bacon. Now, it means literally anything I am allowed to eat within the confines of this strict-ass diet. Once you realize that the only thing stopping you from eating dinner for breakfast is yourself, you’ll be unstoppable. A leftover veggie skewer at 8am? Why not! Hummus before work? Do it! Grapefruits for every meal in between? The world is your oyster. Except not really, because seafood isn’t allowed. But given the opportunity, I would have eaten oysters for breakfast.
5. You Should Definitely Drink Alcohol
Yeah, so I realize she explicitly said “no alcohol” but here’s what I learned: Wou will never be a cheaper date than after three straight days of eating almost exclusively vegetables. I’m serious. Wednesday night was the most cost-effective night of my life, and I woke up without even a hint of a hangover. Not sure if I can attribute the second part of that to Beyoncé, but I’m going to do it anyway. Obviously you need to avoid the more sugary drinks, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have a good time.
After only a few days of trying to live vaguely like Beyoncé, I don’t think I lost any actual weight. This wasn’t unexpected; it was three days. However, I do feel better.
While not sustainable in the long term, I found this diet to be a great way of resetting both your mind and body. The past two weeks have been a bit indulgent on my part, and this was helpful in getting me back on track and curbing the cravings that I might have succumbed to otherwise.
Plus, being hungry as often as I was forced me to drink more water, and it turns out being hydrated feels really nice. Who knew?
While this was a fun experiment, it warrants saying this: Beyoncé does not want you to live like this. That woman loves food. That woman loves life. That woman loves not starving to death, and most importantly, that woman loves you. Do not limit yourself because Beyoncé did, but rather, live a life that Beyoncé would be proud of. One of moderation, with a few cheats here and there. One where you let yourself enjoy things without feeling bad about them. One where you stream Lemonade on Spotify. IDK, just spitballing here, but it feels like it’s what she’d want.
Images: Giphy (3)
Just when I thought the Coachella 2019 coverage was really, truly over, leave it to herpes to come in and ruin everything. The internet was blowing up this morning after TMZ posted a report that this year’s festival was responsible for a major spike in people seeking treatment for herpes. At first glance, it’s a funny story, because Coachella is basically two weeks of people getting f*cked up and making poor decisions in the desert. It would make sense that a disease as common as herpes would thrive in this kind of environment, but this whole story is actually just nonsense.
The source of the report is HerpAlert, a website that offers “online treatment and diagnosis” for herpes. Basically, people send pictures of their junk, and then a professional reviews the pics and decides if you have herpes. Sounds legit! According to HerpAlert, they usually only handle about 12 cases a day, but during the first two days of Coachella, their numbers soared close to 250. Also, since the start of Coachella this year, they’ve had over 1,100 cases in Palm Springs and the surrounding areas, including LA and San Diego.
While these numbers are definitely enough to get anyone’s attention, they’re pretty misleading when it comes to what herpes is actually like. Honestly, I know this stuff from my 9th grade health class, but we got some info from Dr. Robert Huizenga just to be sure. Dr. Huizenga is a physician, sexual health expert, and the author of Sex, Lies, & STDs. Basically, he knows what’s up when it comes to herpes.
First of all, the most important thing to note is that the initial spike in HerpAlert patients occurred during the first two days of the festival, which does not add up with the timeline of the onset of herpes. Dr. H says that it takes herpes symptoms three to seven days after contact to appear. Given that Coachella is a three-day festival and many of these “cases” were submitted only during day two, that is not enough time to have contracted the herpes virus while at Coachella, no matter how many people you hooked up with on the camp grounds. It just does not compute.
Second of all, and more importantly, Dr. H notes that you can’t diagnose herpes with a blood test until 14 to 30 days after contact. Sores or rashes can show up before that, and could in theory be diagnosed with this picture-sending app, but it’s not as reliable as getting an actual blood test done. Seeing as it has barely been 14 days since weekend one of Coachella, it’s very unlikely that over a thousand people all contracted herpes at the festival. If anything, this whole “Coachella herpes outbreak” story is probably just proof that people are misinformed about sexual health (or wore too much glitter near their junk and are paranoid), rather than any indicator that there’s a major herpes outbreak in Indio.
Coachella Tip: The chick with the glitter eyeshadow wearing a bikini top and feathers is totally down to hook up/give you herpes.
— caprice crane (@capricecrane) April 10, 2015
Of course, everyone should go get tested regularly, whether or not they’ve been having sex in the desert, and use protection. Maybe next year Coachella should send out STI informational brochures along with the wristbands. And after you get tested, take a moment to send prayers to the poor doctor who had to review all the pictures of dirty junk that influencers were sending during Coachella. Yikes.
Images: Daniel Dvorsky / Unsplash; Giphy; @capricecrane / Twitter
Well folks, we finally made it through Coachella. After two grueling weekends of Instagram models shaking their bare asses in the desert, we can let Coachella slip from our consciousness for 11 months. But before we forget about ‘Chella 2019, there’s one more thing we desperately need to talk about: Kanye West’s Sunday Service. I’m sure you saw it on Instagram, but you probably have a lot of questions about what it actually is, and why every creature of Instagram showed up in their Sunday best to a random field in Palm Springs.
To start, let’s go back to January of this year. After Coachella announced this year’s headliners, the drama began. Reports quickly surfaced that Kanye West was supposed to be this year’s Sunday headliner, but there were last-minute issues. Specifically, he demanded that the festival build him a giant dome for his performance. They told him it wasn’t possible, and the contract negotiations fell apart from there. Luckily, Ariana Grande was available, so she became the headliner instead.
We’ll get back to Coachella in a minute, but now let’s focus on Kanye. Since January, he’s been hosting a weekly Sunday Service, a mysterious gathering where a giant gospel choir sings arrangements of Kanye West songs. It’s still unclear whether there’s a specific religious connotation to the Sunday Service, but it’s definitely meant to promote the image that Kanye is basically the next Jesus. Or the next God? Idk, I haven’t been to church in a long time. Since the Sunday Service started in January, it’s become a big event, and lots of famous people have made appearances. Attendees include Kid Cudi, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Courtney Love, and all the Kardashian-Jenners (of course). Kanye might be crazy, but his Sunday Service is still one of the most exclusive invites in town.
Then, a few weeks ago, it was announced that Kanye was bringing his Sunday Service to Coachella. He didn’t get the dome he was hoping for, but this performance made just as much of a statement. It was Easter Sunday at 9am, and the who’s who of Coachella trekked to a grassy mound, where dozens of singers were in purple robes. Kanye led the choir, and at one point broke down in tears, either because he was so moved by his own work or because it was really f*cking hot out there. We’ll never know. Luckily, Kendall posted this series of videos, which look like footage straight out of Wild Wild Country. Is Kanye…The Bhagwan??
While the actual Sunday Service part is a little too cult-y for me, I loved seeing who showed up, and what kind of lewks they turned out for the Easter to end all Easters. Coming in hot was Kylie Jenner, who rocked a long-ass braid, adorned with seashells and crosses. Because nothing says “He is risen” like clipping some puka shells into your fake hair, and not going to church in favor of getting f*cked up in a field. At least, that’s what I would tell my pastor growing up.
I’m also really enjoying this picture of Kim and Kendall, who look like they went outside to see the solar eclipse, and are thoroughly unimpressed. I’m mostly confused by the bracelets (?) that Kim is wearing, which look more like the weights my pilates instructor yells at me to use. Big ups to Penelope, who is obviously too cool for all of this.
My favorite detail of the whole thing is the merch. Actually, they were calling the merch “Church Clothes,” which is actually incredible. Sweatshirts started at $165, but you could also get socks for $50. A steal of a deal! I mean, I’m just obsessed with “Church Clothes.” It’s so good.
In terms of the music at the Sunday Service, Kanye debuted a new song called “Water,” and guest performers included Kid Cudi, Ty Dolla $ign, and Chance the Rapper, who came out to premiere the song. As much as I’m rolling my eyes at the entire Sunday Service concept, it still sounds like an amazing f*cking concert. Also, people think he might be about to release his new album, YANDHI. Oh yeah, if you didn’t already know, Kanye’s next album is named after Gandhi. He’s always been a humble guy!
It’s unclear what’s coming next for Kanye and the Sunday Service, but I have a feeling we haven’t seen the last of Kanye pretending to be God. I mean, that’s kind of his whole thing at this point.
Images: Getty Images; @kendalljenner, @kyliejenner, @Penelope.scotlanddisick / Instagram
I’ve conducted a few artist interviews in my day. Most of them are formal—you set up a time to meet in the designated press area at a festival, or (if you’re lucky) you’ll get escorted back to the artist’s trailer or tour bus. You get anywhere from five to 15 minutes, and you’re on the clock while a publicist times you like a hawk. You’re ushered in, you do the interview, maybe snap a few pictures if you have time, and then you’re whisked away just as quickly as you came.
My interview with DJ and producer Ookay (real name Abe Laguna) was not like most interviews. When I caught up with him during weekend one of Coachella, I met him and his almost exclusively female entourage (“my biggest inspirations right now are all women,” he says) inside the rose garden, where we sat down on the grass and sipped rosé and chatted casually. While most interviews are intimidating, with Ookay, I honestly felt like I was talking to a friend. We laughed and joked; I even called him a troll at one point. Despite the 350,000-plus Instagram followers and the fact that his songs have personally put me deep in my feelings (due to one memorable Ezoo experience when I was cracked out and listening to his song “Thief” on repeat until 5am), I felt completely at ease. I didn’t feel like I needed to impress him with well-thought-out questions, and in fact, I learned more about him from the ones that popped up off the cuff. Ookay’s publicist told me in advance that he’s “super light hearted and full of personality,” but even still, I was taken aback by how much that characterization rang true.
It was not most interviews, in part because Ookay is not most artists. The San Diego-born DJ and producer plays drums, trombone, piano, bass, guitar, harmonica, as well as some instruments I’ve never heard of. “The melodica, keytar, SPD, which is like a drumming apparatus,” he ticks off his fingers. I ask how many instruments he can play. “I think 6 now?” he responds, not even completely sure. He credits his musical prowess to his father, a bassist who introduced him to “very complex jazz early on, like, 13 or 12 years old.” He says, “It’s all thanks to my father, I wouldn’t even be here right now if it wasn’t for him.”
And in an age where being a DJ can mean anything from “getting paid to hit play on a premade playlist” to “arranges all their own music,” Ookay sets himself apart from the pack, especially with his live shows. He’s been performing live on the festival circuit for a few years, but revamped the format for Coachella, where he plays multiple instruments and sings. He’s also upped the visuals. “It’s funny,” Ookay remarks, “it’s called dance music but there’s no dancers.” So he added dancers onstage. “Problem number one, fixed.”
It was important to switch up his live set for Coachella because it is a special place for him. (He will also be playing weekend 2 at the Sahara Tent at 2:45pm.) “I had a lot of realizations here, in good ways. The first time I came here , I figured out I want to be an artist that gets to this kind of level to play this kind of festival.”
It feels oddly poetic, then, five years later, he’s taking the stage with this original set format, performing as not simply a DJ, but a bonafide artist. “It’s kind of full circle,” he admits, “very wholesome.” He reflects that every year at Coachella he’s learned something different. This year? “I think it was more of a reflection of how far I’ve come to get to this point,” he decies. “My blood, sweat, and tears, the traveling, being exhausted, working my ass off, being in a warehouse for two months straight… it’s worth it, everything we’ve been going through led to something special.”
He gushes, “And for everyone that I’m involved with—as far as like, my team, and crew, and all of my fans even—it’s awesome to see it just progress and keep going. And a lot of new fans, even just walking around people have been like straight-up, ‘yo, never heard of you before but checked out your set because we walked in and we heard people just like jumping around and it’s awesome to see you doing all this stuff on stage—’”
I shit you not, on cue, our interview is interrupted.
“Are you Ookay?” asks a girl who came up to us with a male friend in tow. I look to Ookay to see how he’s going to handle this.
“I am,” he answers calmly. She visibly starts freaking out.
“I love your songs so much,” she tells him.
“Can I give you a hug? Is that okay?”
He stands up, gives her a hug, takes a picture. The whole interaction is too perfect, and timed too well, to make up. But I can tell this isn’t out of the ordinary for him—not the getting recognized part, but the “being genuinely grateful someone likes his music enough to tell him personally and engaging that person even though he’s clearly busy” part. After making this fan’s day, we sit back down and resume the interview, picking up at what makes Coachella so special to him. Yes, there’s the fact that Ookay credits it as “one of the first festivals I paid for,” but it’s also where he got the inspiration for his breakout hit “Thief,” which boasts over 56 million Spotify streams to date and has been remixed by the likes of Slushii and Flux Pavilion.
He wrote it after that first visit to Indio, where he was inspired to, as he puts it, “make a song that matters in two seconds… something so spectacular that you get excited.”
So that’s how the musical aspect of his smash hit came to be, but the lyrics?
“Oh, it’s definitely about my ex-girlfriend. That’s what most of the big songs are written about.” That’s not a bad claim to fame. “Yeah, well, I’m forever thankful,” he says without a hint of irony. Given just how big the song has gotten, there is plenty to be thankful for.
He credits the success of “Thief” in part to its snappy and immediately recognizable intro, plus the memorable sax riff, but what I suspect most of all, the vulnerable lyrics, which are a breath of fresh air in the realm of dance music. “ the first time I ever put my voice out there like that, one of the first songs I sang/wrote, period.” His approach to writing that song, more or less, went as follows: “I’m going to take what you would consider a journal or a diary and throw it out there.”
As far as other muses, he credits a lot of women. Piggybacking off his comments about his female-led entourage, he says, “I’m a huge fan of what Rezz and Alison Wonderland and what all these women are doing.”
Women run the world foreal.
— OOKAY (@Ookay) April 11, 2019
He adds, “it’s really cool to see women set the bar on so much shit. On top of that, the black hole thing that happened was discovered by a woman. It’s amazing. I think most things have been women-driven. We got 10 more years before—”
“Before we figure out how to get rid of you guys?” I chime in (I’m sorry, I can’t help it).
“Oh my god, please get rid of us, we suck,” he agrees.
Ladies, he’s single.
When, naturally, I ask Ookay where his dating life stands now, he seems surprised by the question.
“It’s nonexistent,” he answers plainly. “I think I’m at the point where if you were like, ‘text a girl right now’, I couldn’t do it.” I clarify: because he has no girls to text? “Pretty much,” he replies with a shrug. Seems surprising for a young musician who’s playing stages like Coachella and Electric Zoo.
“When it happens, it happens,” he answers nonchalantly. “I’m not looking, I’ve been finally single for a year. And I’ve been working hard, so music has been my girlfriend.” He expresses that when he’s ready, he’ll go out there and find someone—or perhaps someone will come to him. He jokes about maybe even finding the love of his life at Coachella. Then he and I in turn joke about doing an interview a few years from now about that. “Who knows,” he guesses. “When I’m married! Or dead—just kidding, hopefully not.”
I inquire if he sees himself ever getting married. He quickly answers no. When I press him on why, he says, “I don’t know. A ring costs a lot of money.” After a pause, he elaborates, “Marriage is interesting, it’s like the weirdest tradition. It’s traditional, you know what I mean? It’s conventional. No one’s like yes, marriage is going to be beneficial”—except for maybe the tax benefits, which launches us into another side tangent about people who get married for healthcare benefits. He sees it often, being from San Diego where there’s a huge military base, where people often rush to get married.
And just like that, I find myself falling into a predictable pattern of jest that I would with my close friends, making a wisecrack about rolling up to a military base to find a boyfriend. Ookay doesn’t think I’m being desperate or weird (or, to put it plainly, that I’m being serious); he gets it, as if we’ve known each other for more than the 15 minutes or so we’ve been sitting on the grass.
All joking aside, he asserts, “I’m focused on my work right now, I’m very happy. I just wrote a song about that actually; it’s called ‘Better Off’,” as in, better off alone.
He doesn’t mean it in an antisocial way, either, but rather, more on the side of self contentment. “I’ve gotten used to dinner with my phone,” he cites as an example.”I really don’t mind being alone. And that’s fine! And I think that’s where I’m at right now, I think right now I’m just like focusing on being the best version of me for someone who comes along, whenever that happens I’m cool with it.”
For now, Ookay is working on his relationship with his music, with an album in sights—his first comically accurately named album, Wow! Cool Album!, came out a little over a year ago. He pledges to return to his roots and make more EDM, because, he explains, “those are the people who gave me the platform to do this ”. After a few shows in Vegas, he’ll take a break from performing, return to the studio, and come back with another new live show. He’d like to do shows in cities that don’t often have electronic artists come through, perform overseas, but above all, stay creative and keep pushing.
He puts it simply: “I’m just going to keep making good music for good people and try to reach an audience.”