OUR 2020 HARDSHIPS & POSITIVE OUTCOMES:
In late 2019, we sold all of our stuff. Our clothes, our shoes, our recording equipment (a Lauten Clarion Mic, a ToneBeast Amp, a Warm Audio WA73 Preamp that imitates the Neve 1073, a Warm Audio WA-14 Condenser Mic, a set of Focal Alpha Studio Monitors), & so much more.
We moved to L.A. on January 1st, 2020 with the money we made from all our sales. After purchasing an Epiphone Wildkat with a Bigsby (whammy bar) & a Gibson Les Paul, because we sold our Acoustic guitars: an Epiphone Masterbuild & a Fender Sonoran. Yes, you read that right — we went ELECTRIC after being acoustic the entirety of our collaboration together.
“We were feeling so sick...”
After almost 2 1/2 months in L.A., we were feeling so sick for almost a month straight after living in a house with renters who arrived recently from Wuhan, China. YES, you also read that right.
Our wonderful Chinese roommates invited us to their Chinese New Year Dinner, stayed up talking to us, we helped teach our new friend some English, he taught us some Mandarin, & Oskar even cut & faded our friend’s hair after his girlfriend completely hacked at it, trying to give him a haircut.😂 We became great friends to the point where our new friend called us “brother” & “sister”.
We were feeling sicker & sicker, & realized we probably had COVID, but at this time Fauci was saying masks were unnecessary & that they didn’t expect it to come to the US. Little did we all know!!!
We were feeling down & out that we were paying so much money in rent to be in California for the opportunities pertaining to the Music Industry, but we were so very sick that we were in bed most days.
We decided to plan a tour of The South to offset some of the financial burden living in L.A. was costing us. We then decided to drive home to Salt Lake City, Utah two weeks earlier than our tour to visit family, get some much needed rest, recuperation, & healing, & then we’d set out on our tour from Utah. We even bought 2 identical Gretsch Synchromatic Hollow-Body Guitars & sold our electrics to go on tour.
Here’s the original Tour Promo/Announcement. We soon after had planned many shows.
Our new, identical Gretsch Synchromatic Guitars!
Our family was out of town for almost 2 weeks in Nashville when we came home & we decided we’d surprise them when they got back. Because of this timing, we were naturally quarantined without even knowing it & too sick to get out of the house anyway.
It was only a few days into being home that our tour collapsed, businesses started shutting down, & the government issued the “15 days to slow the spread” lockdown.
We plummeted into a hard & dark feeling of despair, fear, & depression after this. Feeling financially wiped out, no clear solution in sight, no money coming in through performing, & no plan. We found ourselves feeling completely lost.
The depressing Cancellation Post:
We decided to take a risk in the spring of 2020 & get into debt with an AEA R44CE Ribbon microphone, a Universal Audio Apollo Twin X, more recording software (Pre-Amps & Mastering). Add that up with the Gretsch guitars.
We decided to start recording instead of touring & performing. We hoped this different style of equipment would get us closer to our “sound” or at least as close as we could achieve during that time. We thought that our new sound would also attract our audience to us like a magnet & cause more listeners to come our way, too, as we felt it was new & different.
Since the spring of 2020, we’ve recorded 3 singles: “Swim or Die”, “Boom Boom”, & “Keeper Brown”. We are proud of these singles, everything we’ve learned from the difficult sorrows we’ve endured, like so many others during 2020, & are excited for what the rest of 2021 has in store.
Last year was harsh, but we’re stronger than 2020 through Heavenly Father & Jesus Christ.
THANK YOU, SUNGAIT!
Sungait contacted us via email and asked if they could send us some sunglasses of our choosing to see if we liked them. Cool, eh?
We picked frames that look similar to shades we already have! Oskar owns a pair of RayBan Clubmasters that look like the ones I got from Sungait. Julia owns a pair of gold, round-framed RayBans, too, that look like one shades Oskar got from Sungait! We just love each other’s style enough to copy it for ourselves.
We were amazed at how fast the sunglasses came in the mail & couldn’t wait to try them on.
The packaging is super cool & sleek. They gave us a little metal screwdriver tool keychain for any tightening needs down the road, which we thought was so thorough & smart of them. They also gave us a dusting cloth for the lenses, a drawstring bag to store the glasses. & a plastic outer bag with a. ziplock on it.
We felt like it was Christmas opening the packaging to our brand new sunglasses! They sent them to us FREE, not even shipping was required of us. Just a post on social media.
“Asking regular people without the biggest following in the world to market your sunglasses is genius.”
Keep reading to find this quote.
We think their method of marketing in this way is VERY smart. A lot of people start businesses & expect to have clients or customers automatically find their product appealing enough to purchase. This is not the truth.
Business persons need to realize that it’s our job to make our products or services desirable for our demographics. Not the customer’s.
Entrepreneurs, including ourselves, often times think that simply putting out a solid product or service is enough, that it speaks for itself, & the fact that the quality is there will send it flying off the shelves. This couldn’t be more untrue.
Not only marketing your product, but marketing it to your specific demographic & creating a small universe where your product or service is so desirable that your demographic feels like they not only want it, but they need it is the entrepreneur’s job.
This is the one of the most difficult tasks in business, especially for musicians, as you’re literally selling yourself & your THOUGHTS, which become your songs.
These are lessons that feel like they’ve been being drilled into our heads recently. We’re doing our best to try to get our name & our music out there. It is so difficult.
We admire Sungait’s drive. Asking regular people without the biggest following in the world to market your sunglasses is genius. We’re all pretty tired of influencers who live in some pretend fantasy world, where they just so happen to be “caught of guard” in every photo they post, looking fabulous, posed, & in full makeup. It’s just not real. Influencers are the new commercials. We’re honestly so turned off by it.
Out of being destitute for so long, we tried being “influencers” & making brand deals for a couple years through probably 2017-2019. Most of our content was photos instead of about our music & it just felt like we were shorting ourselves. It felt so fake.
Now that we’ve stopped trying SO hard, this brand came to us. What? We didn’t even seek them out. We thought that was pretty cool. Their shades are actually really high quality, too, & reasonable in pricing.
It’s refreshing to not be strangling ideas to death & trying to hard to make a buck or get stuff in return for selling our audience brand stuff.
We just want to play our music & be full-time musicians.
Won’t you please have a listen? OskarAndJulia.com/Music
We’ve been watching the Edwin Sarkissian YouTube Channel with his BFF Gasparito, which we absolutely LOVE. Their videos have been making us laugh so much, even while being so stressed this last while. They inspired us to not care so much what other people think & make a fun cooking video!
Oskar’s love of cooking has gotten stronger & stronger over the years. He makes gorgeous meals & appetizers from scratch probably 4-5 times a week & always on Sundays. He is, in all seriousness, SO talented at all things cooking. I am not biased, because if something isn’t good I will not eat it. I just can’t. Wasting calories on something gross? What’s the point?! With Oskar’s food I seriously can’t get enough.
This time, we made Bacon-Wrapped Shrimp, & these were SOOOOOOOO good! I mean, anything bacon-related is pretty delicious, but the Pepper Jack Cheese & sided Sweet Peppers in there made it glorious.
Our family’s home is under construction, so the overhead lights are out right now. We just used one phone’s flashlight as the lighting & the other as the camera. We also brightened up the footage!
We hope you noticed the addition of our music in the background of this video! Let us know if you enjoy cooking videos like this!
We got a brand new Fender Blues Junior IV Amplifier!
We purchased it from Guitar Czar — a Salt Lake-local shop located in Murray. We also purchased a 2nd identical amp, but it will be available for us to pick up in a few weeks.
The second we got home, we took the amp out & Julia ended up playing guitar on it for over an hour, just loving the way it sounds.
By turning up the volume & turning down the “Master”, you get a nice crunch sound. The louder the Volume & lower the Master, the more distortion you get!
We haven’t wanted to be full Acoustic, because it’s always felt too clean to us. We feel as though the Acoustic Guitars & harmonies in our music make brand new listeners automatically think our music is Country (we get that a lot). We love Country Music. Especially artists like Hank Williams, Chet Atkins, Patsy Cline, & the like, but we’ve never seen ourselves as Country artists, even when we have a song like “Nowhere” in our repertoire.
Our goal when we first started writing together was to showcase that we can write in every genre. Now, we’re focused less on what other people think of our songwriting ability & more on what we like to write & want to hear.
In fact, on our debut album Wilshire Royale, we desperately wanted our music to get placed in film, so we asked our engineer at the time to make it as commercial as possible for film & TV. Our reaction to that now? “Yikes.”
We feel as though we’ve come to a point in our career where getting Film & TV placements would be absolutely AMAZING, but on our terms, & with music we feel comes from us & not from our filtered, overly-scrubbed-clean idea of what people want to hear in the background of a commercial.
We’ve also been STRUGGLING financially, which doesn’t go hand-in-hand with overly commercialized Pop Music anyway!
Through having absolutely no money & mounting debt for almost a year, we’ve had to be resourceful. We’ve had to think outside the box with our recordings, & get the equipment we were positive would get us closer to “our sound” — what we’re hearing in our heads while writing the song. It is so hard to translate what you’re hearing, how you hear the Mix, & what instruments you hear in the background when you have absolutely no money to create & delegate those writing decisions.
It’s tried us mentally, spiritually, emotionally, & even physically, but we’re still here, in the depths of humility & borderline shame, making music, & holding each other to our promise to each other to continue with our career & not quit when the going gets not only tough, but brutal.
While on tour in 2019 in Washington D.C., we were interviewed by Andie Judson, with HeartThreads at the time. It was such a fun experience. A few of the details in the video are slightly off, but otherwise, here is our story!
We both grew up in Salt Lake Valley, lived in The Avenues, attended the same church building, Julia’s family had season tickets to the children’s playhouse that Oskar’s family helped run, & even went to the same Junior High (just barely missed each other, because Julia is 2 grades older than Oskar). Even though we crossed paths so often in our lives, we never knew each other or met until we were fresh into adulthood.
Oskar had just turned 19 & Julia was about to turn 21 in 2014 when they met at Oskar’s band’s show in Draper, Utah. Like a movie moment, the crowd parted, Julia saw Oskar’s cool, slicked back hair & immediately knew it was him.
We had such a blast talking to each other that night, asking about each other’s music & songwriting, our dreams, our likes & dislikes, that we kept in touch & eventually started writing together. Our first song: “Between Us” on our Wilshire Royale album. Kind of funny — we wrote a breakup song before we ever started dating.😂
The video above shares even more fun memories. Enjoy!
All of these photos are from when we were just friends but three: the picture in the bathroom is the day we told each other that we had feelings for each other; the picture where we’re arm in arm in our apartment is after we decided we wanted to be together & we started to plan to get married!
We're Oskar & Julia Buie!