Anonymous said: Thoughts on pitchfork review?
It really hurt to read if I can be totally honest. it came at the end of what was the worst date on our tour where some of the craziest things happened; finding out a family member had been in a head-on car collision, someone in our van having a mental breakdown, the show in Austin getting cancelled due to weather, Owen Pallett’s drummer throwing out his back and having to sit the show out. Some of these things are far worse than others and I feel like a piece of shit for talking about in the same breath as music criticism but reading it after all those things came up yesterday made it feel a lot more devastating that it should have.
I don’t know, I am fairly unguarded with a lot of things like this and it really bummed me out to see him talk about something I put my whole self into for three years in such a disparaging way that invoked things like disparate levels of class, especially when my friends like Owen and the Orchid Tapes families are negatively implicated in a lot of what’s said there.
Ultimately I will try and pay it no mind, because I don’t expect a straight-white-dude critic at Pitchfork who is, above all else, notorious for being a mean-spirited writer to understand what I’m trying to do with my music, especially when I know so many other people do. I will try and turn it into an exercise of considering, but ultimately emotionally distancing myself from the effects of both criticism and praise alike. I feel like it is an all-or-nothing game with this sort of thing, and I think as both a label-operator and as someone who makes music, this is important.
I’m starting to think that Orchid Tapes / Foxes in Fiction isn’t something that I should continue trying to fit into an arena like Pitchfork. We’ve been having a lot of conversations on this tour about music writing and about what is considered objectively good in the minds of writers at places like Pitchfork, and I’m starting to see how that criteria sometimes disfavors people who are outsiders, or queers, or women or who are mentally ill; things we have tried to be inclusive about with Orchid Tapes forever. We’ve done so well because of smaller press and our amazing supporters, and I feel like maybe I tried to take too many steps forward with Ontario Gothic because I believe in it so much and am so in love with all my friend’s work on it. I’ve been thinking about this sort of stuff and how it implicates our release for a while, and I think it may be the time to do some thinking / decision-making and take a step back for the sake of maintaining what is important about the label.
The review opens with “At no point during Ontario Gothic does it sound like an album that would be subject to outside expectations, let alone hype.” and closes with “That speaks to the appeal of Orchid Tapes in the first place, a collective that stands to snag the interest of anyone invested in the concepts of “punk”, “indie”, “scene”, and “DIY””. Both of these statements miss the aim and intention of Foxes in Fiction & Orchid Tapes so grandly that the rest of the review kind of loses power on me. I’m not making or releasing music with the label I founded to satisfy expectations or play into ideas of hype, I am doing it for people who are mentally ill, who are queer, who are who are young and living in an awful small town and need a connection with music, for disenfranchised and marginalized people who have been in similar situations to me where music was able to help me though it and ultimately inspire me to start something like Foxes in Fiction or Orchid Tapes. If one person at an institution-as-website doesn’t get that, that’s fine.