Vic Fuentes has stepped from the stage to the boardroom, as the new CEO / co-Chairman of the Living The Dream Foundation.
Last week, Pierce The Veil frontman Vic Fuentes was announced as the new co-chairman and CEO of the Living The Dream Foundation - a non-profit organisation which makes dreams come true for young adults and teenagers suffering terminal and life-threatening illness. Prior to being appointed as the CEO / Chairman of Living The Dream, Vic had worked as an ambassador for the organisation since 2016, where he came into contact with them on Vans Warped Tour.
The mission and cornerstone of Living The Dream lies in their Dream Days, where they introduce children and young adults who are affected by life-threatening illnesses to their favourite bands, in an effort to help them stay positive, maintain hope and appreciate each and every day in the face of their afflictions. Vic Fuentes and Pierce The Veil have participated in a number of special Dream Days over the years - but his new appointment will see Vic taking on the biggest role of all behind the scenes, and making an even bigger difference than before.
Rock Sound caught up with Vic to talk through his massive, life-changing new job, his plans for the organisation, and how his experience on the other side of the equation makes him the ideal person to helm Living The Dream.
It's been a whirlwind few days! Did you expect people to take this much notice of your new job?
Says Vic: “Honestly, the goal was to really make as big of a splash as possible, so we did everything in our power to try and make as many people aware of it as possible all at once, and I think we did a pretty good job. We gained a lot of social media following which was huge for us. We gained more followers overnight that they’d gained in 10 years, so it was a big day. I’m super happy with the initial launch, and we’re still going!”
Talk to us about your first involvement with Living The Dream...
“A few years ago Scottie, the founder, invited me and my girlfriend Danielle to his house for a barbecue and he told me more about the organisation. I knew about them from working with them, but I didn’t know any details about how it worked. He asked me to be an ambassador for the company - I didn’t really know what that meant and we didn’t really end up doing much together on a business or technical side, we just kept continuing to support them and doing Dream Days with them. We didn’t really do much partnering up until recently.”
And now you have a full-time job there. That's a big step to take...
“Yeah, when you think about it, it’s a life-changing choice. There were some nights I sat up and thought, ‘Woah, if I’m going to do this, I’m going to go as hard as I can with it and treat it as a big part of my life, because that’s what it’ll take’. Every time I thought about it, I just remembered that my heart is in the right place - that I love this organisation and I didn’t want to see it go down. They’d fallen on some rough times with losing a big sponsor and they didn’t have any money coming in to do their work, so they were starting to die. Scottie posted this Instagram post explaining that they were having some tough times and they weren’t sure if they were going to be able to continue on. I commented and I told them I’d love to help in any way I can - we started talking and it kind of developed from there.”
Is there a feeling that music has treates you well, and it's time to give back a little?
“I think that is a feeling. Music has definitely treated us well and we have this really amazing following, but I think that it’s also nice to have something that’s apart from music, because I haven’t done anything besides writing music for the last 15 years. Literally my whole existence has been thoughts of what the next Pierce The Veil move is and what the next album’s going to be - so having this come in an organic way and present itself, it’s really nice to have something different to use my skills, my energy, whatever I can bring to the table. It’s nice.”
Where's it all based?
“The founder and his girl Patricia, who is a part of the company as well, live in Maine now. I’m in San Diego and Casey, our girl who does the Dream Days on site lives up towards OC, so we’re kind of all over the place! My girlfriend Danielle is involved as well, she’s doing marketing and social media. She’s super good at that, and she’s been a huge help in the launch and giving us good advice and showing us how to get the best impact.”
Revitalising an entire company is abig ask, so what's next?
“When we came on, we saw this organisation that had super strong roots. They had been doing this for 12 years, they know what they’re doing as far as their work goes, they know how to do Dream Days. One of our strengths is that we know how to navigate a backstage from our years of touring and stuff like that. A lot of organisations don’t know how to do that and they’re not allowed to do that, but we get full access to be onstage. Sometimes they bring kids onstage in front of the crowd! We have these unique skills that make us a little different to everyone else.”
It must be nice to have the perspective of somebody who's experienced a Dream Day as an artist, too...
“I’ve experienced it from the inside, which I must say was so easy. They made it so easy for us to make a huge impact. They know how to navigate backstages and work with tour managers and production people, so we would just be getting ready to go on and they’d bring over a family and we would hang out with them, take photos, have a good conversation and then they get to watch from stage. They do that all day and meet all kinds of their favourite bands, their heroes, and it’s just a big win for everybody. That’s one of the cool things; us being in the music industry and entertainment, we have so many friends who’ve been doing it for years and it’s like, ‘Why not do this?’ All the opportunities are right here for us.”
It doesn't sound like a lot of effort from the artist's point of view, but it'll mean everything to the people on the day...
“Using what we have in music and entertainment, like you said, we’re just doing our normal stuff with our normal contacts - but for these kids... it’s life-changing for them. That was what drew me to Living The Dream, because I could see these kids’ faces and talk to their parents and talk to them. You actually get to meet them and see how big an impact Living The Dream is having.”
It sounds simple when you say it aloud, but it often takes organisations like yours to put it into practice. That makes companies like this so important...
“It all just somehow worked out. It’s one of those things in life where something is in front of you, and you have a choice to take it or leave it. I’m coming into a company that’s already been doing this for 10, 12 years and they have so much skill and experience. When me and Danielle came on, we saw the things that they lacked, we saw the things they needed, and it was marketing, that they needed to be more in the public eye. Everyone backstage knew them, but nobody in the crowd knew them. That was where we came in and were able to see the things that needed improving. That was what was so clear for us - we were like, ‘Okay we need to do these 10 things, and we needed to combine our skills’. One of my best friends is a web designer, so he’s doing our website, my girlfriend is an influencer so she’s using her social media skills. Our booking agent Dave [Shapiro] is taking on a President role and using his business knowledge. We’re all combining what we already know how to do and using it for this amazing cause.”
So how do people get involved? There are donations on the website, right?
“Yeah, donations and fundraising is a big thing that we really need right now. When I came on, there was no money to do what they do because they’d lost a big sponsor, so now we’re trying to do it more grassroots, and just raise money on our own. We’re trying to build this community and make people aware that they can actually just support it. On our website ltdfoundation.org there are two buttons, the ‘Donate’ and the ‘Fundraise’ button. We’ve worked with this rad company in San Diego that helped us build that platform and make it super easy for anyone who wants to help. It’s literally just a click and you can start your own fundraiser, you can donate for your birthday if you want to, so it’s a donation for a cause you’re into rather than presents this year, which literally takes five minutes. There’s all kinds of stuff you can do and it’s super easy.”
What's the long-term goal with Living The Dream?
“One of the main goals we had in the beginning was to expand outside of just music. We started even rewording a lot of our bios and everything to be a little more open-ended, because we’d love to work with actors or sports people or YouTubers... you name it. We’d rather span the net wider than just music, because I think we have the ability to do that. That’s a future goal, and in the immediate future I think it’s all about doing it Dream Day to Dream Day. Every time you do one it’s a huge win, and it really fuels the company. If we do one, that’s changing one kid’s life. If we keep doing those... that is really the whole goal. Every single one that we fulfill is another reason to keep going.”
Amazing. How else can people help?
“We’re just trying to spread awareness and get as many people on board as we can. Following us on social media is going to be a huge help for us. Getting that support will also make a big impact and let us continue to grow, so spread the word! It’s so straightforward to do and so simple when you think about it. We’re just bringing these kids out to these shows, and giving them a connection with the people they look up to. That’s a big thing for them - to have that moment away from their afflictions and a bit of a break, because they definitely deserve it. They’ve had crazy rides.”