As festivals and concerts slowly conform to a more predictable norm, one New York series is actively working to rebel against the norm and revolutionize music space for headliners and supporting acts alike. Welcome to Secret Friend.
Secret Friend is a collaboration between Brooklyn-based music collective Psymon Spine and POND Magazine aimed at changing the relationship between headliners and supporting acts. It is an immersive art experience, keeping performing artists names secret until the week of a show, in hopes of encouraging support for all artists, as well as enabling sonic exploration by more well established artists.
The series has been wildly successful thus far, selling out their shows, and they are launching into something new this weekend: the first-ever day event of the Secret Friend series.
We had a chance to talk to Rachel Cabitt, Digital Director of POND Magazine, about the creation of the Secret Friend series and its purpose within the intricate fabric of the New York music scene.
Can you tell us a little bit behind the purpose of Secret Friend, and how it came about to be, and how it relates to POND Magazine?
Our friends Noah and Michael of Psymon Spine approached us with the idea of Secret Friend (the name inspired by a Paul McCartney tune). Noah and Michael are both very involved in the music scene in New York, great musicians, and have a wonderful network of collaborators.
Inspiration for the event came when they felt like they were always playing or attending the same kinds of shows and parties every weekend. Wanting to create something new and different, they asked for our help with curating and making it happen. Mixing music and art brings both of POND’s worlds together, and it really brings us out of our comfort zone since a lot of the music we cover is in the rock/indie scene.
How did the POND Magazine and Psymon Spine collaboration begin?
We’ve known the boys in Psymon Spine for a long time, basically since POND started working with bands and booking our own shows. When Noah and Mike came to us about working together on an event series that we could curate together, it was really exciting and something fresh.
We can get really creative with this kind of event and it challenges us to always try and bring something new to the table. Secret Friend has opened up a completely new part of New York to us.
How do you book your lineups? Would you say keeping the lineup partially secret changes the tone of your shows? How does it influence your audience?
Psymon Spine really owns the music curation for these events, while POND takes the lead on the visual end of things. The lineup changes each time, with a few key players making repeat appearances. Danceability and flair informs the curation of the musical lineups.
Going in, we make a conscious decision to avoid the typical headliner/opener dynamic, which in our experience can create a segmented experience for the crowd and an uneven playing field for artists.
By maintaining an element of mystery surrounding lineup, set times, and surprise guests, the audience and artists seem to stay more open-minded and emotionally present throughout. Further, by allowing well-established acts a degree of anonymity, we can give them the freedom to interact with the space in ways they normally might not, which is fundamental to the idea behind Secret Friend.
That said, we do, of course, make sure that artists’ info is readily available afterwards to attendees in case they’re blown away by one act in particular.
Secret Friend 004 will be more daytime focused instead of nighttime. Is this a first for your team? What are the challenges in switching it up?
This is a first! Usually Secret Friend thrives in the nighttime, but 004 will be going from 12 PM to 11 PM, which is also longer than usual—almost twelve hours! This is also the biggest space we’ve occupied to date, so creating something different and entertaining to sustain an entire day and space will be the most exciting.
We’re also collaborating with the Brooklyn bar Honey’s, which is right around the corner from the venue where we will be camped out.
Can you tell us who is performing for Secret Friend 004? Who are you most excited for on the lineup?
We like to keep a lot of the event a surprise for people who attend, but for now we can announce that there will be performances by:
Certain Creatures (live)
Connie Yin (ReSolute)
Hard Nips (live)
Noah Prebish (Barrie, Psymon Spine)
Brother Michael (Psymon Spine)
Van Goose (live)
Still more special guests to be announced as well!
The experience is usually described as “immersive art experience.” How do the shows distinguish themselves from other concerts?
Our goal is to provide an experience over a setlist. Immersion is arguably what makes Secret Friend stand out from the rest. We look to have the music and visuals interacting with one another in real-time, so guests can watch the performers experience and react to the space while they do the same themselves.
Will Secret Friends shows ever be in different metropolitan areas?
Yes, stay tuned!
What’s in store for the next year? Anything else you’d like to include?
More secrets; and to expect the unexpected, just like we always do!
Secret Friend 004: Honey’s Summer Fest
53 Scott Avenue
Brooklyn, NY 11237
Date & Time
August 11, 2018 | 12 PM – 11 PM