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INTERVIEW: Foxy Shazam’s Sky White

1.) Hi Sky, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I have been great. Life is going pretty well these days. Throwing myself into a bizarre,cryptid-themed, ultra premium tea business having zero food industry experience has been an interesting adventure.

2.) So when did your love for tea started?

Honestly there was no single moment when I started to love tea. I just started off drinking whatever and had no ideaabout the difference between high-end and flavored garbage stuff. It started off just as a mild interest. I wanted to know why I liked some teas better than others. Around this same time I took an interest in craft beer and craft cocktails. There is so much interesting culture around all beverages. Tea just stuck out to me as being the most immersive and complex, with thousands of years of unique history. And I could experience a bunch of different tea throughout the day and not be getting hammered before shows.

3.) Artists these days either create their beer or coffee brand – what made you want to go into the tea world?

All other historic beverages have gone through a major renaissance in modern American culture. Tea never had anyone step up and make it cool. It is always branded with bamboo or eastern mysticism and it always looks boring as hell. So I figured, why not go for it? And my love of legends, cryptids, and lore paired well with these ancient teas that I discovered in my travels.

4.) How did you come up with the brand’s name? Was it fully made up or it has some sort of a meaning attached?

The Wendigo is the scariest cryptid that I have ever found. It has hundreds of years of sightings going back to early American settlers and Native tribes. In one way that you look at it, it is kind of like a giant rotting deer skull-headed Bigfoot that has the ability to make you go crazy and want to eat human flesh… and then eventually become a Wendigo yourself. This horrifying image is only the beginning. It has deep spiritual significance in many North American oral histories. Some of them consider the Wendigo to be so scary that you should never even mention the word. But in some instances it represents a protector of nature from mankind or a warning to keep an individual from crossing a line that should not be crossed. I can get really in depth with some of this stuff, but I suggest if you are interested in learning more, go look into it yourself. There are so many different interpretations of the Wendigo that it makes it hard to give it a short little definition.

5.) With a few tons of tea companies around the world – what would you say makes Wendigo special?

Wendigo is special because we only sell absurdly high grade tea… Also we are cool as F&*#.

6.) For those who doesn’t know the difference – what makes tea better above, say, coffee? Especially for touring bands.

Well I don’t want to tell you what is better for everyone, but an extremely high grade tea is going to have way more positive benefits than a cup of coffee. Coffee will have more caffeine, which may be helpful for the exhausting lifestyle of touring, and I still grab a cup of coffee if all I need is power. Like, if you compare coffee to a good cup of green tea then I personally think the science is pretty definitive in the favor of tea. There is an amino acid called L-theanine that is a natural dopamine regulator. (It makes your “happy maker” work better.) It has a massive cocktail of antioxidants and appears to be an anti-inflammatory. Also the lower caffeine level makes it so that it is much less likely for you to have a caffeine crash.

7.) What’s been one of the most challenging things for you right now while creating this beverage?

I started this business by clearing out my bank account and deciding to just go for it, having no idea how to make it work. The hardest part of all of this is trying to grow fast enough to financially keep up with demand. Also I question what all other tea companies do and tend to do the opposite. This works great usually, but sometimes trial and error is the name of the game when trying to be innovative.

8.) Is the brand mostly target to bands or everyone?

I have one tea that is very much made for vocalists and people who depend on their voice to make a living. Siren Tea is an herbal blend including slippery elm bark, with throat coating qualities that sooth the vocal chords enough to help a singer make it through shows when he/she is fighting off losing his/her voice. It also has a bunch of medicinal roots and flowers that should help the immune and respiratory system. Back when Foxy Shazam was pulling off 200+ shows a year,every winter we all got what I called “van lung.” It was a cough that got passed around to everyone in the band. It was awful and lasted for weeks. It led to our vocalists having a lot of really difficult shows. Siren Tea was made to be overpoweringly strong to help in these kinds of situations. I have received extremely positive feedback from professional rock singers, recording studios, news anchors, voice over actors, and vocal coaches. Also people trying to avoid a winter cough have been swearing by it. All the rest of Wendigo’s teas are for anyone that wants a bonkers good cup of tea.

9.) What else is happening next in Sky White’s world?

Wendigo is taking up most of my time. I am doing a lot of short experiments to determine which health lifestyles make me feel the best. I think this kind of stuff is fun. I just did a month of veganism and no alcohol in January. Eating vegan was great once I found the right recipes, but no alcohol was hard. I supply tea to a lot of really nice bars and restaurants. Most work meetings involve a few beers, some fancy wine, or some mysterious new masterpiece cocktails with restaurant CEOs or head chefs, and I missed that kind of social setting. I’m glad I am done with that one. Right now I am a week into waking up super early (4am-6am) and doing yoga every day (with a babe from YouTube). I was going to do living for a week or two on just Soylent, or see how long I can juice fast, or do 30 days of meditation. I’m not sure which one I’m going to do next. Do you have any suggestions for a strange health lifestyle for me to try out? I’m still playing piano constantly. I have been writing a lot of music and have been playing some heavy delta blues in the dark corners of the city. But really Wendigo is my life these days. And I love it!

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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