It’s all heart emojis and brimstone in Valentine’s Day In Hell, the new podcast from Audio Up Media and LiveXLive’s PodcastOne. After Soundcloud rapper and influencer jxdn (playing an outlandish version of himself) sells his soul to the devil (Adam Corolla), it’s up to his friends (iann diorr, Carlie Hanson, Oliver Tree) and his ex-girlfriend (phem) to head to hell and try to get jxdn’s soul back. “Honestly, I just think [Jared Gutstadt, Audio Up’s founder] is like low key a genius and really weird, like me and creative,” says Phem while joining Carlie and Tyler Posey for an EXCLUSIVE interview with HollywoodLife. “I also think the script is just hilarious and definitely strikes a chord with commentary on society and the entertainment business. And I think that’s funny and brave of him, but you know, doing it in a clever way.”
“Jared hit me up,” says Carlie, “and he was like, ‘Yo, we doing this podcast musical thing. I want to use your song that we wrote. And I did one recently called Halloween in Hell.’ I listened to Halloween in Hell. And I was like, this is different, and I haven’t seen anybody really do this yet. And he asked me to be a part of it. And I got to step out of my comfort zone and do some new things. And also the lines that they had for me were just very me, and I was like, why not f-cking wield the chainsaw and kill some fucking zombies, you know?”
Like 2020’s Halloween In Hell – which starred Machine Gun Kelly, 24kGoldn, iann dior, phem, and Dana Dentata – episodes of Valentine’s Day In Hell will include music recorded for the series. The first episode featured “This Luv Sux,” written and produced by Gutstady and performed by phem and Tyler Posey. “I grew up acting and playing music, and I’ve always kind of tried to find a creative way to kind of mix the two worlds,” he tells HollywoodLife about Valentine’s Day In Hell. “And I think that’s what this does perfectly, you know? I’m just stoked to write music for something. You know, I’ve always contributed my acting side of the world, contributing some music writing.”
Thankfully, none of the three will be singing “This Luv Sucks” come February 14 (or Carlie’s song, “I Hate Your Room,” which was on episode 2.) They shared their perfect Valentine’s Day – “Go to the beach. Get a hotel. Bring some flowers, wine, good food,” says Tyler, while Carlie says she’s one for “wine, put some roses out, get some lingerie for later” – while also giving some love to those who hate the holiday by picking which songs they would add to an “Anti-Valentine’s Day” playlist. “ ‘Witchblades’ by Lil Peep and Lil Tracy,” Carlie said with a sly smile. “Give it a listen, then you’ll know.”
Love is just half of Valentine’s Day In Hell, with the Faustian tale of selling one’s soul for fame and wealth at the heart of this new series. The fictional jxdn’s desire to be the biggest influencer in the world, coupled with the pain of a recent breakup, leads him to sign on the dotted line. When asked if they ever experienced a similar set-up – taking a shortcut for immediate gains, despite long-term repercussions – Tyler, phem, and Carlie turned to the modern-day devil: social media.
“I think the world that we’re in with social media is, it could be, it’s a blurry line of selling your soul and doing stuff that you want to do,” Tyler Posey tells HollywoodLife. “For me, I’m on an OnlyFans, and that has caused some pretty intense mental anguish. You feel kind of like an object. I’m trying to be as artistic as I can be with that sh-t. But t’s some long-term mental sort of sh-t that you kind of have to deal with and take the steps to counteract it and get out of it. It’s not all fun and games. It’s a weird world, kind of this social media influencer place. It’s easy to lose your soul completely.”
“I totally agree,” says Carlie. “I think anybody who’s an artist in the music industry in this day and age or after, or whatever it may be, with anything social media-wise. I feel like every day, not every day, but a lot of the time I’ll go on Instagram, and I’ll see certain people or certain things, or like even myself, I’ll be like, fuck I don’t feel like myself even doing this right now. Or even making TikToks. My label is like, ‘you need to make TikToks, you need to do this, you need to do that.’ And sometimes I do feel like I’m selling my soul a bit, but that’s what you have to do in order for people to see you — which is whack because, but that’s just how it is now because this is the life that we live.”
“Especially during quarantine and we’re not touring, I’m not meeting a lot of new people, TikTok, and f-cking Instagram, and OnlyFans, and fucking whatever else it is,” adds Carlie. “That’s all we have really right now to connect with other people and to put yourself out there. And it does feel, it’s tough, but it’s the price you f-cking pay.”
“I feel like Carlie and Tyler really kind of nailed it,” says Phem. “But I almost feel like, with all this social media stuff, it’s the quick fix of ‘how do I get someone’s attention when they’re scrolling through a bunch of stuff?’ And I know just as a woman, sometimes you feel a little bit of pressure to be overly sexualized. And it’s not a bad thing, but it definitely can wear on you if you’re an artist.”
“For example,” she adds, “I feel like I’ve worked my whole life to try to be recognized as a good writer and an artist and then feeling like, well, ‘how do I get their attention quick?’ It’s like, if I look at the next artist and she’s a little bit more sexy in her posts, but she’s also promoting, it’s this weird line between how do I stick up for myself and divide the two, but then also, am I going to screw myself over and not have people paying attention to me? So it’s confusing.”
Unfortunately, all three recognized it as a necessary evil. “I have to be on social media until I’m a huge f-cking worldwide star because that’s just, social media is — that’s where everything is,” says Carlie. “Unless, maybe, there’s this crazy thing that switches [everything] up and everybody gets off social media, and there’s mystery in the world again.”
“For me, I thought about fucking quitting social media last week,” said Tyler. “I feel like when COVID is over, and you’re touring, that’s when it’s necessary because you’re telling your fans where you’re going to be. I feel like that’s when Instagram or social media is necessary. I guess it’s kind of necessary in these times too because we don’t have any other really outlet, you know? So I don’t know.”
“If you put yourself in this position, then you got to ride it out. That’s like part of the job,” adds phem. “But I do think that there are cool ways that we can connect with our fans that are more underground, and I’m a fan of that.”
For more insight on social media, selling souls, new music, and Valentine’s Day In Hell, watch the above chat with Carlie, phem, and Tyler.
The first four episodes of the six-part Valentine’s Day In Hell are out now (with the fourth installment dropping today, Feb. 12.) Bonus episodes will be available tomorrow and on Sunday, Valentine’s Day. Valentine’s Day In Hell is available on PodcastOne, Apple, Spotify, and wherever on-demand audio is found.