Six of the busiest musicians around are all part of Fame+Fiction.
By Selena Haynes
Kelsey Von Strantz plays cello and violin. She also does freelance performances, session work, and plays in Von Strantz, a duo, with her sister.
Lauren Horbal, guitarist, also plays drums for The Hardin Draw and does freelance work.
Owen, bassist, plays with another band too, Commoner.
Leah Shipchack, lead singer, performs as a drag king at Play and tends bar there as well.
Trish Noe, drums, is currently devoting all her time to F+F while working as a director of private events. Now comes touring as Fame+Fiction sets out beginning in August.
Focus recently pinned them down so our readers can get to know them a little better. Be sure to check them out at local venues.
Meet the Band
Instrument(s), Vocals: Lead Guitar + Vocals | Preferred Pronouns: She | Number of tattoos: I’ve got some tattoos.
Cat or Dog? I dislike most cats and consider myself an amateur dog whisperer. My dog’s
What brought you to music city? I moved to Nashville to be among the best, and you know, winter.
Instrument(s), Vocals: Drums | Preferred Pronouns: Her or Daddy | Number of Tattoos: 5 – all on my arms
Cat or Dog? Dog! Quincy! Quincetagram79 (on Insta)
Toilet paper over or under? Always over. Geez, don’t be that under person.
Skittles or M&Ms? Depends on if I also have popcorn. Sand popcorn – skittles. Popcorn… peanut M&M’s.
What brought you to Music City? I moved to Nashville via NYC in ‘07 when the housing market crashed. I wised up to the cost of living/quality of life game and made the move.
Instrument(s), Vocals: Bass | Preferred Pronouns: They/ Them | Number of tattoos: 2
Cat or Dog? Cat
KELS VON STRANTZ
Instrument(s), Vocals: Cello and Violin | Preferred Pronouns: She, her, Kels | Number of tattoos: 4
Cat or Dog? I’ve recently converted from a cat person to a dog person. haha.
Toilet paper over or under? The toilet paper should roll over. That’s how it was patented!
Skittles or M&Ms? I’m forever loyal to peanut butter m&ms!
What brought you to music city? Short answer, Music! I play with my sister in a duo called Von Strantz, and we came here to network and be in a central location of the US, as we tour full time. I also do session work, and freelance performances, and Nashville is a nice central location for that as well.
Instrument(s), Vocals: Guitar | Preferred Pronouns: She/Her | Number of tattoos: 14
Cat or Dog? Cat
Toilet Paper over or under?Over
Skittles or M&Ms? M&Ms
What brought you to music city? I am originally from Connecticut and had dropped out of music school a few years prior to moving here. I met some very talented musicians at a local bar in Milford, CT and they convinced me to move down to Tennessee! So I did 🙂
Instrument(s) or Vocals: Lead Singer | Preferred Pronouns: Her | Number of tattoos: 8 and a Half Sleeve
Cat of Dog? Dog
Toilet paper over or under? Over
Skittles or M&Ms? M&Ms
What brought you to music city? I moved here from LA to live with my best friend and guitarist, Lauren Horbal. I had visited Nashville twice driving out to LA from our home state Connecticut. I fell in love with the city and immediately felt like it was home.
How did you all meet?
Trish: Kristen and I met via Craigslist because she and her wife were moving down to Nashville from Boston. I was looking for a house with musicians, but I didn’t realize that I had struck gold with this particular bad-ass.
Kristen: We had four days to find a place to live with a music space, roommates, and to sign a lease without any employment or references.
It all came together. A few months later at Play, Leah was attractive enough to catch the attention of my finance’s (straight) sister’s eye. She said “that bartender is HOT. Think she plays music?”
Trish: Leah introduced us to Lauren, her best friend from childhood who had also moved to Nashville for music. They’d been performing for years. Lauren worked with Owen at the Wild Cow and asked Owen if they wanted to play bass. And then Kelsey came out of Kristen’s endless pursuits to have as many musical projects as she can muster. It all just came together and the future is bright.
How did it feel to play before a sold out crowd for the very first show that you all did as a band?
Kristen: The first gig was special. I think this band has been lucky so far! It’s almost like the stage has been waiting for us to take it. I also blame Kelsey for swiping that second bottle of vodka and the goat man for creating a bit of a scene and my intense hangover the following day.
Leah: Having our first show at Basement East in the first place was amazing. I love that venue and I’ve seen so many talented people play there. The fact that it was a sold out show for such a good cause, just made me even more proud and thankful.
Trish: Well I was totally jazzed but also nervous as ****! Seriously, there was more adrenaline than my old body could even handle – pretty sure I even dropped a stick somewhere in the set but managed to recover without too much notice. It was an amazing night!
Lauren: Omg it was incredible but so nerve racking! The energy in the room was amazing and unforgettable. And it was for a great cause. We ended up making so many connections and meeting a lot of awesome musicians.
Kels: It was definitely a nice start. I think it set the bar high for us, and that can be a good and challenging thing. But, as I’ve been performing for a few years now, I think it’s always encouraging to experience those kind of shows every now and then when you’re starting out, to keep you moving forward, being able to tangibly see a goal.
Why is being involved in activism important to you as individuals? As a group?
Kristen: The longer I have been playing music, the older I get, making my way in the world, the less I give a damn about speaking my mind, the less afraid I am to express myself, and the more outraged I am by our state of affairs. “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” It’s cliché but also an aspiration and something that drives my desire to make music, to travel the world, and tour to connect with so many different people.
Owen: Activism is important because we are responsible for the world we create.
Trish: I’m comfortable in my queerness and I’d like to be a good role model for others.
Lauren: I think that anyone who has a voice and can use it for good needs to speak up. If we have that voice and ever have that influence, it’s very important that we fight for the things we believe in. As for myself, I’ve been involved in a ton of LGBT rights activism since high school and I think we need to do this now for future generations as those before us fought so hard and suffered so we can benefit from the rights we do have today.
Leah: Us as a group, being as unique as we are, we have a huge chance to turn some heads and open some eyes. We celebrate our diversity as a group and individually. Even if one mind is changed for the better, not only with our music, but with our different styles and acceptance of being different, that is a huge accomplishment.
THE FUTURE FOR FAME + FICTION
What does the future look like for Fame+Fiction?
Kels: I would say hopefully we are touring. Hopefully we have made a reputation for ourselves as professionals, and as advocates of human rights and people. From what I know of my bandmates, I think that is important to all of us. I think as a group we would desire to have a platform to speak truth, and utilize our growing fan base to be encouraging to people, specifically to women and to the LGBTQ community, leading by example to inspire others to pursue their dreams.
Trish: We’re heading out on a tour in August and playing some really cool venues and events! One I am psyched
for is the Michigan Family Festival on Aug. 5! I think we’re gonna start recording new songs, making albums, filming music videos and slowly taking over the world. You know…that ole bag.
What struggles have you overcome to get where you are today?
Leah: I’ve overcome coming out as gay, struggling for acceptance, anxiety.
Kels: My biggest struggle is myself. What I have to overcome is self-doubt, insecurities, and depression. I’ve been playing music my whole life, and at times I’ve been held back by a lack of confidence. It’s a longstanding and perpetual battle. And I know I’m not the only one fighting this fight. But there have been people and friends that have come into my life at different points that have helped push me back up when I find myself at a stand still. The key is being able to pinpoint what’s holding you down, and also pinpoint the things that lift your spirits and motivate you to pursue your passions 100%. For me, I save me from myself by surrounding myself with good friends and staying healthy.
Lauren: I’ve dealt with a lot of family issues with my father passing when I was 17 and dealing with family members battling addiction and I suffered from depression when I was younger. Music is so healing though and has been the one thing that has gotten me through all of this.