t’s a peculiar time for both the artist and the viewer on social media. Our daily lives are quietly but constantly disrupted by a storm of never-ending output. For the artist, there is the challenge of getting the work seen and liked, fighting through a relentless algorithm that is made to break you or reward you. For the viewer, the challenge of finding art, music, literature, or whatever feels meaningful can be a numbing quest.
This tempest is a paradoxical one, especially for some artists who find themselves notarized for something they don’t necessarily care to be known for. There’s a difference between gaining a following and building a fanbase, and perhaps those who navigate their platform with both patience and intention are the lucky few who can have their cake and eat it too. For PARTY SHIRT, aka Ivy and X, aka the “Fact or Cap” video purveyors and TikTok wunderkinds, it has really always been about the music—their one true love.
Xavier Di Petta (“X”) and Nick Iavarone (“Ivy”) are prepared for the voyage they’re faced with—come what may—consciously and strategically steering through the early stages of their career with unwavering passion and, above all, a methodical pace. “We’re trying to look at stuff in a 10-year time horizon,” they say, with Ivy confessing, “It’s about honing in on the image of our brand. We want to be releasing on the right labels, opening up for the right people, and playing the right venues. Not cutting or selling ourselves short just to get in front of more eyeballs. Let’s do it the right way.”
PARTY SHIRT is particularly known for the aforementioned TikTok segment, “Fact or Cap,” an oracle of knowledge to all the curiosities we are too lazy to investigate or affirm. The series sees the duo performing life ‘hacks,’ whereby they prove everyday things factual, or dispute them as “caps,” or lies [like if Red Bull does in fact give you wings or if you can revive raisins to grapes by blowing them up like a balloon]. With 20.7 million followers, they’ve found themselves “fighting the preconceived notion of TikTokers trying to do music,” X remarks. But with faith and loyalty to their craft, and four years of music production under their belt before the emergence of TikTok, PARTY SHIRT aims to showcase the reason they entered the platform in the first place—to exercise their artistic nature. And if you’re lucky enough to catch a live set, the results are filthy good.
PARTY SHIRT best describes their yin and yang relationship with an interpretation of an Aristotle quote: “The sum of the whole is greater than the parts on their own.” The duo innovates through trial and adjustment, which makes sense for the ever-chameleonic social media sphere, and they’re motivated by uncovering deep cuts that reveal unexpected outcomes. “Everything’s a chance anyways,” says X, “so there’s no point being so hard set on a ‘yes’ or ‘no,’ because the honest truth is: no one knows what’s going to work unless you put it out there.”
It would be easy to understand PARTY SHIRT leveraging their TikTok following to expand their music career. Yet the challenge of rebuilding a following in an entirely different niche, particularly with house music, is not a process they are intimidated by. Yes, their allegiance to their most cherished art form shall lead them confidently down a path less traveled. While it might be said there are innumerable paths to the same destination, PARTY SHIRT proves that choosing a path, and doing so with conviction, is the true test of spirit. In the end, it’s not about outrunning the tempest, but growing roots deep enough to withstand it.