Like many YouTube creators, Faze Apex goes through periods where his productivity can waver. He might spend six months making videos regularly, and then he needs to take a break before picking it back up again. “When it comes to being active on my own channels, it’s been an up-and-down roller coaster,” he tells The Verge. “It takes a toll when you do it every day.”
But while people across many creative industries have struggled with staying motivated during the current COVID-19 pandemic, he’s managed to release new videos at a regular rate, updating his channel every two or three days with clips of him struggling through a Fortnite tournament or playing Call of Duty with a new Faze member.
It’s a tough situation for everyone, but Apex says that “I’m lucky to have found inspiration, or motivation, to do this since the lockdown, and I’m just trying to keep it going and be as productive as I can.”
Apex is one of the longest-tenured members of Faze, and he’s been making videos for close to a decade, since he was 14 years old. He’s also co-owner of Faze, which is part streetwear brand, part esports team, and part creator talent powerhouse. It’s also a company that’s been rapidly growing of late, launching a new film and TV production studio, partnering with the likes of Manchester City FC and the NFL, debuting a reality show, and receiving a wave of investment from celebrities ranging from Pitbull to Nyjah Huston. Apex even launched his own clothing line.
“We’re as surprised as everyone else sometimes,” Apex says. “Even though we’re dealing with it day-to-day, it’s insane to see stuff, from where we were 10 years ago until today. I can’t even believe that some of the stuff has happened.”
Amid that backdrop, Apex has been somewhat isolated since the pandemic. While many of Faze’s biggest names recently moved into a $30 million mansion in LA and have been doing things like building giant waterparks, Apex lives about an hour outside of the city. Because of this, he hasn’t been able to visit the house to shoot videos, so his recent output has a more classic vibe. It’s mostly Apex sitting at his desk and playing games or talking about whatever is on his mind. According to Apex, while he misses hanging out with the guys at the new house — “It looks like a lot of fun what they’ve got going on there” — he’s trying to make the best of the extra time on his hands.
“Mentally, just knowing that I have nowhere to really go, that I’m at home, and that I’m going to wake up tomorrow and be at home still, I just felt like I’ve been able to do a lot of other things,” he says. “Even aside from work, I feel like I’ve built habits that I’ve wanted to build and just haven’t had time to do. It’s been a good opportunity to improve myself overall. I just feel like I have more time. I’m naturally a homebody, too, so I’ve been trying to work and be better while I’m stuck at home.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, one of the ways he’s managed to stay in touch is through games. When Riot’s new shooter Valorant launched in closed beta, for instance, Apex says he played obsessively for two weeks straight. It was an easy way to keep hanging out with the rest of Faze, even when he couldn’t be physically present. “Video games is where we all met, and it’s where we’re always going to be able to hop on together and bond,” she says.
When it comes to viewers, Apex says he’s noticed a spike on his own channel and Faze at large. His Fortnite videos have been doing particularly well, he notes, though it’s hard to determine whether that’s because of quarantine or because of Fortnite’s recent Travis Scott-induced resurgence. More importantly, though, he’s seen an uptick in positive comments as viewers look for distractions amidst uncertain times.
“It’s one of the most underrated parts of what we do,” he says. “Some people really do go through hard situations, and it’s insane to think that one of our videos could make them feel better when they’re going through anything tough. It definitely feels good to help in any way, even indirectly.”