Recently I did a poll for the Best Young Brands of 2008 and the winner was Electric Zombie. I have wanted to do an interview with Kyle for a while and since his brand won the voting I figured it would be good to go ahead and do it. Aside from running EZ he works as a graphic designer doing band merch full time and freelance. Check out the following interview to get insight on both the brand owner end as well as the designer end…
Before we really get into it what do you normally do while not working
on either band merch or Electric Zombie?
I don’t think there’s a time I’m not really doing any of those things.
My typical day to day goes something like this…
8:00 – wake up, get ready for work
9:00ish – start working at equal vision records
5:30-6:00 – go home, make dinner, check emails
7:00-8:00 - watch Scrubs
8:00 – 11:00 – freelance
12:00 – go to bed
I usually don’t freelance on Monday, and Thursday and Friday nights.
Saturdays I run errands and usually end up freelancing for a few hours.
Sunday I freelance all day. I usually don’t do much. I find everything
boring. I’m a pretty boring person. I just watch movies and go
shopping ( I know that sound’s a little girlie)
I like the life I have. I need to do it while I still can. Who know’s
when all of this will stop.
I know you are a big fan of the horror genre, is this how you get
inspiration for your work?
Not really. I use that inspiration for EZ or other bands that may fit
into that style. If you look at my work, there’s hardly any guts and
gore, even though that’s what I’m known for. I use everything around
me as inspiration. Other peoples work inspire me to try harder and
push myself. I just pay attention to what people say and do and it
automatically triggers an idea. The day to day life is my inspiration,
even though I don’t do much else other than work work work.
What advice can you give for new bands or clothing lines for
contacting designers to get work done?
Have an idea of what you want. It really bugs me when they email and
ask a million questions, but when it comes down to what they want,
they 80% of the time don’t have an idea. “Do your thing man” or “we
trust you, hahaha and sometimes lol”.
Don’t scoop up reject designs either. Sometimes it’s convenient, but
in all actuality I think it’s a weak move. Sometimes a design can be
changed to fit, but just slapping on “said clients” name or logo is a
We all have an imagination, it’s time everyone uses it.
oh and stop going to emptees.com and using it as a super market. Just
because a guy is hot for a moment and gets shirts of the day doesn’t
mean that person will rack in the dough. Take me for example. Ive had
what 2-3. Look at my portfolio.
What are some things you like and dislike to hear when taking on new projects?
“Can you knock this out by tomorrrow”
“What if we buy a bunch of designs from you, could we get it for an
embarassing low price?”
“WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU CAN’T HAVE IT DONE BY THIS TIME?! I have other
designers that I can go to that can get this done, TOMORROW!”
Last year you launched your brand Electric Zombie and it took off
great. How hard was it juggling that with your other work and personal
Not really at the time I had a lot of positive people behind me. I’d
fold shirts while watching tv. Sometimes my girlfriend would help.
Things like that. I mean it’s really not that hard to get things
together. The hardest thing I think is organizing everything. Doing
the art and ordering the shirts is the easy part. I wish I still had
more time to promote, or the money for that matter. I just do my
thing. I never really put EZ first. I kind of just do it as a hobby
and I feel really lucky to have had the success I’ve had
I have to say that I am really impressed with what I have seen from EZ
so far.You do a great job with packaging, promotions, and
giveaways. Can we expect the same for ‘09 or was that mainly to get the
initial word out about the brand?
I’ve got a few more things in store. One of which will happen when the
new line drops in a few weeks. I’ve got lots of cool and new things in
store. I am super excited about it, you’ll just have to wait and
What are your thoughts on the apparel industry right now, from both a
designer and a brand owners stand point?
I think that it’s a little overwhelming. I hate the fact that people
see one persons success and think they’ll have the same
results. I think that if you aren’t already in this industry in some
sort of form you’re just going to make it way hard for yourself.
Im sick of people going to emptees.com and just grabbing up rejects or
using the same people. In fact I decided to not print a design from my
new line because other companies like Dekay and Zombie Liquorice are all
using him. Everyone tries to nab whoever is hot for the moment. I mean
whats so great about having the same person do the same thing for
everyone else? Get your own damn idea and find your own people. The
internet is an amazing thing, it gives you many doors to open.
I just hope that with this so called economic problem we’re in, it
will weed out all the shitty companies. I’ve got my fingers crossed on that one!
What clothing brands are you currently into?
Third World, Mishka, Obey, Drop Dead. I was into 410bc big time, I’m
not sure what’s going on with them but they’ve been MIA for a while
now. It actually made me forget to send shirts to Mike from 410,
(writing a note down now, ha!)
If you were not designing merch or running EZ what else could you see
yourself doing career wise?
I honestly have no idea. I’d prob be back working at Hot topic or
working at Starbucks or a movie store or something. It’s actually a
question I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. “How long will I be
popular for merch design?” “When I start a family, will I have
time for freelance or EZ?” “I’m probably going to have to get a part
time job at target or something, fuckkkkkkk”
I’m pretty nervous. I say this year is a make or break it year for me,
if EZ doesnt take off (even more so I guess), I’ll step back a
little. If freelance doesn’t pick up, I’ll focus more on EZ, if both
fail, It’s time to ask my girlfriend to contribute more and Look for a
second job, ughhhh
What little bit of knowledge would you like to share with those
reading who are considering starting a brand of their own?
Do your homework, realllllyyy think about it. Try and brand yourself,
do something different. There’s a lot of companies out there who are
popping up now doing the same thing I’m doing, what Glamour Kills is
doing and it’s ultimately going to fail. I’d say do yourself a favor
and DON’T start it. If it does indeed take off, you have no idea what
you’re getting yourself into
Any plugs or last things you would like to add before we end this?
I just want to say that I am way proud of my guys over at theblackaxe.com
and want to thank them for being awesome cyber buddies and great
people to work with. I also want to give props to Pyknic for staying
on top of their game and really succeeding this year. I honestly
thought the whole “food” thing was a little iffie with success, but I
think they still have a really awesome thing going.
Be sure to check out the suprises in store coming very very soon! My
new uhhhh Winter/Spring (sprinter?) line comes out Friday February