Categorized | Featured, Interviews

Interview with Kyle from Electric Zombie

Posted on 11 January 2009 by Shaun

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
REPEAT…
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
cop out.
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
life?

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
seeeeeee!

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
13th! WOOOOO

34 Comments For This Post

  1. Hmmmm Says:

    You can’t be humble (”lucky”, “just doing my thing”) and be an arrogant asshole. Who is this guy?! His attitude makes me feel likehe doesn’t give a fuck about anything at all.

    being mean to people gets old once you leave high school.

    A lot of this art is not original anyways. Nobody is doing anything new, stop tagging on new guys

    Interesting but dissapointing read

  2. Matt Park Says:

    This was a decent read. It is interesting reading what Kyle’s schedule is like.

    I wish he didn’t come off so pompous though.

  3. Kyle Crawford Says:

    It’s totally not that at all Matt. I have my insecurities too, I am all worried about my future and everything. I am working very very hard to make sure this doesnt happen. The only pedestal I put myself on, is the fact I can do any style anything anyone asks. I pride myself on my work ethic. That’s the only bit of cockiness I feel I have. I apologize if it seems otherwise. I’m really a fun loving guy, I just speak my mind is all, thanks for reading!

  4. miles to go Says:

    good read. i dont know why people get so worked up over kyle and thinking he’s arrogant. try working that much and knocking out so many designs, working full time at a label and running your own brand. a lot of people have the notion that running a clothing line is a piece of cake and i have to agree about the whole being involved in the industry first point. you have to earn respect and personally, all of my dealings with him both professional and not have been great and really positive. just because you dont want to hear that your company looks like someone elses doesnt mean it isnt a really valid point.

  5. Chad Coburn Says:

    Great read. Love the stuff you have to say, Kyle. Big inspiration, in my opinion. I hope EZ kicks off even more for you, I love where it’s heading and can’t wait for that new line!

  6. DeKay Says:

    You should get rid of your Mumford piece he’s too hot right now.
    and ZL used him

  7. dan Says:

    egotistical when he hasn’t made it – never a good thing

  8. Kyle Crawford Says:

    I actually thought about it Dekay, but the boards were made way before ZL even used them. You can be snarky all you want, but I have a hard time differentiating the 2 of you. Sorry man! You can hate on my company all you want, I wont get offended, my stuff isn’t for everyone!

  9. Kyle Crawford Says:

    dearest dan,
    perhaps I need to point out my insecurities in that interview once again?
    Being cocky and not being able to back it is one thing, take a look at my site, I think I can back it.

    Cheers! and thanks for reading and commenting

  10. DeKay Says:

    I just made a suggestion I never said nothing bad about your company. I’m not like that

  11. DeKay Says:

    Oh and also we used GM and corefolio before ZL so it’s pretty much the same thing that happened to you

  12. SHT! Says:

    good read!

    keep up the solid work!

  13. Rik Says:

    Great read, thanks to Kyle and the admin here!

  14. anon Says:

    Your portfolio is weak. It’s a bunch of generic designs with no voice of it’s own. Most of the shit is decent, though generic, and nothing is A+ because it lacks originality. It’s a strength actually, in the corporate apparel world, since the world is full of lame clients who have no vision.

    At least you make up for the lack creativity with your incredibly haughty and hypocritical narcissistic persona. I find your audacious behavior greatly interesting from a psychological study point of view.

    You are at least interesting, which makes you a lot more attention and newsworthy than the myriad of generic drones clamoring for the mountaintop.

    I hate your persona, but I prefer over the douchebaggy lame retards.

  15. Right Says:

    Dude who cares about the big name clients when you treat most people like crap. If people don’t like you, why would anyone want to work with you? And by “people” I am excluding evr and merchnow artists.

    Just lose the attitude

    You may be a nice guy deep down but people don’t buy the hard shell thing- if they act like they do, they are just kissing your ass.

    It just seems like you need a realitycheck. Your seem to know you aren’t the shit, but you still are so rude. I mean, readyour interview… Just come off like a ass

  16. Kyle Crawford Says:

    I like how youre speaking for the people and on the peoples behalf, and how you think you know how I treat people. Obviously you dont know A DAMN thing.

    I normally dont deal with whack ass pussy kids like yourself who hide behind fake “alias” when youre obviously affriad I’m going to tear you a new asshole. Which will happen REGARDLESS of who or what your name appears to be.

    When you actually know what your talking about, I’ll talk to you like a rational, respectful way, but until then, I’m going to continue to cuss, and swing my fists via internet.

    get a clue and we’ll return to this convo, or you can continue to act like you know what youre talking about and I can continue to make this grave a little deeper for you.

  17. Johnny cool guy Says:

    Dude what are you talking about. You are just a dick- that’s all. No grave. Just you being a dick. Be nice to people and your oh-so-impressive portfolio can only grow!

    Good luck!

  18. YEAH! Says:

    EZ sucks and your portfolio is just a bunch of mediocre copies of good artists work do the industry a favor and leave!

  19. Rashaun Says:

    I personally love your stuff, and what you do. I was AMAZED when I saw your portfolio and made me want to work harder and harder everyday. I think people get confused being arrogant with confidence. They way you speak on the net, I am sure is the same way you do in “Real” life and that’s what gets people. You are a force and the only reason I hate you is I feel I might end up buying every one of your shirts I like where as other companies I have to think a lot if I will buy or not.

    Your a beast in apparel
    Nuff said

  20. Chad Coburn Says:

    Man, people really are douchebags. Can’t even use a real name or anything, afraid of speaking their minds using a real alias over the interwebs.

    But hey, if you have haters Kyle, you have to be doing something right. It’s just the way it is, sadly! Cockiness is a great personality trait in my opinion, at least.

  21. Lions and Lambs Says:

    This was a good read…great interview.

    Love what you are doing with this site man.

  22. Geoff May Says:

    Good interview,Kyle!

    Smooches!

    Love,
    Geoff

  23. Danimal! Says:

    I love how whenever you try to help people and shed some light on an industry you obviously know a lot about, people get all pissy and whiney.

  24. Johnny Minardi Says:

    Good read. It’s funny that everyone thinks Kyle is such a shitty dude and what not. I’ve personally worked with him (in person, not on the internet like most everyone else making assumptions.) and he’s a good dude. The reason everyone continually talks shit is because he has the back bone to speak his mind and tell the truth. Have you met the dude? Exactly. Chill out.

  25. Anthony Says:

    I really think Kyle has loads of talent, and I love some of his work. I’m sure a lot of people would agree with that, no matter how they view him. He’s actually what got me into really pursuing design as strongly as I am now. But it bothers me that he acts as if his opinion is the only one that matter in the design world. And he comes off as if he doesn’t care about a persons view of his company and the way a person perceives his character, as long as he’s got their payment for their order. That’s one thing that i’ve always been under the assumption of.
    He’s never done anything to me on a personal level, and I dont mean for this to be a slam towards him at all. It’s just something that bothers me when i see someone as inspirational as him doing certain things.
    I know it’s great to have a strong back bone in the business world, but professionalism should come first in my opinion. I just dont see why people (not just him) but other designers and people in general have to develop such an attitude about things, and forget professionalism when you get to a certain point in your career. I’m not writing this as another “bash kyle” comment, i’m saying this because i seriously hate seeing him having to post a thread on emptees about how much people hate him. I’ve hated people strongly in the past for things they’ve done to me, but i feel so much better now that i’ve let go of them, and i have grown as a person in effect of letting go of those things. And i will attest that some of the most awful acting people can change for the better, and you can get over things with them and be at peace with them. I have really debated on posting this, but i feel that for some reason i needed to.
    I’m not taking sides at all, because I do see both sides of this epic battle lol. I just think we should all choose our battles wisely and have respect for others even if we dont always want to.

    If something in this post went against the grain of some of you all i apologize, i just wanted to share what i’ve thought about this.

  26. Anthony Says:

    Also, this was a well put together interview. I really like what you’re doing with this site!!

  27. justin ryan Says:

    Funny how people talk trash on Kyle and don’t have enough backbone to use their own name.

    Either way – cool interview. Contrary to popular belief, Kyle is a super rad dude. Always very nice and helpful.

  28. admin Says:

    Personally this is my favorite interview I have done, say what you want but I think it has sound advice whether you take it or not. Thanks for all the support and comments, the site will just get better over the year!

  29. nonny Says:

    it’s all well and true to use your name when you suck up to him, get some form of recognition, so maybe one day he might IM you…
    the point in anonymity is not to put a face on an opinion which may be seen the wrong way.
    stop being kyle’s sheep.

  30. Loren Says:

    I don’t know anything about this guy. I have never heard of him, never been to his website, and never seen his artwork. It may be great, or it may be terrible. Sometimes, that doesn’t even matter. What really matters is how much work you put in and how dedicated you are to your company and your fans.

    Unfortunately, this interview made Kyle seem like he is not dedicated at all, and doesn’t really care to make Electric Zombie any bigger or better than it already may be. Maybe he is very dedicated and he was having a bad day for this interview, or maybe he doesn’t want to talk about how hard he really works at pushing his brand, but either way – this interview was just plain bad. It seems like he is just in it to be in it, and he’s letting his company go wherever it ends up. It doesn’t seem like he has any huge goals or any intentions of making it the best brand he can possibly make it, only that he’s trying to stay afloat… and it doesn’t even seem like he’s trying that hard! He said he would step back if the brand doesn’t become much more successful a year from now. What kind of inspiration is that?

    He also said he doesn’t even put EZ first… just talks about how its kind of a “hobby”. Maybe if he put in 110% like Johnny Cupcakes claims to, he wouldn’t have to be worried about supporting a family or where he will be in a few years from now.

    One last thing: if somebody talks about how they’re at the top and how they are so much better than everybody else, at least have the confidence to back it up during the rest of the interview. Don’t mention that your brand might fail, and you might have to look for a second job. That’s not what the fans want to hear. If you don’t believe in yourself, then why should anybody else?

  31. Loren Says:

    Kyle, after reading the interview and writing my comment on that (above), I decided to check out your website and see what you were all about. Well, I must say the overall design and feel of the website is very nice! I read a little bit of your blog, and you do seem like a very cool person. It does you a lot more justice than this interview did, and it shows that you ARE, in fact, very dedicated to your company and excited for what’s to come in the future. I am personally not a huge fan of the whole zombie thing going on right now, but I checked out the freelance work you’ve done, and it’s obvious that you’re an extremely talented guy! Keep up the good work, and I hope everything works out for you!

    -Loren

  32. Matt Rupp Says:

    Kyle, I don’t really know how to go about this. I know you are a genuinely good dude first-hand from meeting you. There is no doubt about that. However, you seem to attract drama and conflict because you involve yourself in mindless arguments. Then you tell people that you are a nice guy and they obviously don’t buy it after seeing how you have acted. Its in your best interest to step back from attempting to defend yourself so much. It is only making you look worse when you tell people “I normally dont deal with whack ass pussy kids like yourself who hide behind fake “alias” when youre obviously affriad I’m going to tear you a new asshole. Which will happen REGARDLESS of who or what your name appears to be.”
    Stay golden. Don’t waste your time with the negative influences.

  33. Alex Says:

    WOA!
    What the eff is going on here?

    Major hating.
    Major props.

    Something is going down.
    It’s like the TMZ of DIY.

  34. Bill Poon Says:

    Kinda late jumping in here but I was a little disappointed by the interview. I’ve checked EZ’s website and it’s nothing new as far as designs go, so i’m a little confused as to why you’re hating on other brands trying to do their own thing. You sound as if you hold proprietary rights to certain styles or certain designers (they have to eat too). Seems to me you’re either afraid of a little competition or you’re a spiteful person. And to rag on people for using emptees.com as a ’super market’ is ridiculous. Artists have bills just like everybody else and conversely, everyone has different tastes in artists. Emptees.com is fortunate enough to have so much talent in one place and a lot of these designers could use more exposure. Having such a negative attitude about other designers or clothing labels isn’t going to earn you any points with anyone, let alone help you get jobs in the future.

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