Monday, June 13, 2011

Have you heard of..... Kill Hubris?

Texas based company Kill Hubris is next up in the "Have You Heard Of" series. I came across this brand, like a lot of the other brands, on Twitter. These guys are active in the social media scene and always running little sales and giving out a tee or two through Twitter. (So it pays to follow these dudes) Sam and Nathan are just getting started but I like their style and I am expecting to see them around for a while. I've been talking back and forth with them for a couple of weeks and finally set up an interview with them. Here is how the talk went....

Introduce yourself and tell me a little about your brand....

My name is Sam Howell. 

And my name is Nathan Graham.

We both love cool tees but most of the mainstream doesn’t appeal to us, so we were spending a lot of time sending links to cool indie tees back and forth.  That led to “how cool would it be if somebody made a ______________ t-shirt” conversations, which was when we started to take it seriously.  Why not us, right?
Once we decided to give it a go, we agreed our message should be not only meaningful to us but also positive.  Hubris is the Greek word for “arrogance” and arrogant people are a pet peeve of ours.  So, “Kill Hubris” sounds aggressive but the reality is that everyone has to work at keeping their confidence in check at a healthy level and not letting it grow into an arrogance monster.  To do that, you have to practice things like respect for others, compassion, courtesy, and humility.

What inspires you?

Sam: Seeing someone display real feelings through art.  Like when someone sings a song and you can tell it’s very personal to them, not just muscle memory after the millionth time they’ve played it?  I love that.

Nathan: I get inspired by the ability to convey ideas that someone is passionate about in thoughtful ways. A good example is art or music that has something going on beneath the surface, a hidden meaning and a reward for the more than casual observer.

 Why tee shirts?

Tees were something we are both way into (and very picky about) and the process of making them seemed accessible if we were willing to really commit, which we have.

What is your ultimate goal for your brand?

That people can relate to it somehow.  Whether it’s a particular design or the overall brand philosophy, or whatever else… if people relate to our stuff enough that they’re willing to wear it, that’s a great feeling.  And really, as far as the brand philosophy goes, if our tees make people think, just for one extra second, about being nicer to each other, then we’ve had a positive effect on the world.

If you were 95% sure the world was going to end tomorrow, what would you do tonight?

Sam:  Have dinner with my parents, call everyone I love and tell them so, and play the flashlight game with my dog.

Nathan: Remind my daughter how much I love her and spend the evening doing whatever she wanted.  I suppose that means I’d be playing with Barbies for our last night on earth.

I really like your #3 shirt, can you explain your thought process on the design?

The idea started with the Hindu god Ganesh, which has the head of an elephant.  We ran across Ganesh while researching Buddha for a design idea and it just seemed to fit perfectly since Ganesh is the Lord of Obstacles, and can remove them from one's path if they are deserving or place them in the path of those that need to be checked.  We consider arrogance an "obstacle" in the sense that people can really get in their own way with it, so we liked the symbolism but didn't want to be overtly religious about it.  We took that whole jumble of ideas and threw it at Abb-d Choudhury and he came up with a great design that we fell in love with.

What are you most proud of?

Sam:  I’m very proud of all the designs, so I’ll just say that it feels awesome to have an actual product in hand after all the time spent daydreaming about it.

Nathan: As for the brand, I would say that I am most proud of the fact that we followed through with our ideas, have products to offer and that people have seemed to really connect with the overall brand concept.

If you could do it all over again, what would you change about the 7th grade?

Sam:  All that Z. Cavaricci I wore.

Nathan: Preserve my sweet Air Jordan 3’s that I was rocking in the 7th Grade for my 2011 self.

What is your favorite thing about living in Texas?

Sam:  The open space. I’m not in one of the major cities, so everything is not right on top of you.  I like to go for drives in the country and just cruise with the music up and the windows down.  I’ve found some good inspiration just zoning out and letting my mind wander like that.

Nathan:  I would have to go with cultural diversity and range of activities and sites you can find.  I can go surfing in South Padre one weekend, spend the next Saturday at Antone’s in Austin checking out a Bob Schneider show and then work in a bike ride through the hill country or spend some time in the piney woods of East Texas. There is just such a wide range of things you can expose yourself to if you take the time to look.

How often do you guys plan on releasing tees?

We hope a couple of times a year.  We already have several more designs ready to go, so hopefully people will let us stick around for a bit and share.
What is the craziest thing you've done to impress a girl?

Sam:  Got tipsy and karaoked some Al Green while pointing at her the whole time to make sure the dedication was clear.  Not impressive.

Nathan: I stood outside of her house in a trenchcoat holding a boombox over my head playing “In Your Eyes,” no wait, that was John Cusack in Say Anything – sorry.

Are you down for a quick round of This or That?

Of course!

Mavs or Heat?
Both:  Easy… Mavs. 

Longhorns or Aggies?
Sam:  I’ll go Aggies out of respect for my grandfather, who is an alum, and cousin, who’s there now.
Nathan: Meh.

Rap or Rock?
Sam:  Rap.
Nathan:  How about rap-rock – Beastie Boys anyone?  If pushed, I guess I’m more of a rock guy.

Blondes or Brunettes?
Sam:  The correct answer is Sofia Vergara.
Nathan: Um, yes?

Twitter or Facebook?
Sam: Twitter.
Nathan: Twitter. I think someecards sums up my opinion on Facebook nicely - If I had $100 for every time I read something interesting on my Facebook feed I'd be poor as shit.

Indoors or Outdoors?
Sam: Right now, indoors.  It’s heating up.
Nathan: Outdoors most of the time, except when it’s just too damned hot.

Batman or Superman?
Both: Batman

80's or 90's?
Sam: 90s
Nathan: 90’s, although Sly Stone in Cobra made it a close call.

Happy hour or Late night?
Both: Late night.

A day with no deodorant or a day without brushing your teeth?
Sam: Both uncool. I guess I’d go without brushing teeth since you didn’t outlaw gum.
Nathan: Boo, I’m going to say deodorant, but I’m not happy about it.

Any shoutouts?
Absolutely.  All of our friends and family who have listened to us talk about this project for almost 2 years now. 
Abb-d Choudhury (@abbd7), the graphic designer who brought shirts Three and Four to life for us. 
Bandwagon Merchandise (@bandwagonmerch), who did our screenprinting.
And Graham Alexander (@MyShowPro), who helped us with product pictures and is doing some model shots for us right now as well as various other collaborations.  
Contact Kill Hubris:
Twitter: @killhubris
Facebook: killhubris

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