Hip-Hop Digital: What’s going on? How’s life treating the TILL crew?
TILL: Right now, life for the TILL crew has been somewhat chaotic. We’ve seen extreme growth in the past three months and just a ton of outpouring of support from the music scene. We’ve been trying to keep up with demand, but the holiday season & having to find time for family delayed our shipping for about a month. We got that all sorted and are back on track with everyone receiving their orders. So, I’m thankful for that. We released our first beanies, and sold out of the first version in 5 days which was very exciting. Right now, we’re getting things ready for 2014. We’re finalizing new releases for the spring & summer and looking at bringing the show on the road, hopefully getting onto Warped Tour & South By So What. We’re also looking at making it to more local shows, to vend & show our support for the bands, than we did in 2013. So, there’s a lot of big goals we’re hoping on reaching in this new year.
Hip-Hop Digital: I’d like to get some history about the birth of This Is Local Love? What brought you guys together?
TILL: Well, I’ve known Gaege since Junior year in high school, so we were friends far before Gaege even thought of the idea for ‘This Is Local Love’. When I was in my Senior year of college for civil engineering (2010-2011), Gaege started a Facebook page called ‘This Is Local Love’. He was in his band at that time, “Bow in Astoria” and was one of the major players in Tucson’s local music scene and he wanted to show his support for that through this page. He also wanted to make shirts to show his love for that scene. He organized a local show with I believe 7 bands in order to raise funds to create shirts with all the band names on the back and “This Is Local Love” on the front. He accomplished that, printed 24 shirts and they basically were gone by the time he printed them. Well, he told me this around November of 2011, I was interning for the company I work for currently and I really liked the idea and his passion for it. So, I asked him if he wanted to create more shirts & possibly grow the brand and let others who were just as excited about their local music scenes be able to wear that message. He really did and that night I bought the domain thisislocallove.com for 2 years for $100. That’s why if you’re ever on our twitter, you’ll hear me say, “We started with 24 shirts & $100.” Because that’s what we literally started with. From there, Gaege started a kickstarter that raised $650 and we printed up two designs, 24 shirts each and have been growing from there ever since. It hasn’t been easy, especially in the beginning. We had a period of about 3 months where Gaege was in transition from Arizona to California and eventually back to Arizona where we didn’t really sell anything for 3 months. But, we kept going anyways, staying positive and through our social networking and the support from those who believed in us and we just kept building and continue building. It’s definitely been a fun experience so far and I hope we’re able to keep doing this for as long as possible.
Hip-Hop Digital: Where does the inspiration for your designs come from?
TILL: Our original design, “The Heartbeat” came from Gaege’s life in the local music scene. The bands & fans are the heartbeat. A friend of ours who is a tattoo artist, drew that up for us and it’s a very bold piece that I think tells a lot about who we are. Some of the other designs like “Free Candy” with the creeper van on it, “Fic Vuentes” which actually started as an inside joke of ours, and “HAMour Kills” which parodies Glamor Kills I think shows are fun/smart*ss side in our personality. We have a lot of fun in what we do and we’re glad people see that and support that. I think a lot of the reason we’ve had so much support is that people see we’re just honest, music-loving guys who are having fun. We’re fans just like them. They relate to that.
Hip-Hop Digital: What culture would you say brand identifies with the most currently?
TILL: Currently, we have received a lot of support from the hardcore/metal music scene. Fans of bands like Pierce The Veil, Sleeping with Sirens, Ice Nine Kills, Close To Home, etc. etc. Our style really fits in to that scene is because that’s where Gaege comes from.
Hip-Hop Digital: Will be crossing over into other styles with future designs?
TILL: We actually released our Streetheart design which to me is more Hip-Hop inspired. I’m a hip-hop head, so sometime my influences get thrown into the designs. It’s basically our heart, but graffiti styled and it’s really cool in my opinion. I love it and it’s one of my favorite articles of clothing to wear. So, I’d like us to get into all the music scenes because we’re fans of all music.
Hip-Hop Digital: What would you say sets the TILL brand a part from your competitors?
TILL: A lot of our competitors are owned/operated by famous musicians. They already had money & fame, which made it easy for them to create a successful brand. To us, that’s also a pitfall for them because they don’t have the time to focus on their designs because they’re focusing on touring and all this other stuff and their designs come out looking pretty generic, in my opinion. For us, we started with $100 and 24 shirts. We’ve worked for anything we’ve gotten. We’ve promoted ourselves, stayed on social networking, got to know the people who support us. We’re the fans with the brand for the fans. I think people respect that and love that we focus on quality clothing with creative designs.
Hip-Hop Digital: Do you have any new products on the way?
TILL: The fall/winter, we released a zip-up hoodie, two beanies, and a shirt. We’re looking at soon releasing our collaborative effort with the lead singer Close to Home, which is a sleeveless hoodie based on our streetheart design. We’re working on our spring line right now. We’ll probably be releasing at least two shirts & some accessories to start the new year as well.
Hip-Hop Digital: Thank you for taking the time out to speak with us at Hip-Hop Digital. Before we let you go where can the people connect with you to find out more about your brand and products?
TILL: They can go directly to our site to check out the brand and products, thisislocallove.com, and they can talk to us anytime on twitter, facebook, instagram (@thisislocallove) and tumblr. Again, thank you for the opportunity to answer some questions. We truly appreciate the support from the fans and any outlets looking to help spread the love for music and the local scenes. We’ll soon be starting to donate 10% of our profits to music based charities, so we hope the #TILLfamily will definitely be able to help. Much love,