Give me a little crash course in the history of Butter Goods:
Matt (Evans) and I started Butter together in 2008. We were friends since high school and grew up skating together. We had always flirted with the idea of starting a brand since we were young. We even tried our hand at screen printing our own tees early on and Matt actually used to make boards with his uncle too. So, we always had the desire to do something. It wasn’t until I bit the bullet and studied graphic design paired with working at Beyond Skate shop. At that time that we felt we could have a proper go at starting a proper brand. We grew up skating in the late 90s early 2000s in a time where there was a bunch of Australian based skate brands; Juice, Illume, Blank, Time, XEN to name a few. By 2008 they were few and far between, we really wanted to create something like what we idolised as kids.
What were some of the brands or styles that got you hyped back then?
2008 was still a weird era for skateboarding… Streetwear was starting to really boom around then too. I was working at a skate shop, so I was always getting hyped on new product coming through from lots of different brands. I remember watching Skylarking and Last of the Mohicans a lot, which weren’t brand videos, but definitely got a lot of play when I was working in the shop. We were pretty into brands like Workshop and Habitat and Anti-Hero. I feel like they all had great videos around that time; Mindfield, Inhabitants, Beauty and the Beast Tour... We definitely looked up to brands like DQM, Supreme, HUF and FourStar too. I was always most interested in clothing brands, I liked how endless the possibilities of the products were.
You guys are based in Perth, one of the most isolated cities in the world. What were some of the challenges associated with launching the brand considering these geographical factors?
We were fortunate to kind of grow as a brand at the same time that the internet and social media really changed everything. When we first started there wasn’t Instagram, we didn’t have an online store and you had to pick up the phone and cold-call shops to try to get them to carry your brand. Now days, you can really run a brand from anywhere… As long as you’re prepared to travel and work around the opposite time zones and seasons. The internet has really bridged that gap. Those first few years, we really just focused on our immediate reach, we hadn’t really done anything like this before so there was a lot of learning on the job. Looking back, I think it was a good thing that we were in Perth. It forced us to walk before we could run. That said, it’s still a strange place to run an international brand from. There’s isn’t much of an industry here, so you have to travel a lot and perhaps work a bit harder to get people to notice what you’re doing. But we love living here, so we’ll take the good with the bad.
How did the opportunity to work directly with DC come about?
Ben (Wang) reached out to us with the idea on doing something together and it all came together from there. Obviously DC was already pretty well established when we started skating. I remember being aware of it from the jump. I loved the Rick Howard ad they had in 411s back in the day. The Euro Super Tour era team was insane, and so was the Love Park Stevie and Kalis era. We were so into it. It was impossible not be. There were a lot of their shoe models I love growing up too. Lynx, Kalis, Clocker, Plug, Howard, Syntax, Cypher, too many to list!
“Every piece links back to an original item from DC. We went through all the old catalogues from the late 90s early 2000s to pull references from. It was a lot of fun! Huge trip down memory lane. We just wanted the line to feel like something from that era we grew up in.”
So I don’t really need to clarify if you were a bit of a Kalis fan growing up then?
That’s kinda like asking someone who grew up playing basketball if they were in to Michael Jordan [Laughs]
True that. How was actually meeting him and working alongside him on this capsule range?
Meeting Kalis was crazy for us. We were definitely fanning out a little [Laughs] He’s super funny and really down to earth. We skated with him for a week in Chicago when filming for this project. He’s still 100% about it. He drove us around, told us heaps of skate history, seeing him 360 flip over a trash can was pretty pinnacle. The whole trip was so surreal! But seeing Kalis and Philly skate together with Josh filming was the best. That’s the real magic of this collaboration. There’s no way on earth I would have believed you if you told me I would be doing this as a kid… I kept reminding myself that. Try to enjoy those moments!
Did you enjoy your time in Chicago?
It was amazing. It was our first time there. We had an Airbnb, just a block away from where Kalis used to live back in the day by chance. Matt, Josh, Philly and myself were all staying there. We would normally wake up to the sound of Philly playing Future on full blast haha. Then Kalis would come past in his truck and pick us up to go skating for the day. We ended up skating downtown a lot. There a couple of crazy plazas there that were too good not to keep going back to. Kalis had so many stories from back the day, he dropped a lot of knowledge on us. It was like our own Epicly Later’d [Laughs} It was an incredible trip. Chicago is a really cool city. All the locals were so sick too. Big shout out to Uprise skate shop!
How did your relationship with Philly come about?
Philly owns Humidity skate shop and was the first person carrying Butter in the US. We got to know him through that originally. He’s a one of a kind, speaks his mind, super genuine and loves baggy pants [Laughs]. We originally didn’t know how good he was at skating until he put out a clip he filmed while in SF for a few days. It blew our minds! So when we were putting together our first proper team, he was naturally one of the first people we hit up.
The legacy of what Josh and Blabac have combined powers on over the years – especially Love Park at it’s grimy peak of glory is one of the true epic combos in skateboarding history. Have you always been an appreciator of Blabac’s work? Any shots in particular come to mind?
Big time! Was such an honour to have Blabac come out and shoot while we were in Chicago. He’s shot so many iconic photos. Of course THE iconic Kalis 360 Flip at Love Park, but I always loved the photo of Stevie switch front noseslide too! Getting to work with them was a big pinch yourself, childhood dream moment!
Tell me about the range itself – any direct inspirations when it comes to the garments?
Every piece links back to an original item from DC. We went through all the old catalogues from the late 90s early 2000s to pull references from. It was a lot of fun! Huge trip down memory lane. We just wanted the line to feel like something from that era we grew up in.
As for the shoes – what made you go with that style and what can you tell me about the colour-way?
The Kalis model is pretty iconic, and working with him on the edit was a huge driving factor. The colour-way is drawing inspiration again from that golden era. We took bits and pieces from old models that we loved. The gradient mesh, some reflective hits and we added in some woven tape lace loops. The design process itself was pretty easy! There was a lot of history to draw from. Narrowing down our focus was the hardest thing. Could have spent forever chopping and changing our mind on what items we should make.
”Man… I’m super hyped on this DC x Butter collab. The guys met me in Chicago and we just went ape shit in the city. The product is amazing, the vibes are amazing, it’s just a perfect combo of authentic skate shit.”
You’ve always worked really closely with Geldi [Josh Roberts] – from afar he seems part of the creative fabric of the brand – how would you explain this symbiotic relationship with Captain Domingo?
Josh is our good friend. So naturally we always want to have him involved wherever possible. He’s been a big part of our video projects since the beginning. He’s the best in the game. As the saying goes “Josh Roberts, nuff said!” [Laughs]
Anyone you’d like to thank before we wrap up?
Big thank you to everyone at DC, special shout out to Ben, Jimmy, Jordan, James, Mick and Scott and of course I want to thank Kalis, Josh and Philly they made this whole project extra special! Oh and peace to Chris Yow and Zac Wilmore. The Freddie Foxxx song we used for the clip is a nod to Zac’s part in an iconic Perth video, Attempted Depiction.