Interview by Jenkin Au and Alan Ng
Words by Patrick Giang and Cornelius Suen
Photography by Jenkin Au
In Montreal, the justalilhype! Crew gets a chance to talk to probably the only clothing company in the Montreal area, or the world for that matter, to have ever declared war on the Illuminati: The SCUM Clothing Company. Although it is still in its infancy, Montreal’s favourite anti-Illimunati skate wear establishment is already garnering attention in the scene for its bold attitude and equally bold and eye-catching designs. For Phil and Gabe, the minds behind the madness, their mission statement is simple: to make clothes that their friends would be proud to wear. And, so far, it looks like they have not disappointed.
In this interview, the guys behind the anti-Illuminati movement tell us about their motivation for starting their brand, the origins of the brand’s unique name, and the concept behind the brand’s eye-catching logo. Read the interview to find out about their conspiracy.
Please introduce yourself to our readers.
P: I am Phil, and this is Gabe. We own SCUM Clothing.
G: I am Gabe and I own SCUM and NDG Skate Park and Shop.
Tell us more about SCUM and why you guys started it.
G: We started it because it was fun to do I guess. It was just for fun.
P: We were doing a lot of stuff like, blogging and making gear. We like to hang out with our crew and have a good time around that. At the same time, we like to say crazy stuff so we didn’t want NDG being that associated with crazy conspiracy stuff. As a result, SCUM was another way to side step that problem. It is still associated with NDG but it is also its own brand with its own liability and its own persona. It will always be tied to the scene of NDG but it will remain its own entity in and of its self.
Why did you choose to name your brand SCUM?
P: I don’t know why. We were just coming up with names and that was the one that stuck.
G: One day when Phil was not around, we were setting up all the stuff and we just approached the machine and made a SCUM screen. We used a marker and threw on old army jackets that we found and said, “This is the first official SCUM printing!” That was it. Everyone was HYPE on the name.
Describe the character and style behind your brand? What are you trying to portray with SCUM?
P: We’re not really trying to portray anything. We just want to do stuff that people get stoked about and we like the push the limits. The brand name is kind of stupid because it’s young and counter culture to skateboarding, so it kind of feeds into all that stuff that you see in the social media. We print stuff that we like. We pretty much only print in black and white. We printed with red once and we were like, “Woah! We printed in colour with our plate!” We just print stuff that represents our guys. We see our dudes wearing our stuff all the time. They bring their jean jackets and we print on them and we’re stoked that they are wearing our gear and spreading the word out about us. We are all about skaters doing their own thing, building their own scene, and loving it at the same time.
What about your brand stands out the most to you guys, personally?
G: I like the baseball cut with just the white SCUM logo on the back.
P: There are a lot of other cool things in the works too. We couldn’t print for a few months so we have a ton of designs that are just waiting to be printed. We bleached the shirts, dyed them, and when we print the shirts they are not in any order. So, any SCUM design goes on any shirt; it’s all random. When we print a lot of shirts, there will be 40 shirts to a rack and they will all be different and in no particular order. Kids will come in and ask for different sizes and we will just grab them a random shirt in that size. But, my favourite t-shirts ones are the simple ones that just say SCUM on the back and has that basic SCUM logo.
Tell us more about that logo.
P: A lot of people are fascinated by the whole Illuminati thing you know? So people even get tattoos of that symbol. One time, a guy on Facebook said that he wanted to get a tattoo of “that pyramid,” so I said, “That’s not just a pyramid! That’s the Illuminati symbol!” Why would you want to get a pyramid? Why would you even want to get the Illuminati symbol? So, I changed things up and made an anti-Illuminati symbol with the pyramid facing downwards. Then, I made that into part of a seven-pointed star. I said, “This is our symbol, we’re stealing it away from the Illuminati!” Why would you want a tattoo of the Illuminati symbol on your arm? It’s like having a tattoo of your enemy. So, tattoo that our logo on your arm and screw the Illuminati! That’s the concept behind the logo.
Do you have any future products you want to work with?
G: We want to do a little bit of everything. We’ve taken baby steps so far and we’ve done stuff that’s familiar to us and that we like. But, now that Phil is fully set up here, there’s definitely a chance that he could do some heavier pieces that are more significant than just t-shirts. However, we’re not really at the point where we want to do pre-booking and we’re not going to do any manufacturing any time soon. Anything that we produce will be produced in-house or at our other studio at Urban Ambush Ramp, another skate company. We just rented another spot with them. We’re just building up the brand slowly and having some fun with it. We know that we’re going to go somewhere. No one needs to rush it anymore than it’s gone so far.
How will your own interests and personal style going to influence SCUM clothing?
G: Me and Phil have a lot in common when it comes to clothes and brands. We usually catch onto the same stuff. Like I said, we both like to push things and we almost always take it too far.
What is HYPE?
G: A taste of energy drink.
P: HYPE has to have momentum and that momentum has to be constantly building by itself. Sometimes, certain scenes or certain people will push something that’s in the process of building HYPE. When something is HYPE, it’s gaining a life of its own and it starts rolling on its own energy and it starts becoming its own entity. So, for something to be HYPE and not just awesome or current or cool, it
needs to have people behind it, the media behind it, and attention on it, to feed it energy and to get that momentum going.
P: Are you going to change your answer? Or are you going to concur?
G: I am not going to change my answer. And, what he said.