Produced by DAN H.
Interview by Thomas Bradley and Debre
Edited by Poe
From a humble start, as a small shop (on the 5th floor of a building) in Ebisu part of Tokyo, Devilock has become an influential brand within the street culture of Japan. Celebrating its 10th year, Devilock today not only produce urban fashion apparels, but sponsor a music event series, "Devilock Presents:~Filter~", a MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) event "Devilock Presents: SHOOTO THE Devilock", and of course this weeks street art exhibition, VISUALL Taiwan.
Freshness was fortunate enough to chat with the founder & the driving force of this celebrated brand, Noriaki Endo, to talk about Devilock, punk music, MMA, and etc
> Devilock (Japanese Only)
More after the jump
Noriaki Endo - Devilock Founder [Freshness Gallery: Devilock]
Q: Where did the name Devilock come from?
NE: The name comes from my favorite punk music band The Misfits hairstyle, the devilock. There is significance for my label to be constantly related to music.
*NOTE* Mr. Endo was the vocalist for 2 Japanese underground hard rock bands, GMF and SUPER HYPE, before creating Devilock
Q: Since the Devilocks brand concept is influenced by the punk culture, how have you and Devilock been related to since?
NE: Yes, the punk culture is at the heart of Devilock. Without punk, we have nothing because it is what we are all about! For me, you can say that it is the same. It has kept me striving in this business.
[Freshness Gallery: Devilock]
Q: What would the Devilock team say they are about? What do they believe is their purpose as a brand?
NE: Devilock is a forum to launch my messages, about our great crew, clothing, and music. Our purpose is to stay true to ourselves and continue to do what we want to do. We are not concern about the distractions out there, just as long as we are able to continue it!
Left: Devilock x NUMBER (N)INE 9th Anniversary T-Shirt
Right: Devilock Varsity Jacket
[Freshness Gallery: Devilock]
NE:I've always wanted to do something fun and interesting with my friends, as long as we can create it by ourselves. This event is staged in a small live house so that we and the audiences can feel the vibe and see everything up close! My hope is to continue this gig as long as were all having a great time!
Q: We heard that you will also be producing an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) event again called "Devilock Presents: SHOOTO THE Devilock" on May 12th at Kourakuen Hall in Tokyo, Japan. It will be a gathering the top Japanese MMA Fighters like Takanori Gomi (Pride Light Weight Champion), Caol Uno (), Rumina Sato, Hayato "MACH" Sakurai and etc... Please tell us more about this event.
"Devilock PRESENT SHOOTO THE Devilock"
NE:I am a MMA addict personally, and produced several MMA events in the past like Vale Tudo Japan. This upcoming event is a way to gather all the friends I made through MMA. Again, it is all about having a good time together with friends. It is something more like a reunion. There is a misconception I am throwing this event to get attention for myself, but it is not about that at all. The fact that all the top Japanese MMA fighters (and friends) are participating without any qualms, what more can I say?
Q: How is it that MMA is respected in Japan and yet it still struggles for acceptance here in America?
NE:Really, is that so? I think that it is as popular as in Japan. A way of looking at it, the sport has not reach a certain level of understanding in the U.S. The promoters and backers of the event, they are the ones that need to comprehend what this sport is about in order to present it to the public.
I believe that there is large fan base obsessed with MMA, like myself, in the U.S. I have seen many U.S. based MMA events personally and have tons of DVDs.
Again, if the promoters and backers have the abilities to find, to construct an appropriate promotional vehicle, the sport will definitely become a force in the industry, I believe.
Q: How does the Japanese fighting scene and Devilock view the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) and American trained fighters?
NE: From a third persons point of view, I believe there are a lot of excellent American fighters that just need the opportunity to be out there. A Fighter's only place is in the ring, where they can get the experience and the recognition. Compare to Japans MMA industry, it (UFC) has to struggle a lot more. I think it needs more support as in promotions and events
More and more, Japanese fighters are learning from their American counterparts, emphasizing on mental exercise, fighting mind-set, and physical training. Because of this you will see many more Japanese fighters competing in the world events as top-class athletes.
Q: The MMA fighters in Japan seem to fully embrace the Devilock camp. How have you gained such respect in the industry?
NE: Simply put, I think it is because the fighters come to our shop and enjoy wearing our products where ever they go.
Q: Will Devilock ever try to make its presence felt in the UFC or the American MMA scene on a commercial level?
NE:No, I don't think so. However, if there is an opportunity for me to establish friendship with fighters in the U.S. scene, then maybe? I will not create a grand event unless there is a strong correlation between one another. Maybe someday...
Q: You will have another big event, this time in Taiwan called VISUALL Taiwan, from March 25th thru April 25th. Please tell us about this event? Will this event tour the other major cities soon?
NE: This is an art work exhibition from Devilock. I have asked each artists/designers to create something that relates to Devilock, from their perspectives in any kinds of media. Again, it was something entertaining that I could share with my friends. All the participants (friends) were supportive about it. I really appreciate all their supports, the fact that they are some of the greatest guys with immense passion that I know of.
This time the event will be held at Taiwan, and in the past we toured Canada, Japan, and Hong Kong. I cannot guarantee if there will be a next time, maybe with a different concept and participants.
Q: What should we be on the lookout for in the future from the Devilock team and any advice for others out there?
NE: I have learned a lot since I started this brand. I have a lot to tell people out there but to make it short and simple - JUST DO IT! Many obstacles shall be in your way. Dont let anyones words alter your decisions. Always keep in mind you have to accept responsibilities and consequences of your choices. It is your business!
JUST DO IT!!
Q: Finally! rather win by a nasty Submission or K.O.?