Dane Reynolds Talks "Premium Violence", A New Film And Collection For Former
...And discusses the vagaries, challenges and pleasure of life and business so far.
Timing sure doesn’t play by any rules. Just ask Dane Reynolds.
Previously a mascot for Quiksilver and now captain of the cultural movement called Former, Dane has just delivered the company’s sophomore capsule, “Premium Violence”, with an accompanying (and shockingly good) film of the same name.
Oh, and his wife Courtney just gifted the world divine twin girls.
It’s the apex moment of what’s been a whirlwind year for Dane. Shot on location in Portugal and Central America, Premium Violence is Dane’s answer to Former partner Craig Anderson’s LUXURY 29.99 (which launched the brand’s debut collection earlier this year). Captured amid the uncertainty that a twin pregnancy can bring, the surfing is Dane at his most frenetic, raw, and blissfully unpredictable. The film is an aesthetic statement for the brand, but also drips with the surfing that, for a time, sent 2m monthly viewers to marinelayerproductions.com.
Stab caught the new father of three, as he was awaiting the green light to head home from the hospital with the newest members of his fam, and an hour before the capsule drop, to see how surfing’s post-modern Prince was adjusting.
Stab: Describe life right now.
Dane: Hectic for sure. But mainly just a lot of sitting around the hospital, going stir crazy. We were pretty excited to leave today. We’re ready to go, all discharged and stuff, just waiting to sign the birth certificate and everything.
How are the girls? You decide on names?
Yeah, Bobbie and Maggie. They’re healthy. They’re eating good. We’re super lucky.
How’s Sammy feel about his sisters? And how do three baby seats look in the Explorer?
[Laughs] I haven’t actually tried that yet. But Courtney got a mini-van. With three babies, you don’t really have many choices. But they all look pretty cool in the minivan, Sammy’s in the back, with like stadium seating.
He’s been pretty good so far. He’s come to the hospital three times. The first time he came in he didn’t really pay much attention to the girls. The next time he came, we put some Hot Wheels toys in with the girls. I told him before we went in, “Hey Sammy, remember those babies you saw yesterday? They liked you so much they got you some cars!” He was like, What!? So then he thought they were really cool. He’s been tripping out on their eyes, just going, I have eyes too! I told him, “Do you remember when you were that small? You gotta help them get big and strong like you.”
So you’ve got another, perhaps slightly less significant, arrival this week. Let’s talk about Former’s new capsule. With Premium Violence, can you talk about how you guys are releasing collections as capsules, with films promoting them?
Yeah, so instead of doing seasons, we’re scheduling collection releases around film projects, and planning parties and pop-ups based around those. Like, with our first capsule and film, LUXURY 29.99. And I hope people now will be able to really see the evolution of the brand.
"Vibrant. Tension. Chorus."
The marketing math makes sense on paper: you drop a film, drop the collection, with the collection in the film, and that equals sales. How’s that working?
I mean, yeah. Of course, unfortunately it isn’t that simple. Just dealing with production, deliveries, making sure our timing isn’t off. We’re learning from each release, and becoming more efficient.
Where’d the inspiration for the title come from?
I came up with the title, and I guess it all stemmed from when we were trying to name the brand, and we just had so many words getting thrown out there. “Premium Violence” was a phrase I came up with, that I really wanted to do, before we were clear that we were going to release capsules with these films and taglines, I just wanted to do a shirt with “Premium Violence” on it. When we decided to move forward, Premium Violence became the second collection and the film that I was going to be doing. So me and Grady [Archbold] and Warren [Smith] started working on the aesthetic and graphics and I started doing trips and filming.
It’s pretty funny, I’m sitting here at the hospital, with the twins just born, because when I first started to travel to try and film for this, I had just learned we were having twins. Which totally created some urgency, for better or worse, that probably led to some uncharacteristic decisions on my part. Some, uh, misadventures. Things like being scatterbrained and losing my passport, getting locked up for 48 hours in Portugal. I fractured my vertebrae surfing Backdoor. Who knows? The urgency the twins created made me make different decisions, as far as where to go, or the waves I was surfing, even the waves I was taking… I just felt it sort of counting down, and I knew I had to squeeze in as much as I could before, well, today.
That was a deadline that wasn’t gonna move?
Yeah, I was just trying to squeeze in as many trips as I could. At the end, I was doing Central America just because it’s one flight away. Twins are a high-risk pregnancy, so I didn’t want to be too far away.
So how’s the biz been, working with Craig and Austyn and Warren and the crew?
We’re all sort of settling into our roles a little bit. It’s a constant evolution, I swear. The dynamic how all of us work together changes daily. I don’t think any of us were used to the daily routine that’s required to keep this thing operating. Just calendars, marketing, production. You know, Craig and I, we’re used to just wearing what we’re told and expecting a brand to market it however they wanted. But now we’re seeing what we’re spending, and what numbers are coming back, so there’s this direct correlation between how you market something and how it sells and you can see the cash flow.
Do you guys all have a little bit of that business sense?
Well, out of all of us, I’m the most commercial minded person. Craig’s big idea was, like, a $500 vase.
A $500 vape?
[Laughs] A vase. Like, for flowers.
Oh... And how about Warren?
Warren is really strong-willed, and maybe treats it more like an art project than I do, too. I just want it to be fairly… What’s the right word? Accessible? Warren wants it to be more artistic, and follow a story. Big on context in different ways.
But the hope is that all of us come together to make something that’s better than our individual tastes. That we cancel out the weaker parts. But you gotta learn to compromise, for sure. And learn to know where to fight for something important, and where to let it go or trust someone else’s opinion.
I’ve said this to you on a number of occasions, because we’ve worked together creatively quite a bit, I can’t think of anything more difficult than having you as my boss. You’re a critical guy, which can cause, well... tension.
Vibrant. Tension. Chorus. That’s one of our lines from this capsule. [Laughs] Well, then maybe Warren’s the perfect partner, because he’s very strong-willed, and he wins most of the... I wouldn’t call them arguments, but differences of opinion.
Healthy tension. I know creatively over the years, you’ve had a lot of push and pull in your own head. Is this fulfilling for you?
I mean, yeah. the filmmaking aspect, the aesthetics of the brand, it’s been such a great learning experience. Just this crazy course in business and finance and marketing, learning these adult skill sets you might not a sponsored… I wouldn’t call myself an athlete.
Have you ever thought, at any of these points, “Wow, why did I walk away from those sponsor checks? I could be taking it easy.”
I wouldn’t really let myself think like that. There’s just no sense in hindsight. I don’t know, it’s strange…
You know what? No. I don’t. When I was sponsored, I tried to stay pretty involved with the creative process. We would design little capsules, and of course there weren’t the same big hurdles for me, but they never turned out the way I anticipated. Craig and I would see a new line, and we’d trip on a few pieces, just going, “Oh, I’d wear this!” And then by the time it gets to retail, they didn’t get enough orders and it gets ditched.
You know, we tried to get [Quik] to hire Warren! Or to pick up surfers that we liked, and they weren’t backing it. So it’s cool, because this feels like a really natural evolution. It’s been such a great experience, doing it on our own terms. It’s rewarding creatively. I wouldn’t do it any other way.