30…FRIGGIN’ years. I can’t believe that my favorite Elm Street movie turned 30 a few weeks ago. To me, the most memory etched, influential horror movie from my childhood. I have discussed this many times over Electric Zombie’s 10 years of existence. I was born and lived on Elm Street the first 5 years of my life. Being born in 1983, you can imagine how much of a big deal this was for me, and literally anyone who lived on my street of a boring, lack luster town in nowheresville, Illinois. Freddy has, and always will be a big piece of me. (He’s INSIDEEEE MEEEE) I had planned for this release for almost 7 months. I knew that it was going to be a big one for me. I had a lot of these ideas locked in and mapped out about a year, or even the Taryn one, was an idea I had 6 years ago. I can’t believe I sat on it for so long. There were 100% shoe in’s from the start. I knew I wanted to redo the Tetanus design, which was first released in 2010, in the summer and had a back print. I originally wanted to make a faux tour shirt with all the cities that the movie premiered in in 1987, deciding against it at the last minute. I wanted to revisit the Slasher hoodie from 2012, and went in a completely different direction. I didn’t want to make a line full of rehash of older things. I wanted to branch out and do something new. Something that wouldn’t be a complete eyesore. Something that didn’t look like it came from a Spirit Halloween store, as a shitty knockoff Freddy Costume. I wanted to make something I would be proud of and customers would be excited to wear. Like my past blogs, I plan on going all over the place with this write up. I figured I would talk about the ups and downs and what into the release, as well as inspiration and ideas came.
So grab a pillow, and lets dive in!
As 2016 came to a close, I sat and I evaluated the scope of the brand and where it was heading and where I wanted it to go. 2017, would be Electric Zombie’s 10th year. I started to look at where I was at, where I was, and what everyone else was doing. I noticed that there were a lot of Horror Type brands. Truthfully, I stopped being a “Horror Brand” in 2011 or so. I used to make original designs, with creepy monsters, guts, and neon junk. Something happened in my brain, and in 2012, I became a pop culture brand that started to spoof, parody, and put my own creative touch on things from my childhood. Fast Forward to 2016, and we are hit with a bunch of brands vying for the likes, the retweets, and the social media love of customers and trying to collect the most cool points. These brands use the same artists, for the same movies, and the same properties, basically being a copy of a copy of a copy. I didn’t want that, or to be labelled as that. These other companies have more online credibility and followers, that I felt like I would probably look like a follower, instead of an originator. What set me apart and made me stand out was the amount of heart and detail I put into my releases. I’m a perfectionist, detail oriented, and just flat out picky. That’s not to discredit other brands. I just hate everything and only want to put out the best that I can, and it shows. The other thing I did that no one else did, was custom items. Out of the box and weird items. No one else was doing jeans, or reversible hoodies, and so on and so forth. But having a kid and having real responsibilities, those things took a back seat. These items began to start trickling in in the past 2 years. In my head, I wanted to focus on this and ONLY this for future releases. Of course it didn’t really work out that way, but those little baby steps have been taken.
So what happened? Chinese New Year happened. I was told by the wonderful people at Merchline, to have all my ideas ready to go by December 1st. A lot of these items did happened. A windbreaker jacket, custom weird out of the box patches, coffee mugs, didn’t make the cut. I also wanted all the shirts to be on a custom shirt. But wash difficulties, and sampling, made it impossible. I was overly picky about the wash, and at the end when they got it to my specs, there were 100 shirts to work with, YIKES! so I saved them for the Krueger / Metallica mash ups, and rightfully so. Basically, time and money. I was still stuck in my T-Shirt mode, and once one idea happens, another, and another. So my plan on being mainly a custom and off the wall, non t-shirt, drop, sort of went out the door.
As I was working on my poster, doing the research, watching the movie. There was 1 scene that just smacked me in the face. Will’s wheelchair scene. When he uses his magical wizard powers to defeat the medieval wheels from hell, it looked exactly like the Ride The Lightning cover. It really got the gears turning. Phillip’s marionette death, MASTER OF PUPPETS, no, even better, DREAM MASTER OF PUPPETS. I had an idea for the black album, that involved the Freddy snake, I just didn’t think people would get it, so I stuck with the 3, as I didn’t want it to be an over…KILL!
The KRUEGER designs were a massive 3 way collab. I did the flat version of the Krueger logo, and sent that off to my bud Yardley (better known as Skull With Hair, over at The Black Axe) and he made the 3d, RIDE THE LIGHTNING version, and I did the Master of Puppets version. I sent my photoshop designs over to Marc Schoenbach, a horror master in his own right, and he painted over my designs to give them that glorious 80's metal touch. Triple threat collaboration OF DEATHHHHHH!
There was originally supposed to be 2 comic book-esque designs. The other with the nurse tongue tying joey to the bed. It was going to have boobs and all. That’s right, BOOBS. It might pop up one day down the road, way way way down the road. The Freddy syringes were the first item produced. I wanted them to go with (as a freebie) the RX (Freddy syringe hand) shirt. Due to the uncertainty on if the RX design was going to even be drawn up at the time. I went forward with the pens, and the Shirt design sat in limbo. I had 3, yes 3 different artists bail on me and left me with unanswered emails, but a savior appeared at the last minute and saved the day. This lead to the line to get pushed back. Originally to be released on the anniversary release date (2.27)
The new jacket, is one of the most fun things I ever made. It’s got so many Freddy notes woven and intertwined within it. The jacket color is taken from his non burned character’s jacket he wore. The zipper and the snaps, are a rusty copper color, to be like his glove. Leather draw string pulls, and tag, also pulled from the glove. Metal draw string tips, to look like the claws. I love the punk / angst feeling from this film, that I really wanted to give this line that vibe. I wanted to go overboard with the patches and prints, on the jacket, but toned it down and saved it for the long sleeve. This parka is high end, top quality, and just covered with easter eggs and nods to the series and iconic character. The back patch, done in the same style as the first NEVER SLEEP AGAIN design I did 7 years ago. I wanted to give that throwback, but wanted a new phrase. In my mood board for this release, I saw a foreign poster, and it had the tag line, SLEEP KILLS. It was perfect. I took my original idea for the jacket and turned it into this super punk / hardcore / street wear inspired long sleeved tee, that might be one of my favorite all time favorite designs I’ve done. Not just for the brand, but of my career.
Lets talk about the COOKIE CUTTERS! so, the guys over at Merchline always show me the newest things they have done or can have done. They had just put out cookie cutters for She & Him, for their latest (at the time) Christmas Album. They, knowing that I am an avid baker, told me , I NEED TO DO THESE. Nothing came to mind. They gave me a box of the She & Him ones and I sat there, looking. There’s metal, you put cookies in the oven, as in fire, BURN, BINGO. For the box, I scanned a sleeve of my replica sweater, added some texture, put a spooky surprise on the inside, and hand drew the cookie cutters. I designed this thing from head to toe. I think my favorite part is the word SWEET I hand wrote. Every time I look at the box, my eyes go right to it in all it’s embossed glory.
Lastly, the poster. Back in 2010, I designed a shirt for Fright Rags, based on the film, and put out a poster version of the design. It’s one of my most asked for reprints, and please bring back requests. I knew that when I remade it, I wanted to make it look like a punk flyer, but with more color. Those have since sold out. I have been thinking on if I want to do a reprint, or a punk flyer variant, where it’s all black and white, or perhaps a metal print. NOT SURE! HMMMMMM…
This launch was full of stresses. Will things get done in time? Will it be right? Will the art come in on time? Do I have time with my designs? Will custom item revisions be right? Delays? AHHH AHHHH AHHH!!! In the end it all worked out, and it’s one of the most proud of a release I’ve ever done. In 10 years, this has been the ultimate EZ line for me. It’s this baby that grew up to be a man. It’s fun, playful, and yet mature. It’s original, and could easily fit in and be up there with other street wear brands or fashion labels ala pac sun or zumiez or agenda trade show. It’s not just a t-shirt. It’s my heart and my brain splattered all over your chest (mmmmm). I try so hard to make sure that each thing is the best, highest, top notch product I can give you. I only expect and want the best and this KILLection, exceeded that. Huge thanks to Matt, Nate, Chad, and Jay at Rivals / Merchline for pushing me and making all this magic happen.
I am hoping that the future lines exceed and go further. I have big things planned for the next themed line. There won’t be that much filler/releases between now and then. But something major towards the end of the year. I plan on touching on this in the future. I could talk all day about the future of the brand. But by the time you got to the end, everything could be sold out. This has been an awesome 4 months from start to finish, and this week has been super amazing feedback and sale wise. Whatever you do… Don’t….Fall….Asleep… ON BUYING something. Things are quickly selling out! Like usual, I’m sure there will be reprints, EVENTUALLY. It could be 6 months to a year before that happens. GET ON IT!
Thanks for all your support and loving that crispy critter known as Krueger, as much as me!