August 28th, 2015
Meet Your Maker | RVCA Mens Men's Designer Mike Gomez Talks Beards, Werewolves & Captain Beefheart Inspo
We dropped in at RVCA HQ in Costa Mesa to meet the designers behind their insane winter styles, and dig up some stories on these characters who transcend traditional action sports apparel.
SWELL: First off, are you in a ZZ Top coverband, or is that beard resistant to razors?
Mike Gomez: Ha! I wish I was cool enough to be in a ZZ Top cover band. Would you believe it just grows in like this during a full moon? I also develop keen night vision, a strong urge to run, and get really hungry for meat. I’m usually a vegetarian, I’m not sure what to make of it all.
Who inspired all the insane artwork around the RVCA HQ?
Mike Gomez: Its great isn’t it? It is really inspiring for us to soak it all in as we do our daily business. To answer your question, it is Pat Tenore, our founder, that is responsible for curating it all. He is the great mastermind and tornado that whirls it all up. And Casey Holland, our head art honcho, plays more than a small role as well.
The wildest part of it all is how much it constantly evolves and how much new stuff just constantly flows through here. Kevin Ancell for example (above left), who you just met, has been practically living here while he has been prepping both mind and body for an upcoming showing. We’re all looking forward to seeing what he puts together. There’s no one else like him in the world.
SWELL: Where does Mike Gomez call home?
Mike Gomez: OK, on a serious note, I lay my head at night in Los Angeles. I’m in a nameless neighborhood between Venice Beach and Culver City. My mailing address is literally plain old Los Angeles.
SWELL: How would you describe the creative atmosphere around your hood in LA
Mike Gomez: The atmosphere is eclectic I guess. There is great character and a rich history in the landscape from the original development of the 1920’s with its underground brick speakeasy’s, to the mid-century boom which saw the likes of the Eames’ and Ed Ruscha making their mark on the neighborhood, to the counter culture of the 60’s/70’s which still lurks about, to new avant garde stuff going on, mixed in with all the street level graffitti; it makes for a unique pot of stew I guess.
SWELL: How does music play a role in the making of the this capsule collection?
Mike Gomez: It’s interesting you ask this question because typically our collections are inspired by either recent travels of our advocates or by a specific ANP artist’s latest work. But in this particular case, music did play quite a role.
These items along with a fair bit of our holiday collection were inspired by Spanky’s (Kevin Long) affinity for the music of Captain Beefheart. I had been watching an old Spanky part in which he skated to Beefheart, and then shortly after I heard a guest DJ set he did which also featured a Beefheart track. So the track Abba Zabba Zoom specifically sparked the basic vibe, color, texture, print art, and so on for this collection.
SWELL: What special little details did you throw into the VIMY and Magia RVCA Styles
Mike Gomez: The vegan leather Vimy is quilted with bandana lining inspired by the Captain Beefheart motif. The Magia Pullover made of texture-printed fleece with sturdy twill henley placket, an Avant-garde style just like Beefheart’s psychadelic rock “Run, run, monsoon, Indian dream, tiger moon, Yellow bird fly high, tobacco sky, two shadows at noon, Babbette baboon gonna catch her soon, Babette baboon. Abba Zaba Zoom.”
SWELL: Everyone knows the name Mike Gomez at:
Mike Gomez: Marina Thai Massage. Driving back and forth from LA to Costa Mesa every day does a number on the body. But I’m good as new after an hour session.
SWELL: Goofy or Regular?
Mike Gomez: Goofy. It’s a bloody curse.
SWELL: Latest Surf Trip?
Mike Gomez: Just went a couple weeks ago to mainland Mexico and went left all day everyday for 5 days.
SWELL: Is it true the whole RVCA team is heading to the north shore? Some big parties in the mix?
Mike Gomez: Yeah, we are all headed out in a couple weeks. Its obviously a great perk, but also a great life experience for the whole crew to share together and it undoubtedly contributes to the family vibe. It will also coincide with our semi-annual “RVCA CaraVAn” which brings the surf team, skate team, and ANP artists altogether in a special location so it should be a pretty good time. I dont know about the parties part of it. I’m officially retired and leave all that to the young bucks like Luke, Kelli, Alex, and Elijah that design with me. I do plan to camp out country way a couple days and get lost a little. The forecast calls for a full moon…Thank you for visiting the Swell blog. Visit us on www.facebook.com/swell for more exclusive fan offers, giveaways and more.