Professional photographer, party maniac, official RVCA artist and (mt) Media Temple partner, The Cobrasnake, stopped by the (mt) outpost in Hawaii en route to Asia. (mt) Community Director Jason McVearry caught up with him at his fashion yard sale and later at Steve Aoki’s Show in Honolulu.
(mt): Judging by the fans you and Steve Aoki brought out in Hawaii, it’s clear you and your brand have achieved “celebrity status” internationally. Would you say this is true and how has it affected your perspective on things in general?
CS: Its really exciting that in just a few years I have been able to reach so many people. When i think about it, I get chills thinking that people are following me and I am inspiring people all around the world.
Steve is amazing as well, his Dj set is world renowned and gets the crowd excited!! We are both so lucky to have the support that we do.
(mt): How does it feel being a living, breathing brand?
CS: Its hard work, and not as glamourous as it seems. I work all the time, I don’t sleep much and am constantly traveling and generally overwhelmed with life. But, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I get to experience so many amazing things, meet cool people and get paid at the same time! I want to work as hard as possible as I feel there is tons more for me to do.
(mt): Mark, party and live music photography has been a serious genre since the 60s. How do you feel you’ve changed the game?
CS: When i started shooting nightlife it was funny because people were not used to having their photo taken by someone that wasn’t their friend. Now most people want as many people as possible to take their photo. I’m most excited to have this amazing archive of images in 20 years when we are all fat and old!
(mt): How do you think the modern “hip” party and music scene compares with the underground scenes of past decades?
CS: I think that on an international level, it’s way more united. You can go to Paris and hear the same music you hear in Hawaii and in Australia. Everything is less localized
CS: Its really cool that my site has inspired others to shoot in their towns.
For me its all about respect: I try my best to respect everyone and they should do the same.
(mt): A popular question I encounter when describing your gig is, “So how does he make money?” If you can say, how do you pull in revenue? Has any standard online/offline revenue model worked for you and is your site still the central focus of your business?
CS: That is the funny part. Its all over the place from selling t-shirts, to getting hired to shoot events, to shooting for magazines, to shooting advertising. I’m a renaissance man and i take $$$ any where I can
(mt): How is your site running these days? 😉
CS: The site is running great. (mt) Media Temple is the godfather of the internet.
I tell everyone I know to host with you guys.
(mt): You are a bit of a fashion icon in the hipster world. Do you plan on expanding or developing your fashion medium beyond your t-shirts?
CS: Hell yes!
I can’t wait to make shorts, fun sweatshirts, shoes, sunglasses, hats,and of course a Cobrasnake energy drink! Holy crap..too many things to make.
(mt): What’s playing on your ipod?
CS: Juno Soundtrack, mgmt, Phantom Planet, Radiohead, Justice, Wilco, Spoon.
(mt): Do you have any advice for those trying to make it in exploitainment?
CS: RESPECT is key.
When you are shooting you need to respect everyone from the people you take photos of, to the bar tenders and security. Thats really important.
(mt): If you can reveal it, what does the future hold for The Cobrasnake brand?
CS: I’m like one of those sponge dinosaurs you put in water and watch it get bigger. I want to build the brand in the right way and make smart decisions and make an impact on the world.
You can check out tons more of the Cobrasnake’s work at thecobrasnake.com