In some cosmic sense, it makes sense that Cory Arcangel—one of our favorite post-everything artists and the mad genius behind Working On My Novel—would design merch for Wet, a promising pop group with a taste for the tongue-in-cheek. Their website's endearing vanity URL, www.kanyewet.biz, is actually the basis of the sweatshirts Arcangel has crafted, here rendered in a font originally developed by Kylie Minogue and Towa Tei. The FADER's got an exclusive first look at the new merch, along with a delightfully strange email Q&A in which Arcangel explains how the collaboration came to be. The sweatshirts run for $40, and you can cop them either via Arcangel Surfware or Wet's web store.
How did Arcangel Surfware come about?
CORY ARCANGEL: A few years ago, I was approached by Bravado, a division of Universal Music Group, who handles the merch for people like like Katy Perry, Kanye West, Carly Rae Jepsen, etc. They asked me if I wanted to do my own merch line, so I was like, ... ‘uhh, yes!’ Unlike the rest of Bravado's clients, though, I'm a fine artist, so it's been a fun culture clash, even though a lot of my work does revolve around music.
How would you describe your brand?
In the same way that Lil Wayne's merch line Trukfit is devoted to skating, Arcangel Surfware is a lifestyle brand about computer-binging. For those of us who take it super seriously and are on our computers most days, this can sometimes be a tiring and uncomfortable endeavor. Arcangel Surfware is all about making that experience more enjoyable and stress free, so most of our items are casual, loose-fitting cotton sweats and tees, and high thread-count bedsheets. Think “deep casual,” and “non-aspirational”.
How did the collaboration with Wet come about?
Well, a few things: [band member] Joe Valle actually worked for me when he was in college (out of my apartment). In fact, he's a maaaaj reason I was able to finish my marathon editing nonsense video, Dreiklavierstucke op. 11 in 2009. Thanks again Joe! This was long before Wet or Arcangel Surfware existed. Also, Allie Tepper, who currently works as Arcangel Surfware's Chief Merchandising Officer & Stylist, and who styled the shoot, has known Wet for years. Also, I think they were one of Arcangel Surfware's first Instagram followers. So all this stuff kinda came together and they approached us about creating their first official merch item once they saw what was going on with Surfware.
Why did you decide to go with the Wet URL on the sweatshirts?
The URL is in German Bold Italic, which is a font developed by Kylie Minogue and Towa Tei, and released on an "enhanced CD" with their single of the same name in the ‘90s. I've been crazy for the font since it came out. I've used the font a few times in the past for artworks (I showed some drawings on paper watermarked with my name in GBI at my Whitney show in 2011) but I've always wanted to use it to make a shirt for a pop group...one pop group used to advertise the next. Also it's a sick classic vector techno font, and super rare these days. The URL made the most sense given the Surfware style.
Are you hoping to do more collaborations with the band in the future?
How do you feel the worlds of music and design complement or feed into each other?
Wet's tour dates:
9/8 London, UK The Social
9/11 London, UK The Lexington
9/18 London, UK Old Blue Last
9/25 London, UK Ace Hotel
9/29 San Francisco, CA The Fillmore *
10/1 Portland, OR Star Theater *
10/2 Seattle, WA Neptune Theatre *
10/3 Vancouver, BC The Rickshaw Theatre *
10/6 Minneapolis, MN Cedar Cultural Center *
10/9 Toronto, ON The Mod Club *
10/10 Montreal, QC Virgin Mobile Corona Theatre *
10/11 Cambridge, MA The Sinclair *
10/14 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall Of Williamsburg *
10/15 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall Of Williamsburg *
10/16 Philadelphia, PA Union Transfer *
10/17 Washington, D.C. 9:30 Club *
10/19 Asheville, NC The Orange Peel *
10/20 Nashville, TN Exit/In *
10/21 Atlanta, GA Terminal West *
10/22 Birmingham, AL Saturn *
10/23 New Orleans, LA One Eyed Jacks *
10/24 Dallas, TX Granada *
10/25 Austin, TX Emo’s East *
10/27 Phoenix, AZ The Crescent Ballroom *
10/28 Solona Beach, CA Belly Up Tavern *
10/30 Hollywood, CA The Fonda *
* supporting Tobias Jesso Jr.