Continuing where we left off in [Part I], the founder of Sneaker Pimps, Peter Fahey, explains how after initially being told “no”, eventually lead to the success of the “World’s Largest Sneaker and Street Based Art Show”.
Continue Reading for more
*Continued from [PART I]*
KATC: So Reebok was interested in continuing the Sneaker Pimps tour, but there was a money issue?
PF: That was weird too because the money was so miniscule back then. Now being a lot more hip to the game and understanding how it works, they were just complete tight asses. So I was like well you know what, I spent the last month writing a proposal to do this giant Asian tour that went through Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, Korea, Japan…with no international tour experience. These were solo shows not on any sort of festival, but I put so much energy into it, I was like you know what this might have some life still. So I went to every single company I knew, every one. Finally we locked down Royal Elastics/K-Swiss. They gave us a really small amount. I knew I would for sure run out of money on tour, absolutely without a doubt in my mind.
KATC: Were you charging admission at this time?
PF: No it was all free at this time. We did a show in Hong Kong and I ended up hooking up with this guy there who is now my business partner. He was a major dude, he helped me out a lot. He put a lot of his own money into the show in Hong Kong. All the magazines covered the event and it became this really big thing. I don’t know how but it made it onto 5th Dimension and a lot of the online forums.
PF: So I did all of those cities and ran out of money in Japan. Had to go to my sponsor and ask for more money but because the show was doing so well, he helped me out, but of course, we ran out of money on the last day in Korea. It was so funny I had to run out of the hotel and run to airport and get out of there. We ran out of money but we had to make it happen. So after that tour finished, it gave us that international [presence], people started hitting me up.
KATC: How many cities did you end up hitting in Asia?
PF: Six cities. Then I got an email from Heavy.com saying that they had a client that wanted to sponsor this in America. So I hit them back and we ended up working out a deal which was amazing money for me at the time. I couldn’t believe that much money had come through. So the first solo tour in America took place with FinishLine. We did the tour and now I was really starting to send shoes out to Artists. I always tried to reach out to Futura and people like that, but no one ever really…I still wasn’t big enough to be able to hit those guys. The type of dude I was, I was always trying to hit them up, never got anything until the last show in America in New York. Futura walks in the door and he’s walking around the show just checking it out. So I went up to him to say “what’s up”, totally star struck.
PF:After that, I did a few random cities and then I did Australia with the Nike SB team which was the first time I brought Skateboarding into it. And then, I got an offer from Nike to do a tour of China and they were throwing a ridiculous money at it, we could not believe how much money they were spending on the tour. They basically gave me an open check book and said get four of the top artists to go there. So we were like Futura, Stash…and we had the checks to cut. It was the first all Nike show that we ever did, it was in conjunction with the release of the XX. We did that tour and legitamately, I could reach out to those guys now…we were sponsored by Nike.
KATC: When did SBTG join the tour?
PF: SBTG I actually hooked up with in Singapore. When I got there, I found out that he skateboarded so automatically we were hanging out skating around Singapore. At that same time, Dave White joined the show as well. After the China tour we came back to the States, and we did the tour last year. We did another skate demo with Stevie Williams when he got signed to RBK and we did Public Enemy in New York City last year. Finally we got to do Canada, we did Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver…
KATC: So this is your third round of States…
PF: Yeah this year we did San Diego at the Agenda Show, and then we went to Jakarta, which was without a doubt, the biggest show I had ever done in my life. The venue was like an Air Craft Carrier and when I got to Jakarta I said to the dude who booked the space that we didn’t need this space, I thought he was being a little over confident there. The capacity was over 8,000 people. When the show came, the end count was about 14,000.
KATC: So from 400 in Sydney to about 14,000 in Jakarta, I am sure that you never thought that this would happen. At one point you said that you would wrap it up.
PF: Yeah it was done, in my mind it was totally done. If it wasn’t for that dude at Reebok, and I don’t know what his name is, but i wish I did because this guy made all of this possible
KATC: By not sponsoring the event…
PF: Yeah isn’t that funny? Just in that on email he sent me it put the bug back in my brain. But like, it is such a crazy concept, forget the shoes for a minute, it’s a cultural event that is considered by most still a niche. I run into people and when I tell them what I do they are absolutely dumbfounded, they have no idea what’s going on. For me, I try to focus on what the Sneaker Culture is made up of: Hip-Hop, Basketball, Skateboarding, Street Art. I always try to highlight those key points to bring it all in.
KATC: Absolutely they are all intertwined.
PF: Exactly, this is what I try to tell sponsors. The show is not just about shoes, it’s about all of those things that we just went through.
KATC: That takes me into another question. You linked up with the International Sneaker Battle. How did that happen?
PF: Funkmaster Flex stepped to me. The International Sneaker Battle wasn’t even on their radar at the time. They were like we want to bring Sneaker Pimps to the car show. I was like ok, it’s interesting, I’m always into new things so we’ll hav a look at it. So they called me one day after that and said that they wanted to do a competition and they wanted Fat Joe to host it. I was like you know what dude, I don’t do competitions, I don’t sell shoes, I’m good dude. Plus, one of my friends the guy who did Sole Collector already does competitions, I didn’t want to step on anyone’s toes. Within a week or two, they created ISB. They were really cool about, very respectful. They weren’t trying to step on what I was doing. It was fun, it definitely lost the Sneaker Pimps party vibe.
KATC: Speaking of which, the official Sneaker Pimps show takes place on October 13th, what are we in store for?
PF: First from an art aspect, Futura is going to be there doing a painting, Stash will be creating something specially for the show, Andre is doing a pair of shoes for the show, Bigfoot is doing a live painting, Methamphibian will be painting live, Sabotage painted a ginormous Vans sneaker, Dave White is going to be previewing his clothing live and will also be doing a painting. Female Sneaker Fiend is doing a customization competition. The guy from Dunkxchange is going to be setting up the Dunkxchange in the Spider Club. The Ice Cream Skate Team is doing a live demo, we are setting up a mini ramp on top of the stage, which is going to be crazy, the whole team is going to be there skating live throughout the whole night. The music aspect we have Funkmaster Flex, Clark Kent, the Clipse, the Beatnuts and Ghost Face Killah.
KATC: After all of this, what’s next?
PF: Canada, Toronto and Vancouver. Then we fly over to Budapest, Hungary. Then right after that we fly straight back to Mexico, we are doing Mexico City with Nike. After that, I’m taking my wife and we are going to sit on a beach somewhere in the sun for a couple of months. Doing these shows is the most time consuming, stressful job on the planet. Come December time, it’s time to chill. After we chill for about two months and then we are doing a tour with Foot Locker in the Middle East. I’ll do this as long as I’m liking it. For me, it’s always a challenge to do the next best thing.
KATC would like to thank Peter for taking the time out to speak with us, for more info on Sneaker Pimps NYC, please click [here]
Written, Edited, and Produced by: “MaZe”