Brook McGregor isn’t just all weird tattoo’s, gruffy beard and charismatic smile, no siree. This is a man who scraped it from the bottom of the barrel and created a brand from a blog that eventually turned in one of the leading Eyewear brands in the action world. Since a little R&R – barrels, chilled beer’s and the such around the Byron area, Brooke is back with Thrills, a neat little set up that is all about Palm Trees and Street Machines.
We threw him 20 questions about Thrills, the ‘net and random other stuff we thought you might like. It’s his first interview as a Thrills man and he is excited – have you heard about the demolition derby?
1/ I’ll get the shit out of the way first… Initially you created your own eyewear brand from the ground up, starting as a blog (like Thrills) then went onto shaking up the eyewear sector. What made you pack up an leave to start Thrills?
Yeah that was a crazy adventure for sure, living in the USA for a long time and really doing all the hard yards to get a new label off the ground. I learnt so much from that experience hard times but good times. I had a good group of people that supported the shades and my vision from the beginning. Even before we decided to do shades when I was just making bumper stickers and ruining the blog out of Whale Beach I had lots of local support. But like anything in life change is certain, and the internal changes of that business I could only handle for so long. So it was time for me to move on gain control of my life again and start something new .
But before the “Thrills” project happened…. I took 6 months off on a mental Hiatus, to basically chill the fuck out. I got back into living – started surfing again – hanging with friends and family it was a “good times” in tropical paradise.
But creatively I can’t sit still for too long. I have so many ideas constantly running through my brain that I started writing them down, not unlike the beginning of the shades. I guess you could say it was a full circle of a business life – I was born again but this time I’m fired up like a crazed maniac on a mission.
2/ Apart from the obvious allure that the area has, why start in Byron? You have the skills to nail shit in the US. You proved that with the last brand you created, not many people can do that, so why not set up in the US again?
Byron’s crazy, it’s the first place since I was a kid that I actually call my home. I guess everything is a state of mind, I’m sure if I was 22 I would get itchy to get back into the city – but for where I am personally in my life Byron is so perfect. And why start a brand here? Well I hope that people see the same allure to Byron as I do, it’s an amazing place with a true hot bed of creative people. For example the neighborhood block where the “House of Thrills” is situated is shared with such creative amazing like minded brands such as Tallow, Afends and Art Park all three have my upmost respect for different reasons. And why wouldn’t I set up in the USA again, because I learnt the hard way not to do things the hard way….I have so many friend in the industry in Australia and that support is need when launching any style of project.
Ok, back to Thrills, those questiosn should satisfy those who want to know….
3/ What is Thrills exactly? At the moment the blog contains some mad shots of nude women, hilarious youTube clips and some amazing interviews with the likes of Archy and Keith Morris but nothing has been given away other then you’re doing some kick ass looking bikes. Enlighten us on what’s really happening…
Thrills begun as just an idea between two friends, both Ryan and I were sitting around joking about what we should get into to make a living. We talked about a taco cart because Ryan is half Mexican…but eating Mexican everyday would make you loco hombre. Ryan had already been working with “the” shop in Costa Mesa building custom cycles, and we had so many people asking us to get them affordable motorcycles that we just started building them and getting them shipped over.
The interviews and website content is a basic reflection of the culture that we enjoy, I mean Archy is such an amazing influencer as is Keith Morris that I’m genuinely intrigued in talking to them. As for the naked girls they represent the same circa as the motorcycles years that we customize.
As for the content of randomness thats the uncontrollable urge to express my personal excitement and confusion for modern day culture or lack there of culture in society. Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction right? Well stuff that I find while trawling the net is straight up wonderful.
4/ What was it you saw with this whole Cafe Racer/Motorbike movement that made you think – ‘I’m going to start a brand in this sector’? While it’s not saturated by any means there have been some heavy hitters already position themselves there – Comune, Deus to name a couple..
Like I explained above we really didn’t research the markets to heavily, it was just a hobby to begin with that turned into an obvious supply and demand thing that got the project off the ground. As for other brands like Deus and Comune I think they only help bring awareness and educate the markets.
5/ Product range, how far you expanding and into what other categories
Street machines are the product, not just Thrills custom motorcycles but Thrills cycles (push bikes) and a tight extension of clothing is also been released for the Australian summer.
6/ Distribution range, what types of stores are you aiming to hit?
The distribution will be targeted towards like minded retailers, it’s a more educated market that respect authenticity.
7/ Vocal range, what notes can you hit while singing?
I’m no Layne Staley that’s for sure, but get me warmed up in the car or the shower it turns into the worlds most epic live performance ever.
8/ Palm Trees and Street Machines. A pretty neat tagline that conjures up a weird juxtaposition of images in my head. What other taglines did you play round with before settling on this one? Why did this one stick?
Shred and Burn is our other tag line we use, but “Palm Trees and Street Machines” is just too perfect it just fits. House of Thrills our showroom is located in tropical paradise, out the back door of the showroom is all lush and green and 5 minutes to the beach. Motorcycles in paradise is an oxymoron right there party on Wayne….
9/ And the brand name. Thrills. cut down from Cheap Thrills. Any other names get thrown around? Care for a carebear share?
I have some many names in my brain it hurts – Thrills suits the entire project so it stuck like a bad rumor.
10/ We heard Thrills is planning a demolition derby. Correct? Sounds more then interesting, care to expand?
Oh shit yeah the derby, this is going to be crazy. I always wanted to throw a derby but never really thought it was going to be possible. So I took a trip out to meet with the lovely people at Brisbane International Speedway (AKA Archerfield Speedway) and pitched my idea of a industry derby…. And much to my surprise they were down. So on November 26th we are holding the THRILLS DEMOLITION DERBY proudly supported by STAB. We have already locked down some insane brands here is the list as it stands –
So if you have a brand and I haven’t contacted you please hit me at firstname.lastname@example.org and we’ll get things locked away.
It will be show cased after the Australian sprint car finals – this is the biggest night of the year for Brisbane International Speedway they expect a crowd of around 6 – 7 thousand people so it should be insane, actually still waiting to see if Empire Ave will man up and put a car in.
11/ Old Guys as models?
I wouldn’t use the words “Old guys” I would use the words worldly cultured. And I don’t really think of age when I think model – I think what will suit the brand? What would I be stoked on seeing if I was looking at Thrills. And to be honest I choose people that tell a story through their photos. And Henry McCabe is one of the most interesting and motivating people I have ever met, and he will be staring in our latest shoot.
12/ You nailed the sticker game with the last brand you were at. Can kids get free Thrills stickers?
Dam straight they can, we just got them in – so cruise by the “House of Thrills’ and you can grab a handful.
13/ What’s the best idea you’ve had but done nothing with?
The best idea would be to contact Richard Branson and tell him to start making planes from the same material they make the black box data recorder from. I mean if you show up to a plane crash looking for a perfectly intact box why not look for a perfectly intact plane with people just chilling inside? Just an idea?
14/ What’s the worst idea you’ve had that you’ve done something with?
To many bad ideas to list
15/ You can get up every day and do the routine. What something you try to different every day?
Routine is my enemy, I have never been very disciplined – when I try it seems even worse. My days are always different due to my inability to maintain any routine. Oh and random nights of binge drinking helps. This also contributes to my pets been very badly behaved they obviously need routine.
16/ How many bikes do you own now?
The House of Thrills is filed with bikes I own, come and buy them.
17/ Can you do wheelies on any of the bikes? Seriously. Can you? Or at the least some big kick ass fishies or skids. Skids are rad.
Dude I’m straight 180 when it comes to road safety – lame I know. I throw down the odd skid here and there to maintain my street cred.
18/ Your a deadset brand snob, you’ve even said that to me. Give me three brands that are getting you hyped right now and why.
Brand snob indeed, I like to keep it real when it comes to props I throw down for brand out there here is my list – and I’m sure not everyones going to like it….
* ACTUAL PAIN
* (OLD) STUSSY
19/ We’ve spoken at length about a lot of shit, one topic we constantly hit on is the trendy/cool debate and that brands needs influencers. They don’t need cool guys or trendy guys but influencers to really help kick a brand up. In your mind what makes an influencer an influencer? Any examples you’d want to share?
*Aaron Bondaroff – Supreme / Anything
* Erik Brunetti – FUCT
* Shaun Stussy – Double SS
20/ Authenticity is key in this industry and a lot of brands lose their way along the road to success… So, Thrills takes off, starts making millions and is killing it. What’s the plan to maintain growth yet challenge your team to remain true the Thrills brand?
I think to keep challenging your ideals is important, like if you look at the history of the brands that I have mentioned above – excluding Stussy they have all be relatively medium sized brands for a long period of time. Sustaining and maintaining, I’m sure if they wanted to be the next Ed Hardy they wouldn’t even know where to start…thank fuck. I guess that’s keeping it real.
Thrills – Keeping it upside down since 2011