New to WJRR’s Earthday Birthday this year is Colours Couture, which can best be described as everything kick ass you want to do and make time for this weekend. From celebrity tattoo artists to body suspension by master piercers, to music and vendors galore, Colours Couture aims to provide a full rock star experience within the festival setting. Founder Ryan Darnell took a few minutes out of his busy day to speak with us about his venture, but first a little exchange that still has me giggling at its explosive and hilarious alternate ending.
Shockwave Magazine: Hello, is this Ryan?
Ryan Darnell: Who’s this?
Hey Ryan, this is Robin with Shockwave Magazine. How are you?
Hey, what’s up, Dude.
Hey not much, Man.
I apologize. I’ve been getting calls all day today for solicitors and it’s just [laughs] — and then your number came across and I was like, “You know what? I’ll answer it, and I’m going to bitch out the next solicitor.”
That would have been the best. You could have given me some tips to handle my solicitors. Everyday it’s, “Hello. This is an important call about your credit card.” Then, I hang up, block the number, and it’s never-ending.
It never is. It’s horrible.
This could have started so much funnier, but hi! I wanted to thank you for taking the time to talk to me about Colours Couture, this huge feature that Earthday Birthday has this year. Is this your first Earthday Birthday?
Yes, it’s our first Earthday Birthday and hopefully it’s not going to be our last. We’re going to keep on growing it and moving it, and adding crazier things every single year.
I went to your site and immediately the visuals that pop up on the screen are everything from music, to tattoos, to piercings, and body suspension. What can we expect to see Saturday from Colours Couture?
All of that. We have our suspension team, and they’re bringing the A-frames and different types of platforms to basically hang people from. Since it’s a one-day event, they’re going to try to do as much as possible to keep the show going. That will be some rock star stuff. We’re going to open up the door to fan participants to come up. They just sign a waiver and we can suspend them.
[Laughs] It’s so disgusting, it’s like — in a sense it’s — as cool as it sounds. It’s like, when you see it, you’re like, “Wow,” and you can’t stop staring. But, then your stomach is just like — you know, why would anyone ever want to do that? It’s got to hurt. And then, you talk to the people and everyone is like, “No it’s just like getting your ear pierced.” If you ever had your ear pierced, the first initial poke hurts, and then after that it’s fine. You’re sore afterwards because the needle basically wraps around your tissue and your tissue is actually holding you up in the air. And I’m like, alright, being suspended is one thing, but when you start swinging around and you’ve got people pushing you around, and all that stuff, while you’re basically suspending off these hooks, why doesn’t it tear out? But, the tissue is so super strong. When you think about it, yeah, you cringe and it’s kind of gross, but people like it, man. People like odd things in life, so we’ll provide it.
That’s true. We are a rubberneck society. We’ve got to look.
We can’t help it. It’s our nature. I think part of that is self-preservation; where you’re just like, “That’s pretty cool, and I’m glad it’s not me.”
But, you’re actually going to let festival goers participate. Aside from that, you are also bringing some incredible tattoo artists, a lot of Ink Masters and some highly, no pun intended, decorated tattoo artists.
How did you bring this group together?
I’ve been working alongside the tattoo community for the last three years. My background is in the music industry where, typically, I am either the agent or a manager for rock bands or hip hop artists, and I typically sell them. The last couple of years I either had 12 Stones or Trapt and I would sell them to Earthday Birthday. That’s generally my scope of business. There’s this new wave, this tattoo industry that is starting to step up to the plate and wanting to branch out, outside of their tattoo studios. So, there’s a couple of promoters that try mixing the music world and the tattoo world together. I was more than happy to show up and try it out, and sell my bands to them, and take it to the next level. I partnered up on a couple of shows and, basically instantly, kind of had that — I guess creative differences on a lot of different things.
So, we separated, hence the fact that Colours Couture is — you’ve never heard it before until right now. The model has been worked for the last few years, and we’ve basically fine-tuned it, and this is our launch year. In building relationships was a lot of key tattoo artists, I wanted to build a collective of tattoo artists that kind of turns into — you know, promote these tattoo artists like Wu Tang Clan. I represent six of the members of Wu Tang Clan. When people hear, or see, the name Wu Tang Clan at a festival they know it’s at least going to have five of the members showing up. So, when people see the name Colours Couture, I want them to instantly know that it’s going to be at least five to ten of our core group showing up, tattooing there. I’m creating a separate platform for these tattoo artists who have basically become rock stars in their own right.
I think a lot of these tattoo artists are missing the whole brand identification that they actually have. They’re sitting back in Detroit or Miami, or wherever their tattoo studio is at, and then there is six to ten main tattoo conventions / expos, which is a very, very, very stale environment. You have 200-300 tattoo artists all in a little 10×10 pipe and drape sectioned area with their table that they put their linen on and display their tattoo stuff on. Hopefully, they stay busy and make their money back. [There are] no bands — maybe they’ll have a side-show. They’re starting to step up a little bit with that. But there’s really no experience for the person getting the tattoo, nor the person tattooing. You’re just in a conference room tattooing. I think it’s really stale, so I said you know what? Let’s create something different. Let’s attach ourselves to the festivals that we do, that my promoters are putting on.
Why was Woodstock so cool? Because it was the experience. That’s what we’re trying to add to events such as Earthday Birthday. I looked at the past years and the body painting was huge. Well, there’s a lot of people who might think, “Well if I’m going to take the time to do body paint, I might as well make it permanent.” Well, cool, you know, make a bad decision permanent [laughs].
You know what? A lot of tattoos are bad decisions that we carry on our skin, and it’s okay. It’s okay. My first tattoo is kanji.
[laughs] Oh no!
I got it when I was 30. I picked it off a stock poster in this tiny little tattoo shop in a tinier little town. I’ll never cover it up though, because when people ask me what it means, I just say it means I’m a dumb ass. And that’s my story!
It’s a scar. Right!
Are you doing piercing as well?
We are doing piercing. Our guys that handle the body suspension are going to be our piercers on site.
What do my readers and festival attendees need to know going into this experience? I think sobriety is a key for both if I’m not mistaken.
Right, yes absolutely. It’s basically at your own risk. We won’t touch anyone that is under age, under 18 even with a minor waiver signed by a parent. To eliminate any controversy, we just don’t do it. So you must be 18 years of ago or older. It’s just really the whole psychology of commitment. Know what you’re getting yourself into. Also know your environment. It’s outside. We have a 60×90 tent and we’re going to have a subfloor, so we’re creating the best environment possible. But it’s basically fair grounds. It’s all grass and dirt out there. And it’s going to be fucking hot [laughs] but people in Florida are used to that. But it’s not like going into a tattoo studio where they have the A/C on at 68 degrees. At the end of the day it’s about the whole experience of the event.
You’re bringing the music, the artists, the side-show — you also have some lifestyle vendors?
Yes, we got Weed World Candies. They’re going to be our 4/20 vendor in a sense. They sell little candies and suckers that don’t have THC in it. It’s a cannabis-based product, but it’s legal in the non-medicinal states. It will be equal to going to the store and buying Advil or Tylenol, but it’s in the form of a candy sucker, and its cannabis based.
It’s very cool. It’s FDA approved and it’s been through rigorous testing so we’re good on that. We’re also going to have Inked Magazine on site, which has a whole line of lifestyle branded merch. They’re going to have a whole display of just crazy stuff.
It almost sounds like a festival within a festival, which is completely cool.
Yeah, that’s the whole point. Colours Couture this year was all about baby steps, attaching ourselves to festivals, and then next year, 2018 we’ll actually be doing a full amphitheater tour as Colours Couture featuring maybe Def Tones or Incubus, or Godsmack and some other big bands.
This is big!
Yes, and Orlando is basically our first show underneath this name, and our first show of the year. This is a stepping stone.
We’ll be there for your launch, and we’ll definitely stop by. I think my photographer and I want to get a tattoo.
I have to say, Cleen Rock One is the rock star of the whole group. He’s kind of the man. He’s got a lot of things going on, just got done filming a couple different things of which I’m not allowed to talk about, but if he squeals and leaks it with you, perfect.
Oh, we’ll stop by then!
I’m bringing celebrity tattoo artists who are actually good at what they do. When people get a tattoo that are not familiar with what a good tattoo is, they don’t know what lines are, they don’t know the methods of tattooing. When people think of Colours Couture I want them to feel safe and know they’re getting a good artist to put a great tattoo on them. Cleen Rock is a freaking character. Look him up online. He’s out of Vegas and he’s just — he was on Overhaulin with Chip Foose at one point. He comes from that motorhead gearhead background, turned tattoo artist. He’s also a skater and he’s going to be selling skate decks out there. He’s got a lot going on in the lifestyle world and he’s a great character, and he’s fucking funny as shit. Great stories.
I’m looking forward to the entire event and seeing what Colours Couture brings to the festival. Super excited and I’m really glad we were able to hook up and talk about it a little today. Thank you so much, Ryan.
Absolutely! Cool! Talk to you soon!
Appointments for tattoos should be made ahead of time. Click here for the application. Shockwave urges you to drink responsibly if you’re considering a permanent souvenir.
Read more on suspension and reach out to master piercer Dustin Mathis by following the link to our feature here.