With the aesthetic of heavy music very much en vogue, it's hard to navigate tasteful collaborations without running afoul of coming off as disingenuous. It's the job of fashion brands to understand trends and keep up - however if you are The Hundreds, the MO has always been about authenticity, never about following suit.
It's that trailblazing spirit that has allowed the streetwear brand to thrive well beyond the typical shelf-life of most apparel companies. Their professional ability to understand what works and what doesn't, is balanced with what they personally find artistic and creative merit in - it's that combination that resonates as something real at the core of every collaboration.
For the brand's latest joint effort, they have tapped another icon in the universe of heavy music. Diving into the definitive imagery of Brazil's most prolific metal export, The Hundreds have partnered with Sepultura for what will be the band's first streetwear collaboration project in their near four decade reign. Revered and respected for their continued craftsmanship as pillars within the sphere of metal, the band, music like the brand, is unmistakable.
It's that inimitable quality among both entities that makes the collaboration one that is not only a complete no-brainer, but one that is long overdue. The Hundreds' Justin Esposito explains.
In 2020 The Hundreds teamed with Lamb of God for an incredibly successful collaboration. Did this Sepultura project happen as a result of that?
As a brand we are always very keen with people from the music space interacting with us on social media. Sepultura is always a band that we have admired musically and digitally. The success of the Lamb of God project definitely proved that we have an audience in the Metal world. With merchandise being such a core part of the Metal and Heavy Music community we couldn't think of a better follow-up than Sepultura. Bobby Hundreds had connected with their team and it has been nothing but a pleasure working with them on their first collaboration.
What is the criteria that goes into determining who best to partner with for joint efforts like this? What about Sepultura aligned with The Hundreds enough to link the brands?
All special projects that we produce are completely surrounded by story telling. The Hundreds is an OG brand, an example within the streetwear world, so we try to partner with other brands, bands, and creative entities that share a similar stature in their respective fields.
It is no secret that Sepultura has a very deep, rich, and complicated history. Their story and trajectory as a band has a lot of similar parallels with The Hundreds as well. For Sepultura and The Hundreds, we have reinvented ourselves and had to go back to the drawing board, figuring out what does and does not work for us creatively, while still keeping our core audiences involved and always at the top of mind.
For instance, the streetwear industry really took a huge pivot in the mid-2010s. The Social Media Platforms changed and how brands began to interact with their customers was completely revolutionized. For us, that was a huge point of transition where we abandoned some of the old guard ideologies of streetwear that we developed in the 2000s and decided to put our faith in the new generations to take The Hundreds into the next 10-20 years and the future of the clothing industry. Going back to one of our core beliefs and philosophies that our brand always has to reflect our community, which is forever changing. Sepultura has proved over their 37 year history, that they are not afraid to change and develop with the times, so it seemed like a great fit for the two brands to align.
Heavy music seems to be the current trend - is this collaboration about keeping in line with trends or more about working with a band you are a fan of?
Heavy music transcends being just a trend. First it was Chuck Berry, then Jimi, then Black Sabbath, then Judias Priest, onto The Dolls, Motorhead, and Iggy Pop, then came Metallica, Sepultura, Korn, Slipknot, so on and so forth. Now this is not a definitive list of any kind, but we are driving the point home that heavy music has always been at the forefront of every cultural revolution when being compared to the status quo or the era of the day.
Even in the rap world there are artists like ZillaKami, $uicideboy$ and NASCAR Aloe who are drawing influences from Punk and Metal within a genre and scene, that holds a lot of common values. It’s not Heavy Music that is the trend, but the constant need for us as humans to express ourselves through music driven by angst, aggression, and a reflection on your surroundings that trends through youth culture. Working with a band like Sepultura is all about acknowledging their undeniable contribution to Thrash Metal and heavy music in general, and solidifying their OG status to the music and streetwear worlds.
First with Lamb of God and now Sepultura - The Hundreds seem to have a knack for working with iconic bands. Is this the potential start of a series or do you just take each project as it comes?
We just take each project as they come, it's all about relationships when it comes to our special projects, so if the connection is there on a personal or professional level, then we are down to run it. We have a knack for working with iconic entities in all industries and creative fields. Sepultura is at the top of the list when it comes to iconic metal bands.
What is the creative process like - how much input does the band have when it comes to developing this capsule?
We gathered a bunch of references of older graphics from throughout the band's history. They have also worked with so many amazing artists to produce their imagery and art direction as a band. The graphics are a mix of old and new references for the band. We have designs based around their newest release ‘Quadra’ and also a new take on classic tracks like ‘Arise’. Also, Sepultura is one of those bands that has a niche in the world of vintage band tee collectors, and they can become quite difficult and pricey to acquire. Our goal was to create an interpretation of what Sepulutra’s OG and iconic graphics but with a modern approach in terms of design. When we presented the art to the band and their team. Derrick Green really became hands on with the design process and gave us a great feel for their aesthetic, and the story they wanted to tell. It was amazing to learn from the band what Sepultura is all about.
There is also a significant multi-cultural aspect to Sepultura that is a big part of their legacy. Is that something that appealed to the diversity of a brand like Hundreds?
Not only is Sepultura the most dominant heavy act to come out of South America, but they put Brazil on the map in a way that hadn't been done before. Before Sepultura, the average metal head would have just thought Brazil had soccer, beaches, and rain forests. They legitimized international acts breaking into the Rock/Metal/Alternative Music Industry in the United States, and showed a lot of American bands they weren't the only ones pushing the envelope within metal music. Sepultura’s unique sound, story, and their ability to evolve as a band over the last 37 years is more than a story worth telling.
Hate to put you on the spot but we gotta know - Best Sepultura record and song - and why…
WE THRIVE UNDER PRESSURE.
Even though this debate has been beaten to death, Sepultura has lived two out of there nine lives. The first life being from 1984-1996; our top picks from that era are 'Chaos A.D.' and 'Arise'. Our Chaos A.D. picks are "Slave New World", "Chaos B.C.", and "Biotech Godzilla". "Slave New World" is a thrash metal masterpiece. Every guitar riff hits so hard and the drums still hold up as some of the heaviest shit out there today. "Chaos B.C." is such a fucking underrated track! A really unique and rare mix of 90s techno, Brazilian Carnival drumming, and alternative metal. What a gem!
Up Next we have "Biotech Gorilla" because that track has the best thrash punk beat of the whole record. Our top picks off of Arise are ‘Arise’, "Subtraction", and "Murder". Our pick for Sepultura’s second life from 1996-2020 is the 2003 record 'Roorback’. This record screams ‘Fuck George Bush, the War on Terror, and the GOP’ all day. "Corrupted" takes the top spot off of that record. Sepultura riffs age like fine wine and this track is a perfect example of that.
Don’t sleep on their newest release ‘Quadra’ though! It's such a great anthem for today’s political and mental discourse, tons of amazing harmonies and riffs. Also, these dudes are fucking burning through these odd meters! "Capital Enslavement", "The Pentagram", "Means to an End", are our top pick off the new record.
THE HUNDREDS X SEPULTURA collection arrives on 2/25. Visit THE HUNDREDS online to shop the collaboration.