Hipster Runoff Interview: An Instant Messenger Conversation

With the recent launch of his “I Am Carles” T-shirt range, we decided to dust off our MSN profile and find out what’s new in the world of Hipster Runoff. Be warned however ironic 2K10 predictions lie ahead…

Ashley says: hey man

Carles says: Hey Ashers. How is ur day?

Ashley says: yeah it’s good about midday here almost time for a break – what time is it over there?

Carles says: 9:30 pm

Ashley says: any plans tonight?

Carles says: just ‘interneting’ how abt u

Ashley says: yeah same deal. can never beat the internet. So how’s everything in HRO land?

Carles says: Everything seems to be going ‘good.’ I feel like I have ‘progressed’ but I am still just trying to ‘evolve’ and possibly ‘stay relevant’/get more hits. I am not sure how much longer HRO will be around.

Ashley says: Is that why you launched the merch arms? To stay relevant and expand your personal brand?

Carles says: I feel like there was a ‘demand’ for it, so I had to respond. I think after the addition of 3 or 4 more products, the store will make more sense to consumers. I don’t think I would ever sell a shirt that says ‘hipsterrunoff’ on it, but there will be other conceptually satisfying products that I can offer to a high/low end niche who is willing to pay for things on the internet.

It seems like ‘launching a store’ is more likely to make you seem ‘desperate’ and ‘irrelevant.’ It seems hard to ‘get rich’ on the internet unless you create a useful+monetizable web application that connects people. I am not sure if I will ever get ‘mad rich.’ I am just a blog.

Ashley says: Did you work out a deal with Am Appy?

Carles says: I am no different than any other ass hole who purchases shirts via the Am Appy wholesale program, then resells them. In a way, all alternative t-shirt designers are ‘powered by am appy.’ I have read that some company called ‘alternative apparel’ is also good at wholesale. Seems like a solid gimmick to have the name ‘Alt Apparel.’

Ashley says: How did you source your models? Were they the best possible “ambassadors” for the HRO brand?

Carles says: I have read that I am Tao Lin, so I decided that I should ‘ride that meme’ and have him represent the male side of the brand. I feel like male models often look ‘douchey’ or ‘intimidating’, like the would isolate the male market. I think an AZN male represents some one ‘neutral.’ You can focus on the product.
Bebe was the first person to send me a friend request on myspace in 2007. From what I understand, she is a rising alt-socialite in Southern California, and will possibly be an ‘it girl.’ I feel like I wanted to capitalize on her before she ‘got big’/turned into a mainstreamer like Cory Kennedy or Agyness Deyn. I think she has a greater appeal to a greater amount of young females. She has a look that is in touch with the majority of humanity–free spirited, yet trapped in suburbia.

Ashley says: Would she fall into the “tug-worthy” category?

Carles says: I think that might be ‘inappropriate’ because she is underage. It is important to be a rising ‘it-girl’ between ages 14-16. I think the direct ‘lolita’ personal brand might be dated, so I don’t think the goal of Bebe is to be ‘tugworthy.’ She is more representative of the girl who truly ‘gets’ you. A girl who most bros would do anything to have as a ‘serious girlfriend’ for 6 months – 2 years.

Ashley says: Future wife material, kindred spirit – that kind of vibe. I see. So have these two met you? Is Carles like Bruce Wayne in that an inner-circle of people know his true identity?

Carles says: I have a core group of authentic bros, and Bebe is certainly in it. I am more of an ‘internet friend’ of Tao, but we went to Whole Foods once, and I think he seemed bored by me, but possibly just a very awkward person.

Ashley says: Has the success of HRO increased your capacity to get tugjobs/your face on party pic websites/free cocaine?

Carles says: I don’t really view those as ‘rewards.’ Maybe I am growing up. I think the ultimate reward is being able to ‘chill on the internet excessively’, posting ‘opinions’ on things, and possibly being able to convince yourself that you are ‘relevant’ based on how many twitter followers you have. It seems like that would be more rewarding than experiencing an altered state like an ‘orgasm with an entry level alt’ or ‘doing blow with some bro in a bathroom while u r DJing in Toronto.’ I have only made love to 4 girls who knew about my blog, and I have only been on the cobrasnake 2 times + last nights party 1 time.

Ashley says: I feel like my outlook is less about hedonism these days too. Do you think that’s a result of the Global Financial Crisis? Why do you think bros are more chills these days?
Or more simply what has caused the mass exodus from “banger bros” to “chill bros”?

Carles says: I think we are just growing older, accepting who we are, and what we are realistically capable of. Lowering personal expectations of our actualized self. We are not capable of doing very much, so ‘chilling’ is a good way to justify your downtime/lifestyle. ‘Chill’ seems like the new electro. Less involved, structured, and more ‘aimless.’ As opposed to ‘seeking out’ meaning at dance parties + long nights that you hope last forever, ‘chilling’ is a way of accepting that the ‘meaning’ you were searching for was inside of u the whole time. I think there will be a huge backlash against the ‘chillwave’ because it is hollow and doesn’t really add much value to humanity as an inspiring aesthetic.

Ashley says: Well what music are you listening to at the moment (chill or not) what are your music predictions for 2K10+

Carles says: I have been listening to early songs by Kings of Leon. I am trying to figure them out. I don’t really understand how they were ‘incubated’ as a brand in the Strokes era, but then turned into ‘bro rock.’ I feel like 2k10 will be a year where people are still recovering from the ‘complete disaster’ that was 2k9. We will look back and be ashamed of how ‘we acted’ in 2k9, the year of Merriweather Post Pavillion. We are in an era where we don’t really ‘trust’ new bands since they might just be ‘internet hype.’

Ashley says: Mmm it’s the era of the Hype Machine. How about style predictions in 2K10+

Carles says: I think 2k10 will be pretty ‘business casual.’ People will still buy Am Appy, but start using the bright colours as ‘undershirts.’

Ashley says: Will tight jeans ever go out of fashion?

Carles says: I think that as we grow older and gain weight/have children, skinny jeans will no longer be ‘a viable option.’ I feel like this evolution is not unique to just ‘modern alternative people’, but many generations throughout modern history. Business casual might be a comfortable look and feel for all people.

Ashley says: Hey have you seen HRO exegesis by the way? I’m assuming you google alert your name…

Carles says: Yes, I have followed it closely since it first launched.

Ashley says: Your thoughts on someone else critiquing HRO? Do they hit the mark?

Carles says: I am not sure. I feel like I can only read several sentences per post, and they seem ‘insane.’ I enjoy it, and I think it strengthens my brand. HRO means something different 2 every1, and every1 ‘gets’ it in a different way. I think the world would be a better place if more people started blogs about how HRO makes them ‘feel’/what they think each post ‘means.’

Ashley says: I feel like that’s one of the most appealing aspect of HRO – that duality. People can appreciate it even if they don’t “get it”. Which brings me to the next question – how can I tell if someone “gets it” and someone “doesn’t”? I feel like people who post pictures on Lookbook.nu don’t get it.

Carles says: It seems like it is just important that it ‘exists.’ I think it fills a critical niche within the alternative websphere. Seems hard to know who ‘gets’ it. Maybe it will make more sense when HRO dies.

Ashley says: Do you have a contingency plan for dwindling traffic or a slow slide into irrelevancy? (touch wood) Any future projects besides the apparel? It seems a lot of blogs have parlayed their success into book deals…

Carles says: I am not sure about a ‘book.’ I feel like a blog moreso than a book. Seems hard to write a book since they cannot display youtube embed codes or play mp3s. I am working on some other projects, but I think they will be announced soon. Just don’t want to ‘ruin’ my brand. Just focusing on writing ‘a good post’ every once in a while.

Ashley says: I once described you as “the bro singlehandedly responsible for the proliferation of the word bro” is it weird to think you’ve influenced the way people halfway across the world speak?

Carles says: Some terms are just ‘the best way to describe something.’ I am not sure if it has to do with HRO ‘using a term’, or if ‘bro’ perfectly captures the essence of ‘what makes a bro’ a ‘bro.’

Ashley says: There’s a $3000 option in your shop which grants the buyer “an opportunity to meet Carles and possibly ‘chill’ with him depending on your personal brand. Do you plan to make good on that offer?

Carles says: I will honor that offer.

Ashley says: Pinkie promise?

Carles says: ‘Pinksy promsies.’

Ashley says: What if an Aussie kid buys the package?

Carles says: Aussie people seem chill. I am Carles is a universal brand.

Ashley says: What has been the most meaningful experience of your 2K9 so far?

Carles says: I am not sure. I saw Animal Collective live, so that might be my default answer. I feel like some one could go through all of my tweets and identify a meaningful moment.

Ashley says: Do you like Twitter? Has it helped engage your audience more?

Carles says: I feel like it has ‘increased hits’ for every one that has a website. Seems like ‘hits’ might mean less, but still probably feels rewarding to ‘get more hits.’ Not sure if people really WANT to listen to some blog every few hours, but it seems like a good way to force people to listen to you on a daily basis. Seems like that is what you are supposed to accomplish as a blog–finding a way to make it into every1’s ‘daily routine.’

Ashley says: That’s our business model right there. Have you had any weird fan experiences on Twitter or otherwise?

Carles says: Not really. The HRO brand does not really ‘interact’ on twitter. It mainly just ‘tweets’ without the ‘@’ symbol.

Ashley says: How about people reaching out to you via email. Any strange encounters?
Carles says: Nothing atypical. Just the usual ‘searching 4 a human connection’ on the internet that many people are looking for. I think people just want to talk to me, and let me know that they ‘get’ it or something.

Ashley says: A question from Twitter: markc2009@pedestriandaily ask him if he is a ‘ghey’

Carles says: Isn’t every1 ‘a little bit’ ghey?

Ashley says: Will the world even know your true identity? Why aren’t you like Hugh Jackman in “The Prestige” where he wants props from everybody. Isn;t that human nature?

Carles says: I am still not sure what I want. I feel like I am in touch with humanity. Feel like I am going to die and then it will be black.

Ashley says: Is online Carles the same as offline Carles?

Carles says: I feel chill both online and offline. Seems like ‘things happen’ and you ‘think about them’ then react appropriately. Sometimes events are blogworthy, and sometimes events are only ‘microblogworthy’ [via twitter].

Ashley says: So do you have a day job or is HRO your full time gig?

Carles says: I have a real job.

Ashley says: Could you reveal what industry it’s in? Does it align with your online persona?

Carles says: Feeling overwhelmed by all of this attention. My industry is ‘business and technology.’ Worried that this interview ended up ruining the ‘i am carles’ brand.

Ashley says: OK we’ll wrap it up there. We love the “I Am Carles” brand as much as “Carles” and we would never jeopardize the authenticity of your brand.

Carles says: There will be several new product announcements coming soon, and I feel like it will seem ‘more like a brand’ instead of ‘some ass hole selling overpriced t-shirts.’

Ashley says: Do you have a message for the Pedestrian readers out there?

Carles says: Pedestrian is a quality source for alternative news. It seems like something worth reading every day to ‘feel connected.’ Also ‘follow me on twitter’ or ‘god bless’, possibly.

Ashley says: Thanks for your time Carles.