After countless stops under their belt, Sneaker Pimps continues to impress as the epitome of successful traveling art showcases. Half way through their seventh year on the road, the Peter Fahey-masterminded tour shines as bright as ever, implementing all aspects of the sneaker lifestyle into a cultural bonanza that features live art installations, video game tournaments, skate sessions, and Hip-Hop concerts. We recently caught up with Peter Fahey to chat about various topics and learn more about the man behind the chain link fence.
An Interview with Peter Fahey (Founder of Sneaker Pimps)
Peter, Sneaker Pimps is now in its 7th year. Did you ever envision the tour shaping out the way it has? What were you initial expectations?
When I first started it, I never thought it would last as long as it has and go all around the world, but as the years have gone by I have definitely made sure that we keep making it fresh. Adding more music artists to it as well as bringing in other elements, which I feel, makes up the sneaker culture. Initially I just wanted to do an event that was different compared to other events and was something that I was personally into.
We can definitely see your into sneakers, music, and art, as all of those are incorporated into the shows. Do you have other hobbies aside from those? Are they something you could add to the Sneaker Pimps roster down the line?
Yeah man, I am not a hardcore gamer but I definitely love to play EA’s Skate games, so this year we teamed up with X-Box to create a video game battle at the show, featuring EA Skate 2. Pretty much everything I am into you will see at the events: sneakers, skating, street art, basketball, and music. That’s basically me!
Where you able to catch the NBA finals?
HELL YEAH!!! I was the only one of my touring crew that was rooting for the Lakers. We watched every game, and actually on the way from our Atlanta to Miami shows, we stopped in Orlando and got court side at the playoff game between the Cavs & Magic. Seeing LeBron in real time was amazing!
Kobe all the way man! Speaking of LeBron, who’s signature line do you like better…Kobe or LeBron?
Kobe. All day!
Haha. Obviously you loves kicks. What are some of your favorites of all time?
That’s such a hard question because I am always changing, Nike SB Dunk Lows and Highs are so dope. I skate in them and they are just so comfortable. I am also a huge fan of adidas Superstar Mids and for sure eS Koston 1′s. Those are the greatest skate sneaker of all time!! I am much more into skate shoes than anything else.
Koston 1′s are classic. It must have been great news for you then, to hear about Koston’s switch to Nike SB.
MAN!!!! I was PUMPED. First of all. Koston has been my favorite skater since Mouse came out back in ’94 and I religiously followed all of his releases on eS. When he switched to Lakai I wasn’t really feeling the shoes that they put out (especially the copied eS 1), but yeah the Nike SB thing for him is so rad. Its like two of my favorite things coming together. I am waiting for the day they drop his first sneaker, and the SB video coming out? SICK!
Definitely. You grew up in Australia correct?
Yep, in Sydney.
How was the skate scene out there?
Well, I started skating in the early 90′s and back then it was all about small wheels and street skating, Hip-Hop and skating really started merging. All the inner-city skate rats were skating in J’s and that’s pretty much how the scene was in Sydney. I first went to the US in 2002, but from what I hear and saw in mags it was pretty similar to the US.
Hip-Hop plays a huge role in the street scene, along with skating. The entire scene is reflected within Sneaker Pimps. Early on, how did you manage to land such prolific Hip-Hop acts into your shows?
I really just pushed to get good music acts at the shows, it was like a personal goal. Before a tour, I’d sit around with my crew and we’d make lists of the artists we most wanted to book and then start going after them. The hardest part was getting sponsorship dollars together to pay for it because booking artists like Public Enemy, Nas, etc. isn’t cheap. But it does help when 99% of Hip-Hop artists are sneaker fanatics.
That’s for sure. Who’s the biggest sneaker nut out of the acts Sneaker Pimps has showcased?
Hmmm… I’d have to say Nas! Also can’t forget about DJ Clark Kent, there is a dude who lives and breathes sneakers.
So you guys travel year round, what has been your favorite stop thus far?
Man, I can’t front, I love New York City! People here really love and appreciate the show, so I’d have to say NYC. But we once did a show in Jakarta Indonesia that brought out over 10,000 people.
Damn, that’s a ton. With you guys traveling so much, do you have an actual city that you can call home?
Nah not really. I lived in Hong Kong for a year, lived in New York for a year, live in Seattle, Los Angeles, and Vancouver. But yea, still on the road with my wife and baby along with our touring crew. I think pretty soon we will settle in a city, but for now its city to city.
How big is the Sneaker Pimps traveling crew?
There is 7 of us. Sometimes we bring other people in for certain tours though.
Must be tough work, props man.
Yeah man, it’s a huge job. None of us were trained for this, so we are still learning on the job you know?
No doubt. What’s the biggest difference you’ve noticed within the sneaker audience now and when you guys first began?
The age range has shifted from 23-35 year olds to about 15-25, so we see a lot of kids coming through these days.
Yea, kids are starting off young in this industry, developing their own brands, etc. Do you guys have any plans for further Sneaker Pimps product?
Well, we did the whole brand thing and it was cool but I think, product wise, we are more into doing like straight tour tees and merchandise you can buy as memorabilia at the Sneaker Pimps shows.
With 2009 almost half way through, what plans do you have for Sneaker Pimps for the remainder of the year? or heading into 2010?
We still have another 17 cities of this US Tour left, a Canadian tour, a show in Mexico and a tour in Australia. Keeping it moving.
Best of luck in your travels Peter. Thanks for catching up. Any last words?
Thank You. I remember HYPEBEAST when it first came out, its dope to see the progression. Thanks goes out to my sponsors as well, Verizon Wireless & X-Box, my crew and of course all the fans!