“We aren’t just corporate dudes sitting in an office”—Tom DeLonge talks Macbeth
In Shakespeare’s play Macbeth, Lady Macbeth may have said, “I have given suck,” but that’s something Macbeth footwear has never given us—especially with their latest round of Studio Projects, a footwear collab with different bands that goes beyond just slapping a logo on a shoe and calling it a day.
Sleeping With Sirens came up with a sneaker that combines the classic Macbeth Eliot shoe with logo designs and an insole band photo, plus some hidden lyrics. (You’ll have to find ’em yourself.)
The Gaslight Anthem designed an original photo collage for their insole with behind-the-scenes shots from touring life.
The Maine’s design was inspired by their fourth album Forever Halloween. A portion of the royalties from sales of the shoes will be donated to suicide prevention organization Hope For The Day and its Music Saved My Life Project.
Macbeth co-founder Tom DeLonge tells us more about the collabs and future plans that may or may not include peeing in one’s shoes.
How did Studio Projects start, and what makes them different than a regular collab?
The whole company basically started as a giant Studio Project. All our friends were musicians and artists, so that’s who we wanted to work with because that’s who inspired us. The Studio Projects were sort of a way to put together a really rad board of directors to help shape what Macbeth would become as a brand. We don’t just throw a band logo on a shoe and call it done; we actually show these guys our shoe development process and help them translate their art into shoe form. That’s what makes our collaborations different.
How do you choose the bands for Studio Projects, and why did you choose the most recent three—the Maine, Sleeping With Sirens and the Gaslight Anthem?
All three of these happened very naturally. Those are the best kind of relationships. They all represent a different part of rock ’n’ roll, and we really liked that. They had interesting ideas so we were excited to bring those to life on a pair of shoes.
What is the Studio Projects design process like?
It is different for each band. It comes down to their creative process, how they write, what inspires them, their schedules, etc. Some bands are crazy hands-on, right down to the perfect feel of a fabric, so we end up going through tons of fabric swatches backstage at one of their tour stops or flying to their house, whatever it takes. Others are more visual and have an idea of what they want something to look like, but they lean on us for the technical expertise. All the bands in this most recent SP collection were super-involved in the design process.
What’s the most rewarding part of Macbeth? What’s been the most difficult part?
I have a company where I can work with my friends and creative people who inspire me; that has always been the best part. We are putting shoes on your feet. That's pretty incredible. I mean, I hardly know how to play guitar; who would've thought I'd have a shoe company, or that someone would trust me to run one?
It has its difficulties for sure, just like anything else. The most difficult part is probably whoever has to do all the timelines and spreadsheets. I hate that stuff.
How do you split your time between music and Macbeth?
Both are a part of my everyday life. It just ebbs and flows depending on what the band's working on. My recording studio and the Macbeth creative design space are in the same building, so it’s easy for me to work on both productively. It’s the perfect set up.
Any nonprofits you’re currently working with or supporting?
Right now, a portion of the Maine's Studio Project sales go to Music Saved My Life through the Hope For The Day foundation. It's a cause close to our hearts and something that is super-important to the band so that is rad. We still work with PETA and will have a new project coming out with them very soon. We're also working on supporting one of our artists who had a family member that was recently diagnosed with cancer. Nonprofits have always been a big part of my life, and it’s cool to be able to use Macbeth as a vehicle to bring awareness to great causes.
Have there been any challenges in continuing to create cruelty-free shoes?
Vegan materials can be expensive, so it’s hard to keep the price low for fans, but we try to as hard as we can every season. Sometimes, like when we started using recycled materials in our shoes, they looked so good no one could really tell the difference. We knew it was the right thing to do since so many of our friends and artists are vegan. It was the only way to authentically represent the brand.
Musician collaborations have become prolific within the apparel and footwear industry. What sets Macbeth apart?
It's our authentic connection to the musicians. We are all musicians, and we get it. We've lived in a rank van on tour, slept in parking lots between shows, spent sleepless nights in the studio and have experienced the magic that happens onstage connecting with fans. We aren't just corporate dudes sitting in an office somewhere trying to slap someone’s logo on our product because we read a memo that said it was a good idea. We live and breathe the culture and lifestyle. We made it part of our entire brand—not just a marketing initiative.
Any future plans you can share with us? Upcoming Studio Projects, new styles or campaigns?
We are testing a way for guys to be able to pee into a compartment in their shoe while performing onstage, because often you don't have time to go to the bathroom. Just kidding. Well, actually, I may be on to something.
Macbeth Studio Projects are available exclusively at select Journeys stores across the U.S. and online at journeys.com and macbeth.com.