Who are you and what do you do?
My name is Skye Sweetnam and I'm the vocalist of the rock band Sumo Cyco.
Where do your source your inspiration for the merch you create?
In my lyrics, I often write about really personal stories of life, loss, struggle and overcoming. I like to examine how world we live in encroaches on our spirit and how to find meaning in it all. It inspires me to wrap those topics in a cape of off-beat imagery, inspired by alt fashion, comics, b-movies, sci-fi and retro kitsch from my youth. I call this concoction "Cyco City"; a world where anything goes. Many characters show up in our visuals from a skull-headed intergalactic space mafia called "Terrornauts", to the ultimate masked boss villain, "The Ugly" to a gang of knife toting girly girls, "Not Sorry Sorority".
How has the vision for your merch evolved over the years?
Our vision for merch has really expanded over time and has liberated us as a band to be financially independent. We love our friends at Presstime for coming through with tee's, hoodies, beanies, buttons, hats and some beautiful screen printed posters! We have also pushed ourselves to try new items like books, playing cards, puzzles and candles. Really the possibilities are endless! We've even tried a quiz which points our fans to certain merch items that match their aesthetics.
What are some things you wish you knew before you got started?
I'd wish I'd looked at things from a business perspective earlier on. Sometimes it's not easy for us creatives. In the end, each project has to be financially viable to keep a band or artist growing to higher heights in their career. Merchandising is a pivotal part of that for bands. As soon as I took control over the creation and marketing of our merch drops, I finally started to see the results in real time, which motivated me even more. It's amazing what you can accomplish with from a small group of fans if you just pay attention to what they want and speak directly to them.
Any words of advice for newcomers to your industry?
I say jump in with both feet! I find a lot of creative minded people tend to hone their craft in private and wait for some magical moment to come when they're finally ready to present their art to the world. I've found, that showing the community the process is much more of an interesting journey than just the final product. If you wait for the stars to align you may be waiting forever. Try, fail, learn, repeat until something works.
Anything to add? Got anything cool coming up?
We will be on tour this winter! Look out for dates announced soon! We are working on releasing a Live Sessions Vol. 3 EP with songs from our latest album INITIATION as well as the highly anticipated 2024 Pin-Up Calendar. We also can't believe it's going to be the 10 year anniversary of our first album "Lost in Cyco City " in March 2024 so we're planning some fun things to celebrate!