The world is throwing us more surprises than Jakkels did when he attacked from behind in Wonderboy. Technology has already taken us into the realm of science fiction. The world is changing at such a rapid rate and it’s reassuring to know that there is a brand like 2BOP that connects us to our roots. 2BOP embodies what will become known as future nostalgia. They remind us that life is a game and we can skiet for as long as we want. They have created a concept that defies the laws of advertising. They’ve created a culture that reminds us how JAS is it is to be a South African. They have a created a brotherhood of gamekoppe and corner store colonels that will stand vas till the end of time. If you don’t know who 2BOP is by now – you better raak wys. It’s time to get with the programme.
I always start off by asking: What is your power animal? But in your case – what is your power character? If you could be any 8-bit character what would it be?
Anthony: Could it be an existing character or must we invent one?
Brad: I’m straight up Mario, dude.Cos he’s tripping balls all day. He’s fucked on mushrooms in this weird world. He just spends his life tripping balls. It seems like a fun existence to lead. But ya, it could get a bit much.
Lekker. And then I was gonna ask you guys…
Anthony: Hey! I didn’t get my one. OK … C’mon … there’s so many. OK, that dude from Vigilante … don’t know what his name is but he just walks around going KAPOW! KAPOW! He’s got this pair of nunchucks. He is pretty badass. I’ll find out what his name is and I’ll get back to you. [Lagging in the studio]
In terms of skill?
Anthony: You cannot deny his skill. The guy took the whole gaming perfection thing to a whole other level. Even if he just happens to be the biggest douche in the universe, it doesn’t mean you don’t want to play games with him.
Brad: I like people that are dicks. I think they’re important in society. And the thing is: I’m all about paying your dues. And there’s not one person on earth that can say that dude has not paid his dues. As far as playing Pacman goes, and Donkey Kong. He is a god, so basically, when he’s inside that small world, he should be allowed to be a dick.
Anthony: We need people like him for sure. Without him the world would be a boring place.
OK, now into 2BOP. Part of 2BOP’s success seems to be because people are becoming nostalgic – wanting to remember times when games were about the gameplay and not about the graphics. It helps remind us of the carefree times we spent with our brasse. When life was all about getting the next two bop and skieting a game. Is this true?
Brad: I think nostalgia definitely plays its role here. I think that by nature people are perpetually nostalgic. I’m in my early 30’s now and I’m beginning to sound like my Dad. And when I was I kid I was like: ‘You old ass’. And now I find myself doing the same thing.
Anthony: And I’ve said this somewhere before … 2BOP is not just about nostalgia. This friend of mine came up with this term: Future nostalgia – it’s almost like getting déjà vu in the moment and you’re like – ‘WOW! I’m going to remember this moment forever.’ So, we’re trying to create that kind of feeling where even though you’re inspired by some past era – we’d rather reinterpret it in terms of what’s happening now, and what’s going to be happening in the future. In those terms it is a futuristic style.
I dig that term – future nostalgia!
Anthony: Don’t use it too much, it’s trademarked! [Laughs all round]
I believe that colored culture is the most authentic culture in Cape Town, and Cape Flats culture needs to be celebrated. I think you guys are doing a pretty good job. What do you skiem?
Anthony: What is colored culture? From my side – that’s cool and everything. But I’m like … fuck colored culture, you know. What is colored culture? How do you define culture by one group of people? What is it? Is it because we all eat gatsby’s and lower our cars?
It’s a stereotype, ya?
Anthony: Exactly. It’s too much of a generalization. It’s about celebrating an area. Obviously there is a colored culture … I’m just saying that to be controversial.
Brad: Stereotypes exist because they are true. I don’t give a fuck what anyone on earth says to me, stereotypes exist because they are true, and I believe you should celebrate it. I believe in not being skaam of who the fuck you are. For me, when I think of colored culture – that’s what I think of – an overwhelming feeling of not giving a fuck. But it’s not giving a fuck because you’re so comfortable in your own skin. And I do think it’s totally and completely unique, and people should celebrate it more. But, you know, I don’t think that colored people would ever tell you to celebrate it, just by the nature of being a colored. You know? So it’s kind of a weird thing because I’m saying that it should be celebrated more, but at the same time you’re like: ‘Nah… fuck, you know, just let it be.’ In a perfect world it should be celebrated, but I’m also like – why?
Anthony: That’s kind of what’s cool about it. People don’t want to be defined by it, but they are. [Laughs all around the studio]
Brad: It’s like the dude rolling past in his lowered to the floor Ford Cortina, or not even a Cortina these days – like a Toyota or some shit, and he’s standing out the side…’tjsy, don’t put me in a box!’ It’s just funny dude.
I get the feeling sometimes that 8-bit characters are begging to be set free from antiquity. They need to be set free into the real world and into pop culture. Is it just me? Or does 2BOP give these characters a new lease on life?
Anthony: Stop smoking so much ganja!
[Laughs all round the studio]
Brad: You know what: To a certain extent, what you’re saying is true. Anthony and myself are very aware of what we’re doing. The whole 8-bit thing has been done before, but a lot of people just take the Atari sign and put it on a t-shirt. But we always try and keep shit a lot more cryptic. So a lot of the time, for example – the Billy Mitchell shirt – it’s this perpetual inside joke. And when someone gets it, they get it. Because it’s always in the weirdest places. We have this one shirt – aesthetically it’s got rad colours, a nice sort of visual image … Lot’s of people can dig it for what it is. But there are hidden layers. It’s this weird character, and it comes from playing Wonder Boy to a level of abuse that you will know who this character is. So, in essence, you are kind of setting it free because you’ll meet someone who’s on that same level as you, they’ve played it just as much as you, and they’re like: ‘Holy shit! That’s that dude that comes from behind and kills you!’
Anthony: It’s true. Back in the early 2000’s I was working some stupid office job – I used to print out stickers and shit on the company printer. No wait … I shouldn’t be saying this. [Brad laughs] I used to put up Wonder Boy characters in the most random spots. They’d normally get stolen. So ya, there was this desire to get these characters out in public spaces. But also more of the obscure characters – not Mario, not Pacman, not the Space Invaders. It’s also about letting people know that there is depth to the stuff.
Brad: There are also these background characters that are just kind of there. Like those poor fuckers in that round in Street Fighter – they would just cheer, they would cheer constantly… [Brad laughs]
OK. Role playing games are big today. Kids in Korea actually drop dead from malnourishment due to weeks of playing. Games like World of Warcraft and Diablo have become the new obsession. Kids are actually dying! Do you guys think todays’ gaming culture is completely different to the old culture?
Anthony: It’s just evolved. I mean – arcade games by their very nature were designed for you to play them for as little time as possible, so you could put more money into the machine. That’s kind of the fundamental difference. But mobile gaming is becoming quite popular nowadays. It’s something that you can play quickly on the go. Through mobile phones and technology evolving, I think there’s a similarity between arcade games and these quick entertainment games.
Brad: Ya, you know that Thai term – same same … but different?
Brad: That’s kind of how it is. It’s still, in essence about being obsessed with whatever it is. Whether it’s playing shoot-em-ups or old mame games. For me it’s still the same sort of thing, but then again it is different. Technology has allowed shit to move a lot further forward. But as Ant says … at the end of the day – everything is designed to make you fail, which is what makes it so appealing. Because you wanna fuck the system. You wanna beat it.
One of the reasons I love 2BOP so much is that it reminds me not to take life so seriously. It reminds me that life is fun. Life is a game. It’s a philosophy that I’m trying to live by. Do you guys agree with that?
Anthony: Yeah, totally. That’s why we don’t take ourselves too seriously, or our prints … or our website.
Brad: Just have a jol bra.
Cape Town is renowned as being cliquey. What do you guys skiem?
Brad: I think people that say that are fucking whiny bitches. Cape Town is the sort of place where people really don’t give a fuck in a good way. I get annoyed by people who are like: ‘Dude, you my friend right? Dude, you my friend right?’ I want to tell you to fuck off then. If it doesn’t work, if things don’t clique then why force it? I can understand if you’re a buiterlander and you come in. But people persist. They’re like: ‘that guy is such a dick because he won’t be my friend.’ I think Cape Town is simple on that level. I think it’s a massive misconception- fabricated by the haters.
Anthony: You create that shit yourself. If you just talk to people, they’ll talk back to you.
You guys know what’s happening in Woodstock, with all the gentrification. Where shits becoming more expensive and people are getting kicked out. It makes me feel that a part of Cape Town culture is becoming a bit phony. What do you guys think?
Anthony: Yeah we totally agree that it’s happening.
Brad: One thousand percent dude. If you look at Woodstock – the Woodstock Industrial Centre – there was a place there called The Golden Plate. These places have been legendary spots to buy gatsbys and fast food. My Dad used to go there back in the day. I’m not saying that shit needs to always remain the same. I do believe in progression, and I do understand that it’s the natural cycle. The city needs to expand. But you can be respectful in the way you do it. It all boils down to respect.
Anthony: What do people value? Like The Golden Plate for example. Some people will say it’s just another failed business, or it’s just another café. But people don’t get the heritage. They don’t get the culture. And back to your earlier question – what is colored culture? That’s part of colored culture. Those developers don’t value that. They could have handled that in a different way.
It always seems to boil down to profit. Profit always seems to reign. Ya?
Brad: Absolutely dude. This is how it’s always happened, throughout the world. There’s an extremely passive aggressive approach to it. They don’t directly say: ‘Look, we’re kicking you out.’ They say: ‘You can totally stay here for the next 6 months,’ and then they come back and things have changed… rents gone up. So it just puts them in a position where they can’t afford it, so they have to give it up. It comes down to black and white – as in the facts, we know they never actually kicked them out; they left because they couldn’t afford it. But we all know it was just a nice way of them telling them to fuck off.
Anthony: It’s crazy man. You know where that new office block is? With the Spar? A friend of mine lives just around the corner, and she said these old people just got kicked out of their houses, and the houses are just standing there, empty. They’re not using them for anything.
2BOP has a unique and beautiful culture. You guys actually stand for something. You have connected with a core group of followers unlike most brands. How do you guys do this?
[Anthony and Brad laugh]
Anthony: We don’t. It just happens. I think people can see when you take pride in what you do, and that you’re having fun and considering what you’re doing and not just doing it to make money. They can see the love you put into it.
Brad: You know what I said earlier about Cape Town and the cliquey thing? Well … we’re not trying to be anything but who we are. If I meet some dude and we clique we’re gonna be homies. It’s not like a “will you be my friend kind of thing”. We don’t say: ‘Please will you wear our clothes?’ So, if you like us, you like our clothes, then cool … fuck with us. And if you don’t then that’s also cool. I think it’s because we don’t push too hard in a society that is based on just forcing shit down your throat. Look at kids nowadays – before they start a band and before they’ve played any instruments they’ve got a Facebook page. And they’re marketing themselves and they’re asking people to like them?! That whole concept of asking someone to like you! What a fucking loser, you know! It’s retarded. And as Anthony says – we just are who we are.
What do you think of Cape Town Fashion? Are we finding our own expression? Or are we still following European trends?
Anthony: I don’t even consider us part of the Cape Town fashion scene. I don’t even know when it’s Cape Town fashion week. But it depends on what you mean by fashion.
Brad: I do understand that there is a specific European kind of fashion sense, but if you look at the history of Cape Town – it is part African and part European … and that’s a fucking fact. Look at shweshwe prints – all that shit came from Holland and then was just adapted in a different way by Africans. It’s all a mix.
Anthony: I guess the whole world is following everybody else.
The whole world is becoming more globalized. I just don’t see any particular influence. It just seems that everything is becoming more enmeshed. Do you agree?
Brad: It’s rad when things are enmeshed. I don’t believe that being an individual means that you’ve got to hang onto something. I’m not an individual because I’m holding onto my African heritage. Being an individual is being an individual. And celebrating the fact that we are this massive big pit of inbred fucking mongoloids.
I study culture and one thing that I find fascinating is how subcultures overlap each other, especially in Cape Town. Gaming culture overlaps with skating culture which overlaps with hip hop culture. It doesn’t seem to be one thing.
Anthony: I think gaming culture is so ubiquitous nowadays. It’s so huge. It’s as big as Hollywood in terms of revenue. You can’t separate the two. And any others for that matter.
And finally: RAAK WYS: What does this actually mean?
[Laughs all round]
Brad: If you directly translate it – RAAK WYS would mean get wise or wise up. But I don’t think it actually means that. It’s the same as the word JAS. It depends on a multitude of different things. It’s about how you use it and it’s in the delivery as well.
Anthony: It’s also like the ‘shits gonna go down now’.
Brad: Exactly. You could walk in somewhere and someone is kissing your chick and you’re like: ‘Naaier! Raak wys!’ Or your football team could have just scored a goal and you say: ‘RAAK WYS!‘