‘In Their Shoes’ has been running as IDYSM’s resident interview series for some time now, unearthing the fascinating stories from some equally fascinating people who all have a unique role and relationship with sneakers.
IDYSM: So, before we get into into the info behind your take on the phrase ‘In Their Shoes’, please tell us a bit about you – who you are, what you do, and how are you going today?
Michael: Sure thing… Mike Corbett is the name on my drivers license but most people call me, or at least know me as my nickname Maccy. I work at Warner Music Australia as part of the digital marketing team and my business card will tell you I’m the creative content manager, I’m also the editor of our in-house blog Cool Accidents. Today’s current mood is equal parts excitement and stress thanks to the 18 month long In Their Shoes campaign we’ve been working on finally launching today!
IDYSM: So, you’re the creative force behind a shoe auction called ‘In Their Shoes’; please give us the lowdown on it.
Michael: In Their Shoes is a global charity auction powered by Warner Music Australia & Cool Accidents with support from Converse, Sharpie and obviously the artists from all over the world who were nice enough to get involved. All proceeds raised are going to the National Breast Cancer Foundation of Australia or in some cases the artists chose specific charities that were important to them. We provided everyone involved with a plain white pair of the timeless All Star Hi Converse sneakers and a pack of fabric markers and left the rest up to them. The end result has left us with over 70 unique one-of-a kind pieces of art that will hopefully help us raise a stack of $$$ for the selected charities.
IDYSM: How did the idea for this come about?
Michael: Early last year we had the guys from Grouplove in town and whilst filming an acoustic session for Cool Accidents I noticed their manager was wearing a pair of customised Chuck Taylor’s, I asked him where he got them from and that’s when the groups vocalist Hannah chimed in saying that she’d done them… The cogs in my head started to turn and I thought it would be cool to get touring bands to design a pair while they were here. Not long after we had Portugal. The Man stop by so we hooked them up with a pair of kicks and lead singer John Gourley did such a great job on their sneakers it made the whole thing a lot easier to pitch to Converse and get them on board and it all gathered momentum from there.
IDYSM: I’ve seen the list of who’s involved with this and it’s pretty impressive – I’m going to ask you to namedrop now and shamelessly plug some of the amazing guest artists involved.
Michael: It wasn’t until recently, after doing a quick stocktake of all the sneakers that I realised just what an incredible list of artists we’d been lucky enough to secure. It actually reads like some crazy dream festival lineup. From household names such as New Order, Michael Bublé, Linkin Park, Red Hot Chilli Peppers & The Black Keys to huge pop megastars like Bruno Mars, Ed Sheeran, Rudimental, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, James Blunt, Birdy & Fun. Then on the flip side we’ve got a whole heap of established and up and coming indie bands and artists like Bon Iver, Skrillex, The National, Santigold & Tame Impala… even Jay & Silent Bob designed a pair! I guess the best part of the whole thing is that there’s a pair of sneakers for everyone no matter what your taste in music is.
IDYSM: So everyone get’s a Converse All Star to get all arty on. What have you seen from the varying takes on this canvas, who’s designs have impressed you the most and why?
Michael: Some bands were able to spend more time with the sneakers and some were done quickly whether it be backstage at a show or even on a boat cruise on Sydney harbour so as a result there are varying levels of impressiveness… If I were to pick my favourites I’d have to go with Portugal. The Man who I mentioned earlier, they are absolutely insane plus they get bonus points for being the first ones done. I love the pizza inspired ones by Sydney 3 piece Bloods… because, well… pizza, The 'Nuggets’ inspired ones (based on the psych rock comps of the same name) whipped up by Jason Galea are the most likely to get turned into an actual sneaker design, Surfer Blood, Fun., Pond & The Medics all delivered super awesome pairs if you’re judging artistic merit and Michael Bublé’s submission was pretty impressive, He sent us his very own pair of size 9 and a half preloved black Chucks so if you’re lucky enough to win them you will actually be ‘in his shoes’ which is pretty awesome.
IDYSM: This whole idea is being produced in conjunction with Warner Music, how important are sneakers to the music world?
Michael: There is definitely a strong connection and history between the two. Whether it’s people like The Ramones or Kurt Cobain wearing Converse kicks or punk rockers owning multiple pairs of Vans, I guess in some way they have become part of the unofficial ‘uniform’ for a wide range of musical genres. Hip-Hop in particular has a deeply rooted history or love affair with sneakers. Run DMC, Beastie Boys, Just-Ice, Nas… shit! Kanye even has his own model of Nikes and Wiz Khalifa launched a line with Converse earlier this year. Bonus beat which sums it up nicely (See Lexicon’s ‘Nike Head’ here)
IDYSM: Peeps like Macklemore (someone I would love to chat with in one of these interviews!) is an out and out, loud and proud sneakerhead, do you think people like Mack are making sneakers as relevant to the music game as ever before?
Michael: I remember reading somewhere that Macklemore got into collecting sneakers because of Michael Jordan and that Air Jordans are his favourite sneakers to rock (he even dedicated a whole song to sneaker consumption and not feeding into it – ‘Wings’ which I guess is a case of the pot calling the kettle black!) When young kids see someone like Macklemore or other musicians/celebrities wearing a certain pair of kicks they want them because of that fact and not because of any connection to Michael Jordan so I guess that musicians and other celebs are helping keep sneakers relevant for a whole new generation.
IDYSM: How can people get involved with the ‘In Their Shoes’ auction?
Michael: It’s super easy, the auction goes live here on the 24th of October and will run for 5 days through to the 29th. In the meantime you can check out a sneaker peek of all the kicks at our Sneaker Peek app and get all the information you’ll need over at In Their Shoes. Also, if you’re in Sydney and over 18 years of age the sneakers will all be on display to the public from 12-7pm on Sunday the 27th of October at The Standard.
IDYSM: The last question is about you – what’s on your own feet right now?
Michael: Currently I’m rocking a pair of black A.P.C x Nike Air Maxim 1s which I spent way too much money on & I just hooked up a pair of Black Cat Jordan IVs. I’m also in the process of making some space on the shoe rack and saving some funds because come October 29 I’ll hopefully be adding a one-of-a kind pair of sneakers from the In Their Shoes project… it’s just a matter of deciding which ones to bid on!
Interview by I Dig Your Sole Man
Pictures by Dan O'Brien for Secretly Excited