CHUCK: Ben and I met in high school. I was like 13 and he was 15 when we first met which is crazy to think about. Been friends a long time. We started discussing the concept of doing a blog together around January 2005. Virgil used to hit us up when we started The Brilliance! because he liked what we were doing. We'd get emails from all sorts of people but Virgil always stuck out to us as someone who truly got and understood what we were doing. So, eventually we asked if he'd come on board.
Here's why I think The Brilliance! is important and was way ahead of it's time: Voice. The site was driven by personality, not just taste and access to cool shit. Agree? How has voice played a part in the universe of the Brilliance? How was/is that different than other sites?
CHUCK: Totally agree. We never did and will never have an interest in being a 'promo' kind of site, where its like, "Hey check out this product we got emailed about!" No. The Internet is an immense clutter of that already. We always wanted to be a breath of fresh air, something just different and personable and very genuine.
The fact that we have a 'voice' is a very intentional, very natural thing. We're just talking about what we'd talk about with each other, like Ben said. And all we can do is hope others enjoy reading it.
We always wanted to be a breath of fresh air, something just different and personable and very genuine.
BEN: I love that even when it was just Chuck and I there were too distinct voices, two lifestyles. Then it was three with Virgil. But we've always been fairly different in personalities from each other which is what makes it interesting I think.
I remember, and still stoked on it, Bobby Hundreds emailing us and being like: "I love that you guys have a personality and are not just posting product" This was in like 2005-2006 or something. It was a nice because a lot of people were like: "So, what is your focus?" Ha! There is none!
Other sites seem to have found success without a distinct voice (Hypebeast, Highsnobiety, etc.), but I sense that the appetite for personality/voice in web writing has grown tremendously. Blame twitter? How will The Brilliance! and the voice you developed years ago fit into the current climate of the Internet?
BEN: I don't know really, we didn't know when we started either. Maybe it won't fit cause we're not
just images, I mean the whole 100x100 pixel photo thing is super funny in this current environment to me. Who knows. We're just having fun with it.
This is what a 100x100 pixel image looks like.
CHUCK: Hypebeast, Highsnobiety, all those sites are great because they know exactly who they are and what they're doing. Those two and a few others are the cream of the crop of that brand of site. I feel like, as I said earlier, the voice we have is simply three friends talking about whatever three friends would talk about who are interested in art, culture, the Internet, whatever.
The key—and I feel like this can't be overstated—is never taking it too seriously. I mean, just look at what I've been doing on @THEBRILLIANCE Twitter so far. Photoshopped fake Drudge Report headlines and #THEBRILLIANCE trending worldwide on Twitter. It's funny, it's stupid, it's "whatever", and I think people enjoy that.
With The Brilliance! we're still all about irreverence—doing whatever, no cares, no rules, super Internet.
You all have been enjoying some exceptional success over the years since The Brilliance! went silence, how might it be different now that you're back? What drew you back in? Did you feel that part of the conversation was missing?
CHUCK: We all have gained a lot of experience in life with work and travel and all sorts of random subcultural things and just in the last three years I think each of us have snowballed with those things in our own ways. Virgil with PYREX and DONDA stuff, Benjamin with Boxed Water and his fashion label, me with NoPattern. Its just been a wild buildup over the last few years and now we just have a lot we want to talk about beyond 140 characters and beyond any sort of typical blog.
BEN: Honestly, that's like the crazy part to me. We're all actually doing something super interesting in life—trips me out. Honor to have these guys as friends. We've all seen a lot more, done a lot more, maybe traveled a lot more (Virgil!), grown up a bit. But yeah, the tone in posts will probably show that. With The Brilliance! we're still all about irreverence—doing whatever, no cares, no rules, super Internet.