Brothers Trace, Chad, and DJ Marshall grew up in the San Fernando Valley, just over the hill from First Point Malibu, where they got their first taste of surfing and inculcated at one of the sport’s oldest and richest venues.
Despite the fact that they still refer to themselves as kooks, the brothers Marshall have gone on to become fixtures not just in the Malibu scene, but have made their mark on surfing up and down the coast and beyond. While the trio's home bases have diverged geographically, they have united to create a new venture called The Brothers Marshall, a surf apparel brand that harkens back to the loud, proud '80s surfing vibe.
The Marshalls have poured their creativity and experience, including Trace's last role founding Warriors of Radness with Rick Klotz, and Chad's insight from co-owning the Venice Mollusk Surf Shop, into their new array of "100% authentic surf gear," that launched this year; along with some heavy hitting collabs including shoes with Vans, fins with Captain Fin, and surfboards with Scott Anderson.
While the trio are the nucleus of the brand, they conspire and draw inspiration from a huge clan of "Bros."
"We have lots of Brothers," explains Trace. "It's not really about blood or marriage, The Brothers Marshall is really just a way of life or philosophy--everyone's a Bro."
We had a chance to bro down with brother Trace recently as he philosophized on the brand's unique style, upcoming line, and some supreme sources of stoke.
You guys have been involved in a lot of aspects of the surf world. How'd you get involved?
We grew up riding longboards. When you have First Point Malibu as your local spot--there is really nothing better than riding a long board on a chest high wave there--[but] it was hard, and took a lot of time, for us to earn waves at Malibu.
You guys are pretty spread out between LA, Venice, and SF. Where does the magic mostly go down and what have you guys been cooking up?
We have an office in Hollywood, but Chad is part owner of the world famous surf shop, Mollusk, in Venice Beach California. We do lots of brainstorming, [AKA] shrooms and beer, there.
Our plan for Spring/Summer 2013 is to convert an old UPS truck into a mobile office/store/party vehicle so we can work, shred, rage, and still make some ends anywhere on the coast. We are also about to launch “The Brothers Marshall Show” on brothersmarshall.com--the plan is to have this truck rigged to broadcast live wherever we may be....
Sounds amazing. Why did you decide to leave Warriors of Radness to launch this?
I will answer this question with another question--where are Warriors of Radness and Rick Klotz now?
What were some of the takeaways you learned in launching that brand with Klotz [who also founded Fresh Jive]?
I learned everything from working with Rick--good and bad. On one hand, I learned many technical things such as how to use a computer, production, concept, music, L.A., design, history, et cetera. But on the other I learned what not to do...
Brothers Marshall takes me back to the heyday of surf graphics and has a definite '80s vibe going on. Where did you get the inspiration for the brand's direction and its first line?
Well I was born in the 80’s [and] I feel that time period was special. Surf was huge--it was when surf brands and companies went mainstream and hit pop culture [with] bright, big, bold, logos and lots of color. The sex was clean and the beer was cheap. It just brings me back to [being] a little kid in my room standing on my dad's 5’10" Horizons west quad on the bed with a wetsuit on pretending I was on a wave. I think my bros and I were hooked before we even got wet.
Sorry, back to the question--if you were a surfer in the late '80s/ early '90s, especially in So Cal, it was about babes, beers, and fun! This is the aloha we are trying to spread through our garments!
Who is handling design?
I do the design with the help of a Canadian, a Mexican, and the influences of all my bros.
You guys hit the ground running with the brand, literally, with a kickstart from the Vans collab. How did that come into being?
His name is Matt Nosbuch [Vans Footwear Designer]. He is extremely handsome and loves the bros. He told us to talk to Millsey. We still owe him a wetsuit. If you are reading this Millsey please go to Mollusk and get measured.
We'll spread the word. Speaking of collabs, you've worked with Captain Fin as well and have more collab projects under your belt than lines so far. What makes a good collab for you as far as the partnership and the goals?
We have lots of bros, and our bros love the Bros. We were asked to collaborate on projects before we even started making any product. As far as collabos go, I think as long as there is a goal and commonality on what you're producing, it's great.
On that note, tell us a little about working with Scott Anderson on the Marshall Brothers surfboards. Do you foresee getting into hardgoods, or staying focused on apparel for now?
Wow. Dirty Rubber Custom Seamen Suits. What else will Spring '13 include?
We will be introducing cut-and-sew pieces such as dope-ass boardshorts, a sick pull over, printed fleece, and a few hats that will get you laid for sure.
As long as you wear your Dirty Rubber Custom Seamen Suit. You guys are only in a few shops right now, but they're all epic doors like Mollusk, Captain's Helm, UNIV, and Val Surf. What's your strategy and goal as far as distribution?
Our plan is to work with your best local surf shop and grow slowly from there. We are more interested in building a relationship with accounts and their customers. Once you're a bro, you're a Bro for life!
What are you doing on the marketing front to get the name out there to the world? Warriors of Radness definitely has an interesting and different strategy of marketing and distribution. Will Brothers Marshall take a similar approach?
Yes, there will be a similar approach as WOR. We are kinda just picking up where we left off [with WOR]. The one thing we are very excited about is The Brothers Marshall Show! It will be coming out at the beginning of the new year. It's Wayne's World meets Tim and Eric's Awesome Show meets New Wave Theater meets The Tonight Show, but surf [focused]. We are going to have rad surf guests, skits, and bands. Look for it on brothersmarshall.com.
Are you guys planning to get a surf team going?
Yes, send your portfolio or sponsor me video to: email@example.com.
What are the next big steps for the Brothers Marshall?
Just keep it going. It's always summer--it just gets a little colder! I feel spring of next year is going to be our real coming out--can't wait!