‘IRREGULAR has always been giving some shine to new and upcoming people. People who keep it underground, but still deserve to be seen and heard.’
When you look back to when you started Irregular in 2010 in Munich, Germany, would you have though to end up where you are today?
Well, I haven’t been part of the mag when they started out. It was Gotti, who started it back in 2010. The funny thing is that I’m originally from Munich as well and I did get the first issue of Irregular in my hands, but as a reader. I thought it was super cool, because it represented the scene in Munich along with my friends who were not like sponsored skaters or very well-known dudes. Then, I moved to Luxembourg after some extensive travelling and kinda lost touch with the German skate scene. Luxembourg is more oriented towards the Belgium and Dutch scenes. In 2020 however, Faby and Gotti came to Luxembourg on an Irregular tour and we hit it off immediately. I was stoked to see that Irregular had transformed from a local zine into a proper European skate mag.
You started off as a zine. What was the point where you decided to move to a premium format instead?
It was 2017, when Irregular moved to big-format print. A far as I know, this was mostly driven by the readers, as some did complain that the pictures were just a bit too small… and they did have a point. So as a response, Irregular moved to big-format print.
Do you sometimes wish to go back to your old zine format with irregular release dates rather than dealing with regular deadlines?
Actually, we have kind of done it last year… at least regarding the irregular releases. We only put out two issues instead of four. It’s quite some pressure to produce four issues a year. You gotta deal with contributors, brands, deadlines, the printing company. For every issue you’re working with so many different individuals, which is beautiful, but at the same time, skaters and deadlines have never really worked well together. Let’s take the first Flip video for example. It’s been announced to come out soon for like four years or something. I think that’s why they called it “Sorry”. Every single issue kinda feels like that… Plus, the three of us got some other obligations and commitments as well. We’re all working day jobs and that doesn’t not make it any easier to regularly put out quality content. So last year, we only put out two issues, but they’ve been bigger – issue 47 had 144 pages – and content-wise, they might have been some of the best yet.
Who are the founders at Irregular and what are their roles?
Gotti started the mag, basically on his own. Phil Pham joined him after two years or so and ran the mag together with Gotti for a while before left off to new endeavors. Then, Faby came on board. He had already contributed photos pretty early on and in 2016, he officially joined Irregular as the staff photographer. He’s the one who makes the final call when it comes to the photos. Gotti is responsible for the layout. He’s the reason, why the mag looks as good as it does. It’s crazy to see sometimes what he’ll compose out of the “raw material”. Well, and I’m mostly taking care of the website, social media and the writing. Also, I’m filming for the mag. But at the end of the day, we’re all doing a little bit of everything.
‘SKATERS and deadlines have never really worked well together.’
What sets Irregular apart from the other German skate mags like Solo or Pocket?
Irregular has always been giving some shine to new and upcoming people. People who keep it underground, but still deserve to be seen and heard. Everybody knows this one guy that rips really hard in some remote village, who has no sponsors and who no one knows outside of the local scene. Irregular has always been and shall always be a platform to feature those people as well, both online and in print. Also, we’re trying to stick to the roots of the mag and focus on the German-speaking regions in Europe: Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Luxembourg. Just like Sugar is still coming out in French, Irregulat is coming out in German. It comes with an English translation in the back though, cause we wanna include a maximum of people in the experience. Solo and Pocket have grown and gone really international in the last few years; which is sick! I am very stoked about the development of those publications. Big up!
What has been the proudest moment in the history of Irregular?
Just before Covid hit, in 2020, Faby and Gotti organised a 10-year anniversary party. As far as I know, they went through hell with setting this one up. There were some open sessions, from a slappy curb all the way to a kicker over an inflatable pool, there were video premieres, photo exhibitions. So many people came out and showed love. It was amazing. I went there too with a homie from Luxembourg, who had been invited to the event and that’s the first time I’ve got to briefly meet Faby and Gotti – a couple months before said Irregular tour to Luxembourg. Another highlight’s certainly all them tours in general. Austria, the Netherlands, Slovenia, France, Switzerland, South Africa, Canada, … the list goes on. You always get to make so many new friends, experience the best times and some sort of freedom that only skateboarding can offer. Every single tour is a personal highlight for sure.
‘I AM very stoked about the development of those publications.’
Anything in particular what was embarrassing or funny?
We lost our Instagram account in 2022. We never really got a response or an explanation from their customer service. We all have access to the IG account, but we live in three different cities across two different countries. After we came back from our South Africa trip, I needed to edit some post and I could not get in anymore. I guess IG blocked the account on the grounds of suspicious activities. We were data roaming from so many different places in South Africa and then logging in from different places back home. Anyways, we wrote letters, engaged a lawyer, reached out to loads of people, but nothing seemed to work. Kinda embarrassing, kinda awkward, when you go into meetings with advertisement partners these days and you don’t even have an IG account, accompanying the print publication. Eventually, we got it back after a month or two. No explanation, nothing. Just back online from one day to another.
Your mag is free which is remarkable considering you produce up to four issues a year. You must have a very loyal base of paying brands. Do you break even at all?
We try to. The cost of print rose by 30% last year, so we did not break even. We’re putting in a lot of time and energy, but we’re not making a single euro of the mag. It’s all for the love of it. Last year, we even had to chip in with our own money. Of course, that hurts a bit, but at the end of the day, it is a passion project. We see a lot of value in keeping print alive and we are beyond stoked whenever the mag comes back from the printer. Plus, I mean, we’ve got our day jobs anyways…We all have regular jobs too. Faby is a photographer of course, but he’s also working in an office a couple of hours per week. Gotti is an the art director of an advertisement company. I am a social worker, working 20 hours in refugee centre and I have a side hustle at the University of Luxembourg, too. I also work on a MBA in social sciences at the moment. So the mag does depend on money from advertisement partners, but the three of us are financially not depending on the mag, which is kinda cool in a way.
Apart from financing, what is the biggest challenge in putting out a couple of issues per year?
I’ve mentioned deadlines earlier, but in general I’d say, there’s always a lack of time somehow. We all have day jobs, Faby’s got a daughter, Gotti is into cycling, I’m studying next to all that and we all wanna skate ourselves… I guess, sometimes you just can’t go skating though, if you’ve got stuff to do for the mag. It’s particularly hard when friends are hitting you up to join the session and you gotta be like: “Nah, I’ve got this text to finish” or whatever… Also, it can be pretty challenging to make the final decisions regarding what goes into the mag and what doesn’t. Them pages have a limited number of space to be filled. Whatever doesn’t make it into the mag is not necessarily bad… actually, most of the time it’s all pretty damn good but, but we’ve only got limited space. So, whenever there’s extra stuff that we like, we try to use it in another way. We put a lot of stuff on the website that did not make the cut for print.
Were there any ads that you declined because they did not fit into the mag’s philosophy?
There were situations where we refused an offer, but I will not call out any names here.
Can you tell me which industry like fashion, car, beverage?
When I open my emails there’s always some requests from all kinds of fashion brands, who are producing hiking shoes, bags or whatever. It’s kinda funny, but we rather skip such offers – even though they might be well paid. The mag features skateboarding and its culture. That’s it, nothing else.
Last question. If you could interview any person in the world, who would it be and why?
Let’s create some sort of alternative universe in order to answer this question: I grew up in a local town near the Austrian border with like 20’000 inhabitants. There was this one guy that totally ripped. His name is Stefan Buckow. Shout out! He’s inspired me so much, when I got into skateboarding. I guess everybody had someone like that around them in their early skate days… He was doing backside nosebluntslides, kickflip backside tailslides and stuff like that back in 2003. If he had moved to a bigger city with the right crew, maybe he could have made it to the big leagues… who knows. Let’s imagine he did. let’s imagine he did not break his hand several times – which sucks even more when you’re a carpenter – and let’s imagine he still skates. Then, he’d be the one I’d pick as my dream interview partner.
You could still interview him though…
True that… An interview with a former underground hero, in true Irregular fashion!
‘THERE were situations where we refused an offer, but I will not call out any names here.’