Now Playing: Mountain Vibes Playlist with Darrah Reid-McLean

Team Rider Darrah Reid-McLean sent us over a playlist of the tracks she’s been vibing to both on and off the hill in the mountains. If you’re in the market for some new tunes, we think this is a great place to start. Take a listen to Darrah‘s playlists and if you like what you’re hearing follow it and take it with you wherever you go on your next adventure.

If you’re interested in listening to more playlists curated by the 686 team,
 check out our Spotify Channel!

Photo: @_lemay & @kingsnowmag

The Anything Multi Pant with Founder Michael Akira West

We caught up with 686 founder Michael Akira West to pick his mind on the recent product addition to our Multi Collection – The Anything Multi Pant – a do-anything go-anywhere packable pant available in a Modern Loose Fit. 

Q: Where did the idea for creating a new everyday Multi Pant come from?

Mike West: With the Anything Multi Pant, we set out to make the modern Anti-Cargo Cargo Pant. We wanted a pant that offered all the functionality and storage you get from a standard cargo but designed with seamless pockets and hidden features for a much more streamlined look that we would want to wear. The Anything Multi Pant is a highly functional do-anything pant that offers our customers another ultimate everyday pant that you can actually wear from day to night in nearly every setting and environment.

 Q: Why did you design these? Due to feedback on Everywhere Multi Pant or because you couldn’t find a cargo you liked? 

Mike West: I think it was a combination of the two. I’m a functional guy, meaning I like to make sure all my belongings have a place to live. At the same time, I’m very picky when it comes to the “look” of our products. I ask myself questions like how does it drape when you have your cuff folded or not? Does it make you look wide or tall? Does it match with a T-shirt and a Dress Shirt? Does it work with different kicks from Chucks to Runners to Boots? From my perspective, it ALL has to come together and that’s what I think we did with these.

The other very important goal was to NOT make it look like a cargo pant. I wanted to create a modern cargo pant as far as functionality that included some aspects our customers loved about the Everywhere Multi Pant. Although we’re a purposeful and functional brand first, I didn’t want to get bunched with those “other” outdoor brands that make you feel like you’re going to conquer Everest while wearing these. 686 was born in the city and refined in the mountains and I wanted the Anything Cargo Pant to do just that – a perfect do-anything pant for both environments.

Q: Why is it called the Anything Multi Pant?

Mike West: We call it the Anything Multi Pant because you can literally do anything in it. Whether you’re hiking, climbing, traveling, biking, camping, going to the office or out for a night in the city, these pants are built for it all. They’re comfortable, stylish, and practical, allowing you to seamlessly and safely hold your everyday items without having to worry about losing them.

Q: What is one of your personal favorite features that you wanted to include in the design.

Mike West: There are many to note, but personally, I like to have my phone in a separate pocket from my other everyday items, so that it doesn’t get lost or scratched in the mix. This was a subtle feature I wanted to include with these. The designated phone pocket keeps your phone secure, provides quick access, and frees up your traditional side pockets for your other everyday items. Along with this, I wanted a pant with secure zippered and Velcro pockets to ensure that when I’m out and about none of my essentials get lost along the way.

Q: How does this pant differ from the Everywhere Multi Pant released last year?

Mike West: The Anything Multi Pant is different in many ways from last year’s bestseller, starting with the fit. We designed this pant in what we call the Modern Loose Fit, which means it’s roomier in the hip, thighs, and legs to accommodate those who prefer a more relaxed fitting pant.

The other most noticeable difference is the overall design and pocket layout. Using a modern design approach, we streamlined the cargo pockets and articulated the seam lines to be flat and clean while still providing depth and dimension. The pant is equipped with articulated knees to provide a pre-curved fit that supports your leg and knee mobility without restriction. Visually, the knee articulation brings a modern sensibility to how we believe a modern cargo pant should look and feel. In classic 686 styles, we also added a few hidden pockets and venting features that are nearly invisible, setting this pant apart from others on the market.

Q: What material is the pant made of? Why did you choose this material for the products construction?

Mike West: The pant fabric was a very important part of the overall design of the product. It took us several years of testing and sourcing to make a fabric that actually functioned and look the way we wanted it to. We used specifically sourced yarn to create a highly durable, cotton-like nylon, which was later combined with real spandex to provide a stretch property that was able to recover, offer the wrinkle resistance and provide visual atheistic we were looking for. We also made the fabric water and stain resistant using PFOA/PFOC free C6 Durable Water Repellant (DWR). We chose this specific type of DWR because it offers a balance between environmental sustainability and performance.

Q: If you could go anywhere in these pants, where would you go?

Mike West: If I could take ONE pant with me on a trip anywhere in the world the Anything Multi Pant would be it. Peru is the first destination that comes to mind – From hiking Machu Picchu to surfing the longest left-hand point break at Chicama to exploring the nightlife in Lima.

Q: How long have you been testing them? What are some unique ways have you used them already?

Mike West: I’ve been using/testing these pants for around 6 months and in that time, I have traveled to 12 countries in multiple environments. They’ve performed well in the outdoors and transition well into everyday use around the city. During my travels, I even found that when they need to be washed, this can easily be done in the sink. They can be hand/hang dried very quickly so that they are ready to use in a few hours.

Q: How has the feedback been so far from the customers?

Mike West: The feedback so far has been incredible! However, many of our customers are still stoked on the Everywhere Multi Pant and have yet to discover it. Those who have, love it because it addresses all their needs. Those who have not, have something to look forward to. 

Q: Any Final Thoughts?

A: There are so many choices out there when it comes to pants. Technical pants are NOT all created equal. You get what you pay for and at 686 we focus on the details. When you purchase a 686 product, it has to provide a point of difference. Innovation, quality, performance and style are what we stand behind.


Tons of Bands Fill the Stage at Volcom Garden During SXSW 2019

Tons of bands and live music fill the Volcom Garden in Austin, Texas, during the 2019 SXSW festival for our two-day Volcom Garden experience, featuring theLINE, Dead Meadow, Surfbort, Iguana Death Cult, Drakulas, Yves Jarvis, Los Mysteriosos, Fat Tony, Warm Drag, Chai, Obnox, Boogarins, and Slow Caves.

DAY 1:

DAY 2:

This event supports the SIMS Foundation who provides mental health and substance use recovery services for musicians, music industry professionals, and their families to support the well-being of the Austin music community.

The Volcom Garden is located at 1209 E 6th St in Austin, TX.

Photos: Daniel Cabral (@shredcorn)

BMBW at Bench Heaven

There’s just something about benches. Norwegian pro Fredrik Perry knows this better than anyone. He loves riding them, sliding them, ollie-ing over them, ducking under them, sitting on them, putting them on t-shirts, making movies about them and even throwing an all bench event at his local hill called Bench Heaven. This year was the third annual Bench Heaven at Oslo Vinterpark and it was just that. A jibbers heaven of endless fast paced bench derived freestyle options with 150+ hungry hungry hippos chomping at every possible trick. It was truly like a box of chocolates, you never knew what you were going to get. The session RAGED for 4 hours, never letting up for a second, the frenzied pack of boarders tore the course down and then tore the club up at the afterparty / awards. Our very own Zebbe Landmark was crowned Style God and Brandon Reis (the beast) took home the highest honor of Bench God! Brandon won a hand made hard wood bench that he now has to find a way to ship back to the states, but that’s another story!

All in all Fredrik put on one heaven of an event and sealed the trilogy of Bench Heaven with it’s best showing ever. Although Bench Heaven is now a Holy Ghost I’m sure the father will have another son that will save us from mid winter boredom again!

Watch the official Bench Heaven video here!

BMBW insta clip from Bench Heaven:

Action Pics by: Tommy Larsen

After Party / Awards Pics by: Even Brekke

The post BMBW at Bench Heaven appeared first on Bent Metal Blog.

Volcom Presents #ThisFirst At The Garden With Night Beats, Fat Tony & Al Lover

This past Saturday at the Volcom Garden in Austin, Texas we celebrated the culmination of the past six weeks of #ThisFirst, our initiative to reward people who are dedicated to turning their passion into their career. The event was a showcase of the work of #TheFirst winners and also featured a sneak peek of a forthcoming #ThisFirst documentary.

Thank you to all our winners, some of who traveled a great distance to be here and to Fat Tony, The Night Beats, Al Lover, Sound on Sound Fest, Deep Eddy Vodka, Austin Eastciders and everyone who came out to enjoy the night with us.

All photos by Levi Thompson unless otherwise noted.

日本の勝者”御木 惇史”による、和太鼓とドラムセットをMIXしたオリジナルスタイルのソロパフォーマンス
”Chama”と”御木 惇史”による即興ジャムセッション

Fabian aka Chama played a short set

Canarus Leon
Canarus and his crew R.A.D
Sara’s fish hung from the ceiling
Angel brought the horchata
Tim’s photo from Baja and some of Joanna’s charcoal pieces
You can see Joanna’s large peice she’s almost completed

Night Beats capped off the night. Photo by Reid


Fat Tony
Best trick on the mini ramp

#ThisFirst and some of the Volcom crew on hand for the night

Sara Becker and Tylah Kerr. Photo Reid
Steffen Turmer and Anfel Perez, Photo by Reid
Brandon Clements and Volcom Art Director, Patrick Carrie. Photo by Reid
Canarus Leon and Joanna Painter. Photo by Reid
Chen Yu Ching and Tim Briggs. Photo by Reid
Fabian Ruiz and Atsushi Miki. Photo by Reid
Robert Wall and Volcom’s Hope Lane. Photo by Reid
Sara Becker and Fabian Ruiz. Photo by Reid

We couldn’t resist the opportunity to break out the shredder again, so we brought it to the party so people could shred what they thought was holding them back from doing what they really want to do.

Thanks to Pixster for the photos


Throwing out the traditional job application, Volcom asked candidates one question, “What’s your ‘this’ and what would it mean for you to put #ThisFirst?’ The search received over 10,000 global entries – from roller derby to launching a food truck in Alaska, passions spanned a variety of topics including sustainable farm to table food sourcing, charity work, animal rescue, make-up artistry, and even crochet. For more information about #ThisFirst, go to

Volcom Art Loft Artists Share Their Sketchbooks


We gathered some of the artists from the Volcom Art Loft to share how sketching has played a significant part in their lives and still continues to to this day.


Do you have any memories of spending time in class sketching instead of paying attention?

KIRK “DEADBIRD” MUESSE: As far back as I can recall, I’ve been told on many occasions that my doodling was disrespectful and would get me nowhere. My teachers were half right.

PATRICK CARRIE: Definitely in 4th grade when I started drawing band logos and alternate album covers all over every inch of my binders.

JAMIE BROWNE: It’s harder for me to remember a time I was paying attention in class instead of sketching in my books.

AARON MASON: I would ditch computer class, go to Dietrich’s Coffee, and sketch what I called “Skate Ramps from Hell”. The irony is now I work behind a computer all day.


How do sketchbooks fit into your work today considering how much time is spent on computers now?

PATRICK: It’s no secret I’m a much more of an analog-lover than a digital one. I’m always surrounded by my sketchbook and like, 30 post-it notes to keep track of ideas, sketches, artwork, notes and one-liners. Maybe it’s 2 minutes with pen and paper for every 8 on a computer, give or take.

AARON: I have to make time, because if I don’t I will have a man-tantrum. Having an art job makes it easy though. A lot of the graphics used for [Volcom] t-shirts start in my books.

DEADBIRD: I just vomit into sketchbooks. Any idea, I try and get down. All ideas start there on their way to paintings or pixels.

JAMIE: Although computers are a crucial tool in the final stages of the design process and getting graphics ready to print I can’t stress enough the importance of sketchbooks in my daily life. They are where my ideas start out, scribbled at first then fleshed out, tweaked, refined or scrapped completely. Sketch books are where many of my final artworks still live and they clutter my desk at work and home. I also carry a small moleskin with me most of the time so I can sketch stuff down at the bar over a few coldies!


Are there any particular pens or pencils that are your favorites to sketching with?

AARON: Microns, X-acto blades and tears. Because I cry a lot.

JAMIE: I mostly work with pencils and Artline felt tip pens.

DEADBIRD: I like Faber Castell pens, Artline pens, Poscas, Windsor Newton ink wells and good old fashioned elbow grease.

PATRICK: The pilot precise V5 is my go-to pen. I sometimes dabble with some Micron pens if I need more control over my line work, but the V5 is pretty clutch for most of my needs. That and fresh Sharpies®.


Posted in Art

Jeff Soto Print Retrospective At The Volcom Garden


Words by Michael Sieben, curator at The Volcom Garden

I’ve been a fan of Jeff Soto’s artwork since the early 2000s, and I’ve always wanted to work with him on a project. When The Volcom Garden opened in Austin, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to reach out, invite him to Texas and showcase some of his art (God willing). I knew that Jeff had designed screenprints for most of his professional career, so I pitched the idea of a print show, and, to my surprise, he was totally receptive to the idea. What initially started as a best-of concept turned into a comprehensive retrospective of every print Jeff has designed over the past 15 years, since 2002 when he graduated from art school. Not only was this Jeff’s first major exhibition in Texas, but it was the first time all of his prints had been shown in their entirety. For a curator, this is dream territory.

Check out the exclusive Volcom Garden collection, only available at The Volcom Garden an online at!


This is a photo of Jeff signing the fine-art print to prove to you that he’s not actually an art robot sent from the future. I assure you, he’s a real man of flesh and blood. I even heard him pee. He’s legit.

I know this alienates the online audience, but without physically being in the space and looking at the prints in person there’s really not a good way to understand how detailed and amazing Jeff’s work is. I present to you this close-up image of one of hi

During the opening we also printed some hecka limited-edition Soto/Volcom/Garden split-fountain tees. Don’t even bother looking for these on eBay. They gone, man.

Jeff Soto!

I’d like to thank Jeff for coming out to Texas and sharing his print collection with us. I’d also like to thank everybody that came out to celebrate this amazing body of work with us. The show will remain up until the 18th of June, so swing by if you can make it to Austin in time. If not, there’s always the next show. We ain’t going nowhere!

See more of Jeff’s work at and follow him on Instagram @JeffSotoArt!

Keep up with happenings at The Volcom Garden on Instagram @VolcomStudio.

The Volcom Garden is located at 1209 East 6th Street in Austin, Texas. Store hours are Monday – Friday, 10am – 8pm.

Posted in Art

Mural Painting in Barcelona w/ Volcom Artist Gemma O’Brien

Volcom Artist Gemma O’Brien is a master of hand lettering, typography and large-scale murals. Since being an artist for Volcom, she has created two incredible one-of-a-kind murals. The first one on her home turf in Sydney where she painted a huge True To This piece, and secondly in California at Volcom Headquarters’ creative space: The Art Loft.

Having been on a Europe tour for the last few weeks speaking at design conferences and festivals, Gemma finished up her trip in Barcelona where she painted a large mural in the Volcom Store. We thought we would follow her around and see her process from concept to finished product.

As it turns out, a sim card and Google Maps panned out to be a girl’s best friend while trawling the streets of Barcelona for art supplies! Gemma found a great store that had everything she needed, so a quick trip there for acrylic black paint, mixing medium, paint pens, pencils, and a fist-full of varied-sized brushes has the mural kit all sorted out.

After Gemma got all her equipment, she headed to the Volcom store to check out the wall space, measure it up and work out the dimensions. After several photos and ideas running through the artist’s mind, she headed back to her studio to start on some preliminary sketches and concepts that suited the space.

The absolute mobility of Gemma and her work is an impressive feat. The makeshift hotel studio she had set up was comparable to a young college girl’s dorm room to say the least. The creative concept being developed on a tiny hotel desk, hunched over and cramped, to then be executed on a 23-foot-wide wall completely stretched out comes full circle from concept to reality. That’s an artist. That is Gemma O’Brien.

Gemma spent the night roughly mind-mapping her piece. Lots of thumbnails and sketches with a quick tapas break around 11pm. Artists don’t sleep, and well, it’s Spain! Home of near-midnight dining – a welcomed schedule for Gemma who usually prefers to work through the night.

With her final piece in mind and creative confidence stirring, Gemma hit the Volcom Store in Barcelona around 7pm to get started. Like any artist, ideas are constantly flowing and getting a piece finalized has many different considerations as the artwork metamorphosis a few times throughout the process with a new idea that pops up, the countdown clock rearing its head, and other variables come into play. But Gemma is no stranger at this game and surely doesn’t bite off more than she can chew as the mural was painted live at the event.

The artwork was drawn in layered stages, scanned into Photoshop, arranged and un-arranged, reprinted, redrawn – you name it. This is the most consuming part of the process for some. The design needs to be perfect and Gemma likes to push the idea until she is completely happy it suits the space, the brief, the vibe of the event, and challenges her as well as keeping the art fresh to the audience. She made it look easy, but it was a laborious day in a squishy hotel room at a tiny desk drinking weird coffee which accompanied the process. It must be noted, the lady worked hard as hell the entire time.

Arriving at the Volcom Barcelona store, the wall looked large and daunting after working on the small-scale version. The helpful staff moved all of the clothes off the racks and Gemma got to work scaling the artwork with her projector. This bit was fiddly. The wall was an uneven space with racking and shelves which needed to be attended to. A major concern, especially to those of us who are rattled with perfection, was that the artwork needed to look centred on the wall. After some questioning and measurements, the projection was in place and Gemma went about marking reference points. A few areas needed to be completely free-styled as there were poles and other objects in the way which obscured the projection. “All in good fun,” said Gemma with a smile.

The mural needed to be almost finished by the time guests were due to arrive at 7pm for the night’s event, while the remainder was to be painted live in front of the party before the band played. After weighing in on timing, Gemma decided to paint all of the highest points of the artwork as balancing on a ladder in a crowd of party people would be stressful to say the least! She also went over any parts that were not completely opaque or have dried a bit shakey. Perfecting her work as she went.

The party got cranking around 8pm. Mini burgers were scoffed, beers steadily swilled, and eyes were glued to Gemma’s final moments of painting. It’s really the coolest thing to see a piece of artwork like this finished live in front of a party crew.

A legendary night indeed! The who’s-who of Barcelona’s cool set, industry folks and media zombies alike all enjoyed a night of live painting and live music. All helping to celebrate a truly Volcom moment in Barcelona. True To This, always.

Thank you to Gemma O’Brien for staying true to the Stone and cranking out such an epic piece, and Lamono Magazine for hosting our event. Until next time!

Posted in Art

Volcom Featured Artist Series Presents Mike Parillo

An icon in the snowboarding universe, the legendary Mike Parillo is respected as one of the leading artistic visionaries in the action sports industry, having done essential work with major brands like Volcom and Lib Technologies for over two decades.

“The trick to painting is to get into it so much that you forget what you’re doing.” -Parillo

And yet through art, Mike found himself. His vehicle and his voice. Over the past 20 years he has built an increasingly complex body of work. His connection to Volcom goes all the way back to the formative, tribal years of the Stone. He is Volcom family. Mike grew up in Los Angeles in the 80s at the apex of the exploding skate, surf and youth culture movement. These influences were profound and put him squarely on the path he walks today.

“The artwork came from one of the early paintings in my experimental camouflage series,” Mike explains. “My idea was to make camouflage that was the opposite of camouflage. To think in a different way.” Defined by bright colors and layers of complex patterns, his latest collection will definitely not blend into the background, but instead make a bold and unexpected statement on style.

Posted in Art

Studio Diary for a Solo Show: Part 1

On July 31st, my solo show, Hiatus, will open at China Heights Gallery in Sydney. The exhibition will feature a set of new black and white illustrations and a large-scale mural. While I have been developing ideas for the show over the last 6 months, the majority of the drawings will be finalised within the next 3 weeks. Most of my studio time is spent working as a commercial artist, creating logotypes, illustrations, and type treatments for brands and advertising campaigns. So it’s both exciting and daunting to be able to dedicate my time to some personal work. Today, I’m going to share with you some of the early stages of ideation and development for this show, and the processes I go through before creating the actual work. Although the stages appear clearly structured here, in reality it can be disorganised and stressful! I’ll check in again closer to the show and give you an update of how it’s all coming together.


Gathering research, visual inspiration and ideas is an ongoing practice in the studio and while I travel. I am constantly screen grabbing imagery, illustrations, patterns, and photographs that are in some way appealing to me. Sometimes it’s specifically for a technique or approach, other times it’s more from a conceptual point of view. For this particular show (as with many of my works) I am working in black and white. Some artists whose work I love and who often feature in my collection are Jonathon Zawada, ilovedust, Luca Zamoc, BrokenFingaz, Jordan Metcalf, Japanese comic imagery, and vintage drop caps and letterforms. In addition to this I have many images or Art Nouveau lettering and decoration that I photographed while in Barcelona which will likely appear in some form in the work.


As I work predominately with letterforms, I am always collecting words or phrases that might translate well into a piece. I have a huge list stored of notes on my phone and computer: song lyrics, words combos, quotes, silly phrases or simply single words that look good. I prefer to work with shorter words/fewer letters so I can focus on integrating with illustration, and often I will make choices about which words to use in a work purely based on the visual appeal of the letterforms. A shortlist of favourites that may feature in this show are: “high noon”, “glory daze”, “june gloom”, “andromeda”, and “dynamite”. Sometimes the meaning and content of the text will play a role too. Although the significance of the text is important, I do think there is a space to explore type-based art that sacrifices meaning to allow for exploration of form, and that’s definitely a space I wanted to be open to in this show. Sometimes word selection will be driven by the shape of an illustration or another idea. For example, I was keen to see what word combinations could line up vertically and horizontally (like a crossword). After trying many combinations I had roughly scrawled Hell Yes, and realised that within a cross worked both on a visual level and a conceptual one – win win!


Before finalising the approach for this show I wanted to allow some time to freely experiment with some new hands-on techniques. I initially played with photographing liquids and paper cutting with shadows, which were then scanned into Photoshop and manipulated (see the BURN and DO example). However, I decided to abandon the liquid approach as it felt a bit too similar to some of Ed Ruscha and Jonathan Zawada’s work. I also decided to leave the paper cutting and shadow experiments for another project down the track. One early test that stuck with me was a quick line drawing of a stone sculpture I took a photo of in Rome last year. I had a list of words that were symmetrical (palindromes or words where the letter shapes made them symmetrical even if they weren’t the same characters). I took the word NOON and it seemed to integrate perfectly with this statue’s tragic pose. A happy accident. That was kind of the reference point for the rest of the pieces. Not focusing too hard on the content of the text- but just finding words or word combinations that are in some way symmetrical or integrate well with an illustration. It was at this point I realised I wanted all the works to be illustration-focused, where the type and image seem to sit together as one.


In addition to digital images that I collected for reference, I also wanted physical objects that were unique (not just pulled off the Internet) and would work as starting points for my drawings. I have a vintage scientific skull that I’ve wanted to draw for a while, but I also set off to some second hand stores to find other things that could be used for reference. At the moment I’m drawn to ideas and objects related to belief, death and time. I found an old hourglass, and some miniature daggers and letter openings from Spain. I also collected a variety of flowers and foliage to integrate.


With a set of physical objects, I then spent an evening with fishing wire and a make-shift photo backdrop to photograph the various objects to refer to down the track. Around the same time I also began taking some of the words I’ve collected and playing with loose layouts with existing fonts in Illustrator to get a sense of how they might sit together in a composition. Using the 3D tool I will make really basic dimensional versions of these words to see how they might integrate with the angles of the photos I have taken. I currently have about 6-7 Photoshop compositions that I will return to and use to determine which will become a hand-drawn illustration. For the “Hell Yes” piece, I wanted to use Art Nouveau style lettering with floral elements to imitate the idea of a beautiful, intricate crucifix and soften the “hell’ connotation. I based the letterforms on the font Ulma and integrated new floral elements and set out to start the drawing.


Using the digital layouts as my starting point, I move onto drawing in fine line markers. I start by doing some quick drawings of the objects to get a sense of how they might connect or work together with text. I often draw, scan, print and then redraw or cut them out so I can move them around like a collage on the page. Once happy with the composition, I move onto a final piece. This is my favourite part of the process because once I feel confident with the layout it can be quite therapeutic to spend some time away from the computer illustrating dots, lines and details of the works.

With only 3 weeks to go until opening night there’s still a huge amount of work to do. But, with the Hell Yes piece complete, I am happy with the direction of the show, and I’ll revisit the early steps in my creative process to produce the remaining pieces and mural.

I’ll check in again in a couple of weeks and show you how some of these early experiments have progressed. Stay tuned!





Posted in Art