Sometimes you can find the most amazing people in your own backyard and you’d never even notice. Well, that’s if they don’t have a bullhorn. This year at the Never Say Never Arts Festival in Mission, Texas, I was about to experience a chance encounter that would spark a new bridge between the sunny beaches of California and the scenic culture of South Texas. Wearing a pair of pink heart shades, I breezed through the stages, only to be stopped by Nina Johnstone, president of Kiss The Concrete clothing line/production company. Speaking through a small bullhorn, Nina complimented my shades, and that’s where this interview begins. For the first time ever in an interview exclusively for Ouch, My Ego! Magazine, Nina Johnstone will talk about her clothing line, the message behind her most famous t-shirts and what she thinks about South Texas.
Cynthia: Hello Everyone! This is Cynthia and I am currently at the Never Say Never Arts Festival with Nina from Kiss The Concrete. We are going to talk a little about the clothing line, how it was started, how she heard about NSN, etc. Okay, first question: Why did you decide to start a fashion line?
Nina: Actually, the clothing line started as kind of a joke. Kiss The Concrete officially started out as a concert production company, which specialized in helping bands that had no track record in San Diego book shows. Then one random December night in 2009, my friends and I were walking around talking, when one person came up with an idea. She said, “Let’s go on Warped Tour this summer!” So, from there we started out with “Trust No D**k” and “Trust No B**ch” t-shirts and it’s blown up all over the globe.
Cynthia: Where exactly have you heard your line has been spotted?
Nina: You can find our shirts in Germany, Australia, Canada, all over the U.S.; some of the bands brought them…so we are just trying to make things happen.
Cynthia: How does it feel to see a “twinkle in the eye” idea come full circle and now you can physically see people wearing your prints in random towns all over the place?
Nina: It’s actually kind of flattering, because you initially think that when you start something, it’s not going to make a difference or change anyone’s life. People have actually come up to me with stories of having boyfriends/girlfriends dump them or family members disown them, and they bought a t-shirt that they believe gave them the courage to change their life. I mean, it’s kinda weird to think that a t-shirt can change someone’s life, but it’s really nice to know that so many people believe in what we’re doing.
Cynthia: What do you think is the message behind the shirts and this positive movement?
Nina: For starters, it’s not a “we hate men, or a “we hate women” sort of thing. It’s more of a “you don’t have to deal with d**k-headed people in your life,” and you can have the power to have a more positive upbringing. It’s great to have positive people around.
Cynthia: That is very true, and those are some great words of wisdom behind it. Where are you guys from?
Nina: We are from San Diego, California. I was born and raised there. This summer we are holding a booth at the Vans Warped Tour for the entire tour, which can be a crazy experience. The last two tours we’ve done a couple days here and there, but this year we’re gonna go out there and do it.
Cynthia: Awesome! How did you guys find out about the Never Say Never Arts Festival located down here in South Texas?
Nina: We actually sponsor a band out here called “The Final Burial” they are a death-core type band. They played here last year, and we (as a clothing line) had to back out for various reasons. This year, when we were asked to join the festival as a clothing line, we accepted, and here we are at our very first NSN.
Cynthia: Very cool! Well, welcome to South Texas, and I’m sure the weather is not too much different from San Diego, is it not? Isn’t San Diego a bit cooler?
Nina: Yeah, it’s a little bit breezier. Here it’s hot, dusty and full of craziness.
Cynthia: Maybe because it’s a horse track and the dirt is flying everywhere.
Nina: (laughs) Yeah that could be it. I mean, San Diego gets boring and people don’t understand that. It’s nice to go somewhere else and meet new people. What’s cool is that your music scene is way different than ours. So, it’s nice to see how kids get down to see the bands and show their support.
Cynthia: Thank you so much! That means a lot to us.
Nina: It’s actually inspiring. Our music scene could use a lot of work, and you guys actually have a solid one, because there are a lot of kids out for these shows.
Cynthia: Well, the staff behind Don’tGetEmo has been working diligently on this festival since they started in 2009. Every year as soon as one is over, they are already working on what’s in store for the following year.
Nina: Wow, that’s amazing. I’d love to come next year!
Cynthia: Do you guys have a website, Facebook, Twitter, etc…?
Nina: Yes, and don’t forget to “Tweet” at us while we are on the Vans Warped Tour to get more free stuff. Hit us up online or on Facebook. We love talking to our fans; meeting people…you don’t even have to buy anything. We just want you to come over and chill with us for a bit. It’s all about meeting new people and making people feel comfortable.
Cynthia: That sounds like a definite plan. Well, thank you very much for letting us know a little about Kiss The Concrete and good luck on Warped Tour. Hopefully, we’ll see you back around next year!
Nina: You’re welcome and thank you for my very first interview. I would love to come back!
So, if you’re walking around a music festival, and you run into Kiss The Concrete, chances are you are in for a good time. Take it from me, you won’t regret walking up to that purple tent and meeting some great people. This is Cynthia for Ouch, My Ego! Magazine. Until next time, rock uniqueness!
For more on Kiss The Concrete visit:
For More Concert and Production Photos visit:
Special Thanks: Nesha Torres (Shot By Nesha) for the amazing photo, Kiss The Concrete Productions, Dontgetemo Concerts and the Never Say Never Music Arts Festival for their support.