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July 29, 2005

Interview with Chuck and Benjamin from THE BRILLIANCE!!!!


THE BRILLIANCE is the creation of Chuck Anderson and Benjamin Gott and serves as a source for people of all sorts of interests. The site is relatively new, but has already had big success. Personally I love THE BRILLIANCE for their personal style of reporting and for the Interviews. They started off with the likes of photographer Kareem Black, internet-fashion-superstore-Japan-based ConceptShop, and Henry Lee, art director of ESPN Magazine. In the meantime they have also interviewed Peter Stolz from Levis, Nick from Twelve Bar, Married to the Mob, Jason Bass from JB Classics, Futura and many others. Each Interview has the right mix between entertainment and information!!!

Therefore I headed off to Interview Chuck and Benjamin to see who they are and what they are all about. Read the Interview and find out what THE BRILLIANCE is and who Chuck and Benjamin are. Enjoy!!!


HighSnobiety: How is it going guys? Had a good day so far?

Benjamin: Real good... It's wild hot here, like 90+ and muggy. About to head out to the movies with a lady friend. Fresh white sneakers are on my feet, what else do I need?!

Chuck: Yeah it's been a good day...I'm all hyper right now after having a lot of caffeine and working out a lot...it's hot out..I have a new site in the works (www.nopattern.com) and um...Yeah....Good day.

HS: How did you two meet? Have you known each other for long, before you actually started THE BRILLIANCE?

B: We met at Church when I was like 15 i think. I have known chuck for quite a while. He is a very inspirational person and an incredible friend. That was kind of mushy. I can't stand chuck...joke.

C: Yeah, like Ben said....It was at church back when I was in 6th grade I think...He was in 8th or a Freshman. It's been a while now. We were never really friends then but our individual 'DIY' style careers kind of brought us back in touch after a few years and the rest is history. You know...we're just really good friends now and THE BRILLIANCE is just kind of a product of that friendship and our interests

HS: What is your background? Where are you from? What did you study?

B: I grew up in the south chicago-land area. Shout out to Park Forest and the Heights. What did I study? No college for me man... I couldn’t sit in a desk for another X amount of years. I was already getting money in high school and I had some great opportunities, so i took them. Yeah, I studied Jay-Z lyrics.

C: Originally from Lancaster, PA...moved with my parents when I was very young to the Chicago suburbs and have been here ever since. Few house moves, but same general area I guess. What did I study? I studied the art of not going to college and having a career by the time I was 18. Yeah!

HS: What do you do for a living?

B: Information architecture.

C: Freelance artist - www.nopattern.com


HS: Let`s come to THE BRILLIANCE. How did it all start? Who`s idea was it? How long did it take to realize?

B: It was pretty much Chuck's idea... We would email each other constantly, like check this out, check that out... Always had some snaps for a brand we didn’t like or whatever... So chuck said, yo, lets start something... We did and it took off. I came up with the name... It took like 2 weeks to get it started. I did all the programming for the site... We came up with the super simple design, thought it was fresh, stood out and all that. Within like a few weeks we had a huge following...way beyond my expectations. Its so much fun and we have met and connected with some pretty awesome people.

C: Ben pretty much summed it up...We emailed and talked non-stop and so many of our conversations were hilarious and very interesting, and I thought, you know what - we're smart and have great ideas. Let's make this public and start something. Ben suggested the name almost half-joking I think, and I was like...whoa, that's perfect. I hunted down the domain name and bought it right away and it pretty much materialized within days. It's been tons of fun...

HS: Your Interview sessions have already become quite known over the few months, that THE BRILLIANCE is up and running. How do you choose who to interview? How do you get to the people? Is it mostly people that you already know?

B: Its some people we know. But alot is just us reaching out. Like with Futura and Tim, Chuck just reached out to them... They were down, which is awesome. Futura had his interview done the same day we sent it to him. Wild. He is a super nice guy. But yeah, MTTM came to us cause we have some mutal friends. But yeah, we just try and get at people we really like...from mark the cobra snake to Simon from concept shop. Then some people get at us due to a post we've made like with the Krink Ink, Jest emailed me to say it was a dope write-up, so we just went from there.

C: Again, Ben pretty much sums this up, but as far as who we choose..it's like, whoever is just interesting and doing something original. What's great is, most of the people are not those we already knew - we reached out and now have a ton of new friends because of it!

HS: Do you actually want to tell us, who is next on your list for interviews? Any interviews hat you would be very keen on doing?

B: Thats top secret!

C: I'd like to interview Matt Drudge from DrudgeReport.com , KAWS, Pharrell, Phil Hale, and Conan O' Brien.

HS: Do you just post whatever you like, or is their also some sort of selection that you do?

B: We have the categories, but really we just post whatever we like...whatever we find interesting. Sometimes it's real random. We just want to be more dynamic than just all the bape and sneaker stuff you know? Not knocking that stuff, but we think our reader is into more than that.

C: Whatever we want. Stuff about cars, fashion, art, hip-hop, grocery stores, cell phones, NASA, Tom Cruise, bathroom faucets, food...All different stuff. Face wash, McDonalds, islands...Anything goes.

HS: What are the future plans for THE BRILLIANCE? How do you see it evolving? Do you have any plans for it?

B: When Chuck and I started we wanted make sure we didn’t lose sight of the fact that THE BRILLIANCE is really just for fun, a good out let you know? So as of right now, there are no long term plans different from what we are doing. We use THE BRILLIANCE to meet new people, network, show love, be funny and just have fun.

C: Right now it's about networking, meeting people, making new friends, and having fun. It has to continue that way, unadulterated. We're also talking with a few magazines about having a column/section...yea...maybe.

HS: Any other stuff that you are involved in besides THE BRILLIANCE? How much time do you spend working on THE BRILLIANCE? Any cool stuff worth mentioning coming up in the near future?

B: Tons of stuff outside THE BRILLIANCE from a business standpoint! Too much to list. We acutally don't spend too much time on the site. The interviews can take a while...nothing too crazy. I know its taking a bunch of time for Chuck right now!!! He is converting our first taped interview to text...that takes some time!

C: I'm full-time artist, like I said...Spend lots of time with my girlfriend Holly, my friends, playing Scrabble...THE BRILLIANCE takes up time but not too much time, just enough to make it feel not like a job but more a recreation.

HS: Now some more info on the two of you. What were your major influences over the years, in terms of music, art and other stuff?

B: My major influence in life is anyone doing their thing. Hip-hop music is my thing, fashion, skateboarding, cars, I'm addicted to my cell phone, travel, real estate, whatever... In terms of art, Chuck is more into that than I am, but I love kaws and Futura stuff and that one guy Chuck just wrote up who does those huge glacier and iceberg paintings, so wild. That was a kame answer...I love the new media exhibits in the Chicago Art Institute. We used to skip school to got to the Art Institute!

C: Music...for me...all different. Ony any given day you'll catch me listening to Slim Thug, Minor Threat, John Coltrane, Isis, As I Lay Dying, Lil' Wayne... A big influence for me is innovative and interesting tattoos...Travel and cars...Obviously art. I love Phil Hale, M/M Paris, Non-Format, M-A-K-R (www.m-a-k-r.com - check it!!!), Futura, Grotesk... I'm a big family man - very inspired by my family and close friends more than anything, really.

HS: What are your 5 most beloved musicians?


Slick Rick
Kanye West
…then all the other ones I like but don’t officially list: John Legend, Slim Thug, Jim Jones, Miles Davis, Camron, Pharrell, Bun-B, few more, whatever.


Coldplay , Jay-Z, MeWithoutYou, Slim Thug, John Mayer, As I Lay Dying

HS: Which are your favorite websites? The ones that you check on the most regular basis?

Nypost.com (PAGE SIX!)


HS: What clothing brands do you dig the most? Any new ones that you see becoming big in the future?

B: For me...I used to be more into fashion for myself, now I feel like i just watch from the side-lines. I wear Levi's LVC from Japan all the time. Always have a fresh pair of Stan Smiths on. A merino v-neck sweater with an H&M button-up underneath. Or a t-shirt and a hoody...real simple. I personally think Levi's is going to get even bigger here in the states...maybe I just hope so. The whole LVC line is so incredible...are people just missing it!?

C: There's some brands I like, but I don't really spend that much or consider myself all that fashionable...I kind of have this laid back style...Just some shorts from GAP or H&M and a t-shirt most of the time. Usually sandals in the summer and Clarks Wallys or Vans Slip-ons in the colder weather. aNYthing, 12Bar, Recon...

HS: What do you do in your free time? Any sports that you dig?

B: Free time... I'm out with friends at the lounge/club, skateboarding when I can, working! Ha... If I'm not working I'm out with friends or whatever just relaxing getting a bite to eat and some drinks downtown. I'm a real laid back guy. Not really a sports fan. Sounds boring right? I’m social though, for real…

C: I don't get out that much, just with a couple friends and my girlfriend...and we all usually just chill and hang out at each others houses or out to eat somewhere. Other than that, I just work a lot, paint, draw, photography...I like baseball, basketball, football...I'll follow whatever sport is on and root for the underdog. I love both the Cubs and the White Sox, not really particular to either...Was fun to watch the Red Sox win..I just love seeing that happen.

HS: That was it already. Do you have any closing thought or love you want to shout out? Any last remarks?

B: Shout out to Chuck of course. Huge shout-out to everyone who helped us with THE BRILLIANCE along the way: Simon from Concept Shop, Jest, Futura & Tim, Milan from Perplex & Lola, Mark the Cobra Snake, Gensler, etc... Everyone who has showed us love and a big thug-hug to all the corny people on NewsToday.com who argue about Chuck, myself and the site...you guys drive traffic like you wouldn't believe! Closing remark: The Word file I'm answering this in is formatted in German but showing English, and it won't let me spell check!!!

C: Ben, Tim, Holly, Dave Gensler, Jason from M-A-K-R.com, Futura & Tim, all the people Ben already named, Skinnycorp...I don't know. I hate doing this, too many people. What up Nigel.

HS: It was great talking to you. I really enjoy reading THE BRILLIANCE and your personal way of writing. I hope there is a lot to come from you. Thanks a lot fort the Interview.

Thanks for the love!! Keep doing your thing!


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