Real girls in their own place.
Not too crazy and just a pinch of naughty...
Dan, In Real Life
By Falene Nurse
Photographs by Dan Regan
Here at MIMP we like to mix it up a bit. Actors, bands, models and MIMP girls, but we also like to bring to the attention of our beloved MIMPsters people that are at the forefront of unique and creative endeavors. Dan is one of those people. Just to be clear, he is not Dan Regan trombone player from 90’s ska punk outfit, Real Big Fish. At only 26, his life could have taken a very different path. Don’t let his adorably deep dimples fool you. Dan could have been a very naughty boy. A very, very, naughty boy. And for legal reasons it’s probably best I don’t elaborate too much on that. Instead he chose to partner with 2 of his besties (Adam Moonves from NYC and Giovanny Artiga from Paris) to create lifestyle brand Black Banditz.
Part tattoo shop, part hair salon, part store and part venue, you get hella lot of choices at 7262 Melrose Ave. Black Banditz initially started as a photo blog and “Pop-Up” tattoo parlor for different private events and flourished into it’s own niche movement. Putting these three young entrepreneurs (and their punk-rock sensibilities) into a rather profitable, genre-shifting role, usually befitting of eccentrics like Sir Richard Branson and James Franco. Since their inception two and a half years ago, the boys have been involved with throwing exclusive events, gallery openings, underground parties, book signings and even a few shenanigans at fashion week. So far they have collaborated with with DNA Films, Ace Gallery, Le baron, Sol Republic Headphones, Flaunt Magazine and Roark Collective. With positive reviews and write-ups in everything from LADYGUNN, to Nylon Japan, the LA Times to Vogue UK. Perhaps therein lies the unique appeal, a ‘lil something for everyone’s tastes. As a group of friends they are as comfortable at a downtown block party, as they are at a charitable estate event. As long as everyone is having a good time and possibly getting a few tattoos in the process.
So I decided to call Dan (co-founder and fellow Bandit) and find out if ‘Black Banditz’ exist in everyday life and if I could qualify to be one?
Falene: Just to clarify, you are not the trombonist from Real Big Fish - correct?
Dan: No, not at all.
(At only 26 there is a chance he has no clue who I’m talking about).
Falene: Tell me something uncool about yourself?
Dan: I have serious OCD, I love to clean… all the time. I’m a neat freak lol. I’m a serial cleaner.
Falene: You see I would never have thought that about, but there again I don’t know you and we’ve never met.
Falene: Worst haircut you have had in life(like the mullet tail braid or caesar)?
Dan: I was three years old and I think times were tough for my family, so my mom put a bowl on my head and cut my hair herself. This was 89, so sadly I was not the first one with a bowl cut.
Falene: Where are you from originally?
Dan: Venice, CA.
Falene: What was your background like, predominantly?
Dan: My mother is a musician so our home doubled as her studio, lots of creative people passed through my house growing up. I’ve always been into making things with my hands and being creative, so I love to take on projects or spontaneously do stuff with friends. Whether taking photos, painting, making a short film, or redecorating. It’s a great stress reliever and soul feeder to be creative through an assortment of channels.
Describe some of your fave tattoos in life?
My friend has 2 stick figures on his fingers. When he crosses his fingers, they hug each other. I like that.
Now tell me one of the worst?
I was at the pool one day and saw a girl with a lower back tattoo that read "Daddy’s Girl." That was pretty horrifying.
What is a lifestyle brand?
People started referring to us that way, so we ran with it—but it does fit. I guess we don’t force what we are doing upon anyone, we let people just come to us and join in. We provide a platform for fun, ideas and trying new things, as well as traveling to spread our movement as well as collaborating with the local creatives in our own communities.
What sort of clients do you have events for?
The first Black Banditz was actually a tiny pop-up store inside De La Barracuda. Once we opened up our store, we designed the space so that it could serve as an intimate live music venue, building a removable stage so we could have bands like the White Arrows and Vanaprasta play. Problem was so many people would show up, our shop would get destroyed. So we started focusing more on off-site events, we threw parties both weekends at Coachella this year. Our LA x Paris parties were strongly received, Busy P, A Trak, brodinski and Nick Hook headlined. We work with a lot of DJs from Paris. We also recently did a fundraiser for Women For Women a cause that helps women survivors of war rebuild their lives. Tastya Van Ree kindly exhibited some of her work at the K I N space on Sunset, and Alexander Antebi tended bar in a pink lamé unitard and decorative chiffon neck piece. That was a lot of fun!
Tell me about Ryan Hope’s Skin and how did you get involved?
It was very serendipitous actually, I am a huge fan of the film and my friend from Brooklyn was involved in a project called the House of Creatives for SXSW. HOC let us curate a day on their ranch during the festival and SKIN was supposed to have a screening that day. For whatever reason it didn’t work out, so a few months later my friend from HOC put me in touch with one of the producers and she asked us to host a small screening for the project here. Our friend Aj English was one of the featured canvases for the film, he also happens to be an awesome music selector, so he DJ’d the gathering which tied everything together very nicely.
Does the term "Art Groupies" mean anything to you?
Yes, I’ve seen them.
I don’t know any personally, is that the implication ha ha? I see a lot of people that frequent art parties, but don’t really enjoy the actual art. I think there are a few people that go because they do and others that just follow them to fan over whoever is considered hot at the moment.
American fact or fiction: Is it true that unattractive people try harder in bed?
(stuttering) I, I think they are better at oral sex. I mean when stories have been told, I’ve listened. I think people from other countries are often more passionate and have a greater zest for life. With sex being one way that’s exhibited, I don’t think it is necessarily generalized to Americans. I had heard a story once, where there was more effort during oral sex. I guess certain things come to pretty people easier, so the thought is that they wouldn’t even need to try.
This has always been a very American concept to me, so I wanted to hear the response of a real, young, American male.
Had you ever seen MIMP before I asked you to do this interview?
Not really, but I do like it. I really love the concept. I think I have to have a really good look through now.
Who came up with the name?
Adam came up with the name originally for a photoblog we had with our friend Austin, we would throw parties and take pics of people we knew, post them and put a censor bar through their eyes that said Black Banditz. We were doing the tattoo parties at the same time and the name kind of stuck. Sort of symbolic of renegades, doing what feels right at the time.
If you were a muppet, who would you be?
If I was a muppet? I’d be Kermit?
Favorite music videos of all time?
Really like The Firm - Phone Tap, I don’t know really know why though, I like when he’s ironing all his hundred dollar bills ha ha. I like Michael Jackson’s Thriller too and pretty much any Blondie videos.
Top albums - ever?
JAY Z - Reasonable Doubt, is one. That’s a tough one to choose.
Something by Burt Bacharach maybe?
I use to really liked the Red Hot Chili Peppers growing up, then I grew to hate them.
How could you hate them! I grew up listening to them. But I was closer to their age, so I grew up with them literally.
I liked this one old song they did "Under The Bridge" that was a good one.
OMG! That’s an “old” song to you, sigh. I’ll just go kill myself now.
How did the 3 of you guys meet, being all international and what not?
Adam and I met first, I was in a bit of a jam and I heard he just moved back to LA from NY. He was a friend of a friend, so I tracked him down. That night we worked together and organically our friendship grew from there. After that we were inseparable, there was such good energy between us. One day we decided we wanted tattoos and instead of going to a shop, I knew a guy who would come tattoo me and my brothers at our apartment in Venice. Over those next couple of days, Adam and I began throwing tattoo parties for our friends at their houses. Later on in the month, we were asked to do a pop up tattoo party at Giovanny’s house for a pool party and ended up tattooing a few of his brothers. A few more months down the road we were looking to expand, Giovanny shared our same drive and passion so it was a natural fit.
Photographers you thoroughly admire? But you cannot say Terry Richardson, everyone picks him, let’s pick someone new.
I won’t say Terry Richardson. I love Rankin, Rankin’s bi-annual magazine hunger is amazing. I like Hedi Slimane and as far as up and coming, really impressed by Andie Elloway.
Rick Genest - too much, never enough or maybe trying a tad too hard?
I’m a fan. He’s the originator and the artwork is done really well. I mean he’s not trying anymore, he owns it, he’s dedicated.
Well there are others, but their artwork is shite and they aren’t runway model good looking. More like some regular Joe down the pub, with tatts on his face. Who thought it was a good idea 10 years ago, before the sagging and the laughter lines wore in. Being as handsome as Mr Genest also certainly helps if you are going to have a skull tattooed on your mug, but I digress.
What do you think of the popularization of body modification, subnormal and transdermal implants?
Not a fan at all, but each to their own.
I have to agree. If you have the kind of time and money to give yourself elfin ears, barely sprouting horns, or extended witch-chins and a cleft. You have too much of both.
I have 2 pit bull puppies, Sage & Pele. They are in love. And about 20 fish.
Have you met your idol yet?
No. I’m not sure I know who that is to even say. I draw more inspiration from concepts and ideas, than people sometimes.
Fave books, comics or graphic novels?
About A Boy, The Great Gatsby, Ham on Rye. I like coming of age stories and the classics. I love The Alchemist too, butmy favorite, favorite book, although it’s really sad is Man Searches For Meaning. It’s probably the book that’s had the greatest impact, that I have ever read in my life.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing?
I think I would be in a lot of trouble. Probably.
Biggest let down in life so far?
I would say not having a relationship with my father, but its made me who I am today. I am a by-product of that journey and all through my life have been blessed to be surrounded by very powerful, influential and charismatic people, that have shaped me to be the way I am today.
Up coming projects on the horizon?
Opening up a Salon downtown more details to come, working with Red Bull to curate a monthly music showcase through their music academy, pop-ups at London Fashion week and Miami Art Basel. We’re also fine tuning our organic beauty product line as far as ingredients and packaging. It’s been a great year so far.
Do you have a theme tune?
Excuse me? Oh, oh, the “Underdog” theme tune, I like that sound. Or this song by Mr Little Jeans - The Suburbs.
Living in LA inundated by models, actresses and hipsters girls, three to every one man is ;-
a) bit of a nightmare
b) a fantasy beyond your wildest teenaged dreams
c) a tough job but someone has to “do” them
d) more trouble than you would think
e) all of the above
Uhm, definitely more trouble than you would think.
Eventually Mr Regan convinced me to leave the house for a few hours and attend one of his soirées. It was v. good! In person Dan is a dapper, handsome young fella, who was as polite as he was charming. Also he had the build and look about him that warned, he could go a few rounds in the ring if anyone who pissed him off. I could imagine him fitting effortlessly in with Jude Law or Robert Downey Jnr, drinking with gypsies and scrapping in the next Holmes installment. Now that, I was not expecting.