Press Release

Press Release

Focus x Paul Banks

Edinburgh's independent skateboard shop Focus collaborates with Interpol’s lead singer and guitarist Paul Banks on a series of skateboard decks

Circuitous and serendipitous are two words that could describe how this project between Focus and Interpol band member Paul Banks came to be.

Back in 2002, in the very early days of Focus skateboard shop, Interpol’s Turn On The Bright Lights was a permanent fixture in the CD changer (remember those?). As a result, that album became a soundtrack and heavy reminder of that era.

Fast forward to 2020 and the owner of Focus, Sibs Roberts, got to know Paul Banks when the musician found himself living in Edinburgh, unexpectedly. 

“My girlfriend Juliet was temporarily living in Edinburgh,” explains Paul. “She was getting a Masters at the University Of Edinburgh. I flew over for a week-long visit on March 12 – the day travel bans were announced – and because I have a UK passport I was able to stay with her. So we stayed there together for the first nine months of the pandemic. It was a lovely lovely, time despite the shit-show of the pandemic. I recommend summer in Edinburgh with no tourists.”

During that strange and often bewildering time in Edinburgh, Paul asked a mutual pal (Paul Thomson, the former drummer of Franz Ferdinand) if he knew “anyone cool in Edinburgh” and was put in touch with Sibs. 

As many of you will know, Paul documents buildings across the globe during his travels and shares them on his personal Instagram account, @bankspaulbanks. 

“The photo subjects find me rather than me finding them,” says Paul. “To go out in a city in search of a building to shoot would be like looking for a largeish needle in a smallish hay stack. So I just wait until I stumble upon a cool structure and then whip out my phone and shoot it. For the most part, I like the look of brutalist and modernist buildings when the sky is overcast. The diffused lighting especially works well on concrete, I find. But it’s great with anything structural. Sometimes direct sunlight works too, but my favorite combination is clouds and brutalist architecture in concrete.”

Sibs just asked me if I’d be interested in using some of my existing photography on some skateboards. And I was excited at the idea. I skated a little when I was young and have always loved the sport. I love the Focus store and their t-shirt designs and the overall vibe, so the collab felt like a cool idea to me. I sent Sibs some of my favorite images and he worked with his designer, Ken, on the layouts and graphics. Ken used the location data from the image files I sent him to serve as key design elements.”

And that’s how this series of skateboard decks and accompanying products came into being.

Featuring hand picked images by Paul, our designer Ken “Mr Keeto” developed the concept to include coordinates of the respective locations and capture the essence of Paul’s photographs.

We hope you enjoy looking at and possibly purchasing these one-off products and that you’re as stoked about them as we at Focus are.