Online shops and t-shirt contests (with rock music in the background)

Good morning folks! 

Let’s take a short break from Interviews (we aren’t done yet!) and dedicate this entry to our favourite hobbies: online shopping and contests! After all, we cannot just talk to people all the time, can we? You have to do something else too. Variety is the spice of e-commerce as they say!

Running a promotion for a band is a dream come true to some, just like playing music is for others. You do it for the sake of it, because you have love and passion and a ton of ideas that you just can’t wait to put out there. Meeting people who can influence you or who can team up with you on a project is a bonus.

At the end of 2010, Rita and I discovered a band called Ascension of The Watchers. It is a side project of  Burton C Bell (of Fear Factory and City of Fire) and John Bechdel (of False Icons, Arado, Ministry and Killing Joke fame). Those two teamed up to create one of the most mesmerizing bands in a decade.

Picture of the AoTW tshirt, digital polaroid by Malicia Dabrowicz

There is always a thrill when we get into a new band. Research, looking for information, reading lyrics, finding references in the music is part of a charm. Or to put it simple – the more information we gather, the better. We like to know a lot. And we know our music quite well, thank you very much.

We loved AoTW from the first notes as we have a soft spot for Burton C Bell’s music (being a Fear Factory fans for seventeen years now). Soon it became our hobby to dig up articles and reviews as the band was not widely known. Well Rita and I are always up to a challenge and sometimes it just pays off in a most fantastic way.

It must have been May 2011 when Rita stumbled upon an online shop called Renegade T-shirts. Their official website can be accessed here:

Rick modeling one of the AoTW tshirts that are available in the store

It was owned by a man named Rick Ferdinande and to my delight it offered official merchandise for AoTW. I have written to him and asked for quotations. I had my answer nearly immediately and the owner of the shop assisted me with various issues that arose when placing my order (he had to reset his shop twice so a payment from Malta would be accepted, among many other things).

I have bought two t-shirts and got to know the owner a little bit better. Rick must be a chronicler for AoTW, Fear Factory and other acts. He is also a personal friend of Burton and one of the most professional sellers I have known in my life. Check his ratings, he haven’t got one bad word from his customers. And righty so.

What are ya looking at? Mal is a metal head!

I have been wearing my AoTW shirts with pride throughout the summer. By the time October arrived, Rita and I were fully integrated into promoting AoTW and Burton`s other project City of Fire, running fan groups and doing a million of other things (I will address those things in a post in the future, it is so much of it).

Few weeks before Halloween, I have contacted Rick again, this time to purchase a t shirt for a friend. He not only helped me again with the order, but knowing that the friend was going through a rocky time, he had offered an extra in the form of a signed FF gig poster to the purchase. It was a really fantastic experience. But the best thing happened one week later.

We spoil our friends, you know! Come and say hello, we have cookies and rock t-shirts too!

Rick approached me and mentioned that Burtonwas thinking of organizing a contest for AoTW fans. The contest was to design a new shirt for the band official merch and that Burton himself would judge.

Both of us were really excited to be allowed to execute the master plan. Rita had prepared the Terms and Conditions of the contest and we have uploaded it on the AoTW fan group (the community has its own poetic name – Hotel Ascension). The members of the group were then submitting their designs.

AoTW T shirt contest rules announced!

We have gathered eight designs (one of them was mine) in total and it was a really inspiring collection. The entries can be seen HERE

Voting took place in January 2012 (contest deadline being 31 December 2011) and two winners have been announced: Canadian artist David J Mazur and (to my surprise) Malicia Dabrowicz from Malta.

Amazing contest entry by David J Mazur from Canada
You can find him on Facebook:

It came a bit of a shock but it was nonetheless something extremely positive as I have never won a contest before (if you don’t count a ticket to a Mercyful Fate / King Diamond gig when I was 16 ^^) and I was the only one who actually submitted a photo for a design. A true ego booster, speaking from a perspective of an aspiring photographer and a fan of Ascension of The Watchers.

“Evading” – a winning photograph by yours truly Mal D. of Malta

The whole contest will be  remembered fondly. We have learned a ton of stuff, how to promote the event, how to encourage other artists to take part and how to believe in one’s abilities in my case. We have also learned a lesson that best things can come out brilliantly of thin air if you are working with the right people. And we consider Rick Ferdinande to fall under this category.

A bonus photo of Burton C Bell wearing one of the Renegade Tshirts.
That’s how renegade they are!

If you want to familiarize yourself with Renegade T-shirts, they are on Facebook under this address:!/pages/Renegade-T-Shirts/111375302251379

Rick Ferdinande himself can be also followed here:!/rferdinande

So long for now, we have a many rock-n-roll stories coming up your way so stay tuned.

Mal (& Rita as she always tags along)

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