NEW YORK -- Bushmills Irish Whiskey, one of the oldest names in spirits with more than 400 years of distilling tradition behind it, is welcoming the national expansion of its "Since Way Back" initiative with the announcement of acclaimed band Bon Iver, actor Elijah Wood, and the return of electrofunk duo Chromeo to its family. "Since Way Back" was initially developed in early 2009 to celebrate the close friendships and camaraderie shared between lifelong friends in New York. This expansion also signals the launch of "Since Way Back" in Los Angeles with new friends Brendan and Emmett Malloy, music, television and film directors who have directed videos for bands including Oasis, The White Stripes, and Blink 182; and well-known graphic design artist Geoff McFetridge of the Beautiful Losers exhibition. In Boston, founders of local authoritative sneaker shop Bodega have joined the group; and Brooklyn rapper, songwriter and producer Theophilus London and Michael Williams - founder of renowned style blog A Continuous Lean will return to represent New York.
"Since Way Back" is inspired by the heritage of Bushmills Irish Whiskey and its longstanding tradition of recognizing enduring kinship. The initiative celebrates the lives and brotherly relationships of artists and influencers across the world, and collaborates with each to produce creative, inspired content that reflects each of his passions. Upcoming content will include custom pieces of music and art developed by each group, and will serve as an additional venue to remind others to please drink responsibly. Check out www.facebook.com/BushmillsUSA for additional announcements and collaborations throughout the year.
Justin Vernon, a native of Eau Claire, Wisc., and front-man of the acclaimed band Bon Iver, is joining "Since Way Back" with brother Nate and close friends Kyle Frenette and Brian Joseph, all of whom form the backbone of the band as co-managers and audio engineer, and whose relationships define the "Since Way Back" brotherhood. Vernon released Bon Iver's widely acclaimed debut album For Emma, Forever Ago in 2008, receiving spots on many critics' end-of-the-year lists that year, which has gone on to sell over 400,000 copies worldwide. Vernon, fronting a band comprised of friends, recently released Bon Iver's self-titled second album, Bon Iver, Bon Iver, which debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 Charts.
"I owe everything to the creativity of my friends and neighbors who have all influenced and supported me along the way," Vernon said. "Bushmills approached Bon Iver about collaborating with them on 'Since Way Back,' and I didn't hesitate when I knew all of us - Nate, Kyle and Brian - could be involved. The way the campaign was presented to us, as a program that rewards groups of friends who have built success around what they love, made it feel right and appropriate for us to participate. The founders of Bushmills developed a recipe that lasts. We hope to do the same with our music."
Elijah Wood is best known for the critically acclaimed FX series "Wilfred," and high-profile role as Frodo Baggins in the critically acclaimed "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. This, in addition to lead roles in films including "Sin City," "Everything is Illuminated," and "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind." He was also recently seen in the Beastie Boys video "Fight For Your Right Revisited." In early January of this year it was announced that he would reprise the role of Frodo Baggins in "The Hobbit" parts one and two, to be released in 2012. Wood is also the founder of record label Simian Records.
"Expanding our 'Since Way Back' platform across the U.S. is an incredible step for this unique and inspiring program," said Yvonne Briese, Vice President of Marketing, Diageo NA Whiskey. "Bushmills has always held pride in recognizing timeless friendships and brotherhood, and the creativity that stems from both. Since Way Back gives us the opportunity to develop additional opportunities and outlets for our involved groups of guys to express their craft while still conveying the spirit of this reliable, warm Irish whiskey that comes from a community that has been celebrating friendships for hundreds of years."
Bushmills reminds friends to drink responsibly. Make sure to drink in moderation and get home safely: designate a driver or take a taxi.
Bon Iver: Justin Vernon of critically acclaimed band Bon Iver, has always been close with brother Nate, and pals Kyle Frenette and Brian Joseph. Nate recalls watching his big brother perform decades ago, and left his Neuroscience degree to happily act as Tour Manager and eventually co-manager, teaming up with mutual friend Kyle, who began managing Bon Iver after discovering the band's first album on MySpace while attending a nearby University. With experience starting his own label, Amble Down Records, he sought to get involved; he and Justin have been working together ever since. In addition, childhood friend Joseph joins the trio as the Audio Engineer of Bon Iver, and relative of former DeYarmond Edison bandmates (Vernon's former band) the Cook Brothers.
Chromeo: Made up of P-Thugg (real name Patrick Gemayel) and Dave 1 (real name David Macklovitch), Chromeo are a duo of childhood friends from Montreal, Canada. Skater kid David and hip-hop 'fresh kid' Patrick first met in the mid '90's when Dave joined P's band, which helped Dave develop a passion for funk. Although polar opposites, their shared love of music was strong enough to turn them into best buddies. The pair branched off and formed Chromeo in 2002, and has since released acclaimed albums She's In Control, Fancy Footwork and Business Casual.
Elijah Wood: A globally known actor, Wood is known for his roles in the critically acclaimed FX series "Wilfred," and high-profile role as Frodo Baggins in the critically acclaimed "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. He was also recently seen in the Beastie Boys video "Fight For Your Right Revisited." Wood joins "Since Way Back" with friends Jason Zwolinski, an event producer for The Recording Academy; Jim Rota, fellow DJ and lead singer of heavy metal band Fireball Ministry; and Ray Texel, an international equestrian and trainer. Through each of their unique associations, each shares a common bond and a mutual love and respect for music and travel that has maintained their close friendship through the years.
Malloy Brothers: Native Californian brothers Brendan and Emmett Malloy have produced some of the most recognizable music videos over the past decade for artists including The White Stripes, N.E.R.D, and Vampire Weekend. The pair is also well known for their documentary work and surf films, both of which have won them numerous awards and accolades. They are currently in production on an original documentary series for HBO on legendary boxing trainer Freddie Roach and in post-production on a documentary feature film following Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show on their recent Railroad Revival Tour.
Geoff McFetridge, Rob Kieswetter, and Paul Hastings: Bound by a mutual love of surfing and work with acclaimed directors, McFetridge, Kieswetter and Hastings make up one of the most creative friendships in Los Angeles. A star in the design world, McFetridge made a name for himself by creating the title sequences for The Virgin Suicides and Where The Wild Things Are. Kieswetter, also known as Bobby Birdman, owns music production company Raw Bright Songs and has toured with the likes of Ratatat and Hot Chip. Hastings co-founded new media company Sakebomb, which has done work for Mad Decent and Universal Pictures.
Bodega: Founded in 2006 by Jay Gordon, Dan Natola and Oliver Mak, Bodega is one of the most talked about retail and design concepts on the planet. Selecting highly coveted collections and scouring the earth for quality of over hype, Bodega is also dedicated to nurturing local DIY arts as well as presenting exhibitions from international artists through their award winning art space - Fourth Wall Project.
Theophilus London: Brooklyn rapper, songwriter and producer Theophilus London recently released his debut album Timez are Weird These Days. His creativity in the online space places him among the most watched artists on the music and fashion scene today, and has been able to create a mix of uplifting pop, hip-hop, soul and electronica fans across the world.
Michael Williams: Michael Williams is the founder and editor of the men's style website A Continuous Lean - a hodgepodge of clothing, design, inspiration and Americana. Currently, Michael lives in New York City and works on the factory floor at Paul + Williams.