Friday, the first day of WGT. I’m making my way down Agra towards the hangar that houses the goth equivalent of an Arabian bazaar. I’m off to meet a man I haven’t seen in years and I expect (hope, really) that finding his booth will be simple. I know what to look for – that unique shade of vampiric aesthetics with a velvety feel to it and a hint of steampunk. Nothing huge or elaborate, always cosy, always welcoming. My first reaction upon entering the market is confusion and sensory overload – I’ve been on a break from WGT and it seems I’ve forgotten how the place feels. Huge numbers of people, costumes, sounds, sights and colours… a man forgets how many shades of black there are while he’s away. I stroll down the aisles looking for his private little corner in this sea of chaos. A large poster with Sabretooth logo, a table covered in red velvet with books, pendants and appliances, an ancient dental table for the mood and decoration, a few chairs… and a couch. “Hey man!”– he already has a costumer having their pair of fangs done, another person waiting on the couch. I nod as a greeting. “We got a
couch this year!” – I remember him talking about getting a couch a few years back. He introduces me to his assistant, Eve. The first pair of fangs is done, the other one is drying, so we step outside for a smoke. Interview questions:
1. Over 20 years in the business now – quite a road I imagine. How did it all begin? How did you come up with the idea for it? What drove
you to take something most would consider a hobby and turn it into… well, art and enterprise? Would you say it’s somewhat of a family tradition?
That is a long story and will take an entire book. So I am working on it with a memoirs called “The Vampyre Sebastiaan, History of the Sabretooth Clan”. The title may change but it is due out in October 2016. For me it all started when my mother told me about Tom Cruise loosing weight to play Lestat, I remember the day in the kitchen. Since that point I was obsessed with vampires, I always wanted to make my fantasy a reality and when I got my first pair of fangs it was the obvious decision. My family is very entrepreneurial and my grandfather and aunt are dentists, so I gained training as a dental technician and continued the family tradition, well in a weird way. My father said “Do what you love and the success will come, your clients and colleagues will feel that love and see you are genuine”. I LOVE what I do and am so honoured to have changed people’s lives.
2. I can’t say I know of many other fangsmiths, certainly not any with your level of exposure. What are the relationships between them?
Would you say it’s a cut-throat business or is there a certain level of respect among them, unspoken at the very least?
Fangsmiths are like Sith, very territorial and independent like most artists. I have some relationships with them but I really keep to myself and do not comment on their work or judge them, keeping to myself. My only concern is my clients, pleasing them, making them feel amazing.
3. You’ve been living in France for quite a while now. What pushed you to uproot from your home and move to Europe? Was it a tough
decision? How did you handle the language barrier and cultural differences?
It was an amazing decision, I am a lover of history and my blood is European so it is like coming to my homeland, it feels great. I love the diversity of cultures, being able to walk through history and learn the past, since I am a history junkie. One thing about fangsmithing is it allowed me to build real long lasting relationships. This enabled me to make strong bonds with amazing people in almost every country in Europe. Most people speak English but since I grew up with deaf people, I learned to be comfortable around people with limited communication options.
4. You are, among other things, an impresario, you organise one of the largest and most famous Halloween events in the US in New Orleans, that gave birth to sister events in New York, Paris, Berlin… How did it all start? Can you tell us what to expect when visiting one of your events?
Oh yes, the production company Endless Night Vampire Ball is an international, interlinked series of events which started in 1996 at the Bank nightclub in New York City. They started as a gathering for my fang clients (Sabretooths) and now together we host them. In 2015 Endless Night has events in Tampa, New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berlin, Austria and of course our main event on Halloween in New Orleans. Endless Night has a specific vibe which is made by a combination of the venue and the patrons, with performances including live music, belly dancers, internationally renowned DJs, burlesque shows and amazing venues. It’s best described as: a Venetian Masquerade Ball meets a Vampire Court, with the Elegance of a Burlesque cabaret and power of a metal concert. Check out our official website at www.endlessnight.com.
5. Let’s go back to fangsmithing for a moment – it didn’t end there, did it? You built a network of costumers and connected them into a
community called the “Sabretooth Clan” – a community that keeps growing. Where did the idea for such an endeavour originate? How
would you describe the community?
I noticed my fang clients changed, evolved and become something more. They bonded from this common experience which I now call the “Rite of Transformation (RoT).” This familiar bond evolved my brand into an actualcommunity which I call the Sabretooth Clan. Today it is one of the largest and probably the most influential community of people who identify in varying degrees as “Vampyres”. For me this is a philosophy and a lifestyle which evolved and is very unique amongst the vampire community. We are all very independent, creative and positive individuals. Fangs are our common symbol and the RoT allows for a common experience. I only make fangs in person as the RoT is an experience, which unites us into the Sabretooth Clan. It is more than a pair of fangs for many of my fang clients but can be akin to getting a tattoo and a rite of passage combined. More info on the Sabretooth Clan can be found at www.sabretooth.com
6. You are an author as well, writing esoteric and philosophical texts aimed at the Vampyre community. Could you tell us something about
the Vampyre philosophy and culture? Could you tell us why you decided to write and where the interest in the subject came from?
Well my books have evolved and I have a new series called “Sabretooth Clan: Books of the Flame” which are revising and defining the Sabretooth Family philosophy, culture and traditions. They start with the Sabretooth Clan Manifesto 2015 and Vampyre Veils (the Red Veils 2nd Edition) and then Vampyre: Path of Day (2016), Strigoi Vii: Path of Night (fall 2015) and the Vampyre Sebastiaan (fall 2016). My new books are not geared towards the vampire community but exclusively at my fang clients and those interested in our culture. They come in internal editions and public editions. Internal editions come out 6 months in advance exclusively for Sabretooth Clan members, as to give them the time to refind and perfect the “Vampyre Technology” in the books. They are a combination of self improvement, philosophy and culture drawn from many sources. You can find more info on these books on my website www.fathersebastiaan.com.
7. What can you tell us about the profile of your costumers, what do they all have in common?
They are all unique. I am getting more and more picky on who wears my fangs. Some wait for months or years. We inspire each other and it is amazing to spend an hour with each person. Very few want just fangs, most have something in their souls which is unfulfilled until they get their fangs and experience the RoT. What I can tell you is they are often very private and yet very social when they want to be.
8.What is the difference between American and European fang costumers, if there is any?
Sabretooths are all unique as individuals, the spirit of each Sabretooth remains in common attuned to the Current.
9. You’ve recently been to Dubai, can you tell us something more about that experience?
That was amazing as I grew up there and when I met a Vampyre banker from Egypt who lives in Dubai (she is a metalhead) she was amazing and I got to spend time with her in Paris in the catacombs. She then invited me to Dubai and introduced me to a group of amazing middle eastern metalheads. Yes there are Middle Eastern Sabretooth Vampyres too! We are everywhere. Dubai is just amazing and showing how the West and Middle East can truly live together and build something together.
10.Can you describe to our readers what they can expect when visiting you to get their first pair of fangs? How many different types of fangs are available to them? How do they put on the fangs andremove them?
Yes the fangs are a “temporary body art” and can be taken off and put back on, lasting several years if you take care of them properly. The Rite of
Transformation is an experience which has a very interesting combination of little rites including the Oath, Oracle, Mirror and Naming. People often feel transformed after this experience, but over time with the fangs it can get even more intense as it settles in. I make basic fangs (Classics and Liliths), Deluxe Fangs (Lost Boys, Beasts, Sabres and Brooklyn) and often custom designs. All hand made.
11.What are your plans for the future regarding fangsmithing business and its community, as well as potential shows and events?
I have many plans, first is to begin getting more exclusive with my fangsmithing, as I am only one guy and I want to work only with those who resonate with my work that way. One major project I am starting is a YouTube Channel launching in August 2015 called “Project Crimson” inspired by Project Mahyem in Fight Club. This channel will be hosted and produced by me and the Sabretooth Clan, even with homework assignments. This will have lectures on Sabretooth philosophy and culture, adventures and investigations of vampire legends and myths, interviews with prominent individuals and much more. We are filming ten starting lectures as I write this interview in our Paris studio. You can see some of my old videos and subscribe today at www.youtube.com/fathersebastiaan.
12.You are one of the rare few who can say that their job is also their pleasure. Still, I’m sure it gets stressful at times – how do you handle
it, what do you do to relax?
Stress is nothing when you have a deep rooted purpose, this is called Dharma in Eastern philosophies. I know my dharma and just not every step on how to get there. So I keep going, it is an overwhelming sense of what defines me and that is the Sabretooth Clan and our projects. I am a Father to my clients and it defines me. I relax by taking time off and watching special series like Game of Thrones, Orange is the New Black and Penny Dreadful. I like to take a holiday for a little time.
13.What’s your dream vacation, where would you like to retire?
No one in my birth family retires, we live what we do but I know it will evolve and I have a feeling the new generation will be much more involved. My dream vacation is to spend Winters in Thailand, Fall andSpring in the USA and Summers in Europe. But still work. My current plan is to take some time in a cabin with a beloved and enjoy our experience with the Current together. But retire, NEVER, it would kill me.
14.With all the travel and work that you do, in America as well as in Europe, you meet a lot of interesting people, experience different cultures and languages – is there an interesting, unpleasant or funny story you’d like to share with us?
Well my favourite story is meeting my clients after 20 years. Last October a woman, actually originally from Croatia but now a New Yorker came into my shop to get refitted after 19 years. She said she had a surprise for me and wouldn’t tell me until after I am done with her fangs. Then suddenly a girl came in, about 18 years old. I said “wait she isn’t” and the lady laughed “NO NO, well kinda”. She got her fangs and met her husband in my fangshop in 1996. This girl was born from my business, so I looked the young girl in the eyes and said “you owe me a coffee and we are even”. We all laughed and this shows me how much I love my business.
Interview: Immartu Gizzu, Photography: Marija Buljeta
on pics: Father Sebastiaan, models: Immartu Gizzu and VenusMantrap