Among the Post Apocalyptic LARP Community, Nuclear Snail is well known for his tutorials on how to achieve the Wastelander look. I ran across his channel several years ago and still remember his video on some kind of snake crotch thing. Hard to explain. Anyway, I contacted him recently and he was kind enough to do an interview with APA.

What made you get into doing what you do?

A badly translated Fallout-2 CD I bought back in Russia in 1998 gave me the first love for the post-apocalypse.

Later in life I decided to pursue a professional artist career, and in like 2010 I have discovered post-apo LARP – it was on Oldtown in Poland back then, and after that “FATE” LARP in Germany.

After spending a few years in the post-apo LARP scene (which was significantly smaller back then), I thought “why not use my artist skills to make kick-ass PA gear?!”

 

 

 

 

What is best experience that you’ve had since you’ve created nuclear snail studios?

Being able to make money from it, and also seeing it grow despite having given it way less focus than I should have. While I also work as a graphcs designer, game designer and photographer, I get quite a few interesting jobs through NSS(Nuclear Snail Studios).

And those are always fun to do, with a lot of artistic freedom and tons of appreciation granted. Anyone doing art professionally can confirm how important those things are.

 

Another great thing was finally coming out to Wasteland Weekend in the USA. People there are great, and I probably have the largest fanbase there.

It was super cool finally meeting some folks I had been online friends with for years in real life. And the event is ENORMOUS and ENORMOUSLY GREAT.

What was the number one difficulty creating your social media presence?

FB limiting pages reach severely (even the reach towards people who have subscribed to your page) is the biggest problem.

Because of that, you have to be present on multiple social media platforms at the same time. FB + Youtube are more than plenty for me already though, since I want to focus on my art, not on having to make 999 posts a day with proper hashtags on 999 platforms and all that nonsense.

Being in touch with your fans is great, but having to do all the online marketing tactics is just soul-draining for me. As little as I care for it, I am surprised I still have a growing presence.

I wanna just upload a picture album named “Raider Costume Something something 5, fuck you” with GREAT WORKS in it, without FB limiting post reach forcing me to use other platforms, and not worry about marketing.

That said, I am actually very capable of doing marketing – I just hate doing it, that is my biggest challenge in that area.

What do you think are some of the misconceptions about people who LARP? And what would people really find out about them?

 

LARPers, in general, are often regarded as weirdos and nerds – and that one is actually true. However, people do not realize that letting your inner freaky nerd out is one of the most healthy things to do.

LARP is excellent for expression! In fact, it is weird NOT to dress up as a pirate, while deep inside you want to.

Particularly regarding post-apo LARP and culture, I think many people who don´t really know or understand us to believe that we glorify violence, want the world to end, and are a bunch of basement-dwelling no-life super-weirdos in general.

Some think we are dangerous, some think we are just strange. All those crazy (and false) things… This has to do to a large extent with the fact that dystopian fiction more often than not contains contemporary guns and the like.

It is easier to get away with dressing up as a medieval knight without people thinking you are a real-life killer than it is to pull off a wastelander look with a rifle without your standard-issue citizen thinking that you´re up to no good.

Also, the genre is to a large extent about expressing aggression – which is a great and necessary thing to do, if you do it in a peaceful way that does not actually hurt anyone.

Dressing up in bloody dirty gear for pretend-play IS that peaceful way of expressing your natural aggression, and no more “violence-glorifying” than being into martial arts or watching war movies really. That is what many people don´t get.

What they would find if they came around to meet us however is that LARPers and Wastelanders are some of the most intelligent, warm, welcoming, creative, caring and acceptant people out there. We are more normal than “normal” people really if you know what I mean.

Many of use are also extremely high-level in real life, which you would in some cases not guess or expect at first. On my post-apo adventures, I have met multi-millionaires, famous artists and musicians, elite soldiers, politicians, world-class doctors and engineers, a bunch of people working high-level jobs in Hollywood, a world-class pornstar, a famous custom bike builder, and so on…

And yes, not EVERYONE is great – there are some exceptions and black sheep just like in any culture. But most of the folks doing this as a hobby (or a full-fledged lifestyle) are great.

Another fascinating thing is that this culture unites people of almost all world views, except the most extreme and aggressive ones. At least in the countries I know, being a LARPer or Wastelander means that it does not matter if you are a Republican, a Democrat, a Mormon, an atheist, a queer, a straight dudebro, a vegan, a Marine, a hippie, a rich person, a fast-food worker, a fitness freak, or a couch potato who gives 0 fucks.

You can be a Buddhist vegan animal-rights attack helicopter who identifies as a talking homosexual fish while serving his country proudly as a soldier, for all anyone cares.

Everyone is enjoying this together, treats others with respect, and leaves their own political bullshit at home. And people who get disrespectfull, aggressive, or start harassing others for whatever reason are swiftly and permanently dealt with by most event organizers and are VERY few, to begin with, compared to the other scenes I know.

 

 

  What would you suggest to anyone who is thinking of getting into this? Live action role play costume building etc.

Just do it! 

Find people near you, go to some events, don´t sweat it too much at the start.

No one is expecting top-level gear form you at first event as long as they can see you made at least some effort.

So go out there and make friends, collect experiences. First events you go to as a noob are the best ones!

Also join the NSS Community group on Facebook, being in touch with others helps a LOT:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/188173238453132

Why do you love the Post Apocalypse/dystopia genre? Can you point to one event or one influencing show/book/movie?

I love a mix of dark, melancholic moods with a burning glimmer of hope and unstoppable life force shining through.
These things constitute good dystopian fiction and drive me:
• The spirit of adventure infused with freedom and self-determination.
• The survival of the fittest and the expression of primal human nature.
• The thrill of unexplored horizons and unknown danger.
• The rush of taking on a hostile world and dominating within it.
• The everlasting trace of time and the notion of human transience.

As far as the influences… Jesus, those are SO many, but I would say Oldschool Fallout 1 and especially Fallout 2 were the main thing. Besides that Terminator and Matrix of course, and the book Deathworld by Harry Harrison (yes, it is not PA, but still :D).

 

 

 

What is your favorite work of PA in terms of show/book/movie?

Hard to pick just a few, but here are some:

Movies: Terminator series, Postman, Mad Max
Series: The 100, Falling Skies, The Walking Dead
Game: Fallout-2, Fallout New Vegas, X-Com (1995 version)
Book: The Stand by Stephen King