Vaping Diaries #314: Vigilante Juice Co Interview (Vape Summit)

I first met Vigilante Juice Co at ECC 2014 and was immediately enamored by the company’s e-liquids. Vigilante Juice Co — and its offshoot Twig and Berries line — offers some delicious and complex juices that are right in my wheelhouse. Initially focusing on layered dessert flavors, I’m a big fan of the company’s juices. Back at ECC 2014, I chatted with company co-owner Russ Scarbrough to learn about the company and some of its flavors. At Vape Summit III, I caught up with his partner in crime (vigilantism?) Ashley West to get an update on the company and learn about some new offerings.

Ashley told me about two new e-liquids in the Vigilante Juice Co and Twig and Berries arsenal — Poison Apple and My Own Summer. Poison Apple is a confectionary treat of apple and salted caramel, while My Own Summer is a melange of mango and green tea. The former was released in Fall 2014 (after my initial meeting with the company) and tastes like a wonderful autumn treat. The latter is a brighter and more refreshing blend that’s perfect for summertime. Being a Los Angeles resident, seasons have no meaning, so both of these juices are great for me year round. (And to be honest, I’m pretty much a sucker for anything with salted caramel.)

While the company has attained an ardent following with its dessert blends, Ashley told me that Vigilante Juice Co’s next few flavors will likely emphasize fruit flavors, rounding out the company’s offerings. If My Own Summer is any indication of what Vigilante Juice Co can do with fruit, then I expect more delightful, layered, and complex e-liquids from the company. I can’t wait to see what these guys and gals do next! For more information on My Own Summer and Poison Apple, as well as hints on the future of Vigilante Juice Co and Twig and Berries, check out the video interview below.

Vaping Diaries #313: Fumi Vapor Gang Mod Interview

Combining vaping and street art, Fumi Vapor aims to make a splash with a stylish approach. The company is launching with the radically different Gang Mod, which resembles brass knuckles, and four flavors of vaping e-liquids. All of the Fumi Vapor launch products feature street art from a Japanese designer. I recently caught up with Fumi Vapor vice president Joseph Brown to learn about the company’s mission, the Gang Mod, and the four launch flavors in the company’s e-juice line.

The Fumi Vapor Gang Mod demands attention. For a company that combines style with vaping, a mod that resembles brass knuckles was a great way to start. Love it or hate it, people will talk about the Gang Mod and associate it with Fumi Vapor. The mod is a great conversation starter that will help the company’s brand recognition. Underneath the striking design of the Gang Mod is a variable-wattage chip made by Kamry. In the interview below, Joseph goes over the Gang Mod’s features and artwork.

Joseph also spoke about Fumi Vapor’s four launch e-liquids. Since the company is based in Los Angeles and works with Japanese artists, the four flavors are based on locations that reflect Fumi Vapor’s international nature — DTLA (downtown Los Angeles), Hollywood, Venice Beach, and Tokyo. DTLA is a coke-on-the-rocks e-liquid. Hollywood is a mix of mango, guava, and melon (MGM, get it?!?). Venice Beach is a blueberry ice flavor. Lastly, Tokyo is a mix of honey and melon. These Fumi Vapor e-liquids come in bottle that feature stylish street art.

With its distinct mod and flashy e-liquid bottles, Fumi Vapor is attempting to be a “vaping lifestyle” company. It’s certainly off to an interesting start and there are even bigger things coming later in the year from the company. Joseph teased that Fumi Vapor will have several more mods and e-juice flavors later in 2015.

I’m very curious to see how Fumi Vapor will be received in the vaping world. The company has style, which is of course subjective, and is aggressively going after the top reviewers in the business. At the very least, I expect Fumi Vapor to grab lots of attention. What the company will do with that attention is intriguing. For now, get to know Fumi Vapor better by watching the video below.

Vaping Diaries #312: Pro-Wrestler Willie Mack Talks Vaping

The last interview RPadholic N8R and I filmed at Vape Summit III was one of my favorites — a conversation with outstanding pro-wrestler and avid vaper Willie Mack. I first met Willie Mack at an IMProof rally in Los Angeles last year and have been anxious to get him on camera ever since. It’s funny that we’re both in Los Angeles, but only managed to connect in Las Vegas. Ha! Logistical curiosities aside, Willie Mack is known for his awesome combination of dynamic moves and power moves. If you haven’t seen him work then I highly recommend searching for his matches on YouTube. The dude can flat-out go!

In our chat below, Willie Mack talks about moving from Blu e-cigs to enthusiast vaper hardware. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Filipinos got him into hardcore vaping. (If you’re not familiar with the SoCal vaping scene, there are a ton of Filipino vapers.) His current setup of choice is a Sigelei box mod, a Plume Veil atomizer, and a glass atty cap. Willie Mack also spoke about the types of vaping e-liquids he enjoys. He’s a longtime fan of ube e-juice and has recently gotten into strawberry cheesecake e-liquids.

While Willie Mack has always had strong cardio, he said that switching from smoking to vaping has helped his wind. Since he’s always vaping in the locker room, many of the boys have wondered what he’s puffing on. He has gotten several pro-wrestlers to make the switch to vaping. Willie Mack noted that fellow pro-wrestlers Rey Mysterio, Jr., Konnan, and Mike Modest are vapers.

Lastly, I approached Willie Mack about being his manager. The gimmick would be that I’d sneak him a stacked 26650 mod or something while the referee wasn’t looking. I think you should bug him on Instagram and Twitter to make this idea a reality (please!). It’s awesome that a great pro-wrestler and all around cool guy like Willie Mack is a vaper. Get to know him a bit better by watching our chat below.

Vaping Diaries #311: Hyon USA Pugio & Pi2 Interview (Vape Summit)

A relatively new company to the vaping world (opened for business in November 2014), Hyon USA has made a big splash in a short amount of time. The company has released a series of quality mechanical mods available in several unique and beautiful finishes. Vapers have been digging the looks and performance of Hyon USA’s mods. Following up on these products, Hyon USA is set to release a pair of rebuildable dripping atomizers (RDAs). At Vape Summit III, I chatted with company president Fernando Solis to learn more about these vaping atomizers.

First up is the Pugio. A versatile atomizer with atypical features, the Pugio is a flavor atty out of the box, but will satisfy cloud chasers with accessories. The Pugio has a simple and elegant style (my personal preference), with some interesting features under the hood. Instead of using traditional post holes, this atomizer has vapers place wire between a screw and a wall. Solis proudly said that this makes the Pugio easier for builders of all skill levels to work with. As someone that can build okay-ish (I can make good coils, but I am slow), I’m looking for to seeing how easy the Hyon USA Pugio is to work with. As a flavor fiend, I like what the atomizer offers (on paper).

The second atomizer coming from Hyon USA is the Haus of Zombi Pi2. Labeled as the vaping industry’s “first post-less atomizer,” the Pi2 atomizer is geared towards flavor chasers. This “flat-top atomizer” has vapers slip the wire into four holes on the deck. Looking at a still photo of the Pi2 atomizer, I thought that it looked cool, but had no idea how it worked. It’s way different from any atomizer that I’ve seen. Thankfully, Fernando explained the Pi2 atomizer to me in the interview below.

You can learn more about the Hyon USA Pugio and Pi2 by checking out the video below. Both atomizers should be available in June 2015. Fernando also teased a few Hyon USA products coming later in 2015. After checking out the company’s atomizers at Vape Summit III, it looks like Hyon USA will follow up on its successful mods quite splendidly.

DICE Europe Chats With Michael Pachter & Greg Essig

Many of you longtime RPadholics know that the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences’ DICE Summits are my favorite events in the videogame business. I’ve been helping out the Academy with some interviews in preparation for DICE Europe 2015. The first two are live! First up is a chat with Wedbush Securities analyst Michael Pachter. Next is an interview with FunPlus head of business development Greg Essig.

A lot of you know Pachter as the most quotable analyst in videogames and from his Pach Attack show. He talks about his upcoming DICE Europe 2015 session, as well as some general nerd stuff. Learn about Pachter’s session, as well as his thoughts on the upcoming Star Wars movies and his view on A Song of Ice & Fire vs. Game of Thrones, by clicking the interview linked above.

While not as “game famous” as Pachter, Greg Essig is just as charming. Formerly with Apple and Creative Artists Agency, Essig has taken a new position with FunPlus. At DICE Europe 2015, he’ll be talking about “defining value in mobile gaming.” He told me a bit about his session, as well as his love for Sigur Ros and the Avenger he identifies with the most.

So yeah! Please do me a favor an check out the two interviews linked in the last two sentences of the first paragraph. You’ll be my favorite person in the world if you do!

Vaping Diaries #310: Top Hat Mods Interview (Vape Summit)

Top Hat Mods makes the most beautiful vaping box mods I’ve ever seen. That’s not an overstatement or an exaggeration. I’ve seen a lot of box mods and many of them look great. The ones I’ve seen from Top Hat Mods are, quite easily, the most exquisite vaping devices I’ve laid my eyes on. At Vape Summit III, it was a pleasure meeting Top Hat Mods owner and modder Steve Dockery. He told me about his background in art and going from a bored vape shop owner to the maker of some of the most sought after pieces of vaping hardware.

Top Hat Mods had several limited edition models at Vape Summit III. Many of them can be seen in the video below. Vapers that are Star Wars fans were delighted to see box mods based on Darth Vader, Yoda, Darth Maul, Boba Fett, Storm Troopers, R2D2, and more. Whether you’re patriotic, into comic books, a fan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or just love beautiful box mods, Top Hat Mods’ Captain America limited edition is a sight to see. This star-spangled mod was one of the coolest things I saw at Vape Summit and it totally appealed to me as a comics nerd. All of these limited edition come with the mod, a matching pen made from the same block of wood as the mod, and a matching atomizer.

Steve spoke about the various DNA40 and SX350 models available, as well as future limited editions box mods. Off the top of his head, he hinted that Transformers fans will have something to look forward to in the near future. The idea of an Optimus Prime SX350 box made by Top Hat Mods sounds brilliant! Naturally, I got Steve to commit — on camera! — to making an RPadTV model with my face on it. Ha!

While I love the work that Top Hat Mods has done, I love even more that Steve Dockery is pushing the envelope on vaping mods as art. His work is absolutely beautiful.

Vaping Diaries #309: Whom Box Interview (VapeCon Manila)

As a longtime fan of Wu Tang House of Mods, I was excited to meet company owner Euclid Franco at VapeCon Manila 2015 and see his DNA40 Whom Box in person. It was excellent learning that Euclid is a fun guy to spend time with — always a bonus when someone that makes some of your favorite products is a cool cat. As for the Whom Box, it’s absolutely gorgeous and stands out from the glut of DNA40 C-frame mods on the market.

The Whom Box is made from stabilized wood, with stainless steel accents. The artwork is laser engraved and the contacts are silver plated for maximum conductivity. Instead of a C-frame, the Whom Box uses steel doors on either side to house 18650 batteries. While it’s certainly larger than many C-frame box mods on the market, I was pleasantly surprised by how comfortable the Whom Box felt in my hands (which aren’t particularly big). It’s a beautiful mod and exactly the type of product I’ve come to expect from Wu Tang House of Mods — great looks and atypical features.

In addition to talking about the Whom Box, Euclid spoke about other upcoming boxes he’s working on. To follow up on this beauty, he’s currently working on 26650 boxes. The next Whom Box mods will be available with SX350 chips and DNA40 chips. While the yields on DNA40 have certainly improved, there are many people on the market that are still skittish on the regulated vaping chip and others that simply prefer Yihi’s SX350. It’s great to see Wu Tang House of Mods offering both options to its customers. Personally, I’ve been happier with the SX350 mods I own than the DNA40 mods. The thought of a 26650 SX350 Whom Box totally works for me.

Anyway, check out my chat with Euclid below to learn more about the gorgeous and unique Whom Box by Wu Tang House of Mods.

Vaping Diaries #308: Sub Ohm Innovations Subzero Mod Interview (Vape Summit)

One of the most powerful mods on display at Vape Summit III, the Sub Ohm Innovations Subzero is a competition-level mod that offers a combination of power, unique features, and beautifully understated looks. Company owner Cale Crase spent some time going over the mod’s features with me at the show and I walked away thoroughly impressed. After spending nearly two weeks with the Sub Ohm Innovations Subzero, I’ve found it to be one of the hardest hitting mods I’ve used. It’s seriously impressive and I love its aesthetics.

There are several things that makes the Sub Ohm Innovations Subzero such a powerhouse. To start with, the body is made from C145 copper, which is highly conductive. The stock copper contacts are beefy, again allowing for maximum conductivity. Silver-plated contacts, as seen on the Limited Edition model at the show, will be available in the future. The most novel aspect of the mod is its eight-point clutch-contact system, which allows for efficient and consistent contact, even on off-center presses. While all of these features add up to extreme power, safety was also considered; the Sub Ohm Innovations Subzero uses a simple 90-degree locking mechanism. Many “competition level” mods lack a locking mechanism, but Cale felt that safety was important.

With its power and unique features, you’d think that the Sub Ohm Innovations Subzero would come at a premium price. That’s not the case at all. The mod has a very affordable MSRP of $135.

While I’m not a cloud chaser by any means, I’ve used quite a few competition-level mods. Along with the venerable Rig, the Sub Ohm Innovations Subzero is the most powerful mod I’ve ever used. I was hanging out at Vape Star the other day and builder Andearu was surprised when the Sub ohm Innovations Subzero clowned his AmeraVape Manhattan (one of the most popular competition-level mods of 2014). Whether you’re looking for pure power, want a mod with novel engineering, or want a mod that’s elegantly understated, you should definitely check out the Sub Ohm Innovations Subzero.

Vaping Diaries #307: Paratus Mods Submariner Interview (Vape Summit)

With a low price and great features, the Paratus Mods Submariner looks like a fantastic vaping deal. When I last chatted with company co-owner Eric Lunn at ECC 2014, the Paratus Mods Submariner was teased. At Vape Summit III, the mod arrived and, at a glance, I was pretty impressed with what it brings to the table for such a low price. All models of the Paratus Mods Submariner have a direct contact top cap for maximum conductivity, a magnetic switch, a concave firing button to prevent auto-firing, and peek insulators that can withstand extreme builds. The price differs depending on the metal selected. The Paratus Mods Submariner comes in brass, copper, brass/nickel, nickel/brass, and titanium, with suggested retail prices of $115, $125, $135, $135, and $225, respectively.

At Vape Summit III, Eric went over the Paratus Mods Submariner’s features and showed off some special editions made just for the show. Again, what the company is offering for the price is quite noteworthy. Like its other products, the Paratus Mods Submariner is made-in-the-USA. The price points — bottom to top — are impressive. Even the top-of-the-line titanium model caught my eye, considering that I haven’t seen a titanium mod for less than $400. While the special Vape Summit III editions (shown in the video below) were fantastic, I think you guys and gals need to email the company for a Paratus Mods Submariner RPadTV edition with my face and logo on it. Really, you do. :p

Anyway, check out my Vape Summit III interview with Eric Lunn to learn more about the Paratus Mods Submariner. I hope that this mod gets a nice marketing push, as I’m all about made-in-the-USA vaping devices with novel features succeeding and I’m a fan of how Paratus Mods operates. After you’ve perused the video, kindly leave a comment and let me know what you think of the Paratus Mods Submariner.

Vaping Diaries #306: Njoy Artist Collection Interview (Vape Summit)

Known for its cig-alike products and an investment from Bruno Mars, Njoy surprised the vaping industry with the Njoy Artist Collection. A collaboration with five well-known and respected juice makers, the Njoy Artist Collection launched with five e-liquids that have been getting rave reviews for their complexity and deliciousness. While many enthusiast vapers associate Njoy with inexpensive products found in drugstores, gas stations, and the like, the Njoy Artist Collection is very much geared towards vaping enthusiasts. I first heard about the line from Craft Vapery’s Josh Krane and learned more from POET’s Randy Freer (one of the juice makers involved with the project). At Vape Summit III, Njoy’s Mike Maybaum told me more about the line and the thinking behind it.

For those of you not familiar with the flavors and creators behind the Njoy Artist Collection, here’s a brief rundown. Paramour by Daniel of Flavors is a blend of pear, peach, vanilla, and custard. Hedon’s Bite by George of Mr. Good Vape is a blend of different apples, caramel, and melon. Longtime friend of RPadTV Randy of POET has Dragonscape, a mix of Indian spice, tea, custard, and vanilla. Anne-Claire of Vaponaute has Sacre Couer, a melange of berry, rhubarb, custard, almond torte, and bourbon. Last, but not least, is Samba Sun from Jeremy of Good Life Vapor, a mix of clementine, peach, apricot, and marshmallow. As you can see, these are not simple one-note flavors that many vapers would expect from an e-cigarette company. The Njoy Artist Collection e-liquids are complex flavors aimed at vapers with discerning palettes.

Having a powerhouse like Njoy make products for vaping enthusiasts is a fantastic thing for the business. The company is highly influential and its distribution dwarfs the majority of most e-liquid companies. In many ways, it helps legitimize the vaping enthusiast segment of the market and helps mainstream consumers learn that there are better products than cig-alikes available. While some of the smaller juice companies I know are intimidated by the Njoy Artist Collection, I think it’s simply a sign of the vaping enthusiast market growing up. For the industry to grow, it doesn’t need another line of juices that’s only available in Southern California and made in the back of a shop. It needs products like the Njoy Artist Collection — juices that are made under the safest conditions and easily available to stores (not just vape shops) around the world.

Watch the Vape Summit III interview below and learn more about the Njoy Artist Collection.