After previously contacting martin for information for the artisan series introduction, I began to think that martin might be a bit of an interesting subject for an interview. Hot keys project is different from some makers because of the volume they produce and how keycaps are made and orders are fulfilled. For a closer look at Martins caps I did a spotlight on the raven and armor keycap.
Firstly, who are you? Just a small explanation of who you are in relation to what you do.
A little bit about myself is that I am originally from the field of interior design. I love designing and creating things and it is through my designing days that I had started to develop an interest in designing keyboards and keycaps. I felt that in a profession where the use of keyboard is so important, it makes work easier if we had a more interesting and lively keyboard to work with, hence the idea in developing different types of keycaps for this purpose. I am also a fan of collecting collector items, and the idea of making keycaps something of a collectors item really appealed to me. Moreover, the fact that no one is really into designing these things made it an even more interesting idea for me.
Why did you start HKP? and what do you do differently and why?
How is HKP different from the others, I think with my collections I have more virtual and robotic designs.
Do you think that people think of your keycaps differently to other makers who do the more limited production runs?
Compared to the other makers who do more limited production runs, I am a bit different in that I want more people to be able to have access to my keycaps. I enjoy seeing people being able to have a nice keyboard and be able to use the collection of keycaps that I have designed. All in all it comes down to self fulfillment and satisfaction in seeing others use my products.
Did you have any prior experience with sculpting and casting before starting HKP/gasmaskkeycap?
My prior experience with sculpting and casting would come from my interior design days where I would think and design a product from scratch and see it being made into a real project/product. I also enjoy being able to play around and utilize different materials and colors to create different projects.
Is gasmaskkeycap.com dead? And was this just to evolve into HKP so you were not constrained by the gasmask design?
Gasmask is part of HKP. I wanted to deliver a broader range and variety of products hence we assimilated the products into our HKP line.
What inspires your designs? Particularly the gasmask.
The inspiration for my designs comes from all the online video games that people are playing. I felt if the younger generation enjoys war games and FPS games then the production of the designs particularly the gasmask should appeal to them. Seeing that the keycaps are targeted for this particular clientele, it was pertinent to find a common theme and design which will appeal to them.
Do you find that any other keycap makers inspire your own? And is there a maker in the community you currently like?
I like the designs of Brocap as his designs are unique and specialized.
What is the status of revisiting previous designs and colourways? You have made quite a few which I think many people are interested in. My particular favourite is the Iron Mask. Could this make a return?
The idea of revisiting previous designs and colorways highly depends on the popularity of the keycaps. If the customers like a particular design and that design sells well, then I will try to design/produce another upgraded version of the first.
Do you have a favourite design of your own? And colourway?
My favorite design and colorway of my own collection will be the Raven. The black over red creates a stimulating color tone for the keyboard, and the fact that additional parts can be added onto the keycap makes it more interesting and fun.
I have been looking through your archive on geekhack and you have made a lot of different colourways. Do you have a number of all the variations of keycaps you have made? e.g. how many colours of gasmasks?
Below is the keycaps that I produced, about the color each type at least more than 10 kinds, in the future I will produce more different colors to fit different people.
Armor Cap V2
Is HKP going to expand into anything else? Maybe other keyboard related products. I ask this because you previously made a keycap display case.
So far, all products are centered around keycaps as this is my area of interest however, there is a possibility in branching out into more product ideas. The keycap display case was designed so that users have a place to store their collection of keycaps as you know how small a keycap is! Plus there is not a case available to store keycaps made for collectors, so I thought this will be a good idea.
I think I read somewhere on GH you collect converse, what is your opinion on the Chuck II’s?
I feel Chuck IIs is an upgraded version of Converse and I find its concept is like that of my keycaps. They focus on adding and layering over a basic design. They are trying to upgrade the simple version by allowing the wearer to choose from a variety of designs, accessories and materials
And do you continue to collect them?
Yes, I will continue to collect Converses and sneakers as I am a collector fan at heart!
This was done a bit of a while ago now but it is still very relevant. Martin continues to produce these keycaps to a very high standard of quality.
Current Sale 9th of January 2016
The current HKP sale is GMK/Cherry and Topre Blanks. This features some very nice colour combinations and some excellent colour matching for gmk. The most appealing to me is the 70’s colourway Topre Esc and Fn.
To read a little more about some Hot keys. I did a spotlight a couple of months ago.
Artisan Spotlight on Hot Keys Project
Typed on SSK