When covering creators and their works there is always the fear that the creator is more interesting than the work. Percy Bysshe Shelley comes to mind. When I discovered Hundred Rabbits' work I was struck with the opposite fear: That their huge and diverse body of work couldn't be in the same league as its creators. Somehow Hundred Rabbits have struck the impossible balance and become both some of the most interesting creators I've ever met, and some of the most talented.
I asked the duo to take a break from sailing around the world (seriously) to talk to me about their lives and design philosophies. Enjoy.
Why don’t you start by introducing yourselves, who are Rekka and Devine?
Rekka is an illustrator and animator creating assets for games, books and videos. Devine is a developer and designer building tools and writing music. Together we designed toys, printed books and released games - and some of it, while living on a sailboat.
You’ve recently began sailing around the Pacific Ocean while developing. What’s it been like to develop in such an extreme environment?
Some things were easier than others, access to power and reliable internet has been a challenge living in the remote islands of the South Pacific Ocean. But we're always looking for ways to improve our systems. With the help of Amos, we devised a way to automate the build process and upload updates using our VPN's bandwidth instead of our satellite phone's. We have acquired a small generator for grey days when our solar panels cannot give us enough power to do our work.
What are you hoping to gain from sailing around the world’s largest ocean?
New words, new acquaintances, a better general picture of the world.
You’ve been releasing a suite of really impressive open-source tools. First off: why? Secondly: why are they all free?
Because we've been burnt relying on other people's closed-source tools. When you live off the grid, and your main tool shuts down after trying to call home, you stop relying on them, and start looking for things that can be entirely dismantled and re-engineered. We've been slowly phasing out our Apple products after accounts of our friends' phone locking-down half-way between passages - remember, we use our phones as navigation aids.
Working with X Code is unthinkable, not only does it drain too much battery, keeping up with the 4gb updates is not an option. Gradually, we have rebuilt an entirely new ecosystem of tools for ourselves, tools that are open source, using only a handful of libraries, that can be easily re-purposed and improved to suit our future needs.
We release them for free because we think tools should be free, and we release entertainment(games, books and music) for a living. If people want, they can make Pull Requests to improve the tools, turn them into something else or reverse engineer and study the tool to learn from it, as we have learned from others.
Y’all are exceptionally busy over the past few years. Looking back through your catalog there are games, a social network, a language, and a ton of other things. How do developing all of these different projects help you to grow/ change as a creator?
This is how we explore the places that we cannot sail to.
Is there anything you want to make sure that the people reading this know?
That there is always another way to live. We meet countless people who have tried society have found it incredibly hard to conform and be happy - and through self-sufficiency have managed to design a life for themselves in which they can grow.
What’s next for the both of you?
We are currently working on the boat, and getting Pino ready to sail back home, to Tokyo
This interview was edited for clarity and length.