“Jared’s been doing yoga and meditating!” sings out Jake Dargaville, owner of Deathwish Barber and Coffee Co. Not exactly the news I expected to hear about my tattooed covered bushy mustachio Barber, but dope none the less. As the amateur golfing enthusiast and Head-Barber Jared and I laughed and compared our dusty weekend antics – my gym regime to prevent man boobs, followed by some much needed empathy on how my receding hairline has “…a few more good years left mate”, I’m presented with an A-Grade Oat milk latte from and long-time friend and Deathwish visionary Jake, whose quick to join the self-deprecating laughs. Great coffee and a slick cut! It’s a great way to start the day. Come noon the array of Young Henry’s in the fridge is up for grabs!
Melbourne’s rising inner west has seen some trendy bars, night spots and cafes peppered amongst its long established, predominantly Vietnamese and Chinese eating scene. A step away from the trendiness is the timeless approach of Deathwish. Situated in West Footscray, the old school traditional barbershop offers a welcomed approached on the values and skills that have underpinned the trade.
Deathwish specialises in a range of classic grooming techniques: skin fades, cut throats, tapers, while also offering the highly addictive (and indulgent) ‘Deathwish Hot Towel Service’! This is definitely my happy place, but really it’s the intimate atmosphere and yarns I dig most – I feel at home under the massive scythe which hangs foreboding on the wall, reminding me I only live once, so make it great and treat myself and get the hot towel!
Deathwish is open to everyone, it’s clear Barbers Jared, Rainer and Sajeel want you to enjoy yourself and feel welcomed in like an old friend, without the pretentiousness that’s too exhausting to be around. The carefully selected crew at Deathwish view their work as a craft, offering outstanding services tailored for new clients while catching up and checking in with existing clients.
Deathwish is the creative vision of professional photographer and musician Jake Dargaville. Drumming for Hardcore outfit Confession and Folk-Punk performer Chasing Ghosts, has seen Jake touring both nationally and abroad while shooting large events such as The Rites of Passage Tattoo Festivals when home. In contrast to these moments Jake spent many years working in construction as a highly skilled heavy machinery operator and often listened to other people backstage at a show or on the work site about the struggles we all face. The physical toll of operating heavy machines forced Jake to consider a new venture but one that now aimed to make a difference for others.
“We hold mental health very close to us here at Deathwish. I believe all people should be checking up on their mental health as often as they’re getting a haircut. Individuals visit barber shops on average ten times a year, this gives us ten opportunities for checking in an having an empowered conversation” says Jake. Deathwish isn’t just another trendy barber shop, it’s a place where folks can come together, socialise over a coffee or cold beer, and support local artists at one of their live music days or charity events. For me the affordable prices on high quality cuts aren’t the draw, it’s the timeless value of authentic conversation with a big hearted barber that Deathwish have bought back to life, and that’s something money can’t buy.