Quartersnacks has been an established advocate of handsome socialite skateboarders for quite some time, as evidenced by our constant coverage of Dylan Reider, and other, less prominent, but still notable personalities. We recently spent some time to conversing with the second most handsome skateboarder, who has taken up extended (but temporary) residence in the distraction capital of the world these past few years. Aside from the obvious nightlife beef issues, we discuss important details like being billed second next to his competition, dealing with distractions, and being known as “Alex Olson the skater” to people who don’t exactly skateboard.
To get the pressing question on everyone’s mind out of the way, can you please explain your nightlife beef with Dylan Reider?
That’s Bill [Strobeck] running his mouth. There was never “nightlife beef.” There was one night where we went out — I remember the night — this guy will walk up to the place and there will be three girls, that’ll definitely be like “Hey Dylan! What’s going on? How are you?” And I’ll be standing right next to him, like “Oh. What’s up.”
So why did it take him three minutes to explain it?
Because Bill doesn’t have any good stories.
He needs to talk about something, you know?
So they were probably just making shit up, like you know how in biopics they embellish everything?
Well, it’s like one of those stories where it wasn’t really a story, but if you add some stuff to it, it’ll maybe become a story.
Seeing as how you are often billed as the other, young handsome skateboarder, have you taken you taken any steps to make yourself more fabulous in light of Dylan Reider’s recent skyrocketing in popularity?
Uhh…start skating harder, I guess? Actually, no. He wins.
So you’re just outright admitting defeat?
I can’t top him, he’s too handsome and too good at skating. I’ll settle for second best.
I remember one occasion when I was with you and some other people at a bar, and some gay dude tried to hit on you by using your Fully Flared part as his pick-up material, is this sort of thing frequent with you?
I have definitely got hit on a couple other times, they’ll say, “You’re Alex Olson the skater, right?” I remember sitting down by myself at my friend’s restaurant, having dinner, and it was empty with plenty of seats. This guy sat down next to me and asked if he could buy me a drink. I was literally about to leave, and said “No, thanks though.” He said, “Well, you’re Alex Olson the skater, keep doing what you’re doing.” And it was real awkward and weird, because this dude definitely did not skateboard.
How do you think they know about you?
I have no idea.
Do you think there’s a cult of gay dudes who hunt down cute skaters?
No, but I’m sure that’s a “look” though. There are definitely gay dudes that are like, “What kind of guys do you like?” “Skater boys.” And I fall into that category.
Why have you been spending so much time in New York these past few years?
All my friends that I grew up with went to college out here. I actually do like skateboarding out here more than in LA. I like pushing, I don’t like driving. There are more things to do. The quality of life is better for a younger person.
Do you actually manage to get things done out here, skating-wise?
Sometimes. There is only like, one photographer, and since everyone has now switched over to using HD cameras, there is only one filmer. So it’s kind of hard to get these people to film you, or you’re just not close with them or whatever. Bill still only films on a VX. I definitely skate more when people are in town though.
You don’t have a set crew out here?
You just hang around and hope that people show up?
Yeah, walk around, look at shit, see stuff I want to skate. Everyone’s filming on high-definition cameras, and only wants footage from those, since that’s what’s normal now. And it looks bad if you mix the two.
What are you filming for, the Chocolate video?
Yeah. I think Ty was trying to be the first one to do it [make an all-HD video], but Nike came out with that Debacle video, and Dylan’s part was all HD. I used to hate on it, but now I think it looks fine. Everyone wasn’t used to it, and now it’s like, VX [footage] looks weird.
How many times have you been north of 14th Street?
All the time.
What about north of 34th?
All the time.
What the hell do you do up there?
I get weird up there. I’m not one of those people that stay below 14th.
Well, we definitely look at you that way.
Oh, thanks. I like Uptown, but nobody ever wants to go up there.
Do you plan on spending a winter here at any point?
When I fully move here, which I’m afraid to do.
Afraid of what?
That’s the only reason you’re afraid to move here?
I’m lazy. I don’t want to pack up, get rid of my spot in LA, move all my shit here. And all the companies are in LA.
Have you always been into photography or is that something you picked up in the past few years?
Definitely in the past few years. I didn’t do anything but skateboard when I had my first serious girlfriend. I broke up with her, and I’ve seen people go through heartbreaks and I didn’t want to deal with it, so I picked up like literally ten hobbies.
And that’s the one stuck?
Yeah, I figured what makes you trip out on a girl is being bored. So when you get all these hobbies, you won’t be bored.
Is that the sort of thing that you would ever peruse in the same way you have pursued skating?
I’d like to, but it’s on such a bigger level of competition. Professionally, it’s way more competitive than skating, and photographers have much bigger egos. Skaters are a little more humble than people in professional levels of other fields. If you’re a pro skater, you hang out with your own people, and you’re a kook if you’re constantly telling your friends how good you are. Your talent has to speak for itself. A lot of photographers push themselves on people to show everyone how good they are. It’s not really even talent, just how you can sell yourself. I think skating relies a lot more on talent and style.
Was your blog a damage control measure after your Fully Flared intro made you look really mean?
To tell people that’s you’re actually a nice, approachable dude.
No, for some reason, I get a bad rap. People think I’m an asshole.
Yeah, I think it’s because of that intro.
I know I’m moody, shy and don’t always say “Hi” to people. But sometimes I just don’t say “Hi” because I don’t know if they remember me or not. It was way worse when I was younger, I’ve gotten better with it. I’m quiet, and people don’t know how to judge quietness so they fill it in with their own perception of who you are.
So why did you start the blog?
Roctakon kept telling me that I need to get on Twitter. And I was like, “Twitter is so gay.” I still don’t understand what Twitter is used for. I get Tumblr, because you can show images and what you’re into, but I don’t really know why I started it. I really enjoy doing it, I enjoy when kids ask me questions. I thrive off it now. Facebook is the same thing, with kids asking stuff. But it was more annoying because they would hit you on live chat.
What’s the most insane thing someone has ever asked you on either one of those?
I get weird ones. There’s this girl who does this site called imboycrazy. Unfortunately I did an interview with her.
Nah, that was a good career move for you.
No it wasn’t, that was a terrible career move. That came up because I broke up with my girlfriend, and I thought, “Oh, I’ll do an interview on this site and a bunch of girls will know that I’m single and I’ll get laid.” Terrible move. Moving on, someone just sent me a message today saying, “I just signed up for Tumblr to tell you that you and Alexi [the imboycrazy girl] would make a cute couple. Have you ever pursued that?” Then I figured it was probably her.
So did you respond to it?
Yeah, of course. I said I’m too young for her and she likes older guys. Then she asked me what my favorite band was.
What’s your favorite band?
It depends what mood I’m in, but probably Frank Sinatra.
That’s a band?
Well, she was asking what my favorite music was, so…
Who’s your favorite rapper?
Right now, Rick Ross. All-time, Wu-Tang. I’m not the biggest person on hip-hop, I like it, but I didn’t grow up with it like a lot of other people. I grew up with my dad liking all the punk rock stuff, and now seeing all these kids like it, it has become so annoying to me. My dad grew up in the punk rock scene, and he’d show me what he was into, plus the Piss Drunx were cool at the time, so that doubled it. And I come to New York and it’s like the trend of the century now.
You think people now are being insincere?
No, not at all, it’s just boring to me now.
You don’t really seem the like the sort of dude who stresses skateboarding as a job, like about filming or having to do some bullshit, how do you manage to do that?
You just don’t see me on those days. I think everyone [who skateboards professionally] gets stressed about things like that. I learned that I don’t really like traveling with a crew of people. I like to stay in one area and go off on my own and find things to get myself stoked. Seeing young kids get tricks every day, and me being young and not getting tricks definitely gets stressful.
Then I give myself excuses. Which are pathetic.
What’s an example of an excuse you use on yourself?
“You have a different approach.” Or some bullshit.
Is it possible to sustain a skate career in this day and age without traveling too much, just kind of staying in one place?
Well, Dylan kind of made that possible. His whole video part is basically in LA. And all of those spots were like, “Hmm…maybe. Someone could do it.” He was just the guy who stepped up and skated all these spots in like a two-block radius of all our places in LA. It really got me psyched and inspired to do shit like that, but more in New York. It’s just harder in New York because there are more distractions, more people, you wake up late. I get motivated when people come out here to skate because I know they are only here for so long. But honestly, I’ve grown to like skating by myself. In LA, I’d go skating by myself. Carroll was the only guy I’d go skate with.
You mean skating street spots and not the Girl park?
I have been watching these people with their private parks and it’s kind of lame. I like seeing kids out skating. The only real advantage of a private park is that you don’t get distracted, and you can go there when it rains. But you need to interact with people when you skate. I like interacting with kids that aren’t necessarily very good, it’s a good connection you get, which is weird because I’m not very social. When you go to a skate spot, its not like you kick everyone out so just you and your friends can skate it. You have to share it.
When you get accustomed to skating these private parks, and you go to a real spot, you get upset or you’re not used to it. Seeing people progress is cool.
Do you have any really ridiculous obligations in your career?
I don’t know, I guess when you’re traveling, you have so much free time at night. When you’re overseas, it’s not like you’re bringing a generator or anything. It’s just so much drinking, people you maybe don’t click with, and you all have to be together for fourteen days from when you wake up till you go to sleep.
I know a lot of people would say demos, but I like seeing the kids — not to sound like a pervert.
The downsides are usually when you have to do the weird shit with some corporate company. Something that is out of place. Like, I got flown out to New York to go Macy’s for this Tony Hawk video game because I was a secret character [in the game.]
That’s your tie-in? You’re a secret character?
I guess I wasn’t big enough to make it into the real game. They said if they make a second one, I have the option to be an actual character…That sucks…that means I suck.
Is your character going to be able to skate switch and nollie?
Probably not. You know what was the best April Fools joke that I got off Facebook and all that shit? Some kid goes, “Hey, guess what Alex Olson can do?” I go, “What?” He says, “Skate switch. April Fools.”
I can skate switch. I can’t switch flip down stairs or anything, but I can do my switch tricks. It’s insane to me that that’s an actual fact about me. Honestly, I think that people are so good now that switch and nollie don’t even matter. People know how to do everything now, it’s not an awkward feeling to skate switch for kids that are sixteen, unless they skate bowls or something. Think about what the norm is for them now. When I was growing up, in 411 they actually had to write “switch stance.” It was like a thing, now it’s nothing.
Since you hang out with several actresses, can we expect a Street Dreams-esque movie from you?
No, and I hate all that shit. People that don’t know anything about skating look at those people and go, “Oh, that’s what skateboarding is.” Regular people look at people in that limelight, like Ryan Sheckler and Paul Rodriguez, and expect all skateboarding to look like that.
We were skating this ledge downtown a few weeks ago and this ten-year-old kid comes up to us saying, “Do a 360 flip 5-0.”
I couldn’t do that. I could probably do it switch though.
But skateboarders have always had a reputation for being what they’re actually not.
Yeah, but it’s so different now. You have parents taking their kids to contests, trying to have them do good. It’s like Pop Warner now. Skateboarding should be put into colleges, and have them compete against other college teams. They can have a contest format, but with colleges competing with each other. It’s an idea for skaters to have a college degree, so many people don’t finish high school because they want to make it in skateboarding. If they did something like that, it’s a good way to keep them motivated. But now they just move to LA. UCLA would probably have the best skate team.
So you think that’s a good mainstream direction for it to go?
Yeah, skateboarding is so big now, you could actually do that.
Alright. When is the Chocolate video coming out?
We had a video meeting, and it was supposed to come out this year, but when they said that, I was thinking, “It’s so far away from that.” But I don’t know where everyone’s footage is. You can tell when a video is coming out, because you can see a bunch of coverage of everyone on that team. A lot of people are just getting the notion of, “Ok, I have to film a video part.” It takes two years for some people. I don’t have an exact date, I’d say 2012.
Are you going to have a full part?
I’d like to, I don’t have one now. It’s hard though, because I like to film my stuff in New York and LA, and not travel.