The Brotherhood of the Tri-Color Camo Pants — An Interview With Stephen Lawyer

July 11th, 2018 | 12:10 pm | Features & Interviews | 7 Comments

Intro & Interview by Frozen in Carbonite
Top Collage by Requiem For A Screen

From time to time, skating functions as a nexus point for a cultural #moment. Case in point: the old X-Large store on Vermont in L.A. — a locale squarely in the middle of a venn diagram of streetwear, rap, and what we now know as street skating:

1. Backed by the Beastie Boys, who used footage from Questionable in the video for “Time for Livin’”
2. Neighbored by Los Feliz School, home of legendary hip/bump/stairs etc.
3. Frequented by the most progressive World/Girl/Choc riders of the time, who, as Clyde Singleton noted in his legendary 20 Shot Sequence commentary, blew thousands of dollars on Pumas and “weird Ben Davis pants.”

The internet — or more specifically, the only thing on it that anyone cares about, Instagram — functions as the modern-day X-Large store. And in a few short years, Sk8mafia rider Stephen Lawyer has mastered this convergence by capitalizing on both the #attentioneconomy and Instagram-as-Content-Management-System.

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Where are you from, and how did you get into skating?

I’m from San Diego. I was playing hella baseball as a kid, and I saw some neighborhood kids skating. I got a board together and started skating to practice ‘n shit. And one day at practice I was just like “Man, I’m tired of this shit. I just wanna skate with the homies.” I quit baseball and here I am.

Who was most influential on your skating coming up?

I’m sure you’ve heard of Jordan Taylor. I was best friends with his little brother, and we always used to skate together. It was pretty dope watching Jordan and all the other homies do their thing. They had a crew called More for Less, and they’d always make videos and shit. We pretty much followed in their footsteps.

An Interview With Lucien Clarke

December 14th, 2017 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 8 Comments

Interview & Intro by Zach Baker
Original Photos by Mike O’Meally
Collages by Requiem For A Screen

Despite our many Ludditical tendencies — like an asinine reverence for a MiniDV camera that was born the same year as Meatball — skaters can all agree that the internet has been a great thing for us. You can argue about megapixels, what to call a nollie cab (the correct answer being “nollie cab”), and which tricks do and don’t deserve Renaissance; the globalized culture of skateboarding has benefitted as a result of our generation’s interconnectedness. From the ease of recording it, to the ease of uploading, sharing, and seeing it, makes it feasible to peek into any scene to see how people skate, dress, talk, and talk shit.

For a person from the eastern United States, one thing that I’ve come to terms with is how little my peers and I actually know about the scenes and histories throughout Europe and really, much of the world outside of the U.S. I thought I knew a little something about the U.K. from watching Blueprint videos, liking Tom Penny, and retaining a handful of shit that’s gone down at Southbank, but in recent years of following dudes like Science Versus Life, I’ve been shown myriad photos from mags, photographers, skaters, and spots I had never heard of.

This sense of cluelessness is heightened when sitting down to watch Palace’s first video. Palasonic, a seemingly authoritative report on what’s going on in London, was logged camcorders of the cavemen, captured digitally on a tripod from a VCR, then edited on a twenty-year-old Macintosh. Convoluted as this may be, it gives the vid a sense of timelessness and intertextuality with a regional past that, frankly, I know very little about. So, I talked to Lucien Clarke, the man with the video’s seven-minute ender, whose rumored to be able to singlehandedly sell out even the most flamboyant Triangle-stamped kits just by filming an Insta line in them.

An Interview With John Gardner

August 10th, 2017 | 2:51 pm | Features & Interviews | No Comments

Photo by Andy Enos

Intro & Interview by Zach Baker

A dope thing about skateboarding is that it attracts an endless variety of people, who are each drawn to it for their own specific reasons. We all have our unique relationships within skateboarding as far as what we want to do, who we want to be around, and where we want to go on, with, or because of them.

John Gardner’s motivations on a skateboard are not so easily pigeon-holed, though it can be said that he’s not adhering to any sort of trends in attire, trick selection, or really, well anything. It makes one wonder whether he even needs a skateboard. Like, if the skateboard were never invented, I feel like John Gardner would figure out some other vehicle to sate his physical and creative urges. This points to part of what makes him such a delight to watch. For some people, skateboarding is what creates their identity. But for John, the skateboard is just an accessory, one of many mediums lending themselves to his way of life and creative pursuits. Without the board, he’d be no less extraordinary, but as skateboarders, we couldn’t be more fortunate to have him as a member of the club.

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To start…the video part. It was just a pleasure to watch. Give me a little overview.

I had a bunch of VX footage that was just kind of sitting around, and I had always wanted to make music for a video part but never really had an opportunity to do so, so I immediately connected the dots and thought that this would be a great opportunity to make that happen. It’s over the course of two-and-a-half years, whenever a VX came out. Some of those clips might even be three of four years old. A lot of it is in California with some Jersey sprinkled in between.

Tell me about the soundtrack.

My friend Max Hersteiner, who I used to live with, is in an amazing band called Dirty Fences — he’s in a couple bands actually, Dirty Fences and Metal Leg. He and the bassist of Dirty Fences and Metal Leg, Max Komaski, all created music together for various video projects that I’ve made, so I hit those dudes up immediately to just jam and see what we came up with. Max’s friend Danny Cooper played guitar for the soundtrack. We just set up a camera, experimented and that’s what we came up with.

What’s up with your uncle?

My uncle is a wild man. He is my uncle Semo, my dad’s brother. He has a lot of upper body strength and is really good at doing handstands. He would walk up and down stairs on his hands when he was younger, so he naturally gravitated to riding a skateboard on his hands. I had a camera and wanted him to be in this little video that I was making, so we drove around looking for a little hill and filmed him doing his thing and that’s what I got. He loves skateboarding and he really tries but he skates better on his hands than I would say he skates on his feet.

An Interview With Mitchell Wilson

April 5th, 2017 | 1:03 pm | Features & Interviews | 9 Comments

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Words & Interview by Zach Baker
Photos by Colin Sussingham & Max Hull

We’ve all heard more than a few skateboarders use the term “family” to describe their group of friends, mutually-funded acquaintances, or more broadly, everyone who has ever owned a skateboard, whether or not they’ve even met. But I think I speak for all of us when I say that it has always been a source of fascination when you hear of people that skate together who are, well, actually siblings. Guys like Jonas and Jeremy Wray, Mike and Quim Cardona, Dustin and Tristan Henry — it always seemed so nice to grow up with a brother or sister who also skated.

Courtesy of Max Hull’s owl-like awareness, it was brought to our attention that a number of Slap commenters are a bit confused about the genealogy of contemporary skateboarding’s most popular brothers: the Wilsons. Mitchell Wilson, a.k.a. Crazy Mitch From Philly, is Andrew and Johnny’s oldest brother. As you maybe know, and in keeping with the higher-publicized talents of the his bloodline, Mitch is anomalously fucked at skating. What separates Mitch is that, unlike his brothers who are very much a part of the multi-billion-dollar skate industry, Mitch has always been untethered by the throes of brand affiliation and marketing teams, which has granted him the liberty to say, post an Instagram story of himself scribbling on his teeth with Crayons, dive headfirst into a pile of garbage, or say generally whatever he wants with minimal repercussion save maybe a black eye.

While many of his compatriots have migrated north in search of art-handling gigs and diamondplated metal, Mitchell has been downright stubborn in his affinity for Philadelphia, so much so that he allegedly gives his whole family Philadelphia t-shirts and souvenirs for Christmas every year.

So, to clarify, Mitchell, the guy who does wallie kickflips, slappy switch smith grinds, and that really, really long winding slappy in Paych, is the oldest brother of Andrew and John Wilson. Josh Wilson is not at all related.

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Who’s your favorite skateboarder?

I didn’t have one for years because I never even thought about it, but when I started working at Woodward, every kid would ask me that, so, I guess, Tony Trujillo.

What’s up with wallie kickflips?

I was trying frontside wallie backside 180s, and it flipped one time. I figured out how to make it flip and just tried to land on it. I can’t really do it anymore, it was just a passing thing. But I’ve tried heelflip ones and I’ve tried them switch.

An Interview With Alexis Sablone

March 9th, 2017 | 11:15 am | Features & Interviews | 11 Comments

alexis sablone interview

Intro & Interview by Zach Baker
Headline Photo by Richard Hart

PJ Ladd’s Wonderful Horrible Life was an anomaly. For the kids who had their own local crews, it was strange and inspiring for this shop out of Melrose, Massachusetts to release this incredible skate video of people we’d never heard of, and reach as large of a viewership as it did. P.J’s part was obviously the main draw, and while there were many standouts — including Jereme Rogers at a time when his only musical connection was Buena Vista Social Club, Ryan Gallant’s east coast tech, the mean guy in the paper boy hat, and don’t get me started on Fiske — a particularly eye-opening moment of the video was when we were introduced to Alexis Sablone. Her part, in some pathetic way, enlightened a generation of young male skaters to the notion that females in skating existed outside of the only woman we had ever really been shown: Elissa Steamer.

I had seen Jaime Reyes and Elissa’s skating at that point, but something about the fact that there was this girl who completely ripped in a random homie video, reinforced the idea that there’s a grander female presence throughout skateboarding. It drew attention to women’s extreme lack of visibility in skating.

In the time since, Alexis is still ripping and placing in most of the contests she regularly enters — but what’s dope is that she also, like, fully went to Columbia, and has a Masters in Architecture from MIT. What’s even more wild, and a perfect example of the resourcefulness of people who happen to skateboard, is that she completely financed her education with contest earnings. I don’t care what you did down D7, this way of juicing of the system is the most impressive skate trick I’ve ever seen.

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You’re from Connecticut?

Yeah. I’m from a town called Old Saybrook. It’s a small town not that far from Groton, kind of the bottom middle of Connecticut.

Was there much of a skate scene there when you were growing up?

Not at all, or if there was, I wasn’t aware of it. I started skating when I was ten. I started at a new school that year that was a few towns over. I was in fifth grade and there were a bunch of eighth grade boys who skated, so that was my first contact with other skateboarders. It’s funny because, I had a skateboard, and I was still struggling with it for a while, trying to figure it out on my own. I was playing tag or something and jumped off this twelve foot jetty and broke my foot. When I started at that school, I had DC Clockers and was on crutches. All the boys were like “Whoa, you skate?” I was like “Oh yeah. Yeah, yeah, I skate.” But on the inside I was panicking like, “Oh man, I have to get good at skating!” As soon as I got my cast off, I was in the garage like “I’ve gotta figure out how to ollie.” They were cool, but mostly I just skated alone in my garage. There was this one skatepark an hour away, and I finally started going there. I’d make my mom drive me, or I’d take the train on weekends. I met Trevor Thompson, who’s still like my best friend. We started skating together every weekend.

When did you start going to Boston?

Boston didn’t happen until I was like fifteen. I met a bunch of Boston dudes — Jereme, Eli, Zered and Louis Sarowsky — at Woodward one summer. I became friends with them. Then, I went to Boston once with my family for a weekend, met up with Jereme and we skated all day. He introduced me to Matt and Arty, the Coliseum guys, and that’s when I met PJ. I started going there every weekend or staying there for the summer.

And that’s how you ended up accumulating a full part’s worth of footage?

Yeah, I don’t know if I’d call it a full part. I think I filmed most of it in a couple days, it was just random. It didn’t even feel like I was filming a part, oddly enough. Actually, most of it’s filmed at MIT. Then, we went on a road trip. We took this van down to Miami and stopped in Philly and Atlanta, so some of it is from that too.