An Interview With Sage Elsesser

February 10th, 2017 | 7:00 am | Features & Interviews | 25 Comments

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Interview by Earl Sweatshirt
Photos by Ben Colen, Rob Collins & Jared Sherbert
Collages by Requiem for a Screen

Quartersnacks has long operated around the idea that your friends are your favorite skateboarders. You know every quirk and anecdotal backstory to your friends’ individual ways of skateboarding. Interviews, for that same reason, can be tough. You only really know half the story from watching someone in videos, or reading other interviews they have given to people who are paid to write about skateboarding. Sometimes, a friend knows the best way to lead someone into a conversation about why they skate the way they do, and are the way they are as a person. Quartersnacks is proud to present an interview with Sage Elsesser, conducted by Sage’s longtime friend, and current roommate, Earl Sweatshirt.

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What’s your whole name?

Sage Gabriel Carlos Atreyu Elsesser.

What got you into skating?

Probably my dad. I feel like he just knew a lot of skateboarders. But also, in kindergarten during show and tell, a kid had a skateboard. He was sitting on it and I was like, I need that — whatever that is. Then my dad got me a size 8 board. I was like 3, 4 years old. The board was taller than me.

When did we start chilling?

We started going to the same school. I remember there was a time when I went to the blacktop, and I was in like 3rd grade, a tiny child, and you were in 6th, and these niggas let me play with them. Then we actually fully reconnected at the alumni carnival. Our school used to have an alumni carnival every fall towards the beginning of the school year.

Didn’t you bring me my board?

Yeah, camo Alva grip!

Definitely camo grip to match my camo fucking Air Force 1s. You brought me my board, I didn’t even know you that well.

I saw you put your board behind the trash can and I was like “where are you going?” “I’m going to smoke…weed.” I remember going to school the next week, going into the janitor’s closet and I saw the board. I took it and gave it back to you. So from there, you were like, “let’s skate.” We lived in the same neighborhood, like 10 minutes from each other.

When did you get good at skating?

The definitive moment I got good was during halftime of a soccer game. I was 12. I seen a kid at the park with a board, and I was like “let me see that.” I did a heelflip in cleats. So perfect. Stationary. Everyone on my team was like “what!” My coach was pissed. Lowkey, I was like, “I’m a skateboarder.” That felt good, and I remember telling myself, “this weekend, I’m gonna go skate.”

When did you start doing impossibles?

8th grade when I moved to New York. I didn’t know Aidan, but we moved out here at the same time. We just clicked when we met, and then Aidan taught me how to impossible.

An Interview with Dave Caddo

November 1st, 2016 | 6:35 am | Features & Interviews | 5 Comments

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Words & Interview by Zach Baker / Photos by Trevor Culley

One of the cool things about having the privilege of knowing how to ride one of these things, besides being able to find pot no matter where you are in the world, is that it keeps you exploring. It sends you out to uncover weird parts of familiar places, makes you creep into all sorts of alleys and ditches and post-industrial shit-piles, and on many occasions, you’ll leave feeling a lot happier than when you got there.

Every time I see Caddo, he’s having a pretty good time. Then, every time I see some Caddo footage or photos, he’s having a pretty sweet time. He skates all these spots I’ve never seen before, in cities I’ve never thought to go to. He’s gotten clips at like, the Holy Trinity of New York busts: the Roosevelt Island Monument, Forbidden Banks and the Holy Grail on Nostrand Avenue. Caddo goes out of his way to keep skateboarding interesting for himself, which is why his skating is so much fun to watch.

His part in Politic’s Division, which is his second full part in as many years, is loaded with all kinds of new approaches to familiar spots, fun lines down hills and in all kinds of parking lots. Here’s a chat I had with him about Enid’s, longevity, and kickflips.

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Tell me about when you kickflipped into the Roosevelt Island monument.

That was when it first opened up. I don’t know why, but the Parks Department would close it one day a week. You get maybe ten minutes before the old security guard comes out and starts yelling at you. But the guy is like sixty-years-old, it takes him a while to mosey over. The guy got there and his technique was to stand right in the way. He’s just mellow about it, kept repeating over and over again “no, no, no.” He was just saying that for ten minutes. [John] Valenti was walking backwards with the camera as I’m trying the last one and luckily I made it. I almost rolled into the guy.

The Vicious Cycle House — An Interview With Zered Bassett via 2003, a Year Magazine

October 5th, 2016 | 5:00 am | Features & Interviews | 2 Comments

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The following feature appeared in 2003: A Year Magazine. (We ran a feature from 1991 last year.) The issue is now available for purchase on 2003magazine.com, along with a QS hat we produced in collaboration with 2003 to commemorate the northeast blackout of 2003 — the day the T.F. was dubbed the safest place on earth.

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Skateboarding was maturing in the late ’90s and early 2000s. Videos went from handycam promos to hour-long blockbusters with pro-level production values, skaters were padding their pockets with royalty checks from sponsors that were fatter than ever, and prodigious 15-year-olds were outshining the grown-ups with tricks that were unimaginable in the early 90s.

Except in New York, where skateboarding was still synonymous with chilling, of a lifestyle without an end goal. After 9/11, it felt even further removed from what was happening in the skate industry at large. The spots throughout Lower Manhattan became either desolate or off-limits, which made chilling (instead of missioning into the outer boroughs) that much more appealing.

But being New York, there was, of course, an exception. Vicious Cycle, released in 2004, was a video made throughout those years that upended the attitude associated with New York. Filmed by R.B. Umali and Doug Brown for Zoo York from 2002 to 2004, it was the first video to emerge from a crew of skaters living in New York who refused to accept what was becoming the status quo for a city that dominated in most other areas of culture. The result was very much up to par with anything coming out of California or elsewhere.

In 2003, Bassett and other skaters involved in the making of the video cohabited a windowless apartment in Lower Manhattan. This is the story of the Vicious Cycle house.

Where are you from and how did you end up in New York?

I grew up in Chatham, Massachusetts, which is in Cape Cod. I started skating there, met people, and then started going to Boston a lot. From there, I started getting hooked up with Zoo stuff from Jeff Pang, and would go out to New York to visit those dudes. I went back a few times, and then on my 18th birthday, I moved to New York. That was in November of 2002.

Were you getting paid to skate at that point?

Zoo paid for the house that I moved into, but I wasn’t getting paid.

How did the house come together?

The house was on Broadway and Fulton Street. I wanted to move to the city, so I talked Zoo into getting a house for me, Brian Brown, and Billy Rohan at the time. Billy eventually moved out, and Brian’s brother, Doug, moved in. He was the main one filming us back then. Lou [Sarowsky] would stay over a lot, too. People would always come to town and crash, whoever was around skating.

Dreamchasin’ — An Interview with J. Scott Handsdown

February 17th, 2016 | 5:20 am | Features & Interviews | 12 Comments

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Words and interview by Zach Baker

I’ve recently put off going skateboarding to: eat pho; be hungover; sleep; watch The Waterboy; stare at a screen all day doing nothing; be horny; hit the streets with dreams of sex that result in merely passing out on the subway until seven the next morning. I’m sure you have excuses that are even more legitimate. I bet you work all the time, or your girl likes to day drink and do brunch on weekends. Everyone has excuses and they all stink.

If you’re not familiar with the recent Insta-celebrity of @jscott_handsdown, you’re in for a treat. He has around 10k followers due to his frequent, highly-inspirational posts. Whether it’s in his tiny garage or the rusty local skatepark, he manages to skate more hours a day than even the most unemployable New York skateboarder, while working a schedule more grueling than any legal U.S. citizen’s should be. J. Scott’s motivation is simple and pure: he does it for the love of his family. I caught him one Monday morning as he was getting home from his graveyard shift.

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What’s your name, how old are you, and where are you from?

My name is Joseph Scott. I’m from Fort Austin, Texas and I’m 26 years old.

Where do you work?

I work at Exxon Mobil. It’s a local refinery in Beaumont, Texas. I’m a painter, or, I’m what’s called a painter. I sandblast the tanks at the refinery, and any tanks that corrode, we do all the repair work on those.

How long have you been skating?

Four years. I was painting blast at the refinery, and I just happened to get off early one day. I saw a little white kid on a skateboard grinding a rail outside. I was interested and said to myself, “I wanna try this.” I was grocery shopping and saw some fake board, I think it was a Mountain Dew board. I picked it up, rolled on it, and ever since then I’ve had a love and passion for it. I bought the fake board and ever since then, I’ve been skating. That’s all I live for now. Trying to learn tricks is challenging and gives me something to do, and I love it.

An Interview With Jason Byoun + Remix Contest

June 3rd, 2015 | 10:52 am | Features & Interviews | 25 Comments

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Photo via Colin Sussingham

The most experimental, controversial, subversive, and Vine-friendly skateboarder working in New York City today. Interview by Jesse Alba and Genesis Evans. Scroll to the bottom for details on the re-edit contest.

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Where are you from and what’s your favorite board company of all time?

I’m from Monteville, New Jersey, which is near Parsippany and Towaco, and my favorite board company is Creature.

What nationality are you?

American.

But what about ethnic background?

Korean. 100%.

How did you start skating?

My friend Lynden from New Jersey got me into skating. He had a Popwar board, with Phantom Two trucks, orange Spitfire wheels and riser pads. We were chilling in my basement and he had to take a shit. My basement is carpeted, so I stood up on his board and learned how to ollie in the time it took him to take a shit. Then I got on CCS and ordered a board.

When I was learning how to ollie, my cousin told me that Stevie Williams learned to ollie on his second try.

In my first week of skating, everyone I grew up with told me it took them years to learn tricks. I was just like “Nah, first week, I’m gonna learn how to kickflip,” just so I could call them and tell them I did it.

Where did you skate in New Jersey?

I grew up skating in a town where the main spot was a basketball court and rec center, sort of like Tompkins. It was outside, but in the wintertime, they’d put an air bubble over it. My mom had a mini van and we’d put a box and a Zero flatbar in it to bring over there.

How about Chris Cole leaving Zero for Plan B?

I haven’t been keeping up with that to be honest. Chris Cole was actually my first favorite skater. Ryan Sheckler and Chris Cole.

Who are your favorite skaters now?

Paul Rodriguez, Phil Rodriguez, Brian Tober, Adam Zhu and Nate Rojas.