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The struggle is flare! snapshots from the new Lakai video.

In February of 2014, the entire Lakai team met at Spike Jonze's house for a meeting. With the whole crew rounded up, the bosses on the scene and "The Mez" poised to deliver an oration for the ages, we were ready to drop the news: we were going to start working on a new Lakai video project. Like most skate videos these days, we were going to "work on it for a year," and it would "be out by next summer." Something about being in the presence of an Academy Award winning director gives you the feeling that anything is possible. Well, this thing is done, and in typical Carroll fashion, we are reasonably on time. So sit back, have Stevie pass you a brew, tell Manchild to pass the joint, grab the MDMA from Feds and enjoy!



JON Sciano


What's been going on, Jon?

Nothing. Just got off work.

So a year or so ago you moved into a house on a pretty hectic corner in Los Angeles. What do you guys call it?

People call it the Shit House.

Who came up with that?

I'm not sure. I heard it floating around somewhere. I remember the first time I heard it I was, like, "Wait--what did you call it?" They called it that because me and everybody would just get shitfaced here. Everybody still does.

Any idea why it's called Shit House? Wasn't there a better name you could have made stick?

We called it the Gas Station House, Alvarado House--I don't know. I don't really give a shit. It's funny to me.

You put in a lot of work on the house, though, right?

Oh yeah. It was, like, a crack house when I moved in. The living room was split down the middle with wooden crates to make another bedroom. Sheets hanging up to make walls. I took all that shit out.

Give us the list of tenants at Shit House over the years. It has some skate history, right?


Well, before I moved in I know Skate Talk Bob lived here. Him and Heath and them used to party here. Then Matt Gottwig lived here. Then I moved in. Since then we've had James Capps and Rye Beres. Now we have Cody Green and Aidan Mackey.

How many Lakai team members have stayed there over the years?

Manchild, Yonnie, Stevie, Capps, Vincent, Riley. Pretty much everybody under 28 years old.

So pretty much the whole Lakai team has stayed there. Who's been the best roommate and who's been the worst?

James Capps was a very clean roommate, and Cody Green is my best friend, so he's my favorite. Rye was 19 when he moved in and he was the worst. I just had to teach him everything. He wasn't terrible, honestly. Aidan is awesome too.

Who is a better grill master, you or Cody Green?

Cody took me under his wing at first, but I think I'm better than him now.

What's the sketchiest thing that's ever happened at the house?

The sketchiest thing that ever happened would probably be either the gas station next door to us catching on fire or some dude that, while we were partying here, was walking by on the sidewalk and he asked if he could join us for a beer. We're all, "Yeah! Fuck it!" Next thing we know he's trying to sell us meth.

Who's been the best guest at the house, and who's been the sketchiest?

Our buddy Bag is the best. He's a friend of Aidan and I and he just rules. The sketchiest was an AirBnb guest of ours who we think stole Rye's camera off the counter, then left all his shit here.

Gnarly. Are you guys still running Shit House as an AirBnb?

Fuck no. That was just when we were hurting for a minute and we would rent out our rooms. People would show up, like, "You gotta be fucking kidding me." There would still be five people hanging out from the party the night before. The AirBnb guests think they're getting a sick place to stay, but really there's stains all over the carpet and shit.

The AirBnb guests have no idea they just got to Shit House.

They had no idea. We got some gnarly ratings on there.

Is it ever hard to maintain sobriety in a living situation like that?

Not for me. I can't be without my friends; I want to be around people. Everyone's having a good time. There's no drama. I'm really just kickin' it with my buddies same as usual. It's sicker when I don't gotta pitch in for the beer run.

I remember when Simon Bannerot was living with you guys for a minute, he called me freaking out because a pipe burst in the kitchen and you weren't home. He said some homies downstairs helped him shut off the water. So there's people living under you guys?

Yeah, there's people that live underneath our kitchen, not the whole house. There's, like, a back house I think too. I don't know the logistics of the whole thing and I don't ask questions. But I heard that it's a safe house for illegal immigrants. I think that's why they don't complain when we have parties until four in the morning.


Damn, straight People Under The Stairs. So while you guys are just living it up, they're underneath everyone, like, "What the fuck?"

Dude, I remember when we first got the pool table we were tripping out because that was around when we really started having a lot of people over. Then we just sort of forgot about the whole situation. Then we had some crazy party until 6am, just me and Cody tackling each other in the living room and shit, and not one person complained.


Yeah, we even share a gas bill with them.

Right now I'm trying to find a venue for The Flare. Should we just say fuck it and premiere the video at Shit House?

Yes, dude! That would be the best situation.

Any hopes of moving out of Shit House in the future, or are you trying to run it as long as you can?

For my situation right now, I'm going to run it into the ground. I just got a puppy so the house is good for it. The carpets all stained so she's just having a field day in there. We got a yard for her. I'm chilling. It's cheap and the location is good. No complaints.

What's going on after the video?

Keep the sober tip going and try and film a part for whoever wants one. Just looking forward to skating how I want instead of skating fucked-up shit because it's the end of a big video.





Would you consider this to be your first full-length skate video?

No, I've been collaborating with Girl since the Yeah Right! era when I was a day player, but I kicked in as a full-time filmer with the company for Fully Flared and Pretty Sweet. But if the question is, "Do I have more creative control on this one?" then the answer is yes. On Fully Flared and Pretty Sweet I was more focused on the filming, but I also started to really enjoy coming up with and filming skit ideas. So, honestly, I don't feel that this is my first full-length. This is just the latest in a progression of the projects I've worked on with Girl.

Well, compared to Fully Flared, would this be considered your video?

It's a collaboration, but this time between Rick, Mike and myself. On The Flare I have way more responsibility, even with the editing. I'm flattered to be working on a project at this level with the company. It's the culmination of a lot of things between us. And it's exciting to see a project through after Wet Dream, the last film I directed, where I was able to try out a lot of new things I had been cooking up.

Will there be special effects in this video?

Yes, we make a nod to the Girl Films tradition of infusing the video with some touches of visual and special effects.

What's the deal with the indestructible camera orb?

I fall a lot when I'm filming skating. When I was scanning freshly-digitized footage, I found something magical in all of these clips of the camera falling and rolling on the ground while the filmer himself, often me, was eating shit. So, this orb idea stemmed out of that beautiful chaos. The camera is still filming and then there's sunglasses flying and I'm upside down and the lens cracks. The thought was to do the video intro around this concept of eating shit. All of the past few intros have one thing in common: slow-mo. So I wanted to keep that tradition going. I am fortunate enough to have a good friend in special effects, Elia Popov from Jem FX, so I asked him if he could build something to put the camera in that would be indestructible. He said, "Sure, just leave me the camera." Two weeks later he had it finished. It looks like a bowling ball with a hole for the fisheye. We perfected some things since the prototype, but that first test was really cool.

Who is the easiest guy on Lakai to film with?

Crazy question. It's impossible to pick one. They're all easy. They're all homies. We're just having fun with what we do! It's constant jokes and fun all day.

Do people recognize you on the street from King of the Road.

Yes. It's extremely funny. But it's also funny because I've been recognized by people after Fully Flared came out. I got stopped in two different supermarkets by clerks who asked if I was Federico Vitetta and if I worked for Girl. But the craziest one was getting recognized by a TSA agent in a security line. I could tell the strangers behind me were, like, "Who the fuck are you?!" I was, like, "I don't know. I'm no one." I was pretty flattered, but it was also pretty awkward. It makes me smile to see people that are that into KOTR and skating.


Do you think the Internet killed skate videos or liberated them?

We cannot stop the evolution and in some ways it has really helped. People are now constantly updated in terms of what's going on, which can be great. But for me, personally, it's too saturated with clips and ironically seeing this constant stream of clips dilutes the power of the build up to a full-length video release. Look at all the people collecting VHS now. VHS for a skater is like vinyl for a music buff. Once you make a trick and it ends up in a VHS or DVD video, that stays forever. In 70 years, if you want to see Andy Howell or Mike McGill, you grab that fucking VHS. But I'm not sure if you can do the same for an Instagram or YouTube clip. But I'm over 40 and a little nostalgic. I still want to hold the video in my hands and put it on the shelf.




What's been going on, Tyler?

About to play Mario Kart.

Is this your first Thrasher interview?

Pretty much.

So with The Flare coming out so soon, your first video part in a big company video ever, all kinds of firsts for your skate career, Thrasher wanted to know one thing.

What's that?

Tell us why you gave up the dream of being a professional bounty hunter.


This is the best story I've ever heard you tell, and you tell some epic stories. Give us the full rundown. You actually went out and tried to bounty hunt someone, right?

So I was working. My friend's mom got me a job watching this guy's two dogs. I was watching them for 100 dollars each. He was kind of a scary fuckin' dude who just got out of jail. Then when he got out, instead of being hood and doing hood shit, he decided to start catching the hood dudes.



Pretty much. And then fuckin' I would watch his dogs while he would go out bounty hunting. And then one day he's, like, "I'll give you 500 dollars if you go with me this weekend to get this dude." So we frickin' drive to Santa Barbara or some shit and he phones the police and tells them, "Yo, I'm a bounty hunter. I'm here to pick up so and so. It's me and my accomplice," and his accomplice is me, and I'm like fuckin' 15. We get out of the car and he hands me a bulletproof vest that says "Police" on it and a Taser and a flashlight. So he's, like, "You get in the backyard and I'm going to bust through the front, and if he tries to run out the back you gotta get him." So I hop this guy's wall and walk toward the backyard. Then, all of a sudden, he's got these two fat pitbulls. The bounty hunter asks me if I'm in position--


So wait, are you guys on walkie talkies?

No, he just yells this to me. And then tells me to run in the front with him. The bounty hunter kicks the front door in and we walk in. It's like a fuckin' family and shit and he goes upstairs and gets the dude. The dude's yelling, "Nah, I don't want to go!" So the bounty hunter says, "Yo, it's either my way or the highway. Nah, fuck that. It's my way. You're coming with me!" Some gangster shit.

What made you decide not to do it again? Wasn't the money good?

It was too sad. I never wanted to experience that again. To see the whole family crying and shit. Yo, fuck that story; this is the one we should use.


So another time the bounty hunter said "I'll give you $800." This was the big one, the big score. So the bounty hunter tells me, "There's this dude who's a child molester and the way he covers it up is he says he's a talent scout." So this guy says he casts kids for commercials and shit. So the bounty hunter makes me hit this dude up on my Facebook, like, "Yo, I'm Tyler." It was the weirdest shit. He told me to tell the guy I'm an amateur skater and I'm trying to get a role in something. This is before I had any sponsors.

So how old were you?

This was all when I was, like, 15. So I hit the molester guy up, tell him I want to pursue a career in acting and all this shit. This guy hits me back right away. He's, like, "I want to meet you in person. Can I get your number so I can contact you easier?" So I tell the bounty hunter, "Fuck no, I can't do this." And the bounty hunter is, like, "If I'm giving you 800 dollars you have to give this guy your number."

Oh my God, dude!

And the bounty hunter is this big-ass motherfucker! Dog, this guy is scary as fuck. So I'm like, fuck it. Eight-hundred dollars for me at that age was, like, "I'm rich." So I start talking to this child molester again and he tells me, "I want to meet up with you and help you out, but don't bring your parents." So off that shit alone, you know the motherfucker is sketchy.



So I tell him to meet me at this diner. So he goes, gets there, gets arrested, but I never hear about it for, like, years. And this is long after I stopped working as a bounty hunter. Dude, years later I get a text message saying "Is this Tyler?" I say, "Yeah, who's this?"

It's the fucking guy! He had just got out of jail. He's yelling at me, like, "You fucking snitch, you sold me out! You sold your soul to the Devil! Fuck you!" And I text him back, "Yo, I'm still trying to kick it if you're down."

No way!

Yeah, and that was the last I heard from him.

That story is unreal, dude. Did you ever think you might have been seriously injured trying to bounty hunt?

Well, fuck. The first time I did it I didn't even know what bounty hunting was. I don't know what I was really thinking about it. I just heard how much money and was, like, "Fuck, dude, I'm down. I'm only making 100 dollars a dog, might as well go make 800."

Does your mom know that you were a bounty hunter?

I don't know if I've ever told her. I don't know if I ever mentioned the whole child molester thing. Nah, I for sure have never told my mom this, because she would trip the fuck out. For all she knows, I was watching dogs the whole time.

What would you tell someone looking to get into the bounty-hunting game?

You better run fast! Dennis Busenitz would be a good bounty hunter, I think.


In February of 2016, we once again arrived at Spike's house for a big team powwow. We all passed the Academy Award around like a talking stick, as if partaking in some ancient ceremony (Sorry, Spike!). The peace pipe was also in rotation and people's ideas were flowing as we watched a pre-screening of what was soon to be deemed The Flare. It became obvious that this project was really coming together. "Okay, guys, six months left to film and this thing is a wrap!" barked The Mez. The team all looked at each other in a I'll-believe-it-when-I-see-it type of way. One year later and we were still putting miles on the van, however, this thing is finally ready for the world. I can only assume that this video has taken the team through every range of emotions imaginable. However, I'm sure there's one thing we're all looking forward to: the next time we get to go to Spike's house and cook up a plan.

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Author:Wheatley, Daniel
Article Type:Interview
Date:Jul 1, 2017
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