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I did a lot of skateboarding in my younger days. I was never any good, but my interest in and respect for the sport never waned. I subscribed to Transworld Skateboarding and Thrasher, owned every 411 Video Magazine on VHS, and spent hours skating in parking lots and other suburban spots. Today, I watch clips on Instagram and read Quartersnacks. There seems to be more skateboarding media than ever before, but the human side of the sport sometimes gets overlooked. Epicly Later’d, a documentary series created by photographer and director Patrick O’Dell and co-produced by Vice, has always done an amazing job of showing the different facets of skaters’ lives and the realities of going pro: the struggles with addiction, injuries, and landing tricks, as well as the mental toughness required of a solo sport.

Over the years, O’Dell has highlighted major crossover stars like Spike Jonze, Harmony Korine, Chad Muska, and Bam Margera as well as lesser-known legends like Andy Roy, Heath Kirchart, Dustin Dollin, and Mike Carroll. Epicly Later’d has just returned from a hiatus with an episode featuring Don ‘Nuge’ Nguyen. I spoke to Patrick from his home in Oakland about Stefan Janowski, getting his Supreme Anti-Hero coaches jacket back from Bam Margera, and whether Ryan Sheckler knows who Neil Blender is.

GQ: What’s up?

Andrew O’Dell: I gotta lock this door, sorry. My kid—he’s about to go to preschool—he keeps opening the door when I’m on Zoom calls.

This guy’s causing you a lot of problems.

If I’m on a FaceTime or Zoom call, I have to run away.

I’ve been a fan of Epicly Later’d for a long time, and I wanted to know about this long hiatus. I assume that between Vice and life, things just got in the way?

I was a stay at home dad for a long time while my wife worked, and then things changed a little bit, so I had this opportunity to have free time. And, let me see… Vice went bankrupt…

Yeah…

I hadn’t talked to them. I didn’t know anyone who worked there. Didn’t know anything about it. When I saw they went bankrupt, it took me a couple of weeks, [but I remembered that] I have all these tapes there, like DV tapes, and I was like, they’re gonna get thrown away. I don’t always hoard that kind of stuff, but I [figured] I better go down and get it. Or find out if I can get it. Someone gave me an email address for someone who worked there, and I was like “Hey, can I get my tapes back? Is that a thing that can happen before the building gets destroyed?” And then we talked, and they were like, “We have some money. Do you want to do the show again?” And I was like, “Yeah, of course.”

That’s not the outcome you were expecting from this call.

Well, you know what? It wasn’t an instant yes. Because I had to think about it, and I had conditions. They weren’t financial conditions. They were creative conditions. And they were just like, “Sure. Yeah, it’s all good.”

I was at dinner with Spanky [Long] six months ago, and I asked him what was going on with it. Because I was like, at this point, this should be on TV. This feels like 30 for 30 to me, just with skateboarding. And then, lo and behold, a few months later, you’re back.

Yeah. I liked doing TV. We did the season for Viceland, and it was great. And those are some of my favorite episodes we ever did. But they did have certain parameters—certain criteria needed to be met to be on television. And these [new] ones we’re making are a little bit more like the web ones.

I referenced 30 for 30 only because I don’t care about sports, but I can watch those stories over and over. And I find that with skating, I don’t think anyone has tapped into the human element of it the way that you have. Do you see certain throughlines with your subjects?

There’s a lot. Substance abuse gets repeated a lot. But it’s interesting, in the new batch we’re doing, very few of the people are recovering addicts. Nuge isn’t, that I know of. He seems fine. The next one we’re doing is Stefan Janoski. And there’s no sad part!

He just got very rich off Nike shoes, and life was good?

Kind of. Kind of. Stefan is a little bit of a mystery to me. He’s kind of private. When we got the show back, a condition—I don’t know if it was a condition, but it was something I really wanted—was to hire my own team. I hired [former Epically Later’d subject] Heath Kirchart as the producer, who has no experience producing. And he’s crushed it. I’m hoping that he keeps doing this for other people. He’s so good.

I like subject to producer. That’s a rare pipeline.

Skaters respond to him, too. There’s been a bunch of people that swerved me and then answered him.

I do a podcast with my friend Jason; people always ask us who our dream guest is. I’m always like, Liam Gallagher from Oasis? I don’t know. I’m kind of down to talk to anyone. But with this, it’s so specific that there’s got to be a few guys that are either mysterious or not around, or someone you looked up to, or whatever it may be.

I think in the first couple of episodes, I decided on my own who the subjects were going to be. Nuge is the first episode. Heath was there for the shooting, but in actually deciding the skater, I was on my own. Then I hired Heath, and we started brainstorming. And Heath suggested Stefan. Not that I wouldn’t have, but I kind of didn’t think about it. And Heath knows Stefan. It’s a cliche, but he’s your favorite skater’s favorite skater. Back in the day at Vice, they did a lot of advertorial, and I was always a little averse to a skater like Stefan because I knew there was a big product tie-in. But that wasn’t the case with this one. It was just us, and Heath, especially, really being a fan of his skating. Not Nike forcing us to do it. That felt good and free. We haven’t shown Nike anything, and we didn’t interview anyone from Nike.

No beauty shots of the shoe.

It was fun and felt a little, almost subversive, to do.

With the filming, have you put yourself in some weird situations?

I don’t think danger would be the right word. One time, I left my jacket at Bam’s house.

Okay…

It was this nice jacket, and I was just like, “Fuck.” It wasn’t even that nice. Okay, it was the stupidest jacket. It was an Antihero Supreme jacket that Tino [Razo] gave me. So it was like, sorry, what do you call them? A janitor jacket, or—

Like a chore coat?

Yeah, but nylon. It had a bunch of Supreme logos.

A coach’s jacket.

Tino Razo gave it to me for free. And then I found out he paid for it. They only get a certain amount of discounts at Supreme. [Someone] was like, “Oh, Tino hooked you up.” I wanted it because I knew Tino had worked on it. He’s been one of my good friends forever, and he’s working on collabs, and I just was proud of him for doing something like that. But then I found out that Tino paid like $200 for it.

So you really needed to get it back.

I lived in Philadelphia at the time, so it was like a 45 minute drive to Bam’s house. I got there and everyone was asleep. I was talking to his girlfriend at the time, who wasn’t there, and she’s like, “Just walk in, it’s in the closet.” So I walked in, and it was like Jabba’s Palace in Return of the Jedi. People sleeping everywhere. And I was like, “I’m going to get fucking shot. I’m going to get…” I don’t know, I just pictured Phil Spector, some kind of weird drug binge, someone with a shotgun… I was sneaking through his house to find this jacket, and then it wasn’t there, where she said. So I’m looking around in his house like I’m a burglar. Bam [later] told me, “Oh, I was wearing that jacket.” Which was weird, because it wasn’t very gypsy.

His look at the time was interesting.

“I was wearing your jacket to go skate,” he told me. “It’s at [his dad] Phil’s house.” He gave me the address, and I drove over. Bang on the doorbell and got my jacket. I don’t know why, but for a second, I felt my life was in danger.

It’s funny you brought that up because if you go back and watch the whole show, the fashion has changed so much. There were the huge pants and puffy shoes. And then there was the rocker era of the skin-tight black jeans with leather jackets. And I feel like things now have leveled out, where people just look normal.

[When] I lived in Philadelphia, for fun, sometimes, I would go to Woodward Skate Camp. [One time] I went into the cafeteria, I was talking to this guy there about the Antwuan Dixon episode. I lived in Pennsylvania myself when I was young and went as a camper. Back then, the gymnasts and the skaters were so distinct. Huge goofy boy outfits for the skaters, and the gymnasts had tights on. You would never mistake one for the other. This guy was talking to me and I was like, “So, you here for the skate camp?” And he’s like, “Oh, I’m a gymnast.” It tripped me out that I couldn’t tell the gymnasts and the skaters apart anymore. And that this guy who’s a gymnast was watching the Antwuan Dixon episode.

It was kind of weird to get into skating back in the day. It was its own subculture. I think my kid now, if he wanted to play soccer, baseball, skateboarding, or gymnastics, it would all be interchangeable. They are not interchangeable, but they’re all normal things to be doing.

There’s that jock style, too, in skating now. Kind of looks like a linebacker but somehow can skate. It is an athletic pursuit.

You [used to] wear these coded things so everyone knows, “Oh, you’re a skater. You have the giant pants.”And then I remember seeing Ryan Sheckler.

The god. We need the Sheckler episode.

I was just thinking about how we were going to some skate thing in Tampa, and he was on the elevator. We were going to a Mark Gonzales/Lance Mountain/Neil Blender art show. He was getting picked up by a blacked-out Escalade to go to a club.

He had chains on, I’m sure.

And I remember thinking, I bet he doesn’t know who Neil Blender is.

It’s how I feel all the time about younger kids in music where they’re just like, “Who’s that?” And I’m like, “What the fuck? How do you not know who that is?”

When we were kids, it was so hard to find out about music. I used to go to the record store and just look at the art. There’s a bunch of records. Mott The Hoople… what? I was into that kind of music. But you’d see something and go, “Richard Hell, I wonder if this is good. I’m not going to risk it.” And now…

It was a risk. Name and art were all you had.

Now, you can find out about anything.



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