First off: Hey Solo Mag! Thank you for taking the time to do this interview with us!
Who are the guys behind LESS THAN LOCAL and where are you based?
Well me, Andrew Meredith and Squid started the company, but as a whole it wouldn’t be Less Than Local without Ethan Anderson, Michael Shafer, Brian Baca, Jon Brown, Larry Bao, Zach Reinhardt, Will Martinez, Matt Harbin and the homies. We’re all from somewhere else, but currently based in Los Angeles, California.
Your new full video just had it's premiere and we saw you threw a really impressive one under a bridge. What was it like to organize an event while knowing many people will attend?
Yeah man, this premiere was a trip to say the least! A while back we shot this skit at lil Blue (frogtown skatepark) introducing Will Martinez and then had some beers next to the river under the bridge. Fast forward a few weeks ago when I was brainstorming ways to safely throw a skate premiere during a pandemic mission impossible style, I stumbled across the photo and it all fell into place. “We can throw it under the bridge of the 2 freeway and project it across the water onto the pillar.” It was perfect, amphitheater seating, outdoors, and tucked away enough to hopefully not get busted! This was all guerilla by the way. Honestly I only thought like 50 people would show up just because it all seemed so hectic. I mean we only got 100 beers for the night haha, but in total I think there were nearly 200+ people there. It was wild. The cops even came driving down the bike path with the search light out, but they just kept on driving. I guess they were hyped on the video too.
How long it took to make the video?
We had been working on the video for 4 years or so. It sounds like a long time, but we all have full/part time jobs to pay the bills, so if we went on trips only a couple could go at a time and everyone's filming schedules were completely different. You know how it goes...
The full video isn't online yet and you sell DVDs. Is this still working nowadays? And do you think it works better for local than global projects?
Yeah we haven’t released the full video online yet, but have hooked up shops that carry us with DVDs and to anyone who wants to host any type of premiere of their own. I wouldn’t say this is woorrrkkkinggg, but I think it’s necessary for us as a company to release the video as a complete package and not just another online drop. We all grew up on VIDEOS that had premieres and hard copies, so even if we’re not with the “times'' we're with the times we think were cool. I think it definitely works for the Local scene! Like gather your friends, fire up the grill, have some coldies and yell as loud as you can at your friend kickflipping off a 3 stair! It’s the best! I think that mentality can fire up communities to continue making videos and creating a space for friends to be friends and not hidden behind a phone screen. Also I think that can benefit the global scene too, anticipation is nothing but a word nowadays with how much “content” we can consume in a day. It can all be so desensitizing, so yeah I feel this format is a good thing for both Local and Global scenes, but “Hey cards aren’t really our bag, baby.”
We know this procedure from Sk8Rat videos. Shane Auckland filmed a lot of your video and I think is well known around the globe, especially for the Cory Kennedy parts. Also he filmed many of your team riders and published parts of them years ago. How does your connection to him look like and did you get some advice from him selling a full length as a DVD instead of publishing it online?
When you say Sk8Rat/Shane Auckland do you actually mean Aragon aka Strider the Ranger from the North, Heir of Isildur, King of Gondor? If him then yes, Shane is the best and definitely instrumental to the making of this video. A lot of times he would go out and film the west side crew and me, Ethan and the east side boys would go out and film on the other side of town, then we’d have a nightly tape capturing party. Baca lives with Shane and Ethan grew up with Shane and I just get nervous filming around him. He definitely mentored me on the DVD/release process and I’ve always admired the way he works and presents his projects. A true legend. He deserves the world and more! Everyone go buy Sk8RATS!
We checked out your older content and from a sketch we have the information your brands products were sold in only four skate shops in 2015. How is it going in 2021?
Yes it’s true in 2015 we were only in 4 skate shops and today we’re in 3. Haha just kidding now we’re in nearly 30 including a few international shops! We value our relationships with shops and feel unbelievably grateful for every order we get! Also some big news around here! After 6 years we are moving Less Than Local out of my 1 bedroom apartment and into our very own warehouse! We’re super excited and ready to start bussssin! Shout out to our core 4, you know who you are! <3
These sketches are good! Tell us about some productions of them. Your SKATEBORING series looks like a real high quality production.
Yooooo Thank you so much, I really take pride in these videos. Little skate movie vignettes if you will. The black mirror of skateboarding you could say! Haha. Myself and a handful of dudes on the team work in the film industry so we really strive to make these videos as professional as possible. There are scripts, departments, call sheets and even crafty! The whole 9! My friend and master lenseman, Kelly Moore has really helped me shape these projects from scripts to actual cinematic pieces. Love ya Kelly! I’m sitting on 3 scripts now, searching for funding and hope to start shooting in a couple months. The next one to drop will hopefully cast a huge shadow on skateboarding in the Olympics! I’ll send you a cut once it's done!
As we talk about sketches: We saw the WKND guys, who have also really good ones, in your videos friends section. Who is inspired by and who is stealing ideas from whom?
Hahaha no stealing around here in either direction! I love all the WKND skits and bits but I think I can speak for both parties, that this is a game recognize game situation. I mean have you seen the Al Schmidt Professional Skateboarder sketch? That dude on the grill is hilarious! Outside of skits, the WKND crew has helped us out a lot, I mean, I think for about a month we were all riding their boards because we were hit hard during the board drought. Also they’ve definitely inspired us as a brand more than they know and we wanted to tip our hats to them in the video. We were joking that WKND were the Habitat to our Photosynthesis.
How much did Ethan get for firing up Grant Yansura´s van in the new WKND edit?
ETHAN: “+5 respek points and a shit ton of Butter pants.”
As a company around locals transporting the local vibe to the people who watch your content, how do you try to make people around the world understand your own local vibe?
We’re Less Than Local, making the Local, the Community, Greater Than Us, The Brand. Honestly, we’ve never really been ones to lay out our mission statement clearly, not because we don’t want to, but because sometimes it's better to leave room for interpretation.
You just made your team riders Ethan Anderson and Michael Shafer pro. Pretty unusual for a small company. Why did you do that?
Yeah!!! 2 Pros 1 Board! Yeah it probably does look pretty unusual from the outside to make these two Pros, but trust we’re not just throwing our riders' names on boards. These two worked so hard on this video, on and off the boards that I assure you they deserve it 10 fold! Also I think it shows greatly in their parts too! I’m trying to navigate “professional” a little differently than the “industry standard.” I’d like to look at it more as a revolving door- when you're in and crushing it, you definitely deserve your name on a board, but if it's Tommy Bahama season you probably aint getting your name on the board. Ya feel me? I think it's pretty tired when companies give the “Pro” another board because he kickflipped that 30 stair 10 years ago and hasn’t skated in a year, but the homie whose on the same team and has been on an absolute killing spree is sleeping in the kitchen, living off ramen, and doesn’t have his name on a board. Everyone deserves to shine if they put in the work!
By adding Alex Riviera the team even got bigger. Who are the guys on the team? Tell us something about them.
Yessir! That Alex Riviera is a real dream boat and loves to huck too! The team is Ethan, Shafer, Baca, Squid, Zach, Meredith, Larry, Will and Matt! Something about them all.. Okay here we go! Ethan is a Union Carpenter, Shafer can fix any 2 or 4 stroke engine, first time I saw Zach he was naked shooting finger guns yelling “Boom Boom Boom”, Baca can make the Mona Lisa out of a Latte, Larry can be followed on Twitch @larrylarrylarry, Will is the first Bogan from South Central, Matt's favorite movie is “The Never Ending Story”, Meredith has a dog named 33, Squid is about to be a father of a baby Squid!
You are still a kind of small company now. Do you want to step outside your region or stay local?
WE TAKIN OVER THE WORLD BABY! <3 THANK YOU!!!