Doom Sayers Interview
How did Doom Sayers come about, the name, etc.?
It was shortly before 2012 when all that bullshit about the end of the world was coming. People were acting crazy. I was driving back from LA to Sacramento late at night—I do my best thinking on long drives. Only the AM radio worked in my car at the time. I was switching the channels trying to stay awake as I drove through the night. Then I heard this captivating voice. It was some kind of Southern Baptist radio station, the only station that worked at the time. The guy was going off on “these doom sayers! They try to tell you what you can and can’t do. They try and stop you from doing what you want to do. They try to claim the end of the world is coming. It’s up to you to take that negativity and change it to fuel,” and so on. I remember having a brain freak out and agreeing with this asshole. “Yeah! That’s it! Doom sayers! I know what you speak of,” I thought. From there everything came together. I’ve been dealing with these doom sayers my whole life telling me skateboarding was bullshit. Even my parents and my teachers were telling me I was wasting my time with skateboarding, and others telling me I would never amount to nothing. Now my parents support me more than ever, but it was definitely different than it is today. Skateboarding is different now as far as how it is seen in the public eye. I miss the head shakers and the times when people used to yell out of their car window, “Skate or die, bro!” just out of spite.
Do you make art or you an artist?
No, I’m not the best artist, but I like to think I have decent taste in what I like. I would create stuff for Doom Sayers Club and sit on it, not rush it. And then collaborate with my friends Uncle Bob and Vinny. Everything would fall into place. Like with the snake shake. We started Doom Sayers in 2012 and in 2014 we took it to the real Internets. I love doing video stuff, making video collages and making music, etc.
Photo: Brendan Klein
You’re loyal to the brands you ride for. Has that helped you out in the long run.
I’ve ridden for Nike for almost 12 years and they have always showed me respect and I’m thankful for that. Spitfire, Indy, Hard Luck bearings ad Jessup griptape as well. The teams, riders and the people involved with those companies are amazing to work with! Thanks to my brothers for having my back.
Have you ever worked with a brand?
I’ve suggested ideas to brand managers and the things I proposed, they thought I was crazy. Some took them, some didn’t. A few months later another company would produce the same idea I had and it would do well. I guess they didn’t see me as a creative person? It was just another reason to do my own fun thing and do what I wanted. I have worked on projects with big brands. I worked with an undisclosed mega jeans company but never was there any respect or loyalty back. I got burnt thinking that if I did something right for them they would do right to me. But I was wrong. I made the mistake and shook hands with a snake. They pretty much told me that they didn’t see skateboarding as a profession and they could just get any other random skateboarders to shoot and wear their jeans. I made no money from putting the whole thing together, which could have helped me financially. And worst of all, I was partially responsible for bringing them to light in skateboarding. Now they’re in. I was lied to and told they were here for a reason. Doom Sayers had to happen.
Photo: Brendan Klein
What do you want to do with Doom Sayers?
I want to inspire the people in skateboarding to do what they want, support good skateboarders with good attitudes who want it and that purely love skateboarding and make the cool shit they like with the Doom Sayers message. There are a lot of dog-shit companies doing dog-shit things, in my opinion. We want to give skateboarding some light of truth that inspire, from classic originals like Ricky Winsor, Jason Jessee, Cardiel to the future rippers like Sean Blueitt, Ronnie Sandoval and Rick Fabro. Celebrate the same brotherhood and the same reason why we started skating and stuck with it to this day. Things are changing but not all things must change. Skateboarding is the best shit ever and it’s meant to be fun.
How are people responding to Doom Sayers?
The people that get it, get it. All I got to say is check out our members in this doomsayers video, Everybody’s Clown: Hewitt, Winsor, Gerwer, Worrest, Jessee, Janoski, Sandoval, Cromer, Burke, Blueitt, the Gut, Russo, Montano just to name some of the members in the video.
What’s the meaning behind the snake?
Snakes in the grass. They’re out there. It’s something I’ve been dealing with my whole life. I’ve seen it being at Catholic school and in life. People would shake my hand and I could tell right away they didn’t have faith in me. I take the disbelief and change it to something good and positive. Hate me. Fuel me.
Where is the company headquarters and who are your employees?
It started in Sacramento in a basement at my friend Ped Urtz house where he runs his own screen-printing shop. A few years later we moved it to another basement in an out-of-service bank that was built in 1940s. We just moved to a warehouse in Sacto. It’s our first time with windows and light and without the stench of alleyway bum piss and shit. It’s definitely an upgrade. All my friends help out: Vince Thor Kenney—the only kid I knew from high school that skated, who I later adopted as my li’l bro and his middle name is Thor; that’s great. Uncle Bob, I gave him the Uncle nickname because I feel like Bobs sound good as uncles. And Natalie Casey because she’s the sweetest, and even though she doesn’t necessarily skate she kind of gets the culture of skateboarding. She’s just a badass chick who is the most organized out of all of us and keeps us in check. And then Aric Hondel, the legend and skateboard fiend. And also myself and the team, like Oscar Troche, Jared Burke and Sean Blueitt. They all believe in it and have been proving that from the get go. We do it all in house: print, pack and seal. It’s lots of work, but it’s fun and we are a few blocks away from the B-Street skatepark and the river.
Who’s backing Doom Sayers, financially?
I fund it myself. There’s no suits behind us. What you see is what you get. We don’t have big-time backers. Me and Vince live in the warehouse along with some of our members who come to stay and skate here in Sac. We’re currently living there because we can’t afford an apartment yet. Back to couch surfing for a bit and taking birdbaths. Fuck it! I don’t care! We love it! We are working as hard as we can. Sometimes we wonder what the hell are we doing but that’s the fun part. You’re going to eat shit no matter what. It’s what you do with the shit you just ate that matters!
What projects are you guys working on?
I wanted to use a different approach. I wanted Doom Sayers Club to be an actual club and have club meetings, the old-school way. If you’re a member you understand what we are about . We wanted to make jackets, patches and pins and have people earn them to be a part of the club. That’s why we made the membership boxes. I’ve been with my sponsors for a very long time and I do believe in supporting each other, so doing collaborative stuff is a way for us to show respect for each other. So wait ‘til you see what we got cooking.
You chose not to ride for any board companies. Why is that when you had offers out there?
I’ve had offers. The devil on my shoulder tells me I’m stupid for not taking a check, but the other side says that’s not what I’m about. I want to get healthy and figure it out later on. I’ve been loyal to my other brands. Why stop now? I believe something will come when the time is right. Shit, Joe, you know me. I was the same little kid who you used to tell to slow down and take my time and I ended up not listening to you and got jammed up. Well, it took me this fucking long to absorb your advice and realize I do need to take my time with things and that’s what I’m doing now. There is a reason for everything, so why rush it. I’ll be back to 100-percent soon.
How did the Doom Sayers Club video come about?
I’ve been filming for a while—that’s another thing in skateboarding that I like to do. I’m not that good, but I enjoy it and once in a while I’ll get something nice. It’s all about spontaneity. I was working with a company, iPro, that produces the best lenses for iPhones. I started filming with Sac locals and friends, then with Ronnie, Rick and Robbie and started messing around with music and editing. It’s all filmed with an iPhone. After filming, I would stay up late combining all the footage and make music and mix it all together to create 15-second videos for Instagram. I love it because I’m one of those people who have short attention spans, so 15 seconds was perfect to keep me focused. Uncle Bob and Vince were big supporters and kept on me to continue making weird videos. “Get weird,” Bob would say. After I got injured things were on hold. A year ago on my birthday, Vince and Bob came to my house and gave me a great surprise. They edited all my Instagram videos together into a full-length. I was stoked on it. It was way better then I could have imagined it! Bob and Vince told me I needed to keep working on it. I gave Bob the reigns with the day-to-day. I contacted Brad Comer and his filmer Joe Flannerey. I sent him a couple lenses and Brad filmed a whole part filmed on Joe’s iPhone. Then I reached out to more skaters and the wheels were in motion. We just wanted throw-away footage and we got really good footy. Most of the footage was all donated by the filmers. The end result, in my opinion, is a fun and exciting video to watch with footage mostly from iPhones, VHS, HD, 8mm and a bunch of other shit. Dylan Bunnell, Uncle Bob and myself worked on it together. Everybody played an important role and it couldn’t have been done without them. Thanks especially to these filmers: Dylan Bunnell, Vincent Kenney, Cesar Rimoldim Aaron Brown, Carlos Vargas, Warren Silva, Joe Flannery, Benny Maglinao, Sebastian Reetz, Rye Beres, Eric “Redder” Lavine, Ty Evans, Aaron Chilen, Matt Bublitz, Wes Lott, Josh “Peacock” Henderson, Daniel Evans, Dominic Granieri, Zach Peightal, Low Budget Goat, Gracelyn Tacey, Mike Rafter, Tanner Misono, Evan Duran, Daniel Wheatley, Glen Hammerle, Eddie Claire, Daniel Malkovick, Jack Mansfield, Matt Mullen and Ewan Bowman.
Photo: Brendan Klein
You got hurt really bad a year and a half ago. What happened?
I was filming for the Nike video and, yeah, I got hurt pretty bad. I was trying to give Nike the best video I could. That was my mindset. I was at a skatepark trying to air over Grant Taylor because I thought it would be cool to air over the air guy and one of the greatest skaters ever and a Nike teammate. It was really windy and I had a freak accident. I shattered my kneecap. My Nike video part got cut short, unfortunately. Nike has been cool, though. Steve Chalme was 100-percent supportive along with the NikeSB team. He told me to take my time and get healthy and get back again. It’s good to have people and companies that understand getting hurt is a part of skateboarding. So, everyone was telling me I was fucked. I had wires and bolts holding my knee together. It was the worst the doctor had seen, he said. He did say I would be back to 100-percent, though. Recovery has been great. No more hardware. After that, my new job was to focus on my rehab and Doom Sayers stuff.
Ollie into China Banks
What motivates you?
People telling me I can’t do something. I love it because they don’t have faith in me and that fuels my fire. I’m thankful I learned that at an early age because I don’t think I would be where I am today if not.
Photos: Joe Brook
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