The Follow Up: Stephen Lawyer
By Dan Connelly
Family, how we doing?
Doing great, fam. Just got back from Barcelona last night. A bit tired, but nonetheless a beautiful day.
How old are you and where were you born?
I'm 26 years old and I was born in Encinitas, CA.
When did you start skating?
I started skating when I was about 12 years old, so around 2000.
Frontside flip fakie nosegrind body varial. Not bad, Fam
Do you remember what got you started?
My parents got me a complete for Christmas one year. It got stolen from in front of the house the very next day, so that set me back a bit. But shortly after I was playing baseball and during that time I got another board, started skating to baseball practice quite often and it was very liberating for me. I remember always practicing tricks in my cleats in the grass before games and practices. I just I noticed myself progressing at it and fell in love. It's hard to explain, but I'm sure everyone who skates can understand what I mean.
What were you into before skating?
Normal kid stuff, I guess: Pokémon cards, hanging out with friends, doing neighborhood kid shit, bein’ a lil’ menace, ding-dong ditchin’ and shit like that. Playing music, learning instruments: guitar, drums, piano. I've been playing guitar for more than ten years. I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't guess that about me. I love all instruments but guitar really stuck with me. It's something I'll always love doing, apart from skateboarding.
How long have you playing classical guitar? How’d you get into that?
I used to be a little punk-rock kid, sewing patches on jackets, studs, wearing pants that were way too tight for me, bleaching my hair—you name it. I was obsessed with Dead Kennedys, the Exploited, Rancid, NOFX, shit like that. So, I basically started out playing all that kinda stuff. As I got older it faded, although I still love that music, but for some reason I began liking stuff more along the lines of Sabbath, Zeppelin, The Beatles, Neil Young. I was just a teenager, not knowing anything and still learning. Then I heard a song called “Mood For a Day” by Steve Howe and—shit, fam, I fell in love with the style. So I learned the tabs and from there I just couldn't get enough of playing that type of music. If you haven't heard that song, check it out.
Yes! Fam, that’s dope! So, where did you skate when you were younger?
Mainly my driveway or my friends’ driveways around the neighborhood or we'd go to our local elementary school and skate flat, just fuck around.
Who from the crew do you skate with on the regs?
Usually I skate with Alexis, DC24 aka you, Izzy, Kellen, Marshall Heath—I wish I saw everyone more but everyone's got their life, so we see each other as much as we can.
￼No longer blasting DK, but this switch crooks is pretty punk
What are your three favorite San Diego skate spots?
That's a hard question but I’ll go with:
1. Standley benches is a great spot to skate, chill, smoke and listen to music. Granted, it's a school, but it still be like that.
2. Encinitas skatepark aka Poods park.
3. Third favorite spot is the beach. Which is not a shpot.
So how’d you get the nick name Fam?
Honestly I don’t know. In some places, calling someone a G isn't very respectful. I started callin’ everyone fam, which to me is just a level of respect, like, “Wassup, fam, how you doin’? Have a good day, fam.” It jus stuck with me. I feel like none of my friends or anyone I was around ever said it so it was just something I said frequently and the nickname stuck. Maybe ‘cause I said it so much people just started saying it back to me. I know it's been something people have said forever, but I just like it. I don't like bro or dude. Sounds too fraternity-like for me.
Let’s get a little background info. You used to be flow for Expedition, right?
How long would you say they had you flowing?
I was on flow for many years.
Whats the reason behind them not pulling the trigger and bumping you to am?
Honestly, I’m not sure why it never happened. I was young. I was always told different things as to why or what I needed to do in order to turn am. I didn't care or listen; I just wanted to skate. And then one day I just had an epiphany while working my nine-five job. I walked outside and politely quit over the phone. I thought, Maybe they thought differently? But who knows. I wasn't happy on flow so I did what I thought was right. They gave me a good start and I thank Matt Daughters and Chany for that.
￼Way more fun than a nine-to-five job—360 flip to fakie nosegrind
How did you get on SK8MAFIA?
Honestly, I heard from someone at Grandeur that Josh Lopes, the rep and all around G for Mafia and one of my best friends now, was talking about me. I loved Mafia. I was infatuated with the idea of riding for the brand and becoming friends with everyone, so I quit my job and went for it. Just showing up to Rancho Penasquitos skatepark when they were all there and filming with Nick Lamm, the filmer at the time—showing my face and just hoping for the best. Now I couldn't be happier with my decisions. Got some family for life and that's how Mafia feels to me. It’s more than just skating.
Since that opportunity you’ve busted your ass to put out heavy parts, interviews, build a little following on your social and even came up on a cover.
Yeah, fam, thank you. It really feels good when a plan comes together.
Your instagram was pretty heavy set with crazy tech tricks. How do you come up with them and how do you balance out getting gnarly park tricks and still make it possible to go out and film full street parts? Does it ever make you nervous to have to one-up yourself in the streets or even do the same tricks again for videos?
I just express myself through tricks. Each trick for me is just an expression of what I'm feelin’ or how I feel like skating that day. I think for me, the separation is pretty easy. Maybe sometimes I redo tricks in the streets I've done before, but a lot of time it's very difficult finding spots to mimic them at. I love one-upping myself; it keeps my fire goin’.
“How you feeling today, Stephen?” “I’m feeling pretty front blunty. Thanks for asking.”
You recently lost your instagram account. Can you tell us what happened to you and maybe give the kids an idea of what to look for based on how the hacker got you?
Yeah, fam. Fuck, that shit sucked. I got faith I'll get it back, though. I got phished. Basically, I just clicked on IG one day and it said, “We noticed someone tried to log into your account from an android in Los Angeles. If this wasn't you, please go to settings and change your password.” So me thinking nothing of it did what it prompted me to do. Shortly after I was completely locked out and they even got into my email, Twitter, Yahoo—they even changed my Netflix password. Everything was coming back to me in Turkish. Craziest shit. Worst part for me isn't the app itself, because I don't scroll much, it's more so the interaction with all the kids and whoever loves watching me skate or loves just messaging me, commenting, tagging me—whatever. Those goofy Turkish hackers took that away from me, my expression. But I believe all things come full circle so I got faith I'll get it back here shortly. So for everyone reading, just be careful what you click on and if it seems too good to be true and looks like someone trying to get your passwords, it probably is.
Damn, Fam, sorry to hear that. I guess you’ll be under the radar for a bit. Well, back to real skating, you just had a full part in Brain Gone about a year ago and now you’re backing it up with another one. Are you happy with how it’s turned out so far?
Yes, I'm very excited for everyone to see this part. It's been super fun traveling and filming for it. I hope everyone enjoys it as much as I've enjoyed filming for it
While filming for the new FAMO part you fucked up your knee. What happened?
Ha! I didn't know it was called the FAMO part. That's awesome. I was basically just skating a rail in a hallway on a really hot, dusty-ass day. One random try I jumped to the bottom and my left shoe slipped on the slippery floor and I just got a dumb-ass compression fracture in my left knee—a weird injury they rarely see in knees. Basically you just can't do shit for six-to-eight weeks but chill and limit movement and walk as much as you can. I'm all good now, though, thankfully.
You skate in Nikes a lot and they don’t send you shoes. How do get them?
Shoutout to Prosper skateshop in Chicago, actually. They've given me so many Nikes to last me awhile.
What's your affiliation with Chi town and how did you start going out there to skate?
I went to Chicago for the first time a few years back for a Zumiez Couch Tour with AYC and met some amazing friends—all the Quarterbrick homies and all the Prosper skateshop homies. Much love to all of you. Thanks for always showing me love and support when I visit.
How’s AYC treating you?
AYC is amazing. I have a good relationship with everyone, I love the clothes, I go to the office almost every week just to catch up, wrap with the homies, chill, smoke and talk ideas.
You have a new collection coming out, right?
Tell us what it entails and when it’s dropping.
I designed a four-piece collection coming out shortly after this part drops in November. It’s four separate outfits. I put it together with one of the designers, Leon Wilkie. He’s raw. He took my ideas and brought them to life. I was stoked on the project. Thanks to AYC for allowing me to do that.
The outfit is pretty tame but Stephen’s trick is buck—kickflip front feeble
How hyped were you on the Camo Catastrophe T-Eddy Award earlier this year?
Ha! I loved that. Much love to Burnett and everyone at Thrasher. I love expressing myself through my tricks and what I wear. I'm glad people can see it as expression and me just being myself. Whether they like it or not, people tend to just let me be myself. It's cool. It's what I think skateboarding is all about: being yourself.
What music are you feeling right now?
I listen to so many artists it's hard to even pick a few. I got some close friends that are rappers so I'll just shout them out: Tim Lynch, GG Neeks, Drippin So Pretty. I know you guys are reading this.
How did you come across Pouya and Germ?
Honestly, I think through Instagram. They both skate and make raw-ass music, so naturally I fucked with them from the jump. Been dope to watch them take off like they have. They doin’ numbers.
So let’s talk your process of thought while filming for a part. In every part we’ve done together you’ve always had a vision for what you wanted to have in it. Do you just envision your part as a whole and knock out the tricks you want to have or is it somewhat of an idea that you have and you just go with it?
It's a weird feeling when I know I'm filming a new part. It's all I can think about. Sometimes I can't even go skate ‘cause I'm thinking so much about it. I always have some type of vision for every new part. I'm already thinking about my next one and how it can be better than this one. I'm even thinking bout the music. Maybe I'm crazy but having things in mind, whether it's tricks or how a part looks and sounds, it feels so rewarding to watch your ideas come to life over the course of filming.
Glad he didn’t think about this kickflip body varial to nosegrind 180 so much that he couldn’t go do it. FAMO is fantastic!
Is there anything you’re looking forward to in 2019, goals or accomplishments you’ll be striving to achieve?
Just to keep doin’ what I'm doin’, stay positive, skate, film—all that shit. Kick it with the homies, do more interviews, travel the world. Maybe one day get a Thrasher cover. Ha! I'm sure everyone thinks that, though. I'd also like to learn how to like onions, ‘cause I hate ‘em and they seem to be in everything. Much love, everyone. Thanks for reading this if you do.
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