Posted by - 29.Jul.2016

Andrew Allen, Sober not Sombre

 

Foreword and Photos by Andrew Peters | Interview by Tino Razo

We sat around Andrew Allen’s porch, drinking wine, smoking cigarettes, waiting for him to kick off this interview with his roommate, Tino Razo. It was Logan Lara, Aidan Mackey, Cody Simmons, Cruz, Nuge and me, and we got a little tipsy as we waited for the conversation that we thought we were all sitting in on. We didn’t notice Andrew and Tino disappear.

I don’t know what Andrew Allen does. I don’t know how he thinks, how he occupies his spare time. In saying that, I spend more time with him than I spend with anyone I know. I talk to him all day every day, but I’m still completely clueless. He’s either a strange, secretive bastard or just a terrible communicator—I dunno which.

Eventually Andrew and Tino re-emerged on the porch, and Andrew said, ‘I just emailed you the interview to transcribe.’ Once again he’d left me in the dark. A lot has been going on with this dude, but keeping his mates in the loop isn’t an option; you just find out after the fact.

I raced home, poured myself another glass of wine and got stuck into transcribing the interview, and I have to say I was astonished: I cannot fuckin’ believe Andrew talked this much about himself and what he’s doing. He’d never been this open before and he probably never will be again. We can consider ourselves very lucky.

So, when I first met you in New York, you were partying pretty hard. A lot’s changed since then.

Yeah, I guess I’ve definitely made some changes in my life the past couple of years. I dunno. I mean, I used to be pretty down to have a good time and get pretty loose and then, a little over three years ago, I found out that my father was sick. He had terminal pancreatic cancer and I guess, just knowing that he was going to pass away, I didn’t really want to be around him when I was all hung over and shit—and also I didn’t want to start using the booze and whatever else to mask my feelings, you know what I mean? I just wanted to be around to have a good time with my dad in his last days, so I took some time off drinkin’, and next thing you know I started to noticeably feel a lot better. I could think clearer, and I got back into skating more. As cheesy as it sounds, I fell back in love with riding my skateboard. I think each day that went by without partying, the thought of doing that again became scary. Fast-forward some three-plus years and I still haven’t had a drink and I don’t really plan on having one anytime soon.

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You wear it well. It’s been a sick transformation to see. You can see it all happening with your life and your skating. I can see you living a much purer, cleaner life. Not that we were mega-good friends before all that, but every time you were in New York it was always on, always party vibes. I never skated with you out there, but we definitely saw the shit out of each other at night-time. We saw the sun come up a couple of times.

Oh, for sure.

I think that’s about the extent of the daylight time that we spent together out there. Changes. While we’re on the topic of changes…

For sure.

I guess I’m trying to loosely go into…

Yeah, obviously it’s been announced, or whatever, that I quit riding for Antihero.

How did you never tell me about this?

I didn’t really tell too many people. Obviously it wasn’t something that happened overnight; it’d been marinating. You know, it was a major decision. I dunno—it’s hard for me to even try to put it in words.

It’s a loaded one.

I guess it’s like we said before: with time, everything changes. I’m not saying it was only me that was changing—I changed a lot of things about myself but I feel like Antihero, the company, also changed some things and that’s just, like, a natural progression in every aspect of life. I guess I just got to the point where I wanted something new. I didn’t find myself being that involved with Antihero. All those guys are mostly up in San Francisco and I’ve been living in LA for the past three years, and I skate with a different crew of people. Anthony (Van Engelen, co-founder of Hockey) is one of my best friends and he’s probably the person I look up to the most. I can see all the hard work he puts into everything and how it’s paid off for him—like, he won Skater of the Year.

It’s insane seeing somebody put that much into skateboarding. Work on his body, work on his diet… everything in his life revolves around it. It’s an insane love. I can understand it. It’s some inspiring shit to be near.

Definitely. And then, for me too, the way I see it is I just turned thirty and who knows how long I can skate for, but I feel like, at this moment in time, I’m relatively physically and mentally healthy, and I just want to work on putting out another video part. Just to have something that I can put everything into and push myself for. Starting to ride for Hockey is going to be a good opportunity for me to be able to do that. Benny Maglinao—I’m super into everything he puts out. I guess I’m just really excited for this new thing. I’m stoked and I wanna skate.

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Run-on Nosegrind – Los Feliz

Well, being your roommate, I see you come home every day with a new clip, or Peters’ showing me photos and shit. Here I am trying to interview you but I’m just fanning out: you’re killing it. I hear they’re gonna give you the cover?

Yeah, that’s what I hear too.

How are you gonna beat that last cover?

The one of me and you? (MC 45) I dunno, they should probably just do it again. You and I had just moved in together at that time. I remember we were trying to get Curtis to shoot a photo of you doing that hand-on-the-pole wall ride and then we were like, ‘Well, what if we try to do it together?’ Then Curtis showed up and it took forever to get one ’cause I fuckin’ suck and you were getting way more extended and flat and I kept just goin’ rocket-straight up the wall. But finally we got one, and a couple of months later that thing was on the cover and you and I were just tripping, dude.

That was insane—right when we moved in together. That was so sick. So, you’ve been going through a lot of injuries lately?

I’m falling apart, bro.

Would you say you’re a hypochondriac?

One hundred per cent.

You go to the doctor more then anybody I’ve ever known in my whole life, and I’ve known some sick-ass motherfuckers, too.

I know.

Do you have any appointments with a doctor this week?

No.

That’s even crazier.

Well, I went to the eye doctor on Monday, and today’s Friday.

What was wrong with your eye?

Nothing, dude. I went there to order some new contact lenses. I started wearing them two years ago ’cause I can’t see.

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Frontside Hurricane – Ventura

Have you been surfing much?

No. I don’t really surf anymore. I’ve been super-stoked on skating. I went surfing a couple of weeks ago: Anthony and I went down to Trestles and it was all right. I was like, ‘I’m ready to start getting back into it,’ and then that whale washed up on the beach.

Oh yeah. What did they do with that thing?

I could be wrong, but I think they cut it into a couple of pieces and drove it out to the dump or something. Supposedly there was another one tethered to a rock out at Seal Rock, which is not even that far out of San Clemente. I dunno, it’s scary shit so I haven’t really been surfing. I’m basically waiting for you to ask me to get back out there.

I’ve tried a couple of times and it’s insane. I can’t even get my scrawny ass out there.

I saw you stand up on a wave.

That is the hardest shit ever. If you’re surfing all the time, is it tough going back and forth between surfing and skating?

If you go surf, you’re going to get up at five in the morning, drive an hour to get there at six, and then by the time you’re out of the water it’s ten and you go eat some breakfast and you’re like, ‘Okay, I’ve already done today.’ You need to go home and take a nap.

You ever done the whole deal: snowboard, surf and skate all in one day?

No, have you?

There weren’t plenty of places to do that in Vermont and New York.

Do people do that?

Dylan told me he’s done it. I might be fucking this up, but I think it was his dad’s idea and they ran through it in a day. Have you been working on anything else? Have you got a Hockey part coming out?

Yeah, I guess that first little clip was John Fitzgerald and Donovon Piscopo. I think in June there’s gonna be another video that’s gonna be me and Ben Kadow. Benny (Maglinao) has been working on it and I’m really excited to see that.

Are you guys going on trips together?

I don’t think so. I have some stuff and I know Ben has some footage and so I think Benny’s just gonna try to put it together. We both skate a bit differently but it might look pretty cool, the contrast. After that, I dunno. I think it’d be kinda cool to work on a full-length video or something to keep it going. I got a lot of spots, you know. (Laughs)

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Switch Frontside Grind – West Adams

It seems like there’s a lot of momentum in the company. You’re like projects guy now; you’re tattooing a bit, and now you and Peters are doing a zine: Chat. What’s your role in that?

I basically don’t do shit. Nah, I mean, Andrew has his zine back in Australia, Fuknoath. I see how he does that and I think it’s super-rad that they basically have an inside joke between their culture and friends, a place for you to be able to show off some stuff and make fun and be able to do whatever you want. You can make a bit of a formula but not necessarily have anything set in stone about what you have to do. Andrew brought up the idea that he’d like to start making a similar zine out in the States and I was just like, I would definitely be down to do whatever I could to be a part of it. Granted, I don’t really know how to do anything in terms of technology—I can barely even type. But we just try to come up with a couple of ideas. He does the technical side but I’ll make phone calls, get people on the horn and try to shake people down for photos and shit.

It’s awesome. It seems like you’re trying to keep yourself real busy these days.

That’s kinda the thing I’ve been most into. Trying to occupy my time doing as much as I can so I’m not just sitting around being bored. From skating to working on a few little art projects and now the zine. I have a dog, I have a girlfriend, and sometimes it all gets crazy, but it feels really good. And I guess—I never thought I’d be saying this, Tino, but, I think I’m growing up. Wow, I said it out loud. I’m an adult, dude.

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