Interview and photos by Julian Klincewicz
Deaton Chris Anthony is an enigma wrapped in a riddle and dipped in a bucket of huh?
You’ve probably not heard of the LA-based artist, designer, musician, and basketball enthusiast because he’s been hiding in the shadows, pottering about, quietly doing his thing. But now the time is right for him to step into the light so that we, the people who love him and don’t even know it yet, can bask his profound and unique radiance.
That’s probably a little hyperbolic. We’ve made it sound like he’s a moldering hermit emerging from a cave, but he hasn’t been a total shut-in. His clothing brand, DCA, has enjoyed enormous success for some time now, as has his music—a one-time hobby that’s attracted the attention of Louis Vuitton, among others. And now, not content with dominating the hard-to-crack worlds of fashion and music, Deaton Chris Anthony has decided to try his hand at skateboarding. In fact, Tony Hawk is going to give him lessons. Which brings us to a Goodwill store in downtown LA, where we find Deaton Chris Anthony and his friend, filmmaker Julian Klincewicz, shopping for a safety helmet.
So, you’re blowing up; you just had a music video with Tony Hawk. Why has is taken Deaton this long to be interviewed?
I don’t know. I don’t know. What I will say is that things got a little bit weird. I released my first album, and then it went viral—super-viral—and I took a break for a while. I just didn’t want… I no longer wanted to be around cameras.
But now I’m ready.
Ok well, I guess let’s start with how did the music video with Tony Hawk come about?
Yeah, cause, I don’t know how much you know about Monster Children, but those guys surf and skate and all that. So, for a normal musician to get a co-sign from Tony Hawk, it’s pretty insane.
Yeah, I think it’s cool, too. I think what the coolest thing is that his name is Anthony, and my name is Deaton Chris Anthony. So, I thought that that was cool. It just made sense. And I haven’t told him this yet, but I’m actually going to change my name.
What are you changing your name to?
D. Tony. You like it?
Sick. Let’s go back a little bit further. Where did the inspiration for the song ‘Tony Hawk’ come from?
Well, I made it with my friend LA. We were hanging out at his house, and I had my keyboard there. And I was walking past my keyboard, and I bumped the last key on my keyboard as he said, ‘Tony Hawk, Tony Hawk, Tony.’ And that’s when I knew we needed to make the song. So, I started to make the bass noise, and then he started rapping, and we literally made the song right then and there.
And there was a bit of controversy because you released the song ‘Tony Hawk’, then you unreleased the song, now you’re re-releasing the song with the video.
How did that come about?
Things got crazy. Remember when I said that things got crazy when my first album went viral? So, I actually released ‘Tony Hawk’ the song in 2016. Same song. And it was up for one month, and things got really crazy, so I took it down. But what happened, from what I know, is that there was this skateboarder in California, where we are now but down more south, and he made a video to the song ‘Tony Hawk’, and his name is Dolan…
Yeah. You know him?
Yeah. Dolan Stearns is one of my best friends. We used to live like two blocks away from each other in San Diego.
You didn’t know that?
No, I didn’t know that. Wow.
Ok, so Dolan found ‘Tony Hawk’?
Long story short, he made a video to the song, and then what happened was Tony’s stepson, Miles, co-interned with my friend at RCA. She showed Miles my song ‘Tony Hawk’. Miles went home that night and showed Tony. Then Tony followed me.
Ok, so where are you at now?
What do you mean? Like here, where I live?
No, I mean like after going viral, maybe you weren’t quite ready for that, and now it seems like you’re ready to step back into the spotlight. You’re dropping music videos, you have a collection, I talked to your manager and he said that you’re now designing outfits for other stars… what made you feel ready to do all that? What made you decide this was the right time to step out into the spotlight?
What happened was things got crazy. I made ‘Tony Hawk’, and I took it down and I said, ‘I’m gonna take a break from this.’ Then in 2018, I moved to LA and I said, ‘You know what? It’s time for me to re-enter this.’ And so I started working really hard. I started to sell more of my sweaters that I make, and I started working and making friends and I was having a lot of fun. Then, basically ever since, I’ve been working on my debut album, BO Y. Well, I already had a debut album, but it got so big I had to take it down; so, I just thought I’d make another big album, and this one’s called BO Y. So, ‘Tony Hawk’ is gonna be on BO Y, and where I’m at right now is I’m about to release this album, you know, I made this song with Tony Hawk, and then it hit me—I really wanna learn how to start skateboarding.
You don’t skate?
No, I’ve never skated. I mean, I look on Instagram all the time and I see lots of skateboarding on there and it looks fun. So, I mean, I know Tony Hawk is a pretty big guy, and he inspired me to start skateboarding, and I thought, why not learn from the best? And, apparently, he’s the best.
So, Tony Hawk is teaching you how to skate? Tony Hawk is going to give you skate lessons?
Yeah, a couple pointers here and there. And I just want to learn how to skate. Today I want to get a helmet because I was thinking, ‘Why don’t people wear helmets more?’ Because skateboarding is dangerous and you want to protect your head.
I mean, I guess a lot of skaters feel that wearing a helmet doesn’t make you look very cool.
Well, you know what? I’m going to make the coolest helmet today. And I want to, you know, get sponsored one day… I don’t know what that means, but…
Uh, okay, you really don’t know what being sponsored means?
Well I know what being sponsored means as far as like… let’s say I get a Skittles sponsorship and that would basically mean that they would give me Skittles and I would tell other people how awesome Skittles are. I don’t know. How do you get sponsored?
I guess there’s a bunch of different ways. The traditional way in skateboarding is you’re skating all the time and you make a ‘sponsor me’ tape.
A ‘sponsor me’ tape? What does that mean?
Well, you would have your friends video you doing skateboard tricks to show how good you are.
And then basically you would send that to the companies that you like.
Yeah, you could send a sponsor me tape to Skittles, or Tony Hawk, or whoever.
So, I could get sponsored by Tony Hawk?
Well, yeah, Tony Hawk has a skateboard brand and a clothing brand. So, you would send out the sponsor me tape to the brands that you like in the hopes that they would start sending you free stuff and eventually maybe pay you.
Uh huh. I like that. I like money.
Have you ever set foot on a skateboard?
So, maybe let’s see if we can find a skateboard that you can just stand on and see if that feels good. And since we’re at Goodwill right now, can you walk me through what you look for when you’re designing clothes, and what your process is behind it?
It’s the age of the fabric that grabs me. And then next thing is, I’ll take something that’s like, twenty years old and says like, ‘insurance company’ in the logo, and no one’s going to buy that because you’re not going to want to rep this insurance company or this old outdated company, so I just like to find a smart way of removing those logos and making brand-less clothing. But within making it brand-less, you can so easily recognise as DCA sweater because of the certain style of it, and that’s because it’s out of necessity of me trying to get rid of logos and brand names.
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Also, most of your stuff to me stands out because of how colour-blocked it is, and you have a good sense of how to use colour.
Mmm. Thank you.
So, why don’t you give me a rundown of the last year, if that’s okay? Because I know it’s been a big year, like you did music for Louis Vuitton?
You’re about to release your debut album?
Yes. Basically, you know, I make clothing so I can make music. Clothing is a means to an end for me; it’s a way for me to make an impact on waste. I’ve never cut from a roll of fabric. There’s so much out there to use and we can be resourceful, so I want to take advantage of that, and I want my music and clothing and projects to be surrounded by that. Again, the clothes are just a way for me to not be naked during the day. I mean, I’d like that, but I have to wear clothes otherwise I’m going to get arrested. Do you have great days?
Yeah, I have great days.
Are you having a great day?
Yeah, today has been a great day so far.
It has been a great day.
Yeah, I guess, I find I have a similar practice of trying my best to strategically set myself up to be in environments that facilitate having a great day, and actively choosing to engage in practices that allow me the opportunity to experience greatness in different degrees. Which is a whole lot of nothing, but today is a great day.
I think that you have to have the bad days to understand the good days. And having a great day is what you make it, and some days I don’t have the best days. It’s been really hard, and there’s been a lot of hard days in my life—some days where I want to give up, but every time that happens I know that a really great day is around the corner, and that’s is why I’m having such a rough time. Because then when that great day happens, I sit there and I’m like, oh my gosh, this is what a great day is. Then I understand it and I appreciate it.
Alright, well what’s the secret sauce for a great day for Deaton Chris Anthony?
So, secret sauce for me is food. I love to eat. Eating is my favourite thing and that’s my dream. I want to start a restaurant.
Oh. I didn’t know that.
Yeah, I want to start a restaurant and it’s going to be a new experience. But, you know that feeling when you’re really, really hungry and you start to think about your favourite meal, and then you go and actually get your favourite meal?
And then you eat it, and then you’re so happy that you just ate your favourite meal?
That’s the recipe for such a good day for me. The other thing is I love going on drives. I love to just drive out in the country. Unfortunately, there’s no country here—well we’re in a country here in America, but there’s no ‘country’ in LA so it’s a little hard—but when I get a chance to go on a drive, that’s a good day.
I want to go back to something you said a couple of minutes ago, just touching on the idea of ‘the new’, of getting to play with something new. I think so much of what excites most artists is the prospect or hope of arriving at something new. And when I listen to your music, to me, a lot of the sonic palettes that you have sound very new.
I guess for me, that’s one of the reasons why I agreed to interview you, because I’m a big fan and I think what you’re doing sonically is really new. Is that something you’re conscious of, or do you see yourself more part of a tradition? What’s your process like making music?
I love music and I love to learn. I look at things around me and I’m constantly trying to understand why people think one thing is cool, and why other people think another thing is cool. Because at the end of the day, I don’t think that ‘cool’ exists, because there’s that argument of ‘that’s not cool but this is cool,’ but someone thinks that’s cool, so that’s cool. So, I try to understand why people think stuff is cool. I have my own taste, but when it comes to certain textures sonically, I just try to make a collage of every single specific sound that makes me feel good, and I turn it into what I think is for me.
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You have a lot of exposure through Instagram, yeah?
Well, some. I make clothes ‘cause it makes me happy, I make music ‘cause it makes me happy. And if it didn’t make me happy, why would I put so much effort into it? I’m committed to making the best album that I can make for me, and I want it to be for other people. I want this album to give you the feeling of being in a car full of friends, and someone gets the AUX cable and you put it on in the car, and that person with the AUX is putting on music that gets everyone going, gets a reaction out of people. And so, that’s the experience I’ve been trying to recreate.
With BO Y?
Yeah, I’ve stepped out of myself and I’m making the best album for me and other people to enjoy.
Can you drive?
Can I drive?
Yeah. ‘Cause I keep hearing this recurring motif of the car, the AUX… you mentioned you liked long drives.
I do. I don’t have a car, I wish I had a car. I don’t have one though. But I wish I did. I love cars. I want to go fast.
Yeah, I want to go fast. That’s my dream to go as fast as I can go.
What’s the fastest you’ve gone so far?