In the April 1996 issue of Dazed and Confused, a 27-year-old Thom Yorke conducted an interview with himself.
It was scathing and self-deprecating, optimistic and revelatory, reflective, funny, sad… mostly, though, it was honest. You can’t lie to yourself. Not on paper. It all comes out. And that’s why we lifted the auto-interview idea from Dazed and used it for this feature with Evan Mock. Evan is a skater, a surfer, a photographer, and—like every over-active twenty-something—an ambassador for the future. He’s also someone striving to be the best version of himself for (wait for it) the benefit of others, which makes him a rare and special cat in these wildly selfish times. So, with that in mind, we asked him to do the most appallingly egocentric thing imaginable outside of kissing a mirror, and he pulled it off with integrity, humility, and the kind of innocent charm we wish could be bought in a bottle.
First off, who are you?
Man, I’m trying to figure that out.
Funny you say that—so am I. Looks like we’re in this together. Where are you right now?
I’m on a plane to LA for 24-hours, shooting for Dior, and then I head back to where I’m from: Oahu, Hawaii…. Or did you mean where am I at mentally/in life?
Yeah, all the above. Let’s break it down.
Shit. Well, coming into the new year, I feel like I need to quit every addiction that’s negative for my health, including old friends, past relationships, gin and tonics, fast food, and much, much more. I’m honestly feeling motivated and stoked to start the year off fresh with a clean slate.
(Laughs) Damn. That sounds like a straitjacket for your mind.
(Laughs) Well, I’m a constant construction site, physically and emotionally. So, this year I want to work on self-care and excel at the things I love the most: skateboarding, surfing, taking photographs, and making art. All these components fall into one category for me, so I’m really just going to do and not just try anymore. No games in 2019 and beyond.
That’s epic. Sounds like you’re on a good path.
Yeah, well, we’ll see how long it lasts with my ADD-scattered brain. I can barely focus on writing this interview because there’s a screaming baby in my ear. So, I’m just trying to pick my battles one at a time (laughs).
I wish you the best of luck on your journey through temptation and lust.
Thanks, Evan, we both know I need it.
How was growing up on the North Shore of Oahu?
Well, it’s pretty much the best thing a little sun-bleached baby moke could ever ask for, especially if you are homeschooled, too. My mom is epic. If I begged her enough, she’d let me go get pounded at Waimea in the shore break with my friends before I had even finished a fraction of my school work for the day. She prayed that every ambulance blazing by the house on Kamehameha Highway didn’t have anything to do with me or anyone we knew. Hitch-hiking to go surfing and roaming the seven-mile miracle was just something she let us do. She encouraged me to do whatever I wanted to do, and that still holds true today.
Your mom sounds pretty badass!
Yeah, my mother is pretty and badass!
Enough about your past, let’s touch on what the future holds for you?
Honestly, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so I can’t comment on the future too far in advance, but I’ve always been goal-oriented, and I’ll do whatever it takes to accomplish what I’ve set out for myself. I’m learning every day about everything under the sun. I would love to earn my stripes in the respect-dojo of life through hard work and dedication in whatever I try my hand at. The future is unplanned, but oh-so intricately planned for me. I’m the busiest unemployed human I know (laughs). I just wanna shoot campaigns I’ve dreamt about, design clothes I wanna wear, and go on road trips with my boys, skating and creating. I wanna meet amazing people and see different cultures and foods and lifestyles. I want to continually be in awe of what this planet has to offer, and capture those moments with my camera, but also enjoy the moment for what it’s worth. No iPhone, no Instagram, just pure moments that I hold onto for as long as my ADD mind can archive.
Wow. That future sounds dope. Since we’re talking about work and life and everything in between, how has social media played a part in your career?
I love that through social media you’re connected to pretty much anyone and anything and can observe and learn how others execute and accomplish similar goals to your own. But at the same time, social media might hinder your originality and creative expression. Anyways, it depends on how you look at it, and I think you can benefit from it, but shouldn’t rely on the things that are trending to validate what you’re doing in life.
I have to admit, this whole interviewing yourself idea is pretty weird, especially when you’re trying to be humble and not juice yourself too hard but also want to make yourself sound semi-good for the sixty-nine people who read it. I wonder if the Monster Children staff is reading this right now and thinking, ‘Why the hell did we think this kid had it in him?’ (We’re not thinking that—Ed)
I’m here answering questions right after I think of the questions, my palms are sweating (like always), and I’m just about ready to put my sweaty palms over this baby’s mouth—it’s been screaming bloody murder for exactly one hour, thirty-four minutes and fifty-five seconds!
Okay, hurry up and ask me a good question already! I have a life, you know!
Ok, ok, sorry. So, if you had to change one thing in your life right now, what would it be?
Um… off the top of my head, it would be to erase all feelings and memories of my high school ex-girlfriend cheating on me with my so-called ‘friend.’ Once upon a time, I had my heart broken, and people think that’s healthy to experience at least once in your life, but I’m calling bullshit on that. I don’t care about feeling that pain ever again, truthfully. Anyway, that’s enough ranting. I just had to get that out of my system. I mean, it is my interview—I’m practicing freedom of speech. Where were we?
Let’s talk about your diverse plethora of homies and how they inspire you. There’s Hedi Slimane, Tom Sachs, Ishod Wair, Arto Saari… How do these relationships come about?
Well, I’m very easily inspired. When I say, ‘easily inspired,’ I mean I can swim with sharks and be inspired by how effortless they are, how little energy they exert, how elegant, how haunting. I get really into things, and immediately want to learn whatever I can. So, with that long boring statement of how I’m easily inspired… my point is, when I’m into something, I totally immerse myself, whether it’s surfing, skating, art, music, whatever. And being into all those things allows me to meet a few of the people who do those things best. I think it’s funny how some (not all) people care more about who you are instead of how you are as a person. I hate how that even matters. I’m all about how a person treats others in real life. I say this because countless times I’ve heard negative comments like, ‘You only shoot that individual because he/she has millions of followers and fans!’ And ‘You’re just doing this to look cool,’ and so on and so forth… the list goes on.
But the truth is, I’ve shot random people on the street, homies of homies, A-list celebrities and Z-list anythings, and the one thing all these people have in common is they treat everyone with respect and have a unique, original, all-round good vibe about them. So, back to your question, it doesn’t matter who or what you are in the world—if I vibe with you, you give me natural emotion, that’s what I’m trying to capture. To me, it’s all about developing a genuine relationship. That’s how I feel I create my best work.
How do you want people to react to your photography? I want you to feel something. Whether it’s the best thing you’ve seen in a long while, or so bad that you never want to see my art again—I’ve done my job. I’m glad you can feel anything.
I’m not sure that’s the best way to market your art, but whatever. Evan; (laughs) I’m just trying to express myself, yuh kook!
Ok, lastly—and we touched on this at the beginning—what do you want to work on in terms of being a human being? You mentioned a few things, but since we are in it together, what are you really getting into this year?
Man, I can give you a million things I want to work on, but I think I’ll save you the hassle of writing it all down… I just want to work on not losing sight of my goals and dreams while enjoying all aspects of my life along the way. Whether it’s on a wave, going down a ramp, creating art through my photos, or designing clothes, I want to make people happy, make them feel comfortable, and hopefully someone can be inspired by that. I’m a people pleaser. I constantly choose things in life to cater to someone’s feelings and hopefully make them feel better about themselves. But I need to work on things, man. Like I said, I’m a constant construction site, and I’m picking my battles one at a time. All I can do is my best.
Well, dude, I think that’s a wrap. You crushed this whole interview! I mean, no you didn’t…. Just kidding, bad joke, I’m just gonna leave now. Mahalo for reading.