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Interview

Youngblood: Alexander Loren

The following interview was originally featured in the print Krak Mag issue 2 that shipped with KrakBox #2 in June 2015. Don’t want to miss the next issue of the print Krak Mag? Want to receive some epic skateboarding product every two months? Check out the KrakBox now!

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Tall 50-50 in Santa Barbara. Photo: Will Fisher (@willfisherphoto)

One of the best things about skateboarding is meeting the coolest, chillest people who share your love for riding this little four-wheeled plank of wood. You might speak different languages, but as long as you skate, you can always relate. Alexander has always been super friendly and hella nice, quick to come up to you to say what up, and ever ready to give anyone a high five. Alexander also definitely rips, he’s an ATV that skates everything amazingly, from ledges, tall-ass rails, stairs and gaps to flatground. Generous, well spoken and with a really positive attitude and thankful for everything, he’s the kind of person you’d want to kick it with both on and off the board. He has a pretty interesting story too, coming to the US from Sweden, and having attended Malmo’s Bryggeriets Gynmansium. He tells us about growing up in Sweden, skateboarding through cold winters, and finally moving to Los Angeles. This is a good one! – HK

What up Alexander, thanks for doing this. First up, tell us a little bit about yourself?

Thank you man! I’m Alexander Loren and I’m from Sweden, south Sweden actually, a small town called Kristianstad, it’s 1 hour outside of Malmo. I just turned 20. And I moved here in August last year and I’ve just been skating and going to school at Santa Monica College. I got to know so many people here and I’m just enjoying my LA trip.

What’s it like over there in Kristianstad? What’s the skate scene like?

It’s not like here of course but it’s actually getting really big, like last year. It’s getting really big. Especially Malmo, because it has a really good skate scene. I don’t know if you’ve heard about Ultrabowl and Vert Attack.

Yeah those are big contests! Pros from all over would go, like Pedro Barros, all the guys like Rune Glifberg and all the big names would be there.

Legends too! Tony Hawk was at Vert Attack.

Stevie Cab?

Yeah Stevie Cab, Hosoi, they were all there.

So how many skaters are there in your hometown?

How many skaters? Like where I’m from? In my small city, it’s not many at all. It’s like me and my crew and maybe some more that skate, but it’s not many at all, because we don’t really have anywhere… Actually last summer we got our first skatepark, an outdoor skatepark.

You guys didn’t have anything before that?

I just skated the streets and DIY spots before that. And the funny thing is, in the winter it’d get super cold. Sometimes it gets snowy and rainy, zero degrees, even colder than zero degrees. We had this indoor park but it’s got no heat. It’s the same cold on the outside as the inside. I don’t understand how I grew up like this. I went back this winter after I’d been here for half a year, and I went, wow, I can’t even skate in here anymore.

But you don’t even skate much in the wintertime because it’s so damn cold right?

But my whole life I did. I just put on gloves, actually the warm up was running in the park for 15 minutes. 10-15 minutes just running and after you’ve warmed up you just have to skate non-stop because if you sit down, you got stiff. Your body cools down immediately, your fingers can’t even text because it’s so cold. Crazy, I don’t even understand how I did that my whole life.

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Damn, that’s definitely dedication dude.

Yeah, every day after school I went there, even when it was super cold.

So if it’s just you and your crew, it’s a really small scene, and you basically know everyone in your hometown that skates?

Yeah, we knew everyone that skates. But the cool thing is that our city is not that far from Malmo, and I always go there, it’s just an hour away by train. That’s where I went to school too, Bryggeriets Gymnasium.

I was actually going to ask you about that, you went to Bryggeriets? That’s a skater’s dream school! When I heard about it, I saw a documentary about it on the Berrics…

I had a trick in it too.

You had a trick in it?

I did a nollie flip down this four block, this four stair block.

Wait, that was you? They didn’t put your name up did they?

Yeah, they did.

Alright I watched it some time ago, I need to re-watch it again.

(laughs) That’s two long episodes, you probably don’t remember, there’s a lot of tricks in it.

I met Fernando Bramsmark when he was out here.

Yeah he’s my homie.

He skates really good. Transition? Shit. He’s ridiculous.

He’s the best, dude! He’s such a cool dude too.

Oskar “Oski” Rozenberg (Hallberg) is your homie too right?

Yeah yeah. They’re all my homies, we went to the same school. Everyone.

Everyone went to Bryggeriets?

Oski actually just graduated this year, this summer. Yeah and Fernando is like 2 years older than me.

Wow dude, you guys all kill it, I’ve seen footage of you guys skating. Tranny skills are so good, street skills are so good, that place must be crazy to go to school. Ok, I’ll ask you a little bit more about that later. So how did you even start skating while living in a small city like Kristianstad?

It’s actually my brother who got me into skating, my older brother, he still skates, not so much anymore but he’s been skateboarding his whole life you know?

Daniel?

Yeah, my brother Daniel. And I remember I was super small and he tried to get me into skateboarding but I was like, it’s boring, I want to hang out with my friends, I wanna be cool with my friends and hang out in the street. And then one Christmas, I got a board for my Christmas present.

Did your brother give you the board?

Yeah, it was a Santa Cruz. I don’t remember what pro model it was, all I remember is that it had a face on it, like Halloween. It was kinda like a face with a little bit of blood.

Is there a legendary spot in your hometown that you all skated?

Legendary spot? They actually took the roof out, there’s no more roof. It’s an old train station, an abandoned train station and all the homies that used to skate before built their own stuff like ledges, banks, kickers, flatbars. They put everything there, so it’s just like a skatepark kind of. But then after the company next door bought the land and wanted to do something else and they just took the roof off so we couldn’t skate when it was raining anymore. They took all the obstacles off. After a while, they actually went out of business, and they left everything like that.

That sucks. You guys basically built the spot and then they took it away.

One concrete ledge though, that’ll never be gone. It’s too heavy to move. My brother and his homies built it, like way back. So that’ll always be there. And that’s one of my favorite ledges too.

And you just got your first outdoor skatepark last summer? Wow.

It’s actually not like a normal park, they wanted to do like a street plaza. So it’s for skating but they want it to look like a spot. So it doesn’t have metal ledges, it’s got real street ledges like JKwon.

I remember seeing some footage of one spot in Malmo with so many ledges that looked so perfect that you’d think they designed it for skateboarding. But it’s not?

They call it Riverside. It’s literally 30 ledges, 30 manny pads you can skate in a row. It’s just like skatepark concrete, everything. You can say it’s a skatepark, but sometimes there’s stuff going on, and you can’t skate all the time, but most of the time you can.

So when you went to Bryggeriets? It’s got a full high school curriculum but with an emphasis on skateboarding. It’s basically a sports school. How did you convince your parents to let you move to Malmo to go to Bryggeriets? It’s got great academics as well, the curriculum is first class.

I know exactly what you mean, it took me a while to convince them. I had to ask them a lot. They didn’t want to let me go there at first. I was like, I don’t know what I want to do you know? I don’t even know what I want to study so I just want to study there. All my friends were about to go there too and Malmo is a bigger city. I’m from a really small city and that’s so boring you know.

What’s the population in your city?

Like 70,000. Like the whole county you know. For the actual city center, I don’t even know, half of that? It’s really small. So I had to convince my parents, but they were cool. They were like, yeah alright, you can go there.

It’s not what a lot of people expect because when I watched the Bryggeriets documentary, I thought to myself, if I were a teacher and if I could teach somewhere, I want to teach somewhere like that, so that I could be close to skateboarding.

That’s exactly what I was thinking when I got here. I’m going to Santa Monica College, why not you know? Make a change in my life, I’ve been in Sweden my whole life and in the same part so why not try something new. And yeah, I’m kind of focused on school, I still want to get my degree. I want to finish school but at the same time I wanna skate too. Like as much as I can.

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How about in LA? What’s your favorite spot to skate?

Favorite spot? LA has so many good spots, it’s crazy. Like street spots or park?

Both, what’s your favorite park and what’s your favorite street spot?

That’s a hard one. It’s hard to say one but I like Stoner a lot, because it’s my local park, the good homies are always there, a good vibe. And the Berrics is always a fun time. I like skating Westchester at night too. Just have a fun session at night, I never really go there in the day though.

Yeah me neither, that’s why I always see you there on those night sessions.

I don’t know why but, it’s always at night. I have a good sesh and just wherever you go, whenever you stack some footy you have a good time, it’s a good spot. You have good memories of that spot. So I’m always hyped to go everywhere.

Which part of LA are you living in?

Santa Monica.

You like living out here in LA?

Yeah I’ve been around the whole city but I kind of like this part the best. Santa Monica, the West LA area. Everything because it’s kind of mellow here, it’s not that stressful. The beach, it’s close to everywhere.

From what I’ve heard, in Sweden it’s cold all winter. But on the East Coast, it can warm up and then get cold all over again.

Actually, where I’m from it’s like kind of the same. Sometimes it’s hotter, sometimes it’s colder, when you go to the north of Sweden, it’ll be like snow up till like May. You know? That’s like very cold all year, unless the summer comes. Summer’s really nice out in Sweden though, that’s what I’m really looking forward to going home to right now.

Is that the best time of the year for you?

Yeah, like from June, July and August is the best. If you want to go to Sweden it’s the best. And don’t go there if it’s not during that time.

In Sweden, who’s in your crew? Your brother back in the day?

My brother’s always been older, so I never really skated with him. Sometimes when I was out shooting, I went with his crew. We never really like… He’s been living out here, he’s been living out in Barcelona, I’ve been living in Sweden. So it’s been like we haven’t been able to be with each other that much. But my crew, there’s some homies I went to the same school with as well. Bryggeriets, we all went to the same class. My roomie that lives here too, Mo.

He moved out here with you?

Yeah that’s my homie Mo. He’s called Alexander (Hedeya) but we call him Mo. Yeah, and we live together too. He’s from my hometown too, I skated with him my whole life. My homie called Billy that films, he filmed like all my footage back in Sweden and like yeah, a couple more homies. It was always different you know. Sometimes it was people from Malmo.

And Mo went to Bryggeriets too?

Yeah, same class. So we’re kind of like a family, it’s me, him, my brother, and my brother’s girlfriend. And I’m so hyped to live with them. Rather than living with random, crazy people you know? Sometimes you have bad luck.

It must be nice when you move out here and have your “family” here too?

Exactly. I’ve been to LA a couple of times before moving here so I knew what I was coming to.

Which is the best city in Sweden to skate? We don’t know too much about the scene out there.

I don’t know, it’s either the cities like Malmo or it’s Stockholm. It’s different types of skating because Malmo is more like, you know Polar, Pontus, that type of style. It’s a lot of DIY spots, like Pontus’ spot, which is really sick. Like harder type spots, it’s harder to skate but it’s sick on the footy.

They have that spot right by the railway line, TBS?

Yeah yeah, TBS!

That spot looks so hard to skate man!

Yeah, I’ve been there a couple of times, it’s really hard to skate. Like all the guys are wallriding over and ollieing over, respect to them. So hard!

Are there a lot of brands out there? Board brands? Obviously we only tend to know the ones that make it out here to the States, the one’s like Polar.

Yeah, there are a lot of brands and everyone is trying to get their new brand. Like the biggest Swedish brands are like Polar of course, that’s really big in the whole world. It used to be Sweet. You know about Sweet skateboards?

Yeah, of course I do. What happened to Sweet? It’s kind of low key right now.

I don’t know what happened, they changed the name or like changed the whole thing to Sour now. So it’s Sour Skateboards.

Who’s your favorite skater?

That’s a hard one. Since I grew up, I always, as a little kid I always liked P-Rod. I always looked up to him, his clips. I like Koston too. They were like my childhood heroes you know? And now lately it’s hard, there are so many good skaters.

Have you skated with P-Rod?

I skated his park a couple of times, but I’ve never seen him there. Yeah, he’s pretty busy I think. He’s always travelling and stuff.  But yeah, now I don’t know, there’s so many good ones. I really like Luan.

Luan? Dude skates with so much power.

Yeah, and respect for Nyjah too. He’s a boss.

Super consistent.

No one skates like that. His mentality too, I don’t understand how you can just go with the mindset to win everything. Like it’s pressure too, sometimes you win, sometimes you don’t. But he’s just taking everything. I was like wow, that’s a different level of skateboarding. Now I have a lot of respect for that, that’s crazy.

Favorite video part?

I think I got to say P-Rod in the City Stars video, Street Cinema. That’s an oldie and goldie dude. I feel like lately, the parts they put up I don’t know, it’s like different quality and stuff. It’s not VX anymore, it’s HD. It’s still really sick but I grew up with the old stuff. I can’t really say the old stuff because I’m pretty young but the older, it’s always each generation, I’m hyped on my generation as I grew up. And that’s always gonna be the case for sure.

Did you see the remake of P-Rod’s video part? He re-filmed all his tricks from Street Cinema.

Yeah, that was sick. I really loved that Street Cinema part, because he was so young. I love the song too, because I don’t know if you know that Guy Mariano used that same song when he was a little kid, and then P-Rod used it too. Because they are both my favorite skaters. Wonder child.

Yeah of course, that Jackson 5 song was in Guy’s Blind Video Days part. Do you have a favorite Swedish skater?

I always liked Josef Scott, you know about this guy? There’s so many good skaters in Sweden. Josef, I like Albert Nyberg, Erik J Petterson, Pontus is sick. I like Oski, Nando too. And my homie, I don’t know if you know him, David Jakinda? He’s from Stockholm and he won the Swedish skater of the year. And that’s like my homie from years back. And I’m hyped for him you know. Making moves and stuff. He’s one of my favorite skaters too. Like a super cool guy, always having fun and his style is so sick. He’s a really good homie.

How long were you at Bryggeriets?

It’s a 3 year high school. I don’t know about the rest of the world, but in Sweden we go to high school for 3 years. And we don’t really call it high school, we call it, Gymnasium.

It’s like the European system, Germany has the same thing right?

And we went there for 3 years and it’s still like a regular school, we have Math and English classes but instead of gymnastics and stuff we had like skateboarding instead. We had gymnastics too but we had skateboarding twice a week. So it was two skateboarding classes a week.

How long would each class be?

Yeah, two-and-a-half hours, something like that.

Five hours a week of classes in skateboarding? That’s incredible.

That was super fun, and the skatepark, indoor park is in the same building as the school. So like every break, you can just go down and skate. And yeah like you can skate it whenever it’s not class time and then like after school’s done, it’s like a park for everyone. So everyone can go there and skate. And the students get free entry for three years. So I was hyped on that, I saved a lot of money from that.

So coming back to the skateboarding questions, what’s your favorite trick?

I don’t know… like on rails, I think my favorite trick is 50-50 on round rails. I could do that for days. 50-50s, long pop in pop out, the whole thing you know. It’s always fun because it always feels good especially when you wax it too. Otherwise, I do treflips a lot in my life. I can do it so many different ways, I just love messing around with it. I think it’s fun. But yeah, like I don’t really have one special trick I always do, I always try to skate ledges, skate rails, skate flatground.

Yeah, that’s one thing I noticed. When you skate you don’t do just one single trick, you try and vary it up. And you skate everything. That one day I saw you trying back smith 180 out on the C-ledge, and I thought, wow, you’ve got pretty sick back smiths.

Yeah I was trying back smith backside flip out for 3 days. I remember trying it again and again, I finally got it though.

Yeah. How did you get so good at skating rails? You skate the JKwon rail, which isn’t even that long, which makes it harder and it’s kind of narrow, it’s not round. It’s a thin, flat rail.

Super thin. I don’t know it’s like I always thought rail skating was cool, since I was a kid, like even before I could skate rails, before I jumped on rails. I always thought it was cool. And I just started practicing it. I wanted to learn. And that’s the thing with rails, because even though you can do a 50-50, and you go to a 15 stair, and it’s like, even though I have 50-50s, every try I’m not sure if I’m gonna do this you know. That’s kind of what I like with rails, it’s a different fear, from like ledges and stairs and stuff because you can always kick out. So I kind of like that fear because either you do it or you don’t and if you stay up there and think about it, the more you think, the more scared you get. So it’s more like a struggle, just have to do it right here.

Do you think you want to try and do something with skateboarding?

Yeah, I love skateboarding so I’d love to skate as much as I can. That’d be sick, that’d be really sick. But yeah.

What’s it like having your brother run Bliss Wheels? Must be pretty cool.

Yeah, I’m super hyped on that. He hooked me up with wheels. And I really like the wheels too so I’m really hyped on that. I just like seeing how he’s progressed. How he’s working hard too, he always has something like, “hey, I got this, we’re putting this out soon, we’re releasing this soon. “ I’m like damn! Yeah, I’d like to see that.

The company’s vibe is sick. I like the vibe, and the graphics are clean, the visuals are really on point and the wheels are good. All the homies ride it, like Daniel Lebron and Brian Gille. I talked to Dani about Bliss and he’s so hyped on the wheels.

Yeah, I’m hyped on the team, all of them. Chaz Ortiz, Manny Santiago, Larelle Gray, all the guys over here in the States. Dani Lebron, Michael Sommer, Mark Baines.

Yeah Mark Baines is on Bliss. Mark is super OG.

That’s what I mean, it’s like a super good team, we got Daniel Grönwall. Dude, he’s from Stockholm, Sweden and lives in Malmo now though, but he’s so good like a lot of people don’t know about him but he’s so good. He won’t skate for maybe 2 months, a month, and he’ll come to the park and front blunt helicopter flip on the ledge like in a couple of tries.

No way. Are you serious?

He’s like damn, I didn’t know I could do that. I was like bro, that’s crazy, like nollie flip backtail handrails in the park and stuff and he hasn’t been skating for like 2 months. It’s like shut up man, you’re like still the best dog, you know. Don’t complain. Yeah, he rides for Bliss too, he’s super sick.

You’ve also been getting some stuff from DGK? Is that through the Swedish distributors? HOEP Skate?

I got some stuff before I moved here, I’m still riding for this distributor called HOEP. It stands for House of Elite Products or something. And they have all the brands like Diamond, Grizzly, Primitive, Primitive boards, the whole Kayo stuff, and a bunch of other stuff like Brixton. And they were hooking me up with Diamond and Grizzly and all that stuff for a while in Sweden, but Ante Ossianson, he’s like the team manager, hooked it up because he knows the guys here because he goes back and forth. So he hooked it up over here, I started to get some stuff over here and I’m hyped to get it going.

Yeah, gotta make it happen!

Yeah, I started getting some DGK stuff. I got a DGK box.

That’s sick man. And in LA I know you told me that you usually skate with Mo, the Seattle guys, Will Fisher.

Mo’s my roomie, he’s always down to skate. I skate a lot with Oscar Meza. He used to live in this building here too actually.

No way, he lived here too?

He used to live here, he moved downtown though. But yeah, we skate a lot, he’s like my older brother. He’s super cool. We’re really good friends.

His new part is unreal dude.

He’s a beast. I kind of got inspired by him actually with rails, because in Sweden I skated smaller rails, but then when I started skating with him, he took me to some gnarly ass rails. I was like damn, is this what you guys are skating over here? I was like damn. I gotta keep up! (laughs) So he got me inspired to do that. I love his skating, he does everything first try and that’s what I like to see.

How often do you skate with him?

Like recently, the last month, it hasn’t been that much because he was filming for his part and I’ve been like in the streets skating with other people and stuff so we haven’t really been skating together the last month. Yeah, but like before that it was almost everyday. I was actually at his house today. We kicked it by his pool and stuff.

How did you meet him? Through skating?

My brother knew him before I knew him. So I met him through my brother.

And your brother actually moved out here first right?

Yeah, 3 years before me. He’s been here for a while. So that’s how I got to know Oscar, through my brother and yeah, we started skating.

You push each other to progress. You go to spots and I’m sure you get amped off of each other.

And we’re like really good friends too, so it’s not like we only skate. We hang out, we joke with each other. It’s always fun you know. And he’s super cool.

How about Will Fisher? How’d you end up shooting photos with him?

This was… I don’t even know. Oh yeah, it was, I don’t know if you know Sammy Perales? He’s a super good skater too. He’s from Seattle, he just moved here not that long ago. So I got to know Will through Sammy. And after that I just got his number and we’ve just been out shooting.

Will takes some sick photos. When you showed me the photos he took, I was thinking damn, these are amazing.

Yeah he’s super good. He’s got the eye for it for sure.

He obviously skates, he’s got the eye for it. He knows what looks good in a photo.

And he’s such a cool dude too. He’s always hyped, he’s always down to go shoot. He doesn’t even care if it’s far. He’s like, let’s just get the gas and we’ll get the footy. I’m always down for that. Because LA is kind of a bust to skate.

Santa Monica is a bust because they know so many people skate here.  All the businesses go “No, you can’t skate here, or we’ll call the cops on you right now.” It’s harsh. Are you filming for any video parts?

Yeah, I’m actually just filming right now. I haven’t really a full part but I have some footy. I’m trying to get more. So I’m just trying to do like a full part while I’m out here. It’s hard dude, like it’s such a bust and driving and you know all that but I can do it. It just takes time. Yeah, next month I have an interview in a Swedish magazine called Transition.

How long are you headed back this summer for?

I’m just going back for a month in July. I’m not trying to stay out there for too long but it’s sick to be around family during the summer and stuff, all the homies.

Do you have any video parts online the readers can check out?

I have one video part from 2012, but it’s a bit old now. It’s not new but it’s got my full part. That one part, and I have this clip you saw too, the 2014 clips (10qs with Alexander Loren). But it’s not like a part, it’s just a couple of clips. So I’ve never had this full part to be stoked on. So that’s what I’m trying to do right now. Of course I’m stoked on my old part, but I want to put out something with my skating right now, because that part’s already going to be old. I put my stuff on Instagram (@alexanderloren).

Last question, what’s your current setup?

I ride a DGK board 8” or 8.1”, I like 8.1”, I think it’s perfect. It depends, sometimes 8”, sometimes 8.1” and I ride 147 High Thunder Light Trucks, Diamond Hardware, Diamond bearings, Grizzly Griptape. Oh yeah, and 52mm Bliss Wheels. I ride Bliss 51s/52s.

Who are your sponsors?

I ride for the distributor HOEP, I ride for this skate shop in my hometown called Street Lab. I ride for DGK, Diamond and Grizzly through HOEP Distribution and Bliss Wheel Co.

Lastly, thank you and shout outs?

It’s a lot of people man. Thank you first of all, for doing this with me. And of course, all my sponsors that help me out with stuff, my family for supporting me out here. My brother Daniel, he helped me a lot, like all my homies you know. All the people that give me a positive energy, I’d like to thank them because that’s where they keep me going. That’s what I feel like, I just want to thank everyone that’s hyped on what I do and let’s do it together.

That’s it, we’re done. Thanks Alexander!

Thank you man!

Liked this interview? Check out the print Krak Mag in each KrakBox  for more great content!

Interview

A Conversation with Daniel Lebron

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Daniel Lebron was recently in Los Angeles for 2 months working on a few projects. During this recent trip to the US, I got to watch him skate the West Los Angeles Courthouse (now a designated legal skate spot) for the first time in almost 15 years. I’ve always been a fan of Dani’s skateboarding, and used to watch and re-watch his L.A. County(2000) video part on VHS (check out Dani’s Time Capsule). He’s one of a select few pros who has proper frontside heels on flat both switch and regular, and a ridiculous repertoire of tricks that includes fakie flip fakie backside crooks on ledges. On his last day in Los Angeles, we got to have a conversation about his life in skateboarding thus far and his love for Flamenco guitar on the drive from Costa Mesa back to Huntington Beach, finishing off over some cheese and avocado on bread, pizza generously shared by his super friendly housemates, and a glass of Merlot. Dani’s huge spirit is only matched by his bigger heart. Thank you Dani for the inspiration, sharing your stories, your food and wine, and for showing all of us what a life lived with passion really means. See you in Barcelona soon brother! Mil gracias! – HK

What’s up Dani, thanks for doing this. Really psyched to hear more of your story. You were born and grew up in Alicante, Spain right? What is Alicante like? What’s the city know for?

Alicante is in the Southeastern part of Spain, it’s a small city and I lived in the suburbs. The main industry there is a cement factory. Most of Alicante’s residents want to work in the cement factory as it’s a good job there.

I understand you left school at an early age to start working. Did you work in the cement factory there?

I didn’t work in the cement factory, there aren’t many jobs there, as is true in most of Spain. I worked for my parents t-shirt printing business. I started working at 13 so that I could make my own money, so I could buy my own boards. When my parents business wasn’t doing so good and had to close down, I could use what I learned from the t-shirt business to work elsewhere, at all kinds of jobs. It was tough man, but it’s normal there for young people to leave school and start working early. I was happy I could make my own money to buy my own boards and shoes for skating. I really fell in love with skateboarding.

I know you moved to Madrid later, why did you move and did you meet the Fernandez brothers in Corona Square there?

Before I moved, I was working very hard and didn’t have much time to skate. So actually I moved to Madrid to skate. Yes, that also where I met Alfonso and Jesus Fernandez, skating Corona Square.

And you decided to go to the States then to pursue the dream? Did you go to San Francisco as well as Los Angeles?

What happened is Alfonso was saving money to go to the States and we talked about it, and I was lucky I won a Vans contest in Spain and the prize was a ticket to the US. So I was really lucky as I wasn’t saving money like Alfonso for a plane ticket. So my first trip to the US was for 3 months, and Alfonso was also in the States with me. I went to SF for a month, San Diego for a month, and LA for about a month.

This was the same time J.B. Gillet came over to the States too right? And what about Jesus Fernandez?

Yes J.B. was here at the same time as our first trip. Our next trip back to the states was with Jesus as well, the three of us, Alfonso, Jesus and me.

To me, your L.A. County part was super influential, I still remember the orange VHS box cover. A lot of people might not also know you had a part in Neighborhood’s LaLa Land video from 1998. You turned pro for Neighborhood too right?

Thank you man. I turned pro for Julio De la Cruz’s Neighborhood Skateboards and had quite a number of pro models with Neighborhood. Actually, I was also the last pro on Neighborhood when everyone else had left. I stayed with the company to the end.

Daniel in Neighborhood’s “La La Land” (1998).

Daniel in “LA County” (2000).

You also rode for Stamina Clothing right?

Yes, I did ride for Stamina Clothing and Tracker Trucks. Back then, they were all one big company.

Daniel with a superfast backtail at the West L.A. Courthouse.

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Where did you usually skate back when you were living in LA? Courthouse or USC?

I skated Courthouse a little bit back then but I skated the USC ledges a lot more, because it was close to where we were living, and you don’t need a car to get there.

What was it like living in the USC area? It’s gotten a bit better now but back then it must have been pretty different.

Man, it was ghetto. It was the hood. There was shootings in the street in front of where we lived. Like people were scared to come pick us up to go film because we were living in the hood. I heard that there was recently a student murdered there.

Yeah, the area has gotten better but it’s still not too safe, especially after dark.

It’s gnarly there! All kinds of people would be chilling out front of where we lived. But they were cool with us.

You, Alfonso and Jesus were riding Chocolate boards in the L.A. County video, this must have been after Neighborhood had ended? What happened with Chocolate?

Yes we were getting flowed Chocolate boards. Basically, there was a possibility we would get on the team. But around this time, in 2002 I went back to Spain, to Barcelona. And so did Jesus, but to Madrid. At that point I had lost all my US sponsors, since Neighborhood, Stamina and Tracker were all one big company. So when I went back to Spain I had no US sponsors. But I still skated, I didn’t care too much, I love skateboarding. But Lakai did help me out by sending me shoes, and I’m very thankful to them for that. Thanks Mike and Rick and everyone!

It must have been hard back in those days to come back and forth to the US without the athlete’s visa you can apply for nowadays?

Yes, it was difficult then. I had problems once and had to go apply for a visa in Spain, but crazy thing is they gave me a 6 months visa after that so it made it easier after for me.

Looking back, how different do you think your career would be if you had stayed on in the US? You were already doing stuff back then that still blows people away today.

Oh, very different. I had been in the US for 6 years by the time I left. It was a really long time. I think my skateboarding career would be very different. A lot of the things I was doing back in Barcelona when I went back, nobody saw, and I think if they did, things would be really different. But you know, I might not have made a lot of money now, but in the end I am happy with my life. I missed the Spanish way of life. If I had not moved back, I wouldn’t have gotten into Flamenco guitar. So that turned out to be a really good thing for me. I’ve been back in Barcelona for 13 years now, and it doesn’t feel like a long time compared to the US and Madrid. I know it sounds crazy but it doesn’t seem as long, I love the Barcelona lifestyle.

That brings us to the next topic, Flamenco guitar. Tell us a little how you got into it and I understand you now play professionally?

It’s funny, I actually first got interested in guitar again while living in LA, when a friend lent me his guitar. I used to play guitar when I was younger so it wasn’t too hard to pick it up again. So I was pretty good. When I moved back to Barcelona I got more into it, I met my teacher there and he told me that he taught at the Conservatoire and encouraged me to go there. So I applied and got in, and went there for 8 years.

Daniel Lebron Day in the life 1

8 years? Damn, that’s a long time. Did you have to take exams too?

Yes, it’s super long, that’s equivalent to going to music school up to high school. To get to college level takes a few more years, but for music, 8 years is already a lot. So for me who left school so early, it was a long time to study. Yes, we had to take exams like performance. I like Flamenco guitar so it was good for me. So I now have a career in Flamenco guitar as well, it’s good.

Do you teach as well? I know you recently went on a Flamenco tour with Jesus Fernandez and Julian Lorenzo to the Andalucia?

Yes, I can teach but I am more into performances. Jesus, Julian and I went on a tour to Andalucia where we got to skate in the day and play Flamenco in bars at night. It was a really fun tour, finish the day with music, food, friends and wine.

Was it hard to get noticed by US companies while you were back in Spain?

Many US companies were actually going to Barcelona a lot then(in the 2000s), so it wasn’t a problem to be noticed. They already knew who I was, the problem was I didn’t really want to move back to the US, which I would have had to do If I rode for a US company. I enjoyed being in Barcelona and my life there, so it was hard for me to leave and move back to the US.

I guess during those years, we didn’t get to see much of you in the US based skate media. What Spanish companies did you ride for then? Were there any US companies that you almost got on during this period?

I was still skating a lot, just maybe not filming as much as I could. I rode for Alai Skateboards in Spain during this time. And I rode for a French shoe company called Ion.  I also almost got on DGK at one point.

No way! You almost got on DGK?

(laughs) Yes, DGK. I was talking to Stevie back then and he was telling me that they were going to put me on the team. But it didn’t happen. It’s all good though.

Daniel’s footage from when he moved back to Barcelona in 2002.

That would have been really crazy though. But you did get on Michael Leon’s Stacks later? I remember your welcome to Stacks video, it was tight. And your first pro board with them had the nautical ship theme, I really liked that graphic. It’s sad when that came to an end, you and Sebo Walker were both killing it. And the brands visuals and graphic design was amazing.

Yes, I got on Stacks in 2011. It was strange when it ended. Maybe Sebo and I didn’t fit or something?

The good folks over at Quartersnacks edited this reel of Daniel from some Nike SB trips in 2010 and 2011.

How and when did you get on Nike SB?

It was in 2006, so it’s been 9 years already. Reese (Forbes) spoke to Kasper (van Lierop) and I got on the team. It’s been good, they’ve really supported me and I recently got to film a part for them and travel to places like China. I want to go back to China again, maybe for a month. My trip there to film for the Nike SB video was only for 2 weeks.

Which Nike SB shoes do you currently like skating in?

I like the Project BA(Brian Anderson) and the P-Rods. I mainly skate the P-Rods and those.

Your Nike SB part was really well rounded. It had a good mix of everything, and you also had one of my favorite lines in the middle of the video, with the switch frontside 180 over the ledge, a perfect frontside heelflip on flat and then a fakie flip fakie back crooks. You were also riding boards from 3 different companies I think.

Thank you, I actually like that fakie flip fakie crook. Yes, I was riding a few different companies boards then as I was also between sponsors during some of the filming. Thanks to everyone who helped me out.

Daniel’s Nike SB #notbadatall part (2013).

It’s good that you’re now on Boulevard, how long have you been on the team and how did that come about? Your first pro model is fittingly a guitar graphic. But your boards are still hard to find in the US stores Dani!

I’ve been on Boulevard for about a year now. It happened through Rob G and Nike SB. I’m very happy because it feels like family to me. We also have Danny Montoya, Danny Supa, Rodrigo Petersen, Carlos Iqui and Tiago Lemos and many homies. Yes, I was stoked my first pro model is a guitar graphic. I’m not sure why my boards are hard to find, maybe it’s available mainly in Europe?

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Daniel in Boulevard Skateboard’s Spain tour.

I had to call a ton of stores in LA before I found one (laughs). It was worth it though. Okay, we all want to know, what’s your setup right now?

I ride an 8.1″ Boulevard deck, Independent 139 trucks (forged hollow with the hollow axles and kingpin and forged baseplates), 52mm Bliss Wheels, Swiss Bearings, Diamond 7/8″ Hardware and Grizzly Griptape.

How did you get on Bliss Wheels? Was it through Daniel (Loren)?

Yes, through Daniel. I think they were hyped on my skating. My pro model wheel should be out soon.

That’s awesome news. Yeah they put out some good wheels, hard and grippy.

Yeah, they make super good wheels. Really backing them.

Daniel’s line for Bliss Wheel Co.

Okay, this is a question I really want to ask. How do you have frontside heels both regular and switch so good? What’s the secret behind them?

(laughs) I don’t know man. I guess I can do them pretty good both ways. I think it’s because I can do heelflips pretty well? But I can also do kickflips well so I don’t know man. I don’t think many people have both kickflips and heelflips good. (laughs)

So I guess I gotta practice. Okay, for all the skate visitors to Barcelona, what do you recommend they also check out aside from just going skating at the spots?

I think they can also try the culture and the museums, it’s a beautiful city and has so much art and culture. I think that’s one thing a lot of skateboard visitors miss. Come visit!

Daniel’s “Barcelona Day in the life” from Ohlo de Peixe.

Where do you usually skate in Barcelona?

Macba usually and Forum too. Both are only a few minutes from my place so it’s really easy to go skate there. Meet up at Macba and go to a different spot maybe later.

Daniel Lebron Day in the life 3

How about here in Los Angeles? Where have you been skating?

Here in Cali I skate a lot at Cherry Park, and spots around Long Beach and Lake Forest. I also skated at Courthouse and Stoner Plaza too.

You must be happy to be going home after being here for 2 months.

Yes, I’m really looking forward to going home. It’s been a good time here but a long time away from Barci.

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So before we wrap this up, any plans to come back to the US for a longer amount of time?

I am planning to come back for maybe 6 months at the end of the year with my girlfriend when she comes here to study. With my visa now, it’s easier. So I should be back soon to LA again. I will probably try to stay in K-town so I will be able to skate more of the spots downtown again.

All right, I think that wraps things up. Any thank yous and shout outs?

I want to thank my sponsors for all their support, Boulevard Skateboards, Independent Trucks, Bliss Wheel Co, Nike SB, Bones Swiss, Diamond, Grizzly Grip and AJ Project Skateshop in Tenerife. I want to also thank my family, my girl and all my friends. Thank you everyone!!

Thanks Dani, safe travels home and see you soon! Cheers!

Thank you brother!

Daniel with his Brazilian roomie.

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Review

Time Capsule: Daniel Lebron

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In each Time Capsule, we salute those who have paved the way for modern skateboarding. In this second installment, we feature one of Spain’s favorite sons, Daniel Lebron.

Who is Daniel Lebron?

From Alicante, in the Southern coast of Spain, Daniel Lebron moved to Madrid in the mid-’90s so that he could spend more time skating. There in Madrid, he eventually met the brothers Alfonso and Jesus Fernandez at Corona Square and ultimately moved with them to Los Angeles to chase the dream of becoming a professional skateboarder. After a stint in the States, Dani moved back to Madrid and then to Barcelona in 2012, where he now resides. In addition to his amazing abilities on the board, Dani is also an accomplished Flamenco guitar player(he was admitted to the Conservatoire to study Flamenco guitar). Dani has also been quietly killin’ it on his skateboard for an unbelievably long career, and Dani’s classic parts in Neighboorhoods LaLa Land (1998) and the L.A. County(2000) videos are amazing even by today’s standards, definitely having stood the test of time.

Daniel in Neighborhood’s LaLa Land(1998).

The opening line in his L.A. County part sets the tone for what’s to come, with a backtail, a kickflip noseslide revert, a switch tre and a frontside halfcab heelflip all stomped as smooth as they come. The footage at the USC blocks alone is priceless, and Dani’s footage there is a prime example of the technical finesse and ledge wizardry he is known for.

Daniel in L.A. County(2000).

With stints on Neighborhood Skateboards, almost getting on Girl/Chocolate alongside Jesus Fernandez, a pro stint on Michael Leon’s short-lived Commonwealth Stacks(his welcome to Stacks video still remains one of our favorites for overall editing and feel), and now finally with a stable home on Boulevard skateboards, Dani shows no sign of slowing down with both his skateboarding and music careers.

Stacks Welcomes Dani Lebron(2011).

Dani for UNO#61.

Music and skateboarding go well together

Dani, Jesus Fernandez and Julian Lorenzo recently traveled around Andalucia in Southern Spain, skating perfect plazas by day and playing in Flamenco clubs by night, as part of the Flamenco Tour.

Not one to constantly overwhelm us with a barrage of footage, Dani quietly puts out quality parts that leave us asking for more. His latest part for Nike SB, “Not Bad At All” is a perfect showcase of the kind of technical skateboarding Dani has been known for, with one of the most perfect frontside heelflips on flat we’ve ever seen(at 2:43) mid-line after a switch frontside 180 over the first ledge, and ending with a fakie flip switch backside crooks. Talk about a crazy line!

Dani in Nike SB’s #notbadatall(2013)

Thank you Dani for the many years of inspiration and for changing our notions of longevity in a professional skateboarding career. Mil gracias!

Dani rides for Boulevard Skateboards, Independent Trucks, Bliss Wheel Co, Bones Bearings, Diamond, Grizzly Griptape and Nike SB.