Daewon Song   Don't Sweat The Tech
chat by Animal Chan / faceflicks by Lizounge Lizard / skateflicks by Socrates


This was my third try in nearly two months to sit and chat with Daewon Song. I had just finished my second Camel wide light in front of World Industries (Daewon's skateboard sponsor) when my boy finally pulled up. Besides putting it down in the skateworld for his Asian brethren, Daewon helps to oversee his sophisticated skateboard clothing company called Matix. Over the past couple of years Daewon has earned himself a reputaion for being one of the smoothest and technical riders in the upper echelon of professional skateboarding. We proceeded to have lunch at the local El Pollo Loco, his treat. As I sat there munching on a chicken burrito combo, I kept thinking to myself how Daewon's original yet unconventional skate steelo is easy to appreciate as long as you DON'T SWEAT THE TECH.

KRONICK: I heard that you're afraid of handrails. Is that true?

DAEWON: People always say that. I busted my nuts on it, and I didn't go towards it. I kinda stayed away from em'. In my next video part I'm gonna have handrails tricks, but it's like no one wants to see me lipslide a handrail. Who's not doin that, narmean?

KRONICK: It's not gnarly enough?

DAEWON: Naw. It's crazy, but it's like people know my style of skating and I just try to focus on that. It's like when you're a violin player and you're so good at the violin, why you gonna go and try to play a piano? Narmean?

KRONICK: How would you describe your style of skating?

DAEWON: My style of skating is just normal. I like to make things. People notice that I like to create things with different objects. You know how some people say that skating is an art form? Well, it kinda is. Ya know? Just utilize everything you can find and make different things. Handrails too, I think handrails are dope, but in the skateboard world we have people who are so extreme with handrails, that those are the people who deserve to be doing it. Narmean? And when I do do a handrail trick I'm gonna make sure it's something that no one has ever done. Not just a 50-50 or something like that.

KRONICK: What did you think of switchstance riding when you saw it for the first time?

DAEWON: Oh it tripped me out. Mark Gonzales, I think, was the first person to do something switch off a launch ramp. I don't remember what he did. The cool thing about switchstance is that it opens the door to learn all your tricks again. It's like you just restart skateboarding. It just opens a whole new world. It's like, oh my God, back to the beginning.

KRONICK: How long have you been skating?

DAEWON: It's getting close to 11 years now.

KRONICK: What was your favorite video back then?

DAEWON: Probably Animal Chin. That's when I was really getting into it. I was like man, this video's crazy. And of course the contest videos like Streetstyle in Tempe and Savanna Slamma.

KRONICK: What about that New School shit?

DAEWON: Oh H-Street!!! Shackle Me Not, Hokus Pokus, they just flipped everything around.

KRONICK: Getting back to your unique style of skateboarding, what made you think of stacking lunch tables?

DAEWON: I was just thinking of doing something different, narmean? I think that's what's good about skateboarding, you kinda want to separate yourself from everybody else. You wanna try and be original, narmean? I'm trying to show kids that hey, this is my kind of skating and I can have fun skating any which way. I can take 2 or 3 tables and make them into something else. I don't just have to deal with 1 table. I kinda want to let kids know also that skating is just an open mind thing, man. Use your head and you can utillize whatever you have. Stack it up. Use your mind and switch things around. I like that kind of skating. Table stacking, I love it. I feel like it's my little invention, narmean? And if it's my invention I'd better do something good on it. If anyone else does that I don't think they're bitting, I just think that's dope, they're having fun.

KRONICK: When you stack them up do you put them back when you're finished?

DAEWON: Yup. Make sure the janitors don't get bummed. Before, I used to not. If you think about the fact that it takes 4 of us to move it around and make this thing, imagine what it's like for one janitor to put it all back. Plus it's courtesy, ya know?

KRONICK: When you first started skating there weren't many Asians in the scene.

DAEWON: That shit never really crossed my mind. That's what I like about skateboarding, no one is segmented racially. Everyone skateboards, and everyone has thier own personality. Of course if you go out and see someone that's a certain race you're gonna go yeah, yeah, yeah giving them props and all. When I was growing up it was all about Hosoi. Hosoi was bad. Then there was Cab, he was smooth. It wasn't just because they were Asian, I didn't even look at their race, they were just bad. But on top of that it was cool to see Asian skaters out there. At the time it didn't seem like there were many Asian skaters, I guess because their parents are so strict.

KRONICK: How were your parents?

DAEWON: Oh, they were really strict when I was young. But when I turned 13 my Mom finally bought me a board. At that time my parents had separated, so everything kinda mellowed out for me. I just veered off and started skating, ya know? I never expected all this. I was just thinking I'm gonna just skate, have some fun. Next thing you know, you're skating here, you're skating there, you're doing this, you're doing that. I'm happy I pursued it. Everything is turning out all right.

KRONICK: What kind of things would your parents do to keep you from skating?

DAEWON: They just wouldn't let me skate. My Dad was cool, but my Dad would never be home. I barely knew my dad, ya know? My mom would make me take tests before I went out to play, which is typical. You know, that's cool, she's just looking out for me because she's just worried about my future. She would always ask me, "what are you gonna do? skateboarding is not gonna get you anywhere". That's understandable though. If you have no acknowledgement of what skateboarding is, except that it's something new, then I can understand that. I mean now I see my Mom and my Dad, and they're so happy because I got stuff going for me now. All that time of stress and frustration with what I was doing with my life has finally paid off. Now they see it.

KRONICK: Do you remember what it was that finally made them realize you were making power moves? Was it a video or maybe a magazine that you came out in?

DAEWON: It wasn't till about 2 years ago. Around the time when I got my own shoe. As time went by, I started a clothing company called Matix. Before it was yeah, I'm Pro. Ok, wow. But now I'm Pro and I can say I have my own shoe and a clothing company. Now I can even help them, narmean? Like I give my dad a certain amount of money to pay bills, and that makes him happy.

KRONICK: That's looking out.

DAEWON: Gotta look out for your parents, they've been looking out for you since you came out.

song Peep the realness on page 2

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