CCS '96 Logo Collection: A Favorite From the CCS Archives

Years from now, when you’re too old to be skating but still are, you’re going to look back at this time in skateboarding as the era when skateboarders took skateboarding back. The era of the independent skate company (hopefully) will be defined by companies putting out videos and products that represent what skateboarding means to them - what they're hyped on, and what's fun and funny to them. We're backing smaller skateboarder owned companies like Less Than Local because they're making boards and producing edits they like, and if it's not your thing, they’re not going to compromise or change. We say this with confidence (for LTL, at least) because we just interviewed Less Than Local founders, Andrew Meredith and Michael Andrew Buchanan (Squid). LTL caught our attention with its hilariously dark and wonderful videos like “SKATEBORING: The Etiquette” and since we started carrying their boards and shirts, they haven’t let us down yet.

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Less Than Local Interview

What’s up Andrew, What’s up Squid! Who are you guys and what have you been up to?A) AH SUH! Hi Jeff, Jeremy, Jesse, Kim, Mitch and the rest of the CCS family. Well, I’m still trying to figure that out so going to have to come back to you on that. Ha. What have I been up to? Hmm… I’m on a pretty solid routine of skating, hanging out with my dog, working on commercial productions, nighttiming, and attempting to run a skateboard company with Squid.

S) Suuuup?! I’m Squid. My mom (not a hippie) gave me the name Michael Andrew Buchanan. I’m a skater, app designer, illustrator and entrepreneur living with my girlfriend and two doggies in Echo Park, LA. What have I been up to? Uhhh… 1. Figuring out how to run two companies while maintaining sanity (this one’s hard). 2. Skating. 3. Mindlessly scrolling Instagram.

Word on the streets is you look like a young Alec Baldwin. Do you get that a lot?A) Hahaha yeah, I’ve been hearing that for some time now but, hopefully like a “Prelude to a Kiss,” Alec, not the “It’s Complicated,” Alec. I actually had my mom convinced that an old TIME photo of Alec Baldwin was a headshot of mine haha. Actually, now that I think about it, I don’t think I told her it was Alec yet. haha.

S) Alec

How’d you get into skateboarding? What’s kept you skateboarding?A) I got into skateboarding from BMX. I used to race BMX and the whole deal until my best friend, Adrian and his older brother got me into skateboarding. Like any kid from a broken home, you can make a new home in the streets with your friends. When I was 17 I got emancipated and moved into an apartment (The Shark Tank) above RISE Fort Wayne, where I also worked. (Love you Weaver!) I guess it was during that time when Skateboarding really became more than just pushing a piece of wood and I try to hold onto that feeling. Ultimately though what it really boils down to is Friends, It’s always Friends… or Masochism? Na yeah, Friends. Haha.

S) I got into skateboarding when I was like 9 or 10. Some neighbor kids started skating with me, so we had a little crew. When I was real young we didn’t have a local park so my Dad (a welder) always made us rails and boxes and other goofy stuff for us to skate in the driveway. I actually ordered my first pro deck from CCS - a Brian Sumner Birdhouse. Despite two torn ACLs, I guess the main reason I’ve kept skating is because my homies have always been skaters. Two years into college I dropped out of school to move to LA on an investment to start up a tech company. Andrew had already been living in LA so not long after we started hanging and skating again, Less Than Local was born.

Less Than Local Interview

Who were some of your favorite skaters and companies growing up?A) A. Hands down the Gonz has been my biggest influence on and off the board, but Kirchart, Rowley and Carroll were definitely in my top 5. I grew up on Flip Sorry, Sight Unseen, This is Skateboarding, Menikmati... etc, which in my eyes were the golden years of skateboarding. Also, all my RISE family were my favorite favorites: Nick Weaver, PJ, Landon and JRoo. As for companies, I don’t really remember having a favorite but would rather just ride whatever my favorite skater was riding at the time or whatever my friends would tell me was cool.

S) I’ve always been hyped on Toy Machine and Anti-Hero. Solid graphics and riders. I remember Baker 3 came out right when I was going in to high school and back then that was the shit. Spanky, Dollin, Herman, Reynolds, Ellington… they really inspired me. Our local scene was rad at the time too, RISE Skate shop just opened down the street from Lawton Park, a massive concrete park with flows for days. Most of the shop crew (including Andrew) lived in this apartment above the shop called the Shark Tank. PJ Kennel, Landon Stalling, Justin Rodenbeck —- these dudes were probably my real favorite skaters. Less Than Local Interview

What were some of the first incarnations of Less Than Local? Did you guys start out as a crew? A) So for as long as I’ve known I’d never make it as a pro, I’ve wanted to make a company. So we’re talking years, HOMEBOY. Ha. Less Than Local was definitely a crew first and then Squid and I started to make boards as kind of a backbone for the crew to make sure everyone had boards and support so we could all continue to skate together.

S) LTL really is all about the crew. We don’t go out looking for super good, unsponsored dudes on Instagram and ask them to join our team. Everyone on the team started as a homie. Except for Zach, Ethan showed us a video of him shooting guns naked around his apartment and immediately put him on before really meeting him. Haha.

Less Than Local Interview

What inspired the name Less Than Local? How long has LTL been around?A) Ah man I could go on for days about what Less than Local means and still not fully understand what I’m talking about, but here we go. *Finishes BeerThe name Less Than Local stemmed from a graphic that I made back in my college years of a Vietnam war scene where I replaced all the guns with skateboards and I wrote “Locals Only.” Then fast forward years later in Los Angeles, Squid and I created Less Than Local loosely based off that graphic and the idea that there is nothing greater than supporting the Local that supports you, wherever and however that may be. We’re the little guys on the front line that have no idea where were going, but we keep going anyways. When what you believe in is Greater Than, you become Less Than… I think? Haha. Squid help me out here.

S) Like I said before, we’ve always been inspired by local skate scenes. Ours was what kept us skating and brought all of our best homies together. We wanted to recreate that feeling, that core that made us fall in love, but we weren’t locals anymore (like most Angelenos). So we called ourselves Less Than Locals. Actually, no one on the team is from LA. No one in LA is really from LA. We’ve been a company for a little over two years.

A) Yeah what Squid said.Less Than Local Interview

Who's all on Less Than Local? When are you going to turn Michael Shafer pro?A & S) S as of now on the team we are Ethan Anderson, Andrey Tarasov, Larry Bao, Brian Baca, Zach Reinhardt and Michael Shafer, plus all the homies! Haha Well I’m not going to spill the beans right now, but we have some plans in the works for Ol’ Mickey once he lays off those burritos.

Less Than Local Interview

What’s your favorite part about running a small deck brand? Least favorite part?A) A. I would say my favorite part of running this company is bringing people together with skateboarding. My least favorite part is constantly having to change hats. Since we’re so small we have to do everything from graphics, editing, social bullshit, sales, taxes, and everything in between on our own. It’s hard to do all that and make time for skating and taking care of your personal life.

S) My favorite part is going out skating and filming with the crew. That’s the core of the brand — whatever we decide to film or photograph is our marketing I guess. Least favorite part is definitely taxes.

A) Also! Seeing your board on a shop wall is definitely a cool feeling too. One of our favorite moments was when we walked into Kingswell blindly and asked Dj Chavez if we could sell boards there. We were so nervous, like when you ask the pretty girl to go to the dance, kind of nervous. He just looked at the board and said, “I don’t hate it, bring some more in tomorrow.” It was one of the best moments, it really gave us the confidence that we could maybe make something of this and the guidance on how to do so. Thanks, DJ!

Less Than Local Interview

Videos like “SKATEBORING: The Etiquette” and “The Kickflip” were some of our initial impressions of LTL. Where’d those videos come from? Is that something you guys have always done?a) A. So to be honest I created “SKATEBORING” out of my love and frustration for skateboarding. It’s a tale as old as time, skating wasn’t “cool” when I was growing up and now it's not “cool” if you don’t skateboard. A lot of skating today feels like the quarterback of your high school football team stealing your board, landing a trick the trick you’ve been trying for years, and telling you how much #skateboardingisfun. Like no shit skateboarding is fun, but it’s more than just fun, especially when it's something you love more than you are just good at doing. Ya know? So I guess I’m just trying to break the Quarterbacks skateboard with storytelling. I’ve been making videos like this for a while now, my first one was my senior thesis called “Mediums”. I have 6 more episodes written and ready to go, but finding the means to a make them are a different story.

Less Than Local

Those videos are reminiscent of early Spike Jonze skate videos. Was he an inspiration for them?a) A. Uhhhhhhhhh Ummmm Wellllll I don’t even know how to respond to that!!! But Yes! Thank You! Spike Jonze has always been and always will be one of my biggest inspirations.

Less Than Local Interview

There aren’t a lot of companies making story driven skate videos or spoof videos like “The Kickflip” or “Make America Skate Again.” How much time goes into making a video like that from start to finish? What motivates you to make them?A) It’s true and especially in the world of social media and how fast we cycle through content; story form doesn’t really have a home. I still really haven’t found a home for these episodes and its one of my biggest setbacks on creating the rest of the series. But, with that said I think that’s it’s really important that even as skateboarders we take a step back and see the vacuum we sometimes put ourselves in and laugh about it. I remember reading one YouTube comment calling the series “The Black Mirror” of skateboarding, and I thought that was pretty cool. These videos do take quite a bit of time to make from writing, producing, shooting and having your friends tell you to, “Shut up about it and just go make it already.” Haha

Who’s behind the scenes on making those videos? Who writes, produces, edits… tell us all the secrets.A) Ah so usually for the video side of things I write the story and then get my friends drunk enough to agree to help me make it. Haha. Also, I’ve been working in the film industry for a little over five years now and been stacking them favors. The biggest secret I’ve learned from making these is asking for help is cool, especially when your friends are way more talented than you. Without the homies, these would not have been made. That said, Kelly Moore was the Director of Photography for the two episodes of “Skateboarding” and he’s taught me a lot. I’m forcing him to finish out the series with me, whether he likes it or not! Haha, Also Kevin Manning is a long time friend of mine and has always been a huge collaborator on making these. There is a lot of trust that goes into making videos like these, I try to treat it like a real production but when you’re working with your friend’s, it just feels like hanging out. Also, my Ex-girlfriend helped a lot, but uhh yeah next question…Haha

S) I tell Andrew what I think and he sometimes listens. And that's me doing the kickflip in "The Kickflip".

Less Than Local Interview

Who came up with/what inspired the sling bags?A) Well we had been wanting to make a fanny pack for some time, but I really hated that plastic clicky thing they came standard with. I don’t want to wear a weird plastic seatbelt. It looks bad and made from plastic so is bad. Ya know? Then in a daze one night, my friend was wearing her sweater around her waist and then it just….wait…clicked. Haha. But, after that, I went into the second stage of production where I annoy my friends about it enough and they tell me to “Shut up and make it already!” And then me and the homies just make it. On that note thank you Marissa Zarriello, Eileen Coria and Martin Morse. We have got some cool ideas in the works for these bags!

S) Another Andrew original. A lot of the time he’s planting the seed and I’m watering it. Not always though — I can safely take credit for Make America Skate Again hat idea.

What can we expect from Less Than Local in the future?A & S) You can definitely expect us to stick around. We’re planning our first tour, working on a team video, and collaborating with our friends to make more of the stuff we think is cool!

Anything you want to add? Any good memories of the CCS Catalog?A & S) We would definitely just like to thank everyone who's supported us and our team- Andrey, Brian, Ethan, Shafer, Larry, and Zach.

A) I grew up ripping off the catalog covers and plastering my bedroom walls with thrasher photos. My first board was through CCS; it was the Black Label Econoline complete.

S) CCS really was my shit. I got every catalog for like 10 years. My first board was through CCS too, Brian Sumner Birdhouse.A & S) Thank you guys so much for taking the time to interview us and it's truly a trip to be apart of CCS now! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!

Bonus Round: Can you elaborate on Super Dude Pizza Squad? A) Oh dude!!! How do you know about SUPER DUDE!?!? Haha, This is the best question yet! Haha. I don’t want to say that they revolutionized the punk scene but uh hey the did ya know? They really made you want to punch your dad in the face, smash some Za, chug some code red, and skate a three-set all night long. I think I played a car oil funnel as a trumpet at one of their shows once. Also, they used to be called Super TEEN Pizza Squad until they had to kick out their drummer of the band because he turned 20. Haha. If you’re reading this and have never heard of them check out the edit and make sure your dads not around! STPSFL

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