Alex Olson does a lot of things. In-between rolling on his board, surfing and running two of skateboarding and fashion’s most prominent brands – Call Me 917 and Bianca Chandon, he’s also just became a father.
As a result he’s constantly evolving, growing his businesses and adapting to each new scenario as they arrive. But from our perspective after watching his skating, with his smooth style, and ability to deliver big pop on every terrain you would not think he has a care in the world. In reality Alex puts a lot of focus into the details that matter to him but uniquely takes a casual and nonchalant approach to expressing them.
His organic approach and effortless delivery are just a few of the things that make him one of our favourite skaters.
So we hit him up to find out the behind the scenes stories of a series of his tricks that are some of our favourites and get an update on Call Me 917 and Bianca Chandon.
Read his Favourites interview below to find out what’s been popping with Alex recently and more.
Your Hippy Jump over and under that gap in that Badminton Net in that schoolyard is still wild. What was going on that day that led up to you nailing that one?
Hmmm there wasn’t much thought…I was just excited it took maybe five tries…I really don’t remember.
It was more of a joke than anything. That’s why it’s filmed from behind and you see it from my back. I just did it, from what I can recall in my memory.
Your Wall-Ride 50-50 from the bank to the rounded guard rail on that chain link fence is rad. It looks like it was the same day as the Hippy Jump but how did that go down and how did you come up with the idea for that one?
Hmm no different day, same hat…
I did that one day with someone filming on an iPhone, or something, it was for Boys of Summer.
I went back to it and it was so much harder the next time when we went back to shoot it.
The BS 360 Kickflip on flat you did in Swoosh is next level. I remember you saying you felt like you were really in the zone at that time on that trip and that République is one of your favourite spots. How did your lines go down there and that BS 360 Kickflip?
The Backside 360 Kickflip was gonna be at the end of that line. The rest was improvised. I don’t remember what the idea was.
I think we started with the other lines and we built up to that one.
I remember Kyle Demers said “I think you just filmed your 411 checkout!”.
Again this was all just in the moment nothing was planned .
That’s why I would get so frustrated when I would try to actually do something, it would never work out and drive me crazy!
Your Frontside 360 over the picnic table was sick. What was the toughest challenge of doing that Front 360 and who filmed it?
Actually I don’t remember who filmed it maybe Roger Bagley though?
My younger brother was with us and he was maybe 14.
I was kind of ready to give up but my brother was sitting where I would take off and he kept saying you can do it. So he was basically the motivation of me landing that.
Your sideways One Foot from bank to bank in Cherry was stylish. Only a handful of people do them that way but yours is easily over the longest gap we’ve seen. Did you expect people to still be talking about it now nearly 10 years later?
Honestly that was just another thing I did fucking around with Bill Strobeck and I think Bill asked if I would just do one.
Call Me 917 has gone through some fundamental changes over the last few years. What’s it like running the brand at the moment?
It’s fucking annoying cause people can’t get over the fact that Call Me 917 has changed.
People grow up and grow apart, that’s life. I’m glad it’s changed.
It means I actually get to do the things I’m interested in again and not have to hear the sightlessness of others.
I started a company because I had my own ideas and not to be a diplomatic leader and have my name on something.
Skateboard companies have a limited shelf life.
It’s a cycle of, build a team up they get older, they get bored and start being complacent and want something new and they do their own thing for right or wrong reasons.
Sometimes its something they want, sometimes its after being over skating and let me tell you that’s one of the worst reasons.
It’s been like that since the 80’s. I’ve been on both sides of the fence.
I’m not really that focused with the hardcore part of skating at the moment.
These kids don’t realise that Bianca Chandon basically supported 917.
Are you looking to sponsor a team of skaters again?
If someone seems special or interesting I would but no one has come across my way.
I’m not trying to build a team again. I’m more looking to do design and push it in a new direction, music and a bunch of other stuff.
What have you been the most stoked on since the change and what are your future plans for 917?
Getting to do collaborations and moving it in a different direction.
I’m interested in all “action sports” skating, surfing and snowboarding.
That’s how I grew up and everyone did all of those. Fuck that monoculture toxic bullshit. I’m down for all of it now.
What’s your favourite thing about running Call Me 917 at the moment?
Actually trying to build it up again having new ideas moving forward with different projects.
Toughest thing about running Call Me 917 right now?
Trying to rebuild
What’s your favourite 917 collaboration to date?
Honestly, some of them haven’t been released yet.
We had a Simple Shoes collaboration in the works but they sold the company and the new company isn’t sure what direction they’re going in.
We made an updated version of the shoes The Gonz used to skate in. It was gonna be actually really good. I have two samples. It’s too bad, people would have been into it.
Working on any upcoming collaborations we should know about?
Hmm yeah there are some but I’ll just wait until it comes out.
Right. So, what’s it been like running Bianca Chandon recently?
Running Bianca Chandon isn’t easy by any stretch. There’s help on the way, you’ll see
What’s the hardest challenge of running Bianca?
Me and one other person running it and having a family now. Dealing with social media and then add Call Me on top of it.
Which changes to the brand are you most stoked on recently?
Just getting a better understanding of business in the last few years.
What’s your favourite Bianca Chandon collaboration to date?
The Vans collaboration came out pretty good!
Any exciting new releases coming up that you want to announce?
That would ruin the surprise.
Ok. Look forward to it. What’s your favourite thing about Bianca Chandon right now?
That it’s 10 years old
What has been your favourite thing about becoming a dad and starting a family?
Being excited to show my son the nice things in the world.
What’s your favourite skate video?
Mouse or Welcome to Hell.
They aged well and both make you wanna push around.
Who’s your favourite skater?
Mike Carroll for his finesse
Donny Barley for his speed
Sean Sheffey for his energy
Reese Forbes for his power.
There’s more but that’s right now
What’s your favourite skate spot in America?
Pushing around New York City actually skating in the streets from A to B
Who’s your favourite artist?
FRANCIS ALŸS for fine art but just realised it’s for music.
Do you have a favourite musician?
Hmm I don’t know if I have one person I’ve been listening to. I’m always on the hunt for new music
What’s your favourite song to listen to at the moment and why?
Annalena by Daniel Ögren.
It has a good vibe to it and reminds me of some 80’s world German music you’d find.
I’ll check it out. Any shoutouts you would like to make Alex before I let you go?
Thanks for hitting me up