In Depth: Andrey Tarasov
Updated: Feb 14, 2018
At 20 years old, Andrey has found his shine in the short time he has been in Los Angeles. I wanted to find out more about his background and how his move to LA has been. Enjoy!
Interview & Photography: Will Fisher Below: Andreys Part in Pacific Tapes
W: let's take it all the way back. . . you’re from Russia, right?
A: Yeah, originally I’m from Moscow. I was born there. My parents just decided to move to America because there is a lot more job opportunity. I was three and didn’t really know what was going on. So I moved to Atlanta with my family, because they’re like yeah, lets do Atlanta. So it kind of worked out there. I met a lot of cool people, but I realized I wanted to move to the West Coast because it fit what I wanted to do a little bit more. So I grew up there and I started skating when I was 8 years old.
One day my Russian grandma just decided to order me a skateboard. I would always check the mail for my parents, to be like oh here is the mail for the day. But this day the mailman just handed me a skateboard at my doorstep. I was kinda bummed, (laughs) but I didn’t realize it would change my life. I was like, what the fuck is this?
“I was kinda bummed, (Laughs) But I didn’t realize it would change my life, I was like, what the fuck is this.”
W: So if I remember right I met you your first day skating in LA, right? Whats been up since then?
A: Yeah, we were skating a bump over bar with all the Swedish kids, that day was pretty tight!
Since then I’ve just been skating a lot, just trying to get the loop around LA. Working on getting better at skating and trying to figure getting sponsored by adequate companies, thats definitely something I have always wanted to do as a kid so I might as well go through with it. Meeting cool people, skating, filming, shooting and outside of skating just booking some modeling jobs. I got acquainted with a pretty cool agency, and they have been hooking me up the past year. It’s pretty tight. Just trying to figure out stuff other then skating, and what I want to do with my life. It’s been really cool to see a big city and meet new people, it’s so interesting, like there is so much that goes on with it, its so sick! Did some commercial work my first year too, so that was interesting. I wasn’t too big in it but it was still interesting to see that world.
W: (Laughs) So you get this skateboard at eight but weren't into it yet. What got you stoked on skating?
A: I think I played video games like Tony Hawk when I was growing up in Atlanta and I was like, man, this is way cooler then sports, this is just so sick! You know when you’re a little kid and you’re just so sparked, like how do you ollie, then you try to actually do an ollie and it’s like this is a little harder then I thought.
"I was like, man, this is way cooler then sports, like this is just so sick"
W: Haha totally. What are we looking forward to in 2018?
A: It’s going to be sick I think but (laughs) I want to drop another video part, maybe just one video part instead of a bunch of different footage and definitely put more aesthetic into it and showcase more style. I think that’s something that needs to be seen more in skating. I just want to skate a lot, have fun, meet cool people, keep shooting photos, like with you, Will, and just doing things with skating and traveling. Also some contests, balance it all out with a little bit of travel. I want to go to Europe again. I want to get some footage outside of LA, but I definitely want to shoot a lot of photos myself. One of my goals is to get a photo inside a magazine, maybe, that I have shot, which I think would be a cool thing. I want to venture more into photography and interpret it with skating. In my eyes some of the best skateboarders do stuff other then skating.
W: Arto Sarri is a good example!
A: Yeah for sure, like the whole analog team is so tight. That’s what I’m influenced by. Back in the day when I first saw that I was super hyped.
W: So you did some contests last year right?
A: Patrick Melcher from Kingswell gave me a huge opportunity to go skate some contests in Europe. I skated some of those last year and we got to travel a lot. It was awesome getting to see a part of Europe with some of the coolest people like Melcher and getting to skate those contests and try my best. It was such a good eye-opening experience. I got to skate three over there and I actually got 3rd place in Cologne, which was my best contest this year. I think contests were so much more fun over there, like kids don’t have as much attention. It felt like they cared but it was just more fun, felt more like everyone hanging out at the skatepark, more like when we skated the Zumiez contest, yeah it was super fun! I’m kinda fried on contests though. I skated two Damn Ams, one Boarder Am, all those Am contests, whatever, the Am contest circuit I guess. I don’t think I have ever done good in one of those (laughs).
W: Good experience though.
A: yeah it’s always a good experience: you meet people, those contests are judged really questionably, but when you’re skating it its pretty fun. I puked skating Damn Am in Atlanta, the best trick contest, still got my trick, that was pretty cool.
W: (Laughs) how did that come about, what’s the preface to that?
A: (laughs) I could send you the clip actually.
"I puked skating Damn Am in Atlanta, the best trick contest, still got my tick, that was pretty cool!"
W: I will be sure to get that clip up ( laughs)
A: ( laughs) Yeah, it was the best trick over the the pyramid in Atlanta. I was really excited to be in my home town, but it was at the pyramid and I’m goofy so I had to keep coming at it a weird way to get speed, like crossing over the skatepark. I was just running back and forth because I would get snaked a million times or someone’s board would be in the way. It was hectic, and at one point I just kinda didn’t feel too good. I went up to my buddy was like I think I’m going to puke, and I puked, felt totally fine after and got the trick (laughs)!
W: So you have been working on a part that just came out right, in Kyle Jordan’s video Pacific Tapes. How did that go?
A: Yeah, I only met Kyle this year and we just filmed a couple of clips. He was like yo, I’m kind of digging what we are getting here, and we just kept filming, and I’m like hey I think we got a video part. Midway through I think he said something about it being called Pacific Tapes.
Filming with Kyle is really a breeze because he was never l putting pressure on me. It was like when I wanted to do it, and I feel l would put a lot of pressure on myself because I wanted to put out my best footage I could at that time. It was really fun because I made a list of stuff I wanted to do and I feel like I got through most of it, which is a really accomplishing feeling, it was so sick!
W: So you’re stoked on the outcome?
A: Yeah. Aesthetically, too, I got to input stuff I wanted to show. I wanted it to be a little different, so show a little bit of stuff that goes into skating like cruising around, or the super 8 aspect of our friend James–Jimmy–we call him Jimmy. He films some super 8, and just having this whole vintage vibe, I don’t see a lot of that in skating. A lot of skate videos are looking kind of similar nowadays. There are only a few things that are going to stick out, and I wanted to do something I’m going to be proud of when I’m older, look back at it and be like fuck yeah, that was a moment!
"Theres only a few things that are going to stick out, and I wanted to do something I’m going to be proud of when I’m older, look back at it and be like fuck yeah, that was a moment!"
W: Biggest life inspirations from any medium?
A: Yeah, I guess some of my biggest influences I must say, ever since I saw Dylan Reider’s footage when I was fifteen, it just blew me away. This is what skating should be like. So I have always tried to skate or l learn tricks watching his footage, but not imitate it, just kind of do it my own way because everyone is influenced by something. I’ll say that he’s a huge influence. I’m definitely influenced by people that reach outside the realm of skating, for instance, Arto Sarri. I’m intrigued by art and music, and I really want to show an aesthetic with skateboarding.
W: So Patrick has been a good dude in your life since you have been here, right?
A: Yeah ever since I moved to LA two years ago. Yeah, crazy story! (laughs)
W: let's go!
A: The summer before I moved to LA, I skated a Zumiez contest that Patrick Melcher judged in Atlanta. I won the best trick there, and he remembered me. When I came out here I met Patrick Melcher at a video premiere here in LA. He put me on the team, and he just told me to go out and get footage. I was kind of blown away because I was on Kingswell Skateshop, the first week I was in LA, so he’s really put me in a cool direction right away. It felt like I just fell into my nice right away. I must say I have gotten really lucky and–look who just texted me– up top–Chris Pastras– that's kinda sick!! that's kinda tight!(laughs)
But I feel like Kingswell Skateshop has had a huge influence on me with kinda getting my sponsors right and connecting me to the right people. If it wasn’t for them, I wouldn’t be able to get to skate for Nike…..
W: They are definitely a good framework for everything, right?
A: Yeah. They’ve seen the direction I want to go in, they’re like we will help you out. One of the coolest things ever in my head that still blows my mind, is that Walt Disney used to live inside that place, inside of Kingswell.
W: Whoa, sick, I did not know that!
A: Yeah, so it kind of like makes me feel like a little kid.
W: Definitely some history there, that's really cool.
A: Yeah, it really blows me away!
“One of the coolest things ever in my head that still blows my mind, is that Walt Disney used to live inside of that place, inside of kings well”
W: Awesome, yeah, so you stay super busy outside of skateboarding, like with photography. That’s one of the things not a lot of people know you’re into that you love doing.
A: Yeah, I have been shooting a lot of photos especially this year. I shoot on an Olympus camera. I have a digital and a film one, but it’s been super fun to capture moments like skating and being out with friends and just capturing the lifestyle that goes into it, or just taking nature shots. I feel like I have an aesthetic eye and that’s a gift given to me.
Will: Some has turned into work as well, right?
A: Yeah, I have been getting a lot of photo jobs from my buddy’s company and shooting a lot for him. I’m super down, I just love to shoot photos. Going out shooting, getting to travel a little bit, shooting pictures of my girlfriend is always pretty tight too!
Will: What’s next?
A: I’m super stoked for the new year, got so many goals I want to do and I guess I’m going to film another video part, 2018. That’s something I’m going to be able to do.
W: Do you have someone you’re working on that with yet?
A: I’ve been filming. I want to work more with HD footage now because filming VX is not easy. There’s a lot of stuff that can go wrong, so not that I’m super into filming VX– or HD–I think you should do both–but apparently in the skate world there is an unspoken rule that you can’t do both in the same video. I think that’s kind of irrelevant at the end of the day. I’m filming a lot with my buddy Tyler Smolinski and he’s super tight.
W: So you have some stuff coming we can look forward to?
A: We have just filmed a few clips. He actually filmed my last trick, like of the video part Pacific Tapes he was just there filming HD as well so he got that angle. He’s just really awesome. We have a similar vision in mind aesthetically and filming with him is a breeze. He never puts really any pressure on me, he’s just like whatever you want to do, let’s do it... which is a really cool feeling!
W: Any thank you’s or last words to wrap it up?
A: I feel like everyone has been really supportive–my family–my friends–and like just falling in the right pocket of people and being around such creative and hard working people, it’s so motivating for me to just do my best and try my best, and enjoy doing what I do. I’m thankful for all my friends. There’s too many I could list.
Thanks to everyone who has been helping me out because it's been pretty random up to now, and I must say huge thanks to Kingswell, Nike, and Imperial Motion for sure!
Just thanks for being there! I feel like everyone’s kind of a friend! But, dude, we have so many people that if you put the energy out there, people are willing to help!
"...and like just falling in the right pocket of people and being around such creative and hard working people, it’s so motivating for me to just do my best and try my best, and enjoy doing what I do. I’m thankful for all my friends. There’s too many I could list."
Thanks for reading!