Interview: Chopping It Up With Jason Lee, Chris Pastras And Joseph Janus On The WeSC x STEREO Collaboration
This past Monday (November 3), WeSC and STEREO Skateboards came together to premiere a collaboration that’s been 20 years in the making. Even though the sole purpose of this gathering was to celebrate one seriously epic moment in the skate world, it eventually turned into one big reunion where OGs and the new school could come together and vibe out.
We got a chance to sit down with STEREO Skateboards founders Jason Lee — who you might also know from a few classic ’90s films and the hit series My Name Is Earl — and Chris Pastras, as well as WeSC CEO Joseph Janus, to talk about how the entire thing came together, and why you should definitely expect some more heat in the near future.
How would you guys describe yourself right now for someone who had no idea who you are or what you do?
Jason Lee: Old man [Laughs], actor, skateboarder, STEREO Co-Founder/CEO, and brother of WeSC.
Chris Pastras: STEREO Co-Founder, activist, skateboarder, father, family dude, friend — all around peaceful guy.
Joseph Janus: CEO of WeSC, Jason and Chris fan.
The imagery used in this new collaboration features photos that date back 20 years. What made now such a good time to release this as a joint collection?
Chris Pastras: I got to give Joseph [Janus] credit. We’ve been with WeSC for over a decade now, and [a collaboration has] been talked about for a long time. It took this guy to actually make it happen this year. It’s been a long time coming though.
Jason Lee: [This collection represents] the clothes we wear. We have an 11-year history with [WeSC], and it only made sense to bring the two worlds together. This is just the beginning.
Joseph Janus: There’s just this organic vibe between WeSC and STEREO, especially when Jason and Chris are involved. They kinda put WeSC on the map here in the United States. It just makes sense that we started taking the [relationship] to clothing and other arenas.
The overall design of this collection plays a huge part in its appeal — mainly the use of orange, muted greys and that concrete-inspired print. How involved were you guys in the creative process?
CP: We gave the design team in Sweden some really classic images, and they made it their mission to add their touch to the photos. We’ve done a lot of standard images supplemented on shirts ourselves, but this time WeSC added their touch to make the photos look unique. Those are all classic images from 1993 and 1994 when we filmed our first skate video, A Visual Sound.
JL: This is just the door opening. There will be stuff that I designed, some stuff with Chris’ artwork, friends of STEREO helping with designs — just opened up so that we have a family of people and creativity. Hopefully this will go for a long time so that we can take on different vibes and color palettes.
JJ: “We” means “collectively.” There is no “we” without Jason and Chris, and anyone else we feel fits the vibe. This time Clint Peterson did a lot of the artwork. He nailed it. He’s also a longtime STEREO rider and been with WeSC for a while as well. We’re gonna keep bringing people that we respect into the mix.
What role did choosing the perfect photos play in bringing this all together?
CP: I’ll give a couple of nods to Tobin Yelland and Gabe Morford. Both of their photos are in The Berrics video that we did from the collaboration, which will be a WeSC x STEREO video that’ll be up on our official site. Tobin was there from the beginning though, and it was all centered around 1993/1994 when we shot our first video. We incorporated 8mm film and still photography into that skate video since it hadn’t been done in skate videos before. Our reference was jazz documentaries, like [Thelonius] Monk’s documentary and the Chet Baker documentary. That’s where we got the concept for using still photography and 8mm in skate videos. I think STEREO can sorta take credit for being the first on that. You always got to say “sorta” though because there’s always somebody that’s like “No! I was first!”[Laughs].
JL: I let these guys pick the photos. I wasn’t about to pick photos of myself and say, “Hey, put this on a T-shirt.” That would’ve felt a little weird [Laughs]. I’m stoked on the photos they picked though. They’re classic Tobin images.
CP: Tobin is a really talented photographer. He’s worked with a lot of NorCal skateboarders. He worked with Deluxe Distribution, and he was just a family member hanging out and capturing the moment, 22 years ago.
JJ: The 22-year archive is what’s the most important thing. There is a lot to choose from.