Mar 24, 2017 12:08PM

The Illegal Civilization Crew Take Bondi Beach

Get pitted!

Illegal Civilization is a creative collective producing clothes and video out of LA. If you ask any of it's members though, they'll describe it as a tight-knit family that helps validate the viability of skating as a career; a sport that changed each of their lives in it's own way.

Founded by Mikey Alfred, the crew is closely related to people like Tyler, The Creator and Frank Ocean and produces some of the dopest videos and threads out. We took the Illegal Civ fam to Bondi Beach to see if any of them would trade skating in for surfing (nope) and chat about how they're gonna change the world.

MIKEY

Name: Mikey Alfred

Star sign: Pisces

Where did you grow up and where are you living now?
Grew up in North Hollywood and I still live here. I love North Hollywood with all of my heart.

How are you liking Australia? What made you decide to head to head
this way?

Any reason to get away from the storm in LA, we'll take it!

Do you remember how you felt when you skated for the first time?
I remember the first time I got on a skateboard. I was six years old; my neighbour had a super old school cruiser board. We used to ride down the bank of his driveway and think it was so fun. When I was seven, my parents would let me leave the block — I don't have sidewalks in my neighbourhood, it's a bank that separates the gutter and people's lawn. So when I was able to ride my board on those banks I thought I was pro, hah! Then another year passed and I could go anywhere in the neighbourhood I wanted. The skateboard allowed me to travel without having restrictions. When you ride a bike you can't bring it inside with you, you can't hop a fence with a bike. The skateboard is so liberating.

How has skating changed your life?
Skating gave me my friends, my taste in music, my taste in clothes. It showed me a lot about falling and getting back up at an early age. It exposed me to the best kind of people and the worst kind of people. It taught me how to deal with the law and homeless people at an early age. Skateboarding has made me who I am today.

What do your parents think of what you do?
My parents didn't understand what I was doing until a year ago. I had to deal with them hating every decision I made since 8th grade. I never took my SAT test. I knew in 7th grade I wanted to make a career out of my filming and not go to college. That's scary for a parent, a 10-year-old saying: "I'm never going to college, I'm going to get paid to film skateboarding and other stuff too." But now they get it and they trust me. I only got that trust though because I devoted my life to film — I didn't just not go to college, I worked/work all day and all night at my craft.

Describe yourself in three words:
Film and clothes.

How did Illegal Civilization begin?
When I was 13 I made a video called Spark of Life. We needed a name for the second video and Illegal Civilization was it. The rest is history.

What inspires you?
I get inspired by movies, every time I make a piece of clothing it's because I can see a character in a film wearing it. Sometimes, Olan Prenatt, Kevin White, or Ryder McLaughlin will have an idea that I really love too.

You shot with Vogue recently, how did that come about?
Vogue was doing this shoot with Taco, Tyler, and Kendall and they needed someone to film it. Some people from Vogue got my email from the Clancy's. When Vogue asked me to do it I was ecstatic. We went back-and-forth and once I was confirmed I asked if I could bring my friends, they checked with Mario Testino and he approved. So we ended up making the video super IC-style with skating and the music switching. Kendall is such an awesome and generous person who I feel blessed to have been able to work with.

You've toured and filmed with musicians, were there any memorable/funny moments you can recall that stood out?
Touring with Frank Ocean was one of the best experiences ever. We took a private jet to Iceland, he played the show, then after we stayed up until 7am the next day partying on the top floor of this hotel. Touring with him showed me so much about the world, and how being professional is important. Everyone involved with the tour respected him so much, and it was because of how he carried himself.

Where do you hope to see yourself and Illegal Civilization in the future?
I want Illegal Civilization films to be the new HBO. I'll be working on movies and TV, and we'll be making skate films and music docs. Then I'd love to venture into filming sports eventually. As far as clothing, I want it to be like Nike one day. Nike has the best segmentation of any brand in the world. At the top of the food chain — Nike is in every store. But then when they do random collabs people still line up around the corner to cop.

What's your favourite track right now?
My two favourite tracks right now are — and you better include both! lol — 'Intro' By ODOG GSBG and Levan Kali — 'Mine'.

Out of everyone in the crew, who's most likely to get rich first?
Me. [Smiles]

What changes would you make if you were president for a day?
I would reframe the police department. I would make officers live in
the neighbourhoods they police, so that they know everyone in the
community. Makes it harder to kill a kid, you know?

***

ZACHARY

Name: Zachary Dane Saraceno

Nickname: Lil' CC

Star sign: Vergo

What's your favourite thing about Australia so far?
The spots, the weather and skating with the homies.

Where did you grow up and where are you living now?
I grew up in San Diego, CA and I'm still living in San Diego in a town called Encinitas.

How has skating changed your life?
Skating has influenced me to be the best I can possibly be in everything — life, school, and on my skateboard. Skating makes me want to be the best Zach I can possibly be in every single way.

What do your parents think of what you do?
Both of my parents really support what I do. I'm still in high school and I'm gone a lot so they let me do charter school, which is super supportive of them.

What does Illegal Civilization mean to you?
I just started skating with them but as of right now, it means more then just a skate company. To me it feels like we're all just friends kicking it and skating together having fun.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Don't let nobody or anything get in your way or tell you that you can't do something — anything is possible. It sounds cliché but it's the truth.

If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Barbecue spicy chicken pizza from East Coast Pizza in my hometown.

Describe yourself in three words:
Hyper, hard-working, loving.

Who inspires you?
My mom and dad.

What's your favourite track right now?
That's a hard one, but at this second probably still 'Think About You' by A-Boogie.

What changes would you make if you were president for a day?
I would make treaties with every country that wanted to.

What should we expect from you in the near future?
Just skating and dropping parts.

Out of everyone in the crew, who's most likely to get rich first?
Aramis or Kevin. That's a fucked question but, honestly, who ever works the hardest for it.

***

KEVIN

Name: Kevin Ivory White

Nickname: K-white, Blanco, Jumpman

Star sign: Lucky Libra

What's your favourite thing about Australia so far?
Everyone is so friendly. They just wanna hang out and know about you and share good times, it's the best! I'm coming back for sure.

Where did you grow up and where are you living now?
I grew up in South Central and Inglewood for the most part. I spent some time growing up on the Westside in Venice Beach and Santa Monica. I lived in Baton Rouge, Louisiana too, definitely grew up a little there!

How has skating changed your life?
It's saved me totally, because I've known I wanted to skate and travel the world but a few years ago I was a distracted and lost sight a little.

What do your parents think of what you do?
My mom was my biggest supporter of me when I was younger — she did so much for me. She's deceased now and I know she probably can't get enough of watching me be happy living my dreams out from above. My dad is sick too. He wanted me to play hella other sports because he thought skating was a little unorthodox you know!? But as I stuck to it he became more and more supportive of what was going on, 'specially because he's the one living out of both of them.

What does Illegal Civilization mean to you?
It's everything! Mikey believed in me and taught me to REALLY know my worth. The Civ as a group of homies taught me to stick with your peoples and to love each other — look out for those who look out for you, do what you love and don't be afraid to do what you want, because if anyone had anything different to say to you about what's going on with YOU, they might need to take a look at themselves first. If they're worried about you, their shit's not in order. So fuck "them", they don't want you to succeed.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
A few things: NEVER LISTEN TO THEY, don't let anyone mess with your money, live life to the fullest. If it doesn't feel right DON'T DO IT. Love can be seen as just a word if you don't act it out, so live the act of love if you love someone. Don't worry about anybody because if you worry about what's going on elsewhere you aren't focused enough.

If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Louisiana fried chicken three-piece and fries and a large strawberry soda.

Describe yourself in three words:
Focused, loving, fun.

What's your favourite track right now?
'Impatient' by Jeremih and 'Outta Time' by Future.

What changes would you make if you were president for a day?
Free health care for all citizens and citizenship for refugees escaping war and hardship.

What should we expect from you in the near future?
IC3, I'm trying as hard as I can for this shit. Some magazine content
too along with clips scattered everywhere so you can always see me!

Out of everyone in the crew, who's most likely to get rich first?
Probably Olan, who knows what them fire modelling gigs give him. I
wouldn't be surprised if he popped up with a mansion and A-Class Benz some time in the next few years!

***

OLAN

Name: Olan Prenatt (left)

Nickname: O-dogg, Oakland, Orlando, OP — all that. Pretty much whatever starts with an O.

What's your favourite thing about Australia so far?
I can get a bomb tan.

Where did you grow up and where are you living now?
I grew up in LA and still live there.

How has skating changed your life?
If I never started skating I would have never got put on the path that introduced me in to some of the passions that I have.

What do your parents think of what you do?
They love it.

What does Illegal Civilization mean to you?
Doing what you want but succeeding.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Start.

If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Shrimp tacos.

Describe yourself in three words:
I am me.

Who inspires you?
Nobody.

What's your favourite track right now?
DJ Mustard 'Party' feat. Young Thug and YG.

What changes would you make if you were president for a day?
Nothing happens over night.

What should we expect from you in the near future?
Full-length video part and much more IC merchy designed by me.

Out of everyone in the crew, who's most likely to get rich first?
Me.

***

NICHOLAS

Name: Nicholas Jun Hiraga

Nickname: Neeks

Star sign: Sagittarius

What's your favourite thing about Australia so far? 
Bondi Beach and Golden Gaytimes,100%.

Where did you grow up and where are you living now?
I grew up in SF and currently live in LA. I'm back-and-forth every month.

How has skating changed your life?
Skating kept me out of trouble growing up. It also moulded me into the person I am today and I'm stoked on that. Also, it gave me a lot of scars so it helps as a conversation starter with ladies (low-key).

What do your parents think of what you do? 
My parents, Alison and Jun Hiraga, absolutely love what I do. They support me however they can. For real, they keep pushing me.

What does Illegal Civilization mean to you?
To me, Illegal Civ means community/family. It's really a just a movement, I kinda feel like it's spreading everywhere and it's so tight.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Nana Korobi Ya Oki — it means fall down seven times get up eight in Japanese. My dad told me it.

If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Easy. Ramen, duh.

Describe yourself in three words:
Crazy Asian kid.

Who inspires you?
My pops inspires me.

What's your favourite track right now?
'I Want You' — Janet Jackson

What changes would you make if you were president for a day?
Shit. Well I would veto everything that asshole Trump has been doing.

What should we expect from you in the near future?
Man, some acting, some skating, and a whole lot more skating.

Out of everyone in the crew, who's most likely to get rich first?
Oh, Mikey 100%. But aye, everyone in the crew is smart in their own way for sure. But also everyone is slow too. So who knows man!

***

DAVONTE

Name: Davonte Deanthony King Jolly

Nickname: Jolly

Star sign: Libra

What's your favourite thing about Australia so far?
Definitely the weather, not too many places you can travel to in the winter and it's good weather like LA.

Where did you grow up and where are you living now?
I grew up in South Central LA and I currently live in Paramount, CA.

How has skating changed your life?
By showing me you don't have to follow the normal career path; figure out what you love to do, then get good enough at it to where you can bring value to people and figure out how to make a living off it.

What do your parents think of what you do?
My mom and grandmother love it now that I'm able to make a living off it. But before they was always like, "Oh, that's cool that you're having fun with it but you should go get a job here or enroll in this college", blah blah, normal life type of stuff.

What does Illegal Civilization mean to you?
To me it means a group of my friends who all work together to make our dreams a reality. But at the same time inspiring other people to do what they want and not be scared.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
The people you hang around will either inspire you, or they will drain you. So choose yo' friends wisely.

If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
French toast with scrambled eggs, sausage, bacon and a glass of orange juice.

Describe yourself in three words:
Focused. Aware. Reliable.

Who inspires you?
My friends and the person I want to be in ten years.

What's your favourite track right now?
'Chanel' — Frank Ocean, I've been listening to it back-to-back for the last 30 mins.

What changes would you make if you were president for a day?
I would make it legal to skate anywhere you wanted but it would just be: skate at your own risk. The main reason we get kicked out of skating places is because the owners of the property don't want us to sue them if we get hurt on their property, but if it was all on us that that would be tight and they couldn't say shit.

What should we expect from you in the near future?
IC3, more online video content and maybe even TV.

Out of everyone in the crew, who's most likely to get rich first?
Mikey, just from his drive and work ethic. He knows exactly what he wants and he continues to put the work in to get it.

***

ARAMIS

Name: Aramis Hudson

Nickname: My daddy called me Boogie.

Star sign: Gemini

What's your favourite thing about Australia so far?
The girls are sexy.

Where did you grow up and where are you living now? 
I grew up in Compton and still live here!

How has skating changed your life?
Skateboarding showed me that anything is possible as long as you work for it.

What do your parents think of what you do?
My parents are happy I'm skating and not out gangbanging.

What does Illegal Civilization mean to you?
Illegal Civ means to me a gang of real homies out here doing our thing not giving a fuck about if you don't like it.

What's the best piece of advice you've ever received?
Hard work is over talent, when talent fails to work hard.

If you had to eat one meal for the rest of your life, what would it be?
Enchiladas are my favourite.

Describe yourself in three words:
Cavi, Cavi, Cavi.

Who inspires you?
My friends inspire me 'cause they work for what they have.

What's your favourite track right now?
'Chanel' — Frank Ocean

What changes would you make if you were president for a day?
I'm not sure I would have to really think about that... something great though.

What should we expect from you in the near future?
IC part dropping, Cavi dropping, all that.

Out of everyone in the crew, who's most likely to get rich first?
We all rich at heart.

Interviews: Darren Luk
Photography: Imogen Wilson

Lucy Jones