Photo via 48 Blocks
Josh Kalis's Epicly Later'd turned out to be the most unique episode we have ever produced. The idea for it came about when we read some posts Josh left on the Slap message boards in reaction to comments made by Jason Dill in the Dylan Reider episode. Whether or not Dill had malicious intent or was simply stating the obvious differences among some of Alien Workshop's team members is still debated, but the call for a Kalis episode was heard. That episode marked the first time we used a previous Epicly as a jumping-off point, as well as the first time we used animations as a substitute for archival. All of that was three years ago, and since then Josh has continued to skate, ruffle feathers, release a new pro model shoe, and beat a pill problem. Mr. Kalis also managed to put out another pure street part in DGK's Parental Advisory. While he is a man of few words who prefers to let his skating do the talking, Josh agreed to have a chat with us about everything he's been up to.
VICE: Hey, Josh. Your Epicly episode was one of the most popular we’ve done. It covered a time in skating that I think a lot of people would consider their favorite era, and I still hear positive feedback about it. What was the reaction like from people you’ve talked to?
Josh: It was really huge. Besides the people who I keep in my circle, not a lot of people knew my background. They may have known about one background, but not the others… I guess I have a grip of backgrounds. It was cool hearing people who were surprised about some things.
I think your honesty was a big contributing factor to the success of the episodes. Is there anything you wished you had touched on that wasn’t in there?
Honesty is a good thing, but sometimes it bites me in my ass. It seems a lot of folks in business can't handle honest, or they don’t appreciate it. It’s almost like they are scared of it. I can’t lie, it has jammed me up a few times. I guess I would’ve liked to have seen the Chicago section. Chicago has always been my home away from home.
What’s up with Hella Clips? Is that your brainchild?
Hella Clips is a mix between the brains of Colin McKay and myself. It’s just a daily roundup of all the skate videos that come out on the web. It’s a ton of fun to do, and I love being able to allow kids and companies to share all the clips in one place. It makes it extremely available and easy.
I must log onto it about 50 times a day. It is addictive. What are your three favorite videos on there this week?
This week? Let me see… We've been getting a lot of montages from crews, like best of 2012 stuff. Most of them are just shop vids or whatever. Those have been my favorites as of late. It’s tight to see the spots and the kids—dudes I’ve never heard of and spots I’ve never seen.
What do you think of Ishod's Sabotage part?
Ishod’s part is dope! Honestly, though, not taking away from Ishod, Mark Suciu's part in that Sabotage video is incredible. Someday it'll be on the site.
Can we get into talking about Parental Advisory?
You used Action Bronson’s “Not Enough Words” in your part. Did you pick that out?
Nope. I just gave them some artists I would be down for. They came back with that one. I thought it was perfect.
We’re big Action Bronson fans over here, so when I heard that come on I was psyched. I know you’ve had some troubles with your video parts in the past, but how did you feel about this one?
I’m actually pretty happy with it. I got hurt a bunch and had to give some stuff up for other projects, but all in all I’m happy with the outcome. Getting hurt sucks now. Something like a jammed ankle used to only take two weeks to heal; now it can be three months. And that’s with working on it: ice, stretching, etc. So I was dealing with that. Not to mention getting caught up in taking too many anxiety pills for flights. That was hard to deal with. [laughs]
The pills snuck up on you?
Yeah, apparently. I was on a three-week tour with about six flights. For years I took that stuff to fly, but that was it. I was pretty stressed and already have high anxiety, so I was freaking out midtour. I’d take a half milligram during autograph signings to prevent panic attacks, then take a full mill to get on the plane. I was pretty confused as to why I was bugging though. It was never that bad. When I got home I put the pills away as always, and the next day I was TRIPPING! I went to the doc to see if there was a problem. I had to take a pill just to get myself there. The doc said it sounded like withdrawal. I couldn't believe it. So I saw a psychiatrist who was trying to feed me more shit. He told me I wasn’t withdrawing and needed to be on this shit. I cut him out of the picture and started seeing a psychologist instead, who is also a nutritionist. I tapered off the pills over the course of six months. I changed some of my eating habits and still see her to this day. Best thing ever. No more pills even to fly. That was fucked up! [laughs] I don't wish that situation on anyone. That was one and a half years ago. I’m back to normal now.
I think most people know that you’re not a party guy, so it just goes to show that you have to be careful with everything. But back to the video. I think the craziest thing about it is that you, Marcus, and Stevie all have full parts. Do you think people were surprised by that?
Yeah. I think they were. I know people had doubts. Sucks to say, but with the success of DGK over the last couple years, people doubted that the crew could represent like they did. But I knew. I knew dudes like Stevie and Marcus were skating hella good. Then the younger guys like 'Quise, Keelan, Lenny, etc. murked it. TX came through, too. It was awesome to see it unfold. Even taking the risk with the production of the intros.
The biggest surprise in that video to me was Dane Vaughn. He nollie tre'd the Penny double set?
Yeah. What’s crazy about Dane’s part is that half of his footage wasn't used. I took him to Chicago with me, and he seriously got 15 clips. I don't even think one of those was used. There is a grip of Dane footage coming out.
Yeah, I watched the video with Anthony Pappalardo of all people. I don't think there is a low part in it.
Wow, with Pops. That’s cool. I miss that kid. He was my favorite between him and Wenning. I always wondered why he stepped out and vanished.
Do you have more videos coming out this year?
Not that I’m aware of, but there is a giant project in the works. It’s probably two years out. It’s a secret though. [laughs]
You’re still filming then, right?
Oh yeah. I’m filming. Actually there is a bonus DGK DVD coming out. There’s already over 20 minutes of footage in there. While I’m doing that I’m also filming for the secret project. I actually feel really good. I started drinking this ZICO coconut water about a year ago and, damn, it’s seriously helped me. I wake up feeling energized. It sounds like a pitch, but no lie.
OK, let's do some top fives. First up: top five new kids.
Mark Suciu, Marquise Henry, Dane Vaughn, hold up… I’m thinking… I like that kid Yaja Popson.
That part on Hella Clips was tight, but that footage is old.
One more… Kyle Nickelson. He's been around a while, but is just getting some coverage.
He’s on Selfish, right?
Nice. What about top five teammates?
Ever, or on DGK?
I'd say Lenny Kirk, Dane Vaughn, Dill, Dyrdek, and Stevie.
Yeah. He's a lot of fun to be around. I really like the dude.
You guys have made amends?
We have. We don’t talk or see each other much, but when we do it’s like old times. I actually reached out to him and squashed it.
After the episode aired?
Yeah, a few months after that. Transworld wanted me to present best street award, so I thought it’d be dope to do it with him. He was down and that was that.
Well, congratulations on the video, your new child, and the success of Hella Clips. Maybe one day Epicly can win a Helliez.