Meet Sean Pablo
Of the colorful cast of new faces in Supreme's first full-length video, 16-year-old Sean Pablo Murphy was the most polarizing. I decided to call the young Sean Pablo and ask him what’s up with his new Converse commercial, what it’s like having Jason...
On St. Patrick’s Day the world-renowned Supreme skateshop premiered its first ever full-length video, Cherry, in Manhattan. As you might have guessed, the film’s cast was a who’s who of skaters. Mark Gonzales, Jason Dill, Eric Koston, Dylan Rieder, and Alex Olson all make appearances, as well as a fresh crop of newcomers who have come to be known as the FA Kids (as in Fucking Awesome).
Of the colorful cast of new faces, Sean Pablo Murphy, a half-Salvadoran/half-Irish 16-year-old from LA, was the most polarizing. Murphy’s footage set the message boards on fire for everything but his skating: His pants were too short, his hair too neat, his arms flapped too much, he was too virgin-y, etc., etc. Personally, in terms of appearance, I just thought he was another young kid trying to figure out who he is. At 16 I was barely pissing straight, and the goofy outfits of my 80s and early 90s generation were far more embarrassing than anything Sean wore in Cherry, so I refrained from poking fun at his extremely high-water pants.
Instead, I chose to focus on his skating. I saw the spark of talent that made Supreme want him on the team in the first place, but I wanted more. Then last week Converse dropped a welcome commercial with Sean and his buddy, Sage Elsesser, chock-full of basic tricks from the 80s that reignited the message board bickering. I know it was meant to showcase the NYC/Supreme lifestyle aspect, but I couldn’t help thinking that my buddies and I could have filmed those tricks in 1994.
I decided to call the young Sean Pablo and ask him what’s up with the commercial, as well as what it’s like having Jason Dill as a boss and losing his virginity. I was pleasantly surprised to learn he’s a far more intelligent and articulate kid than I was at 16, and I’m looking forward to seeing his footage in the upcoming Bill Strobeck video project that was, until this sentence, a secret.
VICE: Is your name Sean Pablo or Sean Murphy? Because you don’t really look like a Murphy.
Sean Pablo: Technically it’s Sean Pablo Murphy, but I like to go by Sean Pablo just because it stands out more as opposed to Sean Murphy; there are a lot of Sean Murphys, probably. My mom is Salvadoran, and my dad is Irish.
Not too much is known about you outside of the facts that you ride for Fucking Awesome and were one of the stars of Supreme’s Cherry. What’s your story?
I’m from LA. I’ve lived in Silver Lake/Echo Park all my life. I started skating around my house when I was ten; I’m 16 now. My dad skated when he was a kid. He was more of a surfer, but he encouraged me to skate instead of doing other stuff. We always had a board lying around. Now I like going to New York a lot. I’ve been skating there for a while now and have some friends out there.
How did you hook up with Jason Dill and Fucking Awesome?
Kind of through Sage [Elsesser]. I’ve actually known Dill for a really long time. When I was a little kid my friends and I would skate the Berrics a lot because it was fun and kind of close by and Dill would always be there. This was when he was just starting to get back into skating, so he was living with Reda or someone, and he’d always be at the Berrics. We’d see him there all the time, and then I didn’t see him for a while. Later I started hanging out at Supreme, and that’s when I saw him again, and we started talking more and this whole thing kind of got started.
What’s it like having Dill for your boss?
He’s crazy, dude. Dill is out of his mind, but he’s awesome. You never know what’s going to happen or when he’s going to snap.
What does he snap on you for?
So much stuff! Oh, God. Maybe nail polish and me painting my nails… He’s gotten really pissed about that.
What’s up with the nail polish? I heard you love to paint your nails.
I don’t know. I think it’s just kind of funny. It gets a rise out of people sometimes. Dill kind of gets it now, but before he was getting kind of pissed about it because he’s really by the book. He likes things to be a certain way, which is cool; that’s why he’s Dill. He just wants you to skate hard and be tough.
Photo by Bill Strobeck
You don’t look very tough.
Yeah. Dill just wants you to do what you’re supposed to do. He’s just about that.
Is that the reason you have your pants hiked up so high?
No way, dude! My pants are normal. If anything, he cuts his pants way higher than I do.
Dude, your pants are so high you could’ve gotten through Hurricane Sandy without getting them wet.
I don’t know, man. I think Dill has definitely influenced the clothes I like wearing and the skateboarding I like doing.
There’s a clip in Cherry of you holding a sign that reads: “Please take my virginity.” Have you lost your virginity yet?
Yeah, my friend wrote that on my board and Bill [Strobeck] thought it was super funny. But yeah, that’s a thing of the past.
Did it happen before or after the video came out?
So the video got you laid?
For sure! No, I’m just kidding. That’s been a joke ever since. It’s kind of annoying because everyone always asks me that, but it’s kind of funny too.
Dude, if I were you I’d still be telling girls I was a virgin and let each and every one of them think they were deflowering me.
Totally, but it’s too late.
Do you feel like you’re getting tons of love because of the Cherry video?
There are definitely people who really like the video and had a really positive response, but there are others who hate on it and try to make fun of it. There are mixed reviews out there, which is normal and understandable with any big thing that happens. I think it’s rad.
What are the haters saying?
I don’t know. I saw this one thing where these fuckers made this music video making fun of Cherry. They all have rolled up pants and everyone is smoking a cigarette and one dude is wearing all white, like Alex [Olson], and has pigtails. It’s pretty funny, and I think it’s flattering.
Does it trip you out that there’s such a huge non-skate demographic that loves Cherry and, probably, you? I saw photos of hundreds of streetwear kids in line outside Supreme for the release of the video.
Yeah, it’s kind of weird for sure. Kids who don’t even skate have seen that video and know all about Supreme.
What was filming with Bill like?
It was cool. I only filmed with Bill in New York, when I’d go out there for a month at a time. We’d go skate every day. But in LA I’d film with my friend Logan, and we’d send footage to Bill. At times it was stressful because I wasn’t sure whether or not something was good enough to be in the video, or if I was getting enough footage for it.
How do you feel about your footage?
I had stuff that I was psyched on, but I kind of wish that I had a few more tricks or a couple more lines.
What happened with this recent Cons welcome part? It seemed like it was filmed rather quickly.
That was just from the last time I was in New York. Me and Sage skated with this dude, Richard Quintero, for two days. It took two days to film it and it was super mellow and really fun. We didn’t do anything too crazy for that video. It was just meant to be a quick commercial. If we saw something skating down the street then we skated it, and hopefully filmed something for it.
Watching it I thought you guys got in a time machine back to 1988, what with all the ollies and bonelesses and no complies.
I see what you’re saying. I like that kind of skating. It’s simple and looks good. We definitely got some hate for it because there are no flip tricks or no super gnarly rails or anything. It’s just us skating down the street. Some people were into it, some weren’t. I liked the way it turned out; it flowed really well. The plan was for that commercial to come out and then Bill is working on a new internet video as we speak right now. That should be coming out pretty soon and will have more actual skate footage in it. No one even knows about that yet. It’s me, Sage, Tyshawn [Jones], and pretty much all the people who were in Cherry.
When you stay in NYC do you stay at the YMCA Hotel or Bill’s?
If my dad is out there with me then I’ll stay with him, and we both stay at the YMCA. Dude, one time I was coming back from skating super late at night, and when I got out of the elevator on my floor I swear I saw this dude getting taken out on a stretcher with a sheet over his head. But Bill is friends with a bunch of hot chicks. He’ll always have some hot girl at his house. It’s fun. We’ll just sit around and listen to music.
Do you ever catch any of the shrapnel?
What attracts these models to you? That you were in the Supreme video?
Oh, you mean for the hot chicks? Oh no, dude. I try not to fuck with that. I have a girlfriend.
Which do you prefer: New York or LA?
Probably New York. I really like New York. Everything is so close together, and there’s never a dull moment in New York. In LA it’s such a mission to go anywhere that’s not right around your house. Like if I want to go to Supreme I have to get on a bus, and it takes two hours to get there. In New York you just skate everywhere, and it’s sick. LA has its upsides too; I probably have more friends out here, and the weather is always good. But I’d say New York is more fun.
Aside from this video with Bill, what else do you have lined up for the summer?
I have that, and I’m going to Tokyo in July for Supreme to shoot a look book out there. And I have a year left of high school, so I need to figure out what I’m doing when I get out of school. I want to get a place with a friend and skate and maybe go to college for art or music.
Do you think you’ll be big in Japan?
I’ve never been there, so I’m not really sure. I’ve heard that Dill is pretty big though. He’s like a celebrity out there.
He’s like Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.
Yeah, exactly. I’m just psyched to go out there. It looks really nice.
You know Japanese girls’ pussies are horizontal, not vertical, right?
Is that, right? That’s crazy. That’s fucked up.
No one has ever told you that?
No, no one has ever told me that.
It’s true. Ask Dill.