Daniel Castillo - Pound For Pound Interview

In Issue 7 of the Kayo Mag we featured Daniel Castillo in the Pound For Pound section which spotlights Kayo employees. Given his history as a pro skater and legend status in the Los Angeles skate scene, we thought it was appropriate to share Daniel's full interview that was used to write the article here. Check it out below.

Where in LA are you from?

I'm from Culver City California, just pretty much West LA.

How old were you when you got started skating?

I was like 11 years old.

How old were you when you first got sponsored by World?

When I first got sponsored, I was like 13.

What are your memories from back in those days of when you first got sponsored? Who were you skating with?

When I first got sponsored, I just had my own crew of neighborhood kids and Kareem Campbell; I grew up skating with Kareem. I would just always go to Venice Beach with Kareem and just our little crew of homes. We would always see like Jeff Harstel and Jesse Martinez there along with other OG Venice dudes. Jesse and Jeff pretty much took us under their wing and hooked me and Kareem up with World Industries.

You were OG Chocolate too when that first started, kind of give the background of how all of that went down.

Pretty much how that went down was that we just quit to be with the Girl guys – or the Girl guys wanted us to be with them cause we were just skating all together at that time. Once we got the word that it was a go, we just left.

You paid your due's for a super long time, then they gave you a pro model. What was that like, did you know you were going pro at that time?

I didn't really know that I was gonna get my board then. The way I found out was I was in New York and someone told me out there – like "I heard you're getting a board," and I was like, "oh shit!" You know when you hear it from somewhere way far when you're not at home, it feel like "oh shit, maybe I am getting a board," cause they never told me. Then I remember Aaron Meza calling me up one day like "we need you to come in and shoot a portrait." Then it clicked in my head, like "oh shit, I'm probably gonna get a board now." Usually that portrait goes to Evan Hecox so he can paint it and that's your first Chocolate board usually.

Moving on from the Chocolate days, how did you end up working at the Kayo store – obviously you have a lot of connections and good have gotten jobs at other places...

I was just homies with like my friend Jordan who works here and Zach who works here and also like Vinnie Ponte – I met him back in the day and kept in touch.

So basically it was you had homie connections with the employees at the store as opposed to like Diamond or any number of places…

Yeah yeah, it was like the homes that pretty much hooked it up.

So what's it like working at the store and what do you like about it? You've been in there for almost a year?

Yeah, almost a year – it's going pretty good man. It's pretty sick like helping kids out and stuff, you know like hooking kids up with their first boards; that's pretty cool. Being on Fairfax is pretty entertaining too – you see a lot of funny shit.

Do you skate the benches at the store very much?

Every so often, I try to do it a little before work because we get her a half hour before we open – so you I'll get out there and do a nose slide on the bench or something. I haven't really like session sessioned it.

Do kids trip off of you being in the store when they come in?

Yeah, well not kids cause kids; mostly dudes my age – cause the kids don't really know. I would say like dudes that are like 25 and up, they trip out. Sometimes I get some young ones, I feel kind of proud of myself when that happens. I'm like, "wow, I got recognized by some young kids." Mostly it's like mid 20's and up.

Do you still DJ and do that stuff, what are you doing besides working at the store?

I still skate around a lot, and I also work in Venice as well – so I work at two places. I do spin records, just like at my house chillin', not really at any bars or nothing like that. Just livin' man.

How has the transition been from skate life – well, you still skate for Chocolate right?

Yeah I guess, it's crazy – I'm still on the website.

Yeah, you're still on the website and you were in the Epicly Later'd. I'm not sure if you have a board out, but how has the transition been from traveling with the team to your life now where you're working and skating more for fun?

Yeah, skatewise it's almost like I can just chill in a way, you know? It feels like less pressure obviously. I kinda like it. I been doing the whole skate thing for you know – I've been getting paid from skating since I was like 15 or something. I'm glad I experienced it in my era, you know cause it was really fun! I'm just happy dude, happy that I experienced everything during that time. And now it's cool man, now I look at skating and it looks so tough now – kids are gnarly. So it's almost like, "fuck that!" I'm glad I had my time during those days. I was just looking at the new Thasher and that kid Chris Joslin is fucking wow! The level of skating  right now is so intense.

Yeah, it's crazy there's dudes like Daewon are still gnarly – it's crazy that they can keep going at that level.

Yeah, I know – like Daewon and Guy, and Marc, and Koston – those guys are on some whole other shit. It's crazy that they're still pushing the limits.