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The hidden gem of Venice Beach, California – Lone Wolfs

A Conversation with Alex Kemp & Scott Brown

Lone Wolfs is everything strange you want it to be. From telling sharks that you aren’t food and from having a music studio in the back of their Venice store, Lone Wolfs crew is definitely cooler than all of us – and they don’t care. Standing out with their black and white aesthetic and using french words in their name to sound fancy while making tons of grammatical mistakes, which they tested me on, Lone Wolfs became a unique place to hang out and call home in this wild city that is Los Angeles. More than a place to only shop your typical surfboard brands, you have the chance to fall in love all over again with the New Wave cinema style combined with an interesting sense of humour. 

During an online talk, I discovered the founder, Alex Kemp & Scott Brown, two kind man that easily makes you feel at ease and instantly share with you their laid back vision that we see in the store. Alex is originally from New York and Scott from Miami – we wonder what made them meet in Los Angeles. “We’re pretty rooted here and we met because I do music for television commercials, that’s kind of my background. I was playing music in a band and I started making music for advertising while Scott was working at an advertising agency to write commercials,” explained Alex. Alex and Scott were simple stranger that started to work together and discovered that their team worked really well. Alex and his music partner were already thinking of opening their own music studio with a surf shop in the front to make it feel more lively. “When Scott heard about that, he didn’t tell me that I should do it, but he said that WE should do it and we should also make our own surf brand,” remembered Alex. 

As you might know already, Lone Wolfs is more than a simple store and the guys have their own surfboard brand. While someone else is shaping the boards, Alex and Scott are designing them from the graphic to the style of the boards, with the shape and functionality they are looking for. But being a boring surf brand that stays in the cliche and not getting out of their comfort zone would have been du déjà vu, so they decided to share their sense of humour through the brand to make it stand out from the crowd, and have fun! The board that made me fall in love with their style was the one saying “NOT FOOD”. Alex then talked further more about the concept of humour into their brand. “That was something that Scott really made a big point of early on as we were kind of setting idea back and forth and thinking about what we wanted to do. We got into this idea that we wanted to visually be kind of smarty pants elevated, but with a low sense of humour”. Alex continued by explaining to me that most brands nowadays are generally one of two things – very serious or the kind of vaped like “no bad days bro” with tons of psychedelic colour that burns your eyes. You know these brands? Us too! “We have a lot of bad days”, added Scott. “I don’t know who think of this, but they’re all fucking liars”, added Alex about these kind of slogans. 

That’s the thing with Alex & Scott, they’re simply so raw and themselves that it makes you feel comfortable around them, or should I say, on a Skype call. They’re not cooler than you – well, technically they do, but they don’t make you feel that way. “We just feel like we really want to stay true to this idea that Lone Wolfs has a point of view or has a voice and that it’s not just about trying to get you to buy a shirt, it’s more about trying to be a friend who’s telling you a funny story”, shares Alex while joking around about the idea of actually trying to work harder. We all know that Venice is quite a unique place in L.A with tons of different styles of people around, but why picking that place to open a store like this one? Being in a neighbourhood where skateboarding and surfing is the fundamentals of the culture, Alex mentions that it “infuse in the DNA of what Lone Wolfs is all about”.

The definition of success has a different meaning for each one of us, but they still consider that Lone Wolf’s is a success since their door opened about a year ago. “I feel like we have our own little thing in the industry and we’ve come up with a new way to look at this, which people really liked. I think that at least for a year, we made people happy”, explained Scott. What’s their little magic touch though, the things that make them stand out?

First of all, the name – Lone Wolfs – Objets d’Surf. 

Before testing my English skills, Alex explained to me that the music company was already called Wolf at the Door and when Scott told him about his idea about Lone Wolfs, Alex got so hooked on the idea. Scott then gave me a 5-minutes English class, “You know that Lone Wolfs is misspelled, right? It should be Lone Wolves. It is also wrong that it is a plural word with lone, which means one person”. Alex took part of the conversation and continued the explanation, “how can you have singular wolves? It doesn’t make sense! And the idea of adding Objets d’Surf, which is obviously kind of fancy pants, is because, in English, the expression is Objets d’Art. Obviously, it’s still wrong as it should be Objets de Surf. We have as many things wrong as possible in the name”. Well, it definitely looks fancy even though it’s mainly wrong. 

Then, come their aesthetic – black and white. 

Avoiding the overdose of bright color, Scott and Alex bring a New York look to sunny California, putting their emphasis on black and white. As Scott explained, “The surf culture is really bright, really fluorescent. But, beyond just a color choice, there is a meaning behind it that it’s kind of the yin and yang of life. Serious by itself is really boring, funny by itself is really forgettable, but if you can balance those things together you get something kind of special. Black and white kind of means that to us.” 

Their new series – Everything’s not working, plus, their short films. 

Being influenced by New Wave films, Alex and Scott produced a few short films that involve surfers, but not surfing. Enjoying surf videos where tricks are the one thing we’re looking at is amazing, but for Lone Wolfs, Alex mentioned that “we feel that doing something that is just completely different is more of our nature. We can do a better job with that”.

As for the web series, it is called Everything’s not working and you can already watch the first two episodes. As described by the guys, it’s basically a talk show on acid with Zak Williams as the host. He interviews people that are either surfer or well-established in the surf industry. 

It’s fun, it’s different, it’s interesting, it’s entertaining. We’re totally obsessed with it, and you will too!

Lone Wolfs wouldn’t be the same without Alex & Scott. They’re the funniest duo around that knows how to create things that last and stand out from the crowd, while doing it with such an impressive normality. They are surfers, yes, but they aren’t the best in the water and it isn’t their goal, they’re just living with the necessity of surfing everyday at the beach for their own good and for catching up with their friends, shitty waves or not. As Scott mentioned, “we’re like the same person, there’s fight sometimes maybe here and there, but we get things done really fast”.

Alex then added that this is why they don’t have any other friends, and it totally makes sense to us – you surf together, you work together, and that’s it. We’re actually kidding, but Alex & Scott infused a new style in surf shops that people across the globe want to discover and drink beer at. It’s like a home, no matter which country you are from, you can be a lone wolfs too. If that’s not the perfect bromance and the perfect career path, I don’t know what that is, but I am definitely down to ride alone, together. 

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