Episode 35 - Gordyland: Creating the World You Want to Live In

The recording of this podcast was scheduled for 6pm on a Monday night in West Hollywood, California. Most cases you would think it would be a mellow setting with it being the beginning of the week but when Gordyland rolled through with his white circular glasses, 18-pack of beer and a smile on his face as if he’d just hit the lotto - i knew we we’re going to have ourselves a good time.

Most recently just turning thirty, Gordy has figured out how to become the best possible person you can be. He talks about smiling and being positive at all times no matter what is being thrown your way because there's no reason not too. He’s dabbled with a lot of different passions such as skateboarding, touring the country as a musician, creating the merchandise for his band and others but now is a designer at Girls Skateboards which to him doesn’t even feel like work.

I think what can sometimes be the hardest thing for people is not having a sense of direction of where they’re going or not having the end goal specifically mapped out which can be frustrating and annoying. It be great to know exactly where we were headed as we’re all on our own quest of finding what makes the most sense but would that be living? If we were given an outline of what our life was going to look like, would we have that drive and motivation to work our asses off? Probably not. In Gordy’s cases, he’s followed his heart and if something didn’t feel right then he wasn’t scared to make a change.

From his stories of breaking the news to his father he wasn’t going to college, to losing his backpack with his passport in Europe, flipping off a driver that had cut him off and had threatened to kill him on Christmas Eve, working alongside some very influential musicians in the industry today and most importantly the lessons that he has learned along the way.

Episode takeaway: Create your own world and be confident that you can become the person you desire to be. No matter the cards you’ve been dealt in life you can still create the life you want to live in with a little bit of patience and a whole lot of hard work. We can’t control what life tosses us but we sure as hell can do our best to leap over any obstacle that comes ahead of us.

Podcast Outline

  • Who is Gordyland today and how young is he?

    • In the place he’d hope to be by the age 30

    • Stayed young at heart and feels he’s on the first leg of the bigger journey

  • Do something consistent like smiling and being positive can and will affect you

  • Born in Atlanta then moved to Minnesota and grew up in the south side suburbs of Minneapolis

    • Loved skateboarding and music through junior high and high school

    • Didn’t have time to mess with any drugs or alcohol while in high school, was very focused on interests. After school would skate, band practice, maybe night skate and be done.

    • Started selling CD’s out of his locker in 8th grade, sold out shows of 400/400 people

  • Booked a 3 month country wide tour just four days after Gordy graduated high school  (10:00)

    • Went out in the middle of a Lake to tell his father he wasn’t going to college because of this opportunity. Father was okay but said “that's okay with me, but just know this is going to be the hardest thing you’ve ever done.. And it won't be easy”

    • Was staying at people's houses and making just enough money from the merch to get to the next show. Learning bookkeeping and budgeting

    • Big milestones was meeting with Drive Through Records in 2005 but nothing came about it

    • Had cultivated a design following creating his band and other bands merch

  • After 2.5 years of touring, went to MCAD (Minneapolis College of Art and Design)

    • Shaved his head and felt this “military” discipline and wanted to become great so he locked himself in

    • Always felt he was good at a lot of things but if there was one he had to pick - efficiency in design

      • Feels like a second language and is quick with it

    • Dropped out for a semester after school failed him on his senior project because he had sampled his freelance work (20:30)

      • Realized who he was, what his power was as an artist

      • Knew that what he felt was right was right, open to suggestion… but not controlled by what you think of Gordy. Your opinion doesn’t have to be my own opinion. It centered him. (21:50)  

    • Walked out of college heavily influenced by previous artists that he hadn’t known about

    • College had given him a taste of “the real world” of design and his industry

    • Left art school with a greater sense of self and greater sense of knowledge of his “sport”

  • People don’t care even when you think they do

    • Don’t even think about it and just do you

  • Started working for a fancy design agency that did Target’s in store design and New Balance’s foot layout for new Manhattan location

    • First job after college and didn’t feel like the right fit, was too rough around the edges for it

  • Went to agency that serviced Red Bull, Polaris, Colt 45 and Crestliner

    • Spent a year working on a bunch of projects for Red Bull

  • Became creative director for a small sneaker boutique for streetwear brand  

    • Supervised screen printing studio that did commercial work as well

    • Was dating a chick that lived in LA at the time and became interested in moving out there

  • Got a call from his friend Mod Sun the day after Gordy and his girlfriend broke up and headed west to LA

    • He knew that this was a place he wanted to be and live and this was the right opportunity to get him out there

    • Worked alongside him for two years, toured domestically and Europe with him. Backpack with his gear was stolen, had to get an emergency passport. (42:10)

  • Does a lot of work with Mike Posner & Blackbear

    • Bear had taught Gordy the art of twitter when they were on the road for 2 weeks of Warped tour

    • Bear was on the bass, Gordy was on the keys, Clue on the drums,  Mod and Gnash

  • Tries to keep a balance with all of the projects that he works on

  • Works at Girls skateboard as a designer

    • Enjoys working with one person/brand. Can give all his energy/time and fully embody the brand

    • An hour spent with Gordy is worth gold and he will put it all on the line  (52:30)

    • It's good to know your limits as well as stop saying yes to shit you hate

    • You can’t do everything and can’t make everyone happy

  • Very particular when listening to a new project and if they have the budget he is willing to do it

  • Father always told him: two hardest things to recover

    • Your credit / your word

  • Discipline is remembering what you want at every moment (56:30)

    • Not getting side distracted from the end goal

  • LA is full of people that’re trying to do something bigger than themselves

    • City is made full of dreamers

  • Recently his boards just started releasing for Girl Skateboards

    • Coolest job he has ever had in his life and a dream come true to be releasing his own board

    • The way you present yourself to others is the way they’ll perceive you as. All it takes is a moment for them to see it. (61:10)

  • When you love something/someone you go into their world of curation

  • ‘Gordyland’ went from a vacation spot at first to a place where he lived permanently

    • The idea of creating your own universe and choosing to curate your own life

    • Mold the world into the place you want to live by staying true to yourself (67:20)

    • It takes confidence in becoming the best person you can possibly be

    • Always drive for your vision no matter what is being thrown your way

  • Father has played an impactful influential role on getting Gordy to where he is today

    • Has never heard him complain and has always been a positive person

    • Was a big believer of someone that has had a good attitude

  • If Gordy could change one thing about himself it be his

    • Physical: jaw line, a fuller beard and better eyesight  

    • Was more certain with himself

  • Ask Bobbbaaay 1 Question: Commanding hurdle that was do or die, if you hadn’t done it at the time, what was the moment?

  • The only way to do anything for the rest of your life, you have to become a master (83:00)

    • If you do what you love, the money will come

  • Picture frame on the wall 10 years from now, what/who do we see?

    • In the mountains on an expedition for research,  to gather visual inspiration for his next project

  • Where to find Gordyland on social media

    • @Gordyland everywhere

    • @Gordy.land Instagram

    • Website: http://www.gordy.land

  • 2-3 pieces of advice for someone on the pursuit of finding their passion/purpose?

    • Place you go (flow) when time stops and you’re invested all in it - do that  

      • Ignore the fact it might be something you’re unsure about or is off the grid

    • Listen to yourself and don’t bug out if it’s something you’re scared to do

    • Don’t let people get to you, believe that you’re awesome and that you make great stuff