Life comes at you quick. One day you’re bussing tables at a “chicken and waffle joint” in Brooklyn, the next you’re being escorted by a ring of bodyguards through a packed convention hall, throngs of people calling out your name for a photo like a NBA superstar. Maxim caught Angus Young at the latter moment, following the young actor as he strolled through last week’s ComplexCon in Long Beach, California.
Angus, a Bay Area teenager obsessed with skateboarding and graffiti, was walking these halls as if he were a pedestrian sneakerhead a couple of years ago. Today, just three years after debuting as laconic drug dealer Fezco in the HBO’s super-smash hit Euphoria, Angus is revealing his capsule collection with Rockstar Energy x Billionaire Boys Club—the coveted streetwear label launched by Pharrell Williams and A Bathing Ape’s Nigo in 2003.
What’s there to be said about Euphoria that hasn’t been dissected ad nauseum by gushing Hollywood podcasts and excoriated by angry parent groups? Suffice to say the show, following a group of high schoolers dealing with loss, teen angst, stark sexuality, blackmail, pedophilia, school pressures, fucked up parents and drugs—lots and lots of drugs—seared its way into the American consciousness, making instant stars of its formerly unknown cast. Like fellow HBO Zeitgeist ruler Game Of Thrones It did so for its team. Euphoria Angus rose to stardom in Hollywood as a young Hollywood star.
We caught up with soft spoken Oakland artist to discuss the show, its behind-the-scenes comradery, the capsule collection and his new “Fuel What’s Next” campaign with Rockstar—where the energy drink created a playpen for Angus to play with stuff he loves (skateboarding, gaming, fashion, music, art, etc.) and those he had no idea about—like learning to drift from three-time Formula Drift World Champion Fredric Aasbo. Here’s what he had to say.
Cartoon cloud icons are one of the aesthetic components of your Billionaire Boys Club capsule collections. Knowing you’re an artist and it plays on your name, was that your creation?
Yeah, that’s my idea.
Specifically for this BBC project or is it something you’ve doodled for years?
I mean, I haven’t had it for that long, but yeah, I came up with it in the past two years, fine-tuned it. Mine is a little bit different—they used my doodles and then they brought it to life. They have beautiful eyes, but I just added a line when drawing it.
Do you remember being a notebook-doodler at school?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. I draw on everything. Graffiti is what I grew up with.
Do you have any other creative ways to express yourself?
It’s all about me. I wouldn’t really put myself in a box, but yeah, I like to do art in whatever form it comes in. But I’m not really a strict painter. I don’t really commit to doing music or anything like that. But if it comes up, I’ll dabble in it.
What is your opinion of the Bay Area?
That’s part of my code. Oakland is very important. It’s where I grew up, I stand on that, that created me.
What do you miss the most about home?
Everybody I know, all my friends, and my family. The weather’s more desert out here than Northern Cali. There are more trees there. I love fresh air.
What do you miss about the fog?
Yeah, no, I mean I’ve seen it come in on the top of the mountain out there in Marin. It was able to be climbed up over Muir Woods. They were able to get this huge mountain for their sex. [Mount Tamalpais]. You can just watch the fog rolling in, and if you go up there it’s sitting above the cloud. It’s trippy, super cool.
How did you get discovered? I heard that you worked as a busboy in a New York restaurant.
Well, they didn’t find me in the restaurant, but I was walking down the street. Actually, some lady tried to stop me, but I just said, “If you want to talk to me, you got to walk with me. I got places to be.” But I like hearing people’s hustles so I give her the ear and the time of day and then I took her phone number and ended up calling her the next day and it was legit.
Was it a pitch?
She didn’t really tell me about Euphoria or something similar. Once I got down there it made a bit more sense when they were like, “Oh, we want you to play this drug dealer.” I was like, “Oh, okay. Makes more sense that you stopped me in the street when I was smoking the wood.” [Laughs]
You were you offended or complimented for playing dealer? They didn’t say ‘We want you to play a NASA scientist.’
No, no, whatever. You stopped me in the middle street, it made more sense. I’m like, “What they think I can be some movie star?” And it’s like, “Oh no, that you could be a street hustler on TV.” You know what I’m saying? It was more logical that they had a role in mind. She didn’t just put it on the air at first. “Yeah come to the casting, you have a cool look,” or whatever she said. It was a very nice lady. They were very helpful in helping me with the audition and other pieces.
You ever thought of acting? What did you do in New York?
I was just doing my job and hustling. I had a couple different hustles. For a time, I worked in the restaurant. I was really trying to relocate to Ireland, and I wanted to find work abroad.
What are you doing?
I don’t know, I just felt like going off and just traveling. I was inspired to work on a cruise liner. I was looking for work that paid you to live, so you could keep the money. I mean fishing boats or whatever, you get to stack the bread and they’ll pay you to sleep there and all that kind of thing. Then, you can just go and get a stack.
It’s impressive because your Euphoria Many people resonated with Fezco’s character. I grew-up with Fezcos from Venice. And you really play him perfectly, so it’s amazing with no acting experience that you could pull that off.
I went with my gut instincts for certain things. Even in the first audition I was like, “Oh, I can’t say these certain lines without sounding like a square.” So I changed things up, even in the audition I was like, “No one says no talks like that.” So I just switched it up on them and they actually appreciated that. They wanted to work with someone who had something to offer. I guess looking back, it’s a sketchy idea to just go in there and just change the whole script on them. You don’t know who the writer is or whatever the case may be. Although they might feel hurt or something, it worked in my favor.
Was that “That’s what I call a quandary” line yours, or was that in the script? It’s when Lexi’s asking you about advice on if she’s going to piss people off with her play.
I think they’d written that. And then I said, “Sometimes people need to get pissed off.” I think I came up with that. That scene was my favorite. It was a lot of writing, with freestyle and other stuff. A lot of the show is that, so it’s nice to have a base written that you can build from. Sam [Levinson] who writes and directs, he’s really open to ideas and changing up the script or whatever.
The incredible success of Euphoria It reminds me a bit of the Game of Thrones In the sense that everyone who began on that show, except Zendaya was virtually unknown. And then it’s been such a cultural moment that all you guys are really coming into fame at the same time. What’s the vibe on set?
Yes, they are my family. Even if I don’t get to see them that often. Each person has their own lives and stuff, but I have a mad love for all of them.
When you’re together for two or three months filming it’s got to be…
And it’s nine months filming. Eight months of filming are involved in each season.
Yeah, it’s a big commitment. We are working for eight to nine months at a stretch.
Are you filming right now?
It’s not yet. Next year, I believe.
Your righthand man, Ashtray your little homie. Do you see the same chemistry in real life as onscreen?
Do you have any boys?
Yeah. I mean, we’re goofy in real life. It’s not easy to be serious. When the camera cuts we’re making jokes and laughing so I try to just relax and remain calm and not stress too much. But yeah, he’s my boy.
I know it’s a TV show, but can you tell me how bummed you are how last season ended? You lose a cast member, a family member—that’s got to be a major bummer.
It was indeed very sad. Even Meeko felt it. [Gattuso] Who was the drug dealer? [Mouse] In the first season, even though he was forced to leave and it happened so quickly it was a disappointment. He’s a funny ass guy, man. It was great working with him. I went to the Bronx to see him. But yeah, it’s a bummer when that happens for sure.
What was the date you found out that it was happening? Is it possible that they gave you the script right at the beginning of the season or that you just discovered at the end?
They changed the way they presented it the day before. They had pitched it in a different manner the day before, and they then changed it again the next day. And so yeah, we didn’t know what was going on until right before we actually put it together.
So he almost didn’t die. There was a version where all that shit didn’t go down?
Almost. The last episode was kept secret from the very end. I think they only gave it to the people who were actually filming it, so I don’t know if they wanted to keep it a secret. I think they didn’t fully know what they wanted to commit to till the end. There’s a lot of changing of scripts going on all throughout filming.
That’s a pretty profound crossroads point though.
Yes, it was.
Do you feel for Fezco’s situation? Because he was almost getting his shit together…and then his whole life collapses around him. What do you think about it as an actor? Or do you not care that much, it’s just a role on paper.
Yeah, at the end of the day it’s not that serious to me. In particular, I mean, yeah, it’s a bummer. It’s a heart wrencher when you’re watching it. But to me it’s like on paper it sucks.
C’est la vie. That’s just on paper, it’s not real life.
Yeah. That’s what I mean. Life is precious and fragile. People die in the blink of an eye and it’s nothing you can say or do to make that different.
That’s great. Let’s talk real quick about the Rockstar collab. What does the campaign look like for you? What attracted to you to this?
I was amazed at how inclusive they were. Simply creating a cool vibe. All this cool stuff mixed together: DJing, skating, racing, and all that good stuff in between.
How did drifting make you feel?
It was so much fun. I didn’t realize what sport drift racing was. You’re scoring points and all this. It’s real cool sport I never really knew about.
Did you learn to drift?
Fred, who was the winner of the competition, taught me how drifting on a more serious level using the clutch. Most cars don’t really have a clutch, I’ve never driven with a clutch. I’ve never driven stick shift, to be honest. I was also taught by him how to drive stickshift. But I got a vibe for drifting — in Oakland, like we swing shit out there. Ghost Ride the Whip is a great place to go for sideshows and other entertainment.
E-40, Bay Area’s finest. Ghost riding was invented by them?
I can’t claim that, but it’s a part of our culture for sure. It’s definitely a big part of our culture. I don’t know where it came from or who invented it, so I can’t say exactly where, but Bay Area definitely put it on the map I can say that much. It should be on your chest. We do this out there. We swing shit.
How did they approach them about the capsule collection Did they come up with the idea?
It just happened that they noticed my creativity and offered to work with me. It was a natural progression. I spoke with [Creative Director Joseph Au] From Billionaire Boys Club, I just came up some ideas and went from there. It’s really cool how it happened, got put together.
Have you had input into the BBC’s decision to use your name instead of someone else?
That’s a brand I really like. Joe was a great source of information. They also started Ice Cream and BBC simultaneously. Because I had ideas of starting my own company and wanting it to be available to everyone, but also having a line that’s more exclusive. So it’s like, ‘Oh, you can have two companies start at the same base, and have one be more inclusive and one be more reserved.’ You know what I’m saying? This would give me an entirely new idea.
Yes. I’m going to keep making stuff. I already started Cloud Company, established in 2020—I was doing handmade pieces. It’s the overarching hierarchy to it. We’ll see how I bust down into pieces, but right now that’s the overall idea.
Follow Contributing Spirits Editor Nicolas Stecher on Instagram at @nickstecher and @boozeoftheday.