Angus Cloud On ‘Euphoria’, Billionaire Boys Club Style Collab & Competitive Drifting
“HBO was like, ‘Oh, we want you to play this drug dealer.’ I was like, ‘Makes more sense that you stopped me in the street when I was smoking the wood.'”
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.
A couple years ago you could imagine Angus, the Bay Area kid obsessed with skateboarding, graffiti and streetwear, walking through these halls like a pedestrian sneakerhead. 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 did for its team, Euphoria launched Angus into the stratosphere of young Hollywood stardom.
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.
One of the aesthetic elements of your Billionaire Boys Club capsule collection is a cartoon cloud icon. 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. The eyes are really nice there, but when I draw it, I just put a line.
Were you a notebook doodler in school?
Yeah, yeah, yeah. Drawing on everything. But I grew up doing graffiti.
How else do you express yourself artistically?
All around really. 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.
How important is the Bay Area to you?
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 most about home?
Just everybody I know out there and all my friends, my family. The weather’s more desert out here than Northern Cali. They got more trees up there. I like fresh air.
You miss the fog?
Yeah, no, I mean I’ve seen it come in on the top of the mountain out there in Marin. They got it up above Muir Woods and stuff. They got this big ass mountain [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 were you discovered? I heard you were working in a restaurant in New York as a bus boy.
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.
What was the pitch?
She didn’t really tell me about Euphoria or anything like that. 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]
Were you insulted or complimented by the fact they wanted you to play a dealer? They didn’t say ‘We want you to play a NASA scientist.’
No, no, whatever. I mean you stopped me in the middle of the street walking, 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 made more sense that they actually had a part in mind, a vision, because at first she just set it up in the air. “Yeah come to the casting, you have a cool look,” or whatever she said. Really nice lady though. They helped me do the audition and all the pieces of that so they helped me through that.
Did you have any plans of being an actor? What were you doing in New York?
I was just working and hustling. I had a couple different hustles. I was working in the restaurant for a while. I was actually fixing to move out to Ireland and I wanted to find some work abroad.
I don’t know, I just felt like going off and just traveling. I think I had an idea to work on a cruise ship. I wanted to find some work that was like, they pay you to live so you just get to 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 just get off and you got a stack of money.
It’s impressive because your Euphoria character Fezco resonated with a lot of people. I grew up with a lot of Fezcos in Venice; you know guys like that. And you really play him perfectly, so it’s amazing with no acting experience that you could pull that off.
I just went with my instinct 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. And they wanted to work with someone who brought something to the table. 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. They might feel disrespected or something, but it worked out in my case.
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. It was a lot with that scene in particular. A lot of stuff that was written and then freestyle stuff in between, and going back and forth. A lot of the show is that, so it’s nice to have a base written that you can build from. And Sam [Levinson] who writes and directs, he’s really open to ideas and changing up the script or whatever.
The wild success of Euphoria reminds me a little bit of the Game of Thrones in the sense that other than Zendaya, everybody who started on that show was pretty much 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?
I mean, yeah, for me, all those people are like my family now. Even if I don’t get to see them that often. Everyone has their own life and stuff, but I got mad love for all those people.
When you’re together for two or three months filming it’s got to be…
And it’s nine months filming. Eight months per season.
Yeah, it’s a big commitment. So we are doing eight, nine months at a time.
Are you filming right now?
Not yet. I think next year should start.
Your little homie Ashtray, your righthand man. Is that chemistry onscreen there in real life too?
Are you guys boys offscreen?
Yeah. I mean, we’re goofy in real life. We have to act so serious all the time. 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 definitely pretty sad. Even Meeko [Gattuso] who played the drug dealer [Mouse] in the first season, even when he had to go and it happened real quick it was a bummer. He’s a funny ass guy, man. I liked working with him a lot. Went to the Bronx to go see him. But yeah, it’s a bummer when that happens for sure.
When did you find out that that was going to happen? Did they give you the script at the very beginning of the season, or you all just found out at the last minute?
They switched it around the day before. They pitched it a different way the day before and then they changed it again the day before. 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. No, they just kept the last episode pretty private until the very end so nobody had it. 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.
Yeah, it was a pretty crossroads point for sure.
Are you sympathetic for Fezco? Because he was almost getting his shit together…and then his whole life collapses around him. How do you feel about that as an actor playing this role? 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. I mean shit like that happens. Life is precious and delicate. People die in the blink of an eye and it’s nothing you can say or do to make that different.
Amen to that. Let’s talk real quick about the Rockstar collab. What does the campaign mean for you? What attracted you to being involved with this?
Just how inclusive they made me to the project and all around the ideas they were sharing and getting off me and whatever. Just making a cool vibe. DJing, skateboarding, racing, all this cool stuff all mixed together.
How did you like the drifting?
It was so fun, man. 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 get to learn how to drift?
I mean, the guy who won the damn competition, Fred, taught me how to really drift on a more serious level with the clutch and all that. Most cars don’t really have a clutch, I’ve never driven with a clutch. I’ve never driven stick shift, to be honest. So he taught me how to drive stick shift too. But I got a vibe for drifting — in Oakland, like we swing shit out there. Side shows and all that for days, Ghost Ride the Whip, you feel me?
E-40, Bay Area’s finest. Did they invent ghost riding?
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. Definitely put it on your chest and stands on top of that. So we do that out there. We really swing shit.
How did they approach you about the capsule collection? Was it your idea or theirs?
It just happened to be like, they saw that I was being creative with stuff and offered to have me collaborate. It just built from there. I talked to [Creative Director Joseph Au] from Billionaire Boys Club, we just came up with some ideas and go from there. It’s really cool how it happened, got put together.
Did you have input in doing it with BBC over somebody else?
I mean definitely a brand that I like. It was cool to learn from Joe that they started Ice Cream and BBC at the same time. 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? So that would put a new idea in my head too.
Is that coming next?
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.