Angel Pacheco, better known as Almost Decent, is a Los Angeles-based photographer who depicts LA's underground scenes through 35mm photography and VHS. Angel has become a staple in the city, thanks to his raw and immersive perspective on LA nightlife. Tonight is the opening of his first-ever solo exhibition, entitled "MY LIFE", which will feature over 400 photos and videos taken from 2013-2017, and is hosted by LA's Superchief Gallery.
We caught up with Angel to chat about his solo show, crazy stories from LA's diverse underground, and his upcoming plans for the future. Check it out below.
First off, are you excited?
Yea I'm hella excited. This is something I've been pursuing for a year or two and was set on doing it at Superchief Gallery. But they were always booked until Bill, the guy who runs the gallery, hit me up out of nowhere telling me that somebody dropped and they had a spot open for September 2nd, so I took it.
As essentially a curator or storyteller for nightlife and underground culture in LA, how would you verbally describe the scene(s)?
There's obviously different scenes depending on how you like to turn up or what music you like. For me house parties are the best and most fun because everybody's just turning up and the DJ usually plays good music. It's just a fun atmosphere in general.
Then there's warehouse/after-hour parties that go on until even after the sun comes up, usually playing some sort of electronic music (dubstep, house, edm, etc). They're usually packed with older people since it costs hella to get in, and everybody usually off something.
There's store events, most of the time off Melrose or Fairfax, where hella hype kids go and everybody tries looking their fliest. Not the funnest parties though, cus nobody's tryna mess their fit up lol. Art show openings are almost always fun, depending on who the artist is. People go to check out the art and enjoy themselves, and the music is usually okay.
Lastly there's bars. Most are wack, because they never play some real-ass shit. Always some dumbass Top 40 shit that's been banging the last 6 months. Real zZzZz. But there are very few bars that are with the shits and play the slaps.
What's one of your craziest stories?
There's too many to narrow it down to just one. Being out all the time everywhere in LA, you cross the most erratic people. I've had guns & knives pulled on me, mugged, drive-by shit, gang shit, just a lot hood shit because of where I live, but you get used to it since it's my norm. Bitches tryna fuck and have threesomes and do shit in the middle of the street in Ubers. Everywhere they be wildin' smh
Describe these car "sideshows" that happen on Sundays.
It's essentially like Grand Theft Auto in real life lmao. We all just meet up at a certain spot, then the main guy tells us a spot to go to. We pull up, usually a big intersection, and close it off. Cars fill up all the lanes and leave an open circle in the middle, and we start bullshitting lol.
Cops come after a while and we scatter; it's so many of us they can't really do anything more than that. The main guy then screams another location, for example Home Depot - we know which one he's talking about. Cops come, we scatter again till late in the night.
People just be extra as fuck with their cars. Big rims, low as fuck, crazy paint jobs, stupid sound systems. Mainly blacks and Mexicans.
Who are some of your favorite notables you've shot?
Surprisingly, Lil Peep. He was fun to shoot with, very into the shoot, always making suggestions on what to do and being open with ideas. Went down smooth, felt like we were just hanging out.
Why do you feel people are comfortable with you shooting them in potentially some of their most vulnerable states and moments?
I guess I make people comfortable. I can read social cues well, so I can tell if people are uncomfortable or something real quick and change it up. It's important knowing somebody's boundaries and not overstepping them. Unless you're tryna be a creepy-type dude, then do your thing scumbag lol.
How do you feel your photography sets you apart from others in your lane?
Everybody just tryna be on hype and get clout, and photographers' shit made me disillusioned with photography because everybody was just shooting rappers and people on Instagram with big followings. Nothing interesting or with substance, just a copy of a copy of a copy. I be faded af at the function, off the Henny, not even know what I took pictures of until I develop a roll, then I be like damn that night was wild.
Not sure of what's next, but my art show feels like a good cleanse, sort of a "out with the old, in with the new" mentality. I can start a new page in my artistry and explore new mediums, which I have recently been doing with videos.
Would you ever switch to digital?
I feel like eventually I have to, just because it's so convenient and the turn-around is much quicker than film. I've shot digital very few times, like two or three shoots I can clearly recall. It was underwhelming. Each photo feels emotionless like there's not much to it. Since you can just click, check, change settings and repeat that all day until you get a shot you kind of like, as opposed to film. I have a set number of shots that I can't review, so I have to measure the light properly and adjust to that because I can't delete and redo. Every shot counts more.
"MY LIFE" is a free, all-ages show that debuts 8PM on Sept 2 at Los Angeles' Superchief Gallery. Click here for full event info.