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An interview with Len Enders - The 80's, YouTube and obnoxious teenagers

by Dana Andersen. Published Sat 23 Jan 2021 16:13, last updated: 01/02/21

If you love the 80’s, Len Ender’s YouTube channel is the place for you. 

For almost 4 years now, Len has been uploading his home videos from his years as a teenager and young adult, leading to gaining a following of over 30,000 people waiting for him to provide them with their next trip to the past. 

Considering the videos are from long before they had a real reason to be filmed though, what made him want to pick up a camera and start documenting his life?

“Honestly I don’t really know. I just sort of felt compelled to. No real reason at all. 

"I liked to do weird stuff when I was a kid, like seeing how things change over time. So, when I was really little, I would do things like take a photograph of my bedroom, and then move everything around. 

"I always liked that I had a memory of it, but couldn’t get back to that because the physical place had changed and I couldn’t get back there. Once I started on a video camera, it was the same thing, I wanted to document how everything was knowing it was going to change, and i couldn’t go back there. 

"We finally got a VCR so we could watch movies at home, then I found out the video store was also renting a video camera for the weekend. I want to say it was like 20 dollars for say Friday to Sunday. Once I discovered that I would do work for my dad, plan a weekend, and then go rent it. 

"I never actually owned a video camera; it was always rentals. Later when they were around more id have a friend whose mom or whoever had a video camera, and I’d borrow it. There was no one that had one or was recording stuff, I don’t really know why I did it. 

"At first it was weird. You know how it is today you whip out your phone and its normal. You can whip out your phone in a restaurant and be eating and recording and its normal. Maybe its rude in certain settings, but it's not weird anymore. 

"Back then you were packing around a huge video camera! They thought it was weird at first, but eventually my friends were into it and would play into it. “
 
It may sound like Len’s vintage video diaries had him ready to go for a YouTube career, but he was quick to explain that wasn’t what originally drew him to the platform.

“There were moments where I did sort of think, ‘Hey they’re doing the same things I was doing then!’ but at the time I didn’t know how to upload things to YouTube, so I never thought hey I can take this old stuff and upload it here. 

"I was originally doing a music project that was an illustrated band, kind of like the Gorillaz, where I would do the music and draw the band. 

"I thought as another way to get attention to it, I would upload some my 80’s videos. I had started to see a few things online where people were uploading their 80’s videos, so I thought maybe I could upload mine and link to my music in the video and it might get some people to become aware of it. 

"Then, no one gave a shit about the music I was making but followed and loved the YouTube channel. It was so much less effort than making the music and drawing everything, so i just ditched that and leaned into doing the YouTube part.” 

Unlike other users of the platform though, Len’s videos are often from 20 or more years ago. Although they’re still hugely interesting to watch, they don’t relate to his current life in the way we’re used to from content creators.

“I do find there are people who sometimes, maybe I’m ruining their nostalgia trip a little, in some ways. 

"Me and my friends were kind of obnoxious and immature, and I see other people post their videos from back in the day that are maybe a little more innocent, where as ours, we wanted to be Motley Crue or something, just being totally obnoxious a lot of the time. 

"So, some people just think we were assholes or mean or jerks. They want it to be like Stranger Things or The Goonies. 

"Other times there are people where it is like, you know this was 30 years ago right? I’ve gotten messages where they get mad about like, the video where i talk about us getting evicted from our house being like ‘You’re so cruel, thats screwed up’, and its like, ‘Its fine!’ 

"I’m friends with everyone from that situation, everyone involved thinks it’s funny now. There are people I really have to explain, ‘You know this was 30 years ago? It didn’t just happen.’”

In part two of this interview, Len talks more about the things he kept from his youth, if he'd ever want to 'go back' to those days, and why teenagers now are enamoured by his videos. 



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