Nathan Apodaca is the skateboarding, Fleetwood Mac-loving TikTok star that 2020 needs
Nathan Apodaca is a man of many talents.
Most notably, those include skateboarding down an Idaho highway, sipping Ocean Spray Cran-Raspberry juice right out of the bottle and lip syncing to Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 hit “Dreams.” All at the same time.
But the TikTok star can also bag and stack potatoes, fight fires and embroider beanies with the best of them.
After his aforementioned “Dreams” video went viral on Sept. 25 — it now has 19 million views and 3.7 million likes (and counting) — Apodaca’s internet fame even spiked interest in Fleetwood Mac. Streams for “Dreams” have more than doubled, while sales have nearly tripled since his video became a sensation.
When Apodaca, 37, isn’t introducing old-school jams to a younger audience on the popular social video app TikTok, he works as a laborer at a potato warehouse in his native Idaho. (He was born and raised there, though his dad is of Mexican descent and his mom hails from the Northern Arapaho tribe in Wyoming.)
“We’ve been working ever since the pandemic, getting potatoes out to whoever needs them,” Apodaca told the Los Angeles Times Thursday via Zoom.
As his viral fame ballooned, Apodaca realized he needed to talk to the big boss at the potato warehouse, where his father also works.
“I was like, ‘So, I don’t know what’s going on. I have some things going on where I have a couple interviews. I just need to get this taken care of,’” he said.
“Well, we’re proud of you,” his boss responded. “We’re excited for you.”
Within a few days, Apodaca had an L.A.-based manager fielding interview requests.
The newly minted social media star also casually drops the word “bobbin” in conversation: He knows the ins and outs of embroidery machines well by now, after recently purchasing one of his own.
“I went and bought myself an embroidery machine with my taxes,” he said. “And I started making beanies, and I made like, $1,000 off those beanies, man. And it was crazy. After my machine paid for itself, I was rolling for a minute.”
Those beanies feature Apodaca’s nickname, “Doggface” — in honor of hip-hop legend Nate Dogg — as well as an assortment of his catchphrases, including “DOWN FOO!” and “420 SOULJAZ.”
“I was like, ‘Man, I'mma buy this machine, I’m gonna push this button and it’s gonna go to town. I’m not gonna have to do nothing,’” Apodaca thought to himself. “And then I’m sitting there and I bought it and I went to my lady, and she’s like, ‘Do you even know how to do this?’ And I was like, ‘No, can you show me real quick?’”
The “Doggface” design is also a nod to Apodaca’s TikTok handle, @420doggface208.
“420’s what I do,” he said, referring to cannabis culture. “Doggface is the name. And 208’s where I stay.” (208 is the area code for Idaho Falls, where Apodaca lives and works.)
Back when TikTok was still known as Musical.ly, Apodaca simply went by @doggface208. His two daughters, Makyla and Angelia, persuaded their dad to give the app a try.
His youngest, Makyla, was engrossed in the app when she came to visit from Montana, where the girls live with their mom.
“I seen her doing some of the dances, and I was like, ‘Wow, that looks pretty cool,’” Apodaca said. “And I was like, ‘I know I could do that.’ And then she’s like, ‘Yeah, right.’
“And I was like, ‘Well, watch me.’ And then she filmed me, and me and her started doing it. Then she’s like, ‘Whoa.’ She’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty cool. We actually did it; we made a video.’”
Apodaca was hooked. His carefree, goofy nature translates well for the app and its dance challenges.
Eventually, his daughter Makyla caved and helped him set up an account of his own — just as Musical.ly was rebranded as TikTok around November 2017.
TikTok user @420doggface208 brought Fleetwood Mac’s ‘Dreams’ to Gen Z on Saturday. The song’s sales have since tripled and its streams doubled.
Under the @doggface208 handle, Apodaca tried his hand at “The Git Up,” a dance trend coined by TikTok user Harvey Bass to a song by the same name.
Makyla hopped on her dad’s skateboard and rolled backward, filming him as he grooved along to the country song.
In less than 24 hours, Apodaca racked up 700,000 views and 100,000 likes.
“And I just hear the bling, bling, bling: the likes, the hearts,” he said. “And I’m just like, ‘What’s goin’ on?’ Sittin’ there gettin’ on cloud nine.”
After his first brush with internet fame, Apodaca almost stopped posting.
“Because I was like, satisfied, happy,” he said. “And then my oldest daughter is the one that told me, ‘No, you got followers. You’re dumb if you just stop now.’ I was like, Well, what am I gonna do?’
“She’s like, ‘Well, duh, you always dancing. Just dance!’”
Gradually, Apodaca built up 132,000 followers on that account — until TikTok banned him for a video promoting his merchandise and beanies toward the end of last year.
Not to fear. A self-proclaimed stoner, he switched over to the @420doggface208 account in January, slowly building up a fan base for his throwback tracks and happy-go-lucky perspective on life.
“Everybody always says ‘do more skating videos.’ … I just do me, basically,” he said. “And it puts smiles on faces. And that’s what makes me happy about it.”
In the “Dreams” clip, it turns out, he was longboarding to work after his car battery died.
“I use my penny board when I want to go somewhere real quick, real fast,” Apodaca clarified. “I use my skateboard when I’m messing around and want to try to break my ankle. And then I use my longboard when I wanna go coast.”
Although he’s now famous as a Fleetwood Mac fan (his mom loves Stevie Nicks, he said), the TikToker listens to just about anything and everything. He couldn’t come up with a genre he didn’t like.
“I honestly listen to everything: I’ve listened to country, being in Idaho, obviously,” Apodaca said. “I love reggae. I listen to freakin’ EDM. I like anything that gots a beat. And that’s why my daughters, they always laugh at me. Because it don’t matter where we’re at: If I hear a song, and it’s moving, my body just does what it does.”
That bottle of Ocean Spray he gulps in his “Dreams” video? He buys the big jugs to save money and estimates he goes through about one a day. The colder, the better.
As for that feather tattoo on the side of his head, it represents his mom’s Native side of the family, and contains the Northern Arapaho flag.
“I’m Native-Mexican,” Apodaca said. “I’ve always embraced both sides of my dad’s heritage, my mom’s heritage. Cholo all the way. I live it. I love it. It don’t matter. They can label me, whatever they want, but I’ll live it.”
Not even a week into his viral success, Apodaca is taking the newfound attention in stride. Since Saturday, he has received $10,000 in donations from fans via Venmo, Cash App and PayPal. He’s “feeling blessed,” he says, and plans to spend that money on his parents, car repairs and a new RV.
And his “Dreams” video even made fans out of Fleetwood Mac members. The band’s official Twitter account shared the clip not long after he posted it, with the caption, “We love this!”
“I obviously ain’t asking nothing [from] them,” Apodaca said, “because they put out that genius, so big ups to them. I’m just happy the world can vibe with me on it. And I’ve been blessed by the fans. They’ve been blessing me.”
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