Back in the day you had to travel to the arcade and continuously pump quarters into a Galaga machine to get your gaming fix. These days, the best gamers don’t spend their money playing video games—they play video games to make their living. And we’re talking about a hell of a lot more than quarters here.
FaZe Clan started out as a group of gamers who bonded online over their love of Call of Duty, and it has since grown into a massive entertainment empire. In just about a decade they have made the leap from sharing montage videos on YouTube with a mere 4,000 subscribers to being a company worth over $300 million.
Gamers aren’t the nerds stereotypes may lead you to believe—they’re fashionable, inked-up people who wouldn’t look out of place grabbing bottle service at a club. In order to get behind the curtain and see what makes FaZe Clan tick, we were the fly on the wall as two of the OGs—FaZe Temperrr and FaZe Adapt—talked all things gaming, tattoos and more with their friend and fellow gamer DJ Scheme. Enjoy.
Inked: Let’s get the simple stuff out of the way first. How do you all know each other?
FaZe Temperrr: We met on Bumble. (Laughs) Honestly, how did we first connect? I think it was you and Adapt, right?
DJ Scheme: Yeah, we met on Twitter.
FaZe Adapt: We met and he was like, let’s play Fortnite. We played Fortnite and talked a little bit online. Then when he came to LA, like, a couple months later, he pulled up on me and we played basketball. Then I brought him over to the crib and introduced him to the rest of the guys. From there we pretty much have been solid since.
DJ Scheme: Damn, for real? That was the first time we hung out, when we played ball? Yeah, that was the first time we all met. I just remember pulling up, smoking a blunt, and playing with these boys. I was so excited, honestly, bro.
FaZe Adapt: And then you hit three threes. Legendary.
DJ Scheme: I’ve pretty much been a big supporter of FaZe in general since I was young. So I was just into the gaming scene a lot growing up. Then as we got bigger, we were like, “Let’s reach out to the gaming community because we have a platform now. Let’s try to link up with some of these guys we’ve always thought were dope.” So we reached out and they got a lot of love for the music scene.
FaZe Temperrr: We’re the same way, you grew up watching our videos and seeing what we were doing, and we grew up listening to the music. I remember the first time I heard Ski’s music, it was accidental. I had some random public playlist on shuffle while I was gaming, and then I just remember hearing “Catch Me Outside.” I remember hearing the lyrics, “Watch me spin around 360 quick scope.”
DJ Scheme: It’s crazy you mention that, because the scene that I came up in, we referenced gaming, like, in the music. From sampling games to...
FaZe Temperrr: My mind was blown when I first heard that bar, cause before that there weren’t a lot of rappers talking about gaming.
Inked: What was the game that hooked you on gaming?
FaZe Adapt: If we want to get technical about what really got me involved in gaming, I would go back as far as playing GameCube and games like Super Smash Bros and Mario Party while growing up with my sisters. That’s when I realized I really enjoyed gaming and I was good at it. Although, I had no way to really gauge how good I was because it was only playing against my little sisters, but I was cleaning up, you know what I mean? (Laughs)
DJ Scheme: It was the same for me. I played a lot of Super Mario Sunshine, a lot of Mario Kart. It was always a competition between me and the homies. I was, like, a hardcore RuneScape fan.
FaZe Temperrr: RuneScape! Yessss!
DJ Scheme: RuneScape was the first game I got into seriously when I was younger. I might’ve been 10, 11 years old, so I wasn’t too smart yet. And that game taught me about life.
FaZe Temperrr: That’s one of my favorite games of all time. I never got so addicted to a game like I did with RuneScape. That was four years of my life. Super Smash Bros was the first game that I stayed up all night playing. I remember I looked at the clock and it was, like, 5:00 or 6:00 a.m. and I’m just like, “No way we’ve been playing for this long.” After that were [the] Halo [games], and from then on it was Call of Duty.
DJ Scheme: Call of Duty was definitely the big one for me.
FaZe Adapt: That was when everyone really committed to this shit. I had to beg my mother because it was rated M for mature. And my mom is a very traditional mother. She was like, “It’s rated M, you’re 14, you have to be 17 to play this, hell no.” I begged her for months and months to get it for me, and she finally did. That was the first game I really got to play online. I was watching videos prior to even playing and learning about it and figuring all this other cool stuff out. So I think that was the game that really made me fall in love with gaming.
DJ Scheme: I didn’t want to really become, like, a professional gamer until Modern Warfare because like, yo, these guys were putting out videos. I’m sitting at home playing these games and these dudes are out here making up new shots, making up new ways to make the game have a different edge. RuneScape was the one I was super obsessed with, but I think Modern Warfare was the one where I was like, now this can go places.
FaZe Temperrr: It was nuts how it all happened because I didn’t even know that you could make money posting to YouTube. My mom would always take my Xbox away, I was kind of a bad student, so she’d take it away. But as soon as the first check came in, she stopped doing that.
FaZe Adapt: My mom saw me making money online and I was telling her it was from gaming and then she had this crazy idea in her mind that I was doing other stuff...
DJ Scheme: My son’s selling drugs online! (Laughs)
FaZe Adapt: No, she thought I was like doing webcam shows. She’s like, “How are you making money?” I’m like, “Oh, Call of Duty.” She’s like, “Yeah, right.” And she sees I have a webcam and I’m talking to these people online. I guess she looked up how to make money online, and that was a way. So it was a very weird conversation I had to have with my mother. I’m not thotting out online.
FaZe Temperrr: God bless Nancy, man.
Inked: Since you guys started so early, I don’t think it was the money that made you start posting to YouTube. So what was it that inspired you?
FaZe Temperrr: It definitely wasn’t money. It’s just the passion for how cool this shit really is. When we first started out, it was just these montages where you would take your best clips from playing Call of Duty games with, like, a dope song behind it. And then the editing makes it really fun to watch. That was the sauce back in 2010 to 2012.
FaZe Adapt: There was, like, a small community of fans who liked to watch Call of Duty videos, and particularly sniping and trick shot videos. I just wanted to post clips for my friends to see what I did in the game. Like, check out the shot I hit.
FaZe Temperrr: For me, it originated from skateboarding. Cause I bought my first camera and started making my first videos, my first account on YouTube was created in April 2006, and I was posting videos by 2007. At first, I would edit and animate music videos, then I started making skateboarding videos of my friends for a few years. Then I got addicted to Call of Duty. The first time I saw someone do a 360 playing Call of Duty it flipped my world upside down. No way you can do this on Call of Duty, no way you can do trick shots in a video game like this. It brought the whole skateboarding dynamic into Call of Duty. Especially with the humiliation aspect of, like, dunking on someone.
DJ Scheme: That’s what made it a sport for me, bro. I loved watching sports growing up, so when I was able to see these guys playing each other, playing other pros, and you know the initiative is to get to the max amount of kills. And right before you get to the maximum of the kills, you do a 360 off the top. And if you hit it, you shit on everyone in the lobby. It’s more than just a win.
Inked: Who were some of those first streamers that really inspired you?
FaZe Adapt: The one that really stood out was Whiteboy7thSt. He made Call of Duty videos but he would always incorporate random real-life videos in there too. He’d do funny shit, he was just a really funny kid that I loved watching.
FaZe Temperrr: For the record, I’m pretty sure I was the first gamer to show their face and put their life in a vlog. That was back in 2012 when I vlogged my whole day, nobody was doing that at the time. And if it wasn’t for me watching tons of skateboarding videos, I wouldn’t have had a camera initially. I wouldn’t have been so apt for filming.
DJ Scheme: Coming from the skateboarding community is the perfect transition. You literally took what it is to have a montage in a skate video and just applied it to gaming.
FaZe Temperrr: Exactly. That’s what it is, trick shotting is skateboarding in COD.
Inked: We gotta talk about tattoos, right? What was your first one?
FaZe Temperrr: My first one is the FaZe logo right there. I got that when I was 18. Ever since we had 4,000 subscribers on YouTube, that’s when I knew we had something incredibly special. Like, I didn’t know what it was. I couldn’t tell you what it was. I just knew FaZe Clan and what it was that we were building was something unique. I’ve always dreamt that this brand would outlive us and hopefully be like FC Barcelona or Real Madrid and be around for over a hundred-plus years. You know, like, have my kids’ kids be a part of this.
FaZe Adapt: My first one is this camera and I have roses wrapped around and I got that because I just always had a passion for making videos and having fun filming fun stuff outside of just the gaming. I started vlogging in my high school and filming pranks. And I did it every day consistently for years. It was just something I was really passionate about, so that was my first piece.
Inked: So we’ve seen your FaZe Clan tattoo… have you seen any out in the world? FaZe Temperrr: I’ve seen so many, so many. Excluding FaZe members, I’ve probably seen over 50.
Inked: How does that feel?FaZe Temperrr: It’s amazing. There’s really nothing like it. It’s something that I’ve been incredibly passionate about, something we’re all incredibly passionate about, and to see that logo means so much for us on someone else’s skin. That means the world to me.
DJ Scheme: When it’s all said and done with video games, what would you guys like to move on to?
FaZe Adapt: The main priority for me will always be FaZe and whatever we’re doing, that will always be at the front of my life. But if we’re talking about what would be secondary to that, I really like sports. FaZe has already made some moves into the sports world, we’re already making moves to try to get a presence in that world, and it’s something I’ve always been obsessed with my whole life.
FaZe Temperrr: First, I’ll say I’m never going to stop playing video games. Ever. But if there’s something that I want to get into, it’s definitely music. It’s something that I’ve always envisioned myself doing. I’m the type of person that whatever it is that I’m doing I need to spend a boatload of my time doing it, every single day. I’m just so meticulous about what it is that I create, I just want it to sound great. And I want it to be me. I want to express myself candidly and create something amazing.
DJ Scheme: OK, cool. Here’s another question. It’s a good one. I believe FaZe is the most influential gaming organization ever. In what ways do you guys think you have impacted the real gaming culture?
FaZe Temperrr: I think we showed the world that there are no limitations. You can do whatever it is that you put your mind to and fuck what other people are saying. FaZe the fuck up, just do you.
FaZe Adapt: Outside of what Tommy said, and outside of what we did as kids who came up on gaming who tried to turn this into a career, I think the FaZe house in New York really laid down the format for content houses. That was the first house ever with a bunch of kids from all over the world. It was kids from all over who met on Xbox and met up and we lived together and just made content for two, three years. That’s what really blew us up.
DJ Scheme: Since this is for Inked Magazine, I really feel like you guys were the first dudes to really introduce [the idea] that gaming is more than just skinny kids who don’t get exercise and don’t do anything else. There’s so many of you guys that work out, you guys are all tatted up, you guys bring that rockstar element into gaming. How did that come about for you?
FaZe Temperrr: For me, I just always liked art, whether it’s tattoos or fashion or the way someone plays soccer or skateboarding. Everything’s an art form when you look at it like that. Aesthetically, I want my persona and how I look to match who I am. So my tattoos do that for me. Not only that, but they also tell a story. You can look at someone’s tattoos and you can see what they’re about. That is super, super dope. It’s like fashion but it’s not something you can change every day.
FaZe Adapt: It came naturally to me. We came up together and we’re making these decisions around the same time. In regards to tattoos, I was like, “I heard that if you get tattooed you can’t get a real job.” But this is my job. I can pretty much do whatever I want, so I decided, fuck it.
Video: Soben Phy
Groomer: Marla Vazquez
Stylist: Toreno Winn
Tattoo Artist: Nefertari Tattoos