The Gnargore Interview

Interview: James Brewer
Photography: Tim Borrow

Gnargore was started in 2002 by three skaters from the West Midlands. All three were doing as young skaters do and started a local crew. Yet somehow, in its eight years of existence, Gnargore has turned into something much more, and now appear as a representation of the West Midlands scene. Not just a group of skaters that make a video and flog them to ‘Timmy Turnstains’ down the local park, they have become a powerhouse for producing them, with their fifth in the last six years just being released! Not only that but working with local skate shops Ideal and Spine they have come together to organise great events over the years that has really benefited the scene. For all the jip Gnargore get, there’s no denying that there a good thing to have in a scene that finds itself struggling at times. So here’s a little insight to the warped mind of Gnargore ‘founder’ Tom Gillespie and life seen through the eyes of Gnargore.

So first up explain what is Gnargore?

Gnargore is a crew of nobodies that you shouldn’t really of heard of. And if you hadn’t, good. We’re just some mates with with camera, who can’t skateboard very well but don’t give a shit. But we have a lot of fun being shit.

The crews been productive for eight years now, what’s different now to when it first began?

Nothing! Other than producing videos that the shops actually want to stock. Sale or return, you know how we do. Spine actually sold out, so thanks to Chris for that!

In your eight years or skateboard domination, there’s been more internet controversy associated with Gnargore than there was with 2 girls 1 cup. How did that happen and how do you feel about it now?

I think I was a bit keen in trying to promote the first video and got on peoples nerves on the Sidewalk Forum. Now I know they’re all ‘cunts’ so I don’t care. Apart from Steve75. But especially Gawkrodger

Dan Jordan – Treeride

You’re well known for producing mini-edits regularly on the website. How easy is it making these, do feel any pressure from your audience, seeing as this is pretty much the only representation the West Midlands scene seems to get?

The mini-edits are pretty much the stuff that are too shit to be in a Gnargore video. The shittest of the shit. Like drunk dudes and parodies of other internet videos. Epicly Hater’d being a good example of this…

You’ve just released your fifth video in six years, which most will agree is more than impressive. Has this always been the plan, and how has it been filming them?

Five videos is more than enough for anyone. It’s just really a way of documenting a scene with me and my friends. We used to film it on a shit DV camera with a fisheye meant for an SLR camera gaffer taped on. Now I’ve got a proper camera so the production quality has gone up, but the skateboarding hasn’t, hahaha…

You premiered the video at The Mixing Bowl cinema at the Custard Factory in Birmingham. How did that go?

It went really well, better than I expected. The disc worked for a start which was great! I had a lot of trouble burning them all myself and trying to get them to work.. The menu screen kept crashing my computer, so in the end I sacked the lot of it off! I sold all the DVDs I’d made to people and shops and got rid of the twenty-five Wizard Council t-shirt’s too. Wig and I ended up on the radio talking about it!

Joel Taylor – Crook

And how was the response to the video?

Really good. Everyone liked it who saw it on the day! I’ve had people come up to me saying how hyped they were off it too. It was pretty rowdy in the cinema. Everyone had brought beers so there was lots of cheering and shouting!

A Third Foot, Fallen, Witchcraft, Krew and Supra all sponsored the event and we held a raffle to give away the prizes. They were all really generous with the product they sent through, so most people left with something! The ramp jam afterwards kicked off too! Everyone was going all out to win the A Third Foot board. Ryan ended up winning via a vote!

Something that stands out for myself is that the video came across a lot cleaner and with more of a direction than the other video’s you made. Is it true practice makes perfect or was it all an lucky accident?!

Before I edited Wizard Council I looked back on the other Gnargore videos and came to the conclusion there was no particular theme holding them together.

For Wizard Council I wanted to make sure all the parts fitted together coherently. That’s why there’s no titles or names in the video and the gaps between sections are really small. Also, there’s no bullshit in this video. No arty montages or shots. The only non-skate stuff really is some bro shots and some high 5’s as I wanted to keep the feel of how tight the Gnargore crew is.

With this DVD you’ve offered a free zine with artwork from people involved in the project. What pushed you to do this? It’s definately something I have never seen with a scene video before…

It just kind of happened! Me and the other lads have always talked of grand schemes and ideas when we’ve had a beer or two! But this time it really just kind of happened. Wig’s girlfriend Aimee works at the Birmingham University in the Print Department, so she has access to all the screen printing machines. Wig, Dan and some of the other Gnargore boys are talented artists and got together to do some drawings for a zine! It ended up being an 8-page booklet that when unfolded turns into an A3 poster. I was a bit worried the video was shit and wanted to give people value for their money, so the zine was a way of giving that to people! It was also really fun to get stuck in and print. A massive shout out to Aimee for all her help. Without her it wouldn’t have been possible.

Wig Smith – Indy Nosebone

You’ve got rather an eclectic group of skaters in the crew… How does the Gnargore program come to pick up new people? Is it a picky process or can anybody be in?

Nah, you’ve gotta be able to handle Dan Jordan and Tom Hinton torturing you. Hanging out and bro’ing down. It’s not a case of being good at skateboarding. It’s just about being a mate. Powerslides, going fast and a good bbq technique are a must to be on though. Double fisting beers is a requirement at all times as well. Early grabs needed, flips not necessary. Training provided. Apply within.

So who is Dan Jordan and where did the illustrious ‘Porno Denim’ nickname come from?

Dan is a human foghorn, and he is my friend. Porno Denim came from Ben Powell and Nicky Howells when they reviewed the last video for Sidewalk Mag. He’s a girl’s size 0 because he’s a vegan. He is the nicest prick you’d ever wish to meet.

You’re known for skating some rugged spots. Do you look for these on purpose to represent what your into?

There’s pretty much fuck all where we live since all the main meet up spots were shut down. This was right when most of us started skating. So we all pretty much started skating ‘non spots’ resulting in some people calling them ‘Gnargore’ spots. They would usually end up being a wallride or a curb to slappy. The dream being both at the same place. I guess it’s just a case of trying to make the most out of what you’ve got within your range on a Sunday afternoon.

So let’s give some of the Gnargorians their 15 minutes of fame. If I name them I’d like you to give a brief description of them…

Right: James Denning – Backside Flip

Tom Hinton – Tom emigrated to New Zealand with his family, but returned to the UK to go Uni. He’s done with his art degree in Worcester now, so I’m not sure exactly what he’s got planned for the future.. He’s a talented artist and had an exhibition at the Spine Gallery space recently. www.thomashinton.co.uk

Wig Smith – I’ve known Wig for years. He was in an older group of skaters from my hometown that I kind of looked up to when I first started. He’s the last one of that group still rollin’, and we’ve been skating together since back in the day. Wig’s got an enormous book and CD collection thanks to him working at HMV and getting hella discount!

Daniel Jordan – We’ve already touched on the porno denim persona about Dan. He’s also a talented artist, and is working hard on his graphic design work for bands, like logos and thirst and stuff. He won some award for the National Trust at Uni. Kid’s got skills!

Arran Burrows – Arran was the super annoying kid at school in my year, and he happened to be in my form! I’ve been skating with him the longest of everyone. I remember one day when he turned up for school in some Osiris D3s and we all freaked out that he had what we thought were the best skate shoes of all time on… how times change! A couple of years ago he put himself into a coma and nearly died after falling off his board onto his head whilst skitching on a car at the train station. I was really scared for a while that I would lose someone I’d been so close to for so long (no homo). Luckily he pulled through, and can move all his limbs and talk. For a while after he couldn’t! He’s super into his cars at the moment, and has a flash Mazda that he burns out and wheel spins at every opportunity!

James Jones – James is the man of mystery. He is super quiet until you get a few drinks downhim. He’s also got a million nicknames including Nudge, Nudgey, J-Rock, JJ, Jellington etc he used to roll with the Bromsgrove crew, but he moved to Halesowen with his family, and the bus route between the two towns sucks so he hopped crews and chills with us!

Ryan Price – Ryan a.k.a Clever is the raddest kid ever. When I first met him he was about 13 at Perdiswell bowl. he came up to me and was telling me all about his new setup. Most kids at 13 get Grind King trucks or some crap, but he had full-on 149 Indys and an 8.25 Creature pool shape board!

Below: Joel Taylor – Pop Shove

Harrison Thom – Harrison is another artistically talented member of the ‘Gore. He’s off to Uni in September to do Fashion. He’ll whip you up a dress no worries if you want! He’s Scottish so it’s easy to make fun of him. His boot doesn’t work on his car so you have to access the boards in the back via the back seat.

James Denning – AKA Creepy Den because he bought a young girl some crayons in an attempt to flex her! Den has the same camera as me and has been a real help filming double angles or filming stuff when I’m not around. He’s also working on a local scene video called “Shropside”, focusing on the skaters he knows from the Shropshire and Hereford areas.

Joel Taylor – Joel started wearing full on pajama bottoms out skating last year. I’m not really sure why! He want through a bit of a punk phase too. He’s off at University in Aberystwyth, and filmed his entire part about 6 months ago. He really went off on one in the last month before he left. That’s when he did his ender, which is pretty dreamtime.

Tom Carr – Race Carr is from up North and moved down to Worcester. He’s recently moved to Bristol. He’s one of the most stylish people I’ve ever seen on a skateboard. Even in videos!

And of course yourself – I’m Tom. I work at A Third Foot at the moment answering the phones, making the tea and fetching Ken’s lunch. Sometimes we work on some graphics too! It’s a dream come true to work for those guys. I’ve been buying their boards for years before I even knew where the factory was.

With there being a lot of skate companies starting off as ‘crews’ such as yourself do you ever find it tempting to branch this into something more than it is already and start it up as a board company?

I’ve always dreamed of starting a skateboard company and taking over the world, but I feel the market is over saturated at the moment. All these local/small skate companies that open up and do a short run and sell them out their cars at the skatepark are just depriving the more established companies and skate shops who support the scene of valuable board sales. I don’t have anything against people who stump up a grand to get a short run produced and flog ’em, after all everyone has to start somewhere, it’s just not for me.

How would you compare the West Midlands scene to other scene’s in the UK?

It’s hard to say about other scenes, because I don’t really “know” any other scene apart from my own. The West Mids scene is really friendly. I think it helps to not have any skate media industry around here.. There’s not really any sense of competition between different groups, or at least any I’ve experienced. Everyone gets on really well and helps each other at.

Obviously there’s been a lot of scene videos coming out across the UK in the last few years. What would say separates you from them?

I think the Gnargore videos have always been in their nature about raw quirky street skating. It’s pretty no nonsense too. I’m just gonna throw it out there. I can’t stand all this slow-mo, HD camera, dolly rig, city scape time lapse, soft music bullshit. It’s skateboarding, not a car advert! Give me a Thrasher video any day.

A few years back I remember you nearly got hustled by Stevie Williams over some footage you’d filmed of Lenny Rivas, do you care to go into that?

DGK and Reebok did a demo at Creation (Formerly Epic) Skatepark in Birmingham. I was there with my camera and filmed a couple things. When the session was over they wanted to go see some street spots, so we took them up in to town. We ended up at the Smiths rails. I filmed a couple tricks of Lenny on the rail. Stevie came up to me afterwards and offered to buy the footage off me when they got back to the States. I just said he could have the tape out my camera and so he offered to give me some boards in exchange for it. When we got back to their tour vans, the one with the boards and the rest of the team had already left the city. All they had in the van that was there was these massive RBK shoes! I didn’t want to be a dick to him and refuse the shoes so I just took ’em. Suffice to say I didn’t skate in them and just gave them away!

Harrison Thom –  Crailslide

And when is the Gnargore/DGK collabo coming out?

Didn’t you see?! They’ve already “dropped” on Hypebeast last week!

Not only yourself but a couple of the members through the crew have organised events at local parks etc. What motivates you guys to do this?

I guess it’s because there’s no one else out there doing it for us. There aren’t really many tours/events that come through the West Mids for whatever reason, so we just put them on ourselves. I can’t really speak for other people, but I assume they do it for similar reasons. More people should put events on. It’s not hard. A couple of emails to the right people will blag you the prizes. Then you just need a Facebook Group and a thread on the forum and you’re sorted for promotion. D.I.Y!

Is there any inspirations that you think are used when making Gnargore videos?

At first I used to watch videos and study how the tricks were being filmed. Like how many steps down from the top the filmer was on a set of stairs for instance. Sometimes if there was a double angle you could see how the filmer with the fisheye moved to capture the trick. I’m not down for the whole over the top fisheye movement some people are doing! I really liked the way the new Blueprint video was put together. Enough non-skate bits so you got the vibe of the company, but overall it was raw street skating with a great soundtrack. In the past videos, I pretty much let the guys pick their own section music within reason. Arran was trying to convince me to let him have the Hulk Hogan intro music for a while but I couldn’t handle it! For this video I set out with an overall feel I wanted to get across. Grimey, gritty and raw. These values were reflected in the soundtrack too. Dan Jordan helped out a lot with this area.

So what’s in store for Gnargore now ‘Wizard Council’ is done and dusted?

I’m going to take a vacation from filming for a little bit I think and just take it easy. It’s really hard work editing the video and very stressful putting everything together. Maybe around the end of Summer I’ll have a word with the lads and see what they want to do. A few of the guys are off to Uni so it’d be a smaller and/or slightly different crew if there will be another Gnargore production..

And finally is there anybody you’d like to thank?!

Kris, Zippy and Bob at Ideal for giving all an awesome ramp to go to when it rains and for helping us out with the cinema space for the premiere; Fallen, Witchcraft and A Third Foot for sponsoring the premiere; Ken, Joel and Steve at ATF; Ben Powell for being kind enough to review our videos; The Sidewalk Forum geeks, all the locals, anyone who’s taken us to a spot or shown us around their hometown, Wetherspoons, Zac at Crossfire, and to you for reading this crap for so long!

Gnargore’s latest video ‘Wizard Council‘ is out now and available from Ideal Skateshop and from their website. For more inflammation check www.gnargore.co.uk and to have a further glimpse into the Gnargore world check out the video below. Metal.

Carl Wilson interview

Essex boy Potter is one of the country’s leading cosmonauts, with a greater trail of devastation behind him than a Corsa round a country corner. Since getting on Creature he has been clocking up the coverage but perhaps inevitably skating at that level for so long had to turn round and bite at some point, which it did to his ankle a few months back. We checked in with him for a tin of Red Stripe and a shared bag of crisps…but before we do, here’s some words from Creature UK TM and Shiner workhorse Jerome Loughran who we also thank for these wonderful photos that you see in this interview.

Right, Carl ‘Potter’ Wilson…..I so wanted to make something up about him to make him sound all professional etc but, I can’t lie to you! Potter likes to play golf, listen to shit music and can be highly annoying if he thinks he’s right about something and disagree with him about. Yeah I could go on about how he snakes the shit out of his mates but alas I can’t!! Carl is seriously one of the most underrated skaters in this country he can shred on all terrains, we have been on many a road trip together and I have seen him smash the living crap outta concrete, wood and street! Yeah he’s Essex through and through but he’s been wise and listened to all the advice Munson gave him and it’s worked out well, well sort of, he’s moved up from wiping OAP ass’s to talking them for a walk for a job!

Carl ain’t got image pants on or some fashion haircut, he isn’t a DJ or an artist, he’s 99% skateboarder and 1% Essex chav! The guy’s a true gent to know and I am proud to have him repping Shiner’s brands!

So Carl, tell us about your ankle- how bad was it?

It was quite bad, I guess- it’s been four months now and it has still not healed yet; so the docs say. No skating for ages, which is shit; I’m starting to feel like I won’t be able to skate anymore (laughs). I was quite lucky in the fact that I didn’t need to have pins and stuff, as the bone stayed in place… but for some reason it’s not been healing very fast. Which might have something to do with the drink (laughs).

How did you crank it, what was the actual injury and where did it happen?

I was at Skegness at the mini ramp champs messing around on the new street stuff, went to a lipsilde on a rail and landed in a Michael Jackson posse (lol) which made my leg go all the wrong way. I actually drove all the way home got up the next morning and went to the hospital for an x-ray and it turned out that I had broke the out side bone in 2 places which was nice!

Do you have any advice for other skaters reading this that may encounter the same injury

Well first thing try not to poke things down the cast because they get stuck and really fuck you off! Ha! Don’t drink beer or smoke ‘cos it slows down the healing, go to the gym and get them muscles back and just take it easy really. Don’t try and skate on it to early that’s for sure.

So yourself and Ben (Reamers) grew up out in Essex skating with Mark Munson, looking back when you were younger do you appreciate the amount of effort Mark put into you guys in terms of time and commitment?

God yeah man, I would say we owe Mark are lives (lol)- if it wasn’t for Mark we both would be chavs doing loads of drugs and nicking cars (lol). Thanks Mark!

Obviously we all know that you are a massive pisstaker- what was the gnarliest story from back in those days when you guys were on the road where you and Ben would have got Mark into a world of shit to deal with your flapping mouth?!

Oh god too many I reckon! I don’t know really we were always quite well behaved because if we wasn’t then he would have killed us. Ah- there was this one time at Nass when we had a mega phone and this chav wanted a go so I told him to fuck off and buy one, for quite some time! With this the chav got in a bad mood with me and I think Mark had to step in and tell him to fuck off before he broke his neck!

Have you managed to take the Horsemen of the Apocalypse to further reaches other than the Download Festival?

Haha! Nah- not yet! I wished! That was one of the funniest weekends we have all had I reckon. I’m going this year so you never know but I might have to do it on my own unless you are there! (lol)

You better get your shit together as your shirt will be ripped off your back son! Those were good times; didn’t you have to leave Ben in a tent as he was too young?!

Haha! Yeah poor boy, I think that weekend he sore lesbians for the first time, went to his first festival and got lost ‘cos we got him into the aftershock tent and then he got chucked out!

Now that Raemers has spread his wings on Enjoi and éS and rightly getting worldwide recognition do you miss the good old days of the DuFFs crew traveling round the country every weekend?

Yeah they were the best days for sure, all mates having fun and traveling round the world, I don’t think it will ever be the same which is a shame for sure.

What has replaced the buzz and what are main changes as you have gone through growing out of hanging as a team like that?

Erm, when I broke my leg I learnt to play the guitar which I love doing now, other than that just keep going really it can be hard sometimes though without them boys, we had such a buzz around us that you can’t really find again but I still have fun skating with my more local boys.

Your move to roll on Creature decks after leaving Death went down a while back, what’s the future for the UK Creature team and who’s hooked up in the UK these days?

We got Joe Habgood, Marc Churchill, Stu Graham and Munson and there’s talk of a tour sometime this year with some off the yanks coming over. I guess the vibe is to keep doing what we do really- have fun and skate!

If you were given a part in their next DVD, what music would you use and what style of board graphic would you personally like to see under your feet in that slime green?

I think I would have some ACDC or Sabbath, that would be rad on the tune front. As for a board- something like what French did for my Death one actually, I would just get French to do it again if he was up for it.

If you had to pick 3 of the Creature team riders to session with, where would you choose to skate and with what 3?

Stu, Hitts and Partenen at Washington street for sure!

Munson once said that it’s the concrete skaters that set the UK apart from the others- do you agree?

Not really- but I can see where he is coming from, ‘cos it’s like… to skate like Koston is a joke and you just can’t, really. But, to skate like TNT or other concrete skaters… it’s not as hard- I don’t think. It’s like: say you went somewhere that Koston did something and you tried to do it. It would never be as good and it would have just been a joke what he did… but, when you go to a skatepark there are most things that some one has done that you could do. I think it’s just a bit easier to be on their level really.

Most people when they hear your name would associate your skating in parks due to the amount of events you have attended over the years, how much energy went into making your current section varied in terms of all terrain footage filmed for the ‘In Between Days’ video?

Not that much really. Just went out as usual to skate to see what we can get really. The hardest bit was both me and Russ being around on the same days. It took about 6 months to complete all in, maybe a bit longer- but it was just go out once or twice a month to film.

The Essex scene is well represented in this video with a host of rippers, how important are scene videos like In Between Days for your local crews?

They are important for sure cos they show what ever one is up to and what other spots are out there. The scene is quit spread about here really with little crew all over Essex but we try to skate together when we can. The local shop is shit so no one really goes there if they can help it.

There’s a lot of wasteland down there and sessioned by most in this video, do you guys have plans to take it further and build a Pontus Alv inspired utopia?

Would love to build something like that but it would just get fucked up by kids and no one has the money to put in!

Everyone involved in this video skates rough English spots, do you think it makes UK skating harder in general compared to the gloss of California?

Yeah I think it does a bit because a lot of the US. It’s is not rough like here but in the end that’s what we got so we get on with it no matter how bad it is! That’s just the way it is here I think.

What’s the best park in Europe in your opinion?

I’m not sure- I’ve not been to them all, but Malmo has to been one of the best, for sure- endless lines, and days of fun there.

Is UK skating more influenced by America than other places?

Ermm, yeah. I think so, really- it’s always been the way with most things, hasn’t it? Anything the US does we kinda follow. I guess it’s because that’s where all the big companies are based and the rest of the world just does as they say.

Every big skate team in the world seems to be heading to Israel now- what was your impression of the place?

Yeah, they are! I think we were one of the first to go there and do stuff for a mag. It’s rad, one of the best places I have been. I can see why everyone is going there- so many spots, sick weather, good night life, nice people, good beach- the Dead sea- which is so fucked up, if you’ve never been then you should just go for that alone ‘cos it’s mental You’re not meant to be able to float on water: it’s wrong but rad. It’s just a cool place: go see for yourself.

Who are your UK top five skaters at the moment, and why?

Well, I would say:

Ben Raemers– he’s just a beast, really- love that boy…

Kris Vile– same, just a joke and a nice guy.

Barney Page– that kid’s so good you kind of just don’t know what he is going to do on his skateboard

Andy Scott– he’s the man. Best person to watch skate…

Aaron Sweeney– just sick all round, and fun as fuck to skate with.

Ross McGouran– the kid’s a joke, and under-rated, I think. So good.

What’s in the future for you, Carl?

Don’t know really- just get fixed up and go skating, and have fun with my mates, really! Keep doing what I’m doing, I guess.

Any shout outs?

Thanks to Munson for all the years of fun, Russ for putting up with me when filming, all the Essex boys, the Thursday night boys, everyone from Ipswich, Jerome and all at Shiner, Ally Barr and anyone I have forgot- thanks for some good times!

Enjoy Carl’s section in Russel Cowling’s ‘In Between Days’ scene video that is available for only £5, order one today before they sell out at www.monsternetwork.co.uk

Carl Wilson In Between Days from Monster Network on Vimeo.

Potter is one of the UK’s most consistent and stylish all round skaters and considering he comes from Essex and a prodigy of Munson, it’s amazing he’s such a mild mannered and laid back young man. Any girl’s mother would love him and he’d love them (Easy now Potter). I’ve seen him on may occasion go toe to toe with heavy weight contenders and he never backs down from a challenge. The boy punches way above his weight! Flow, speed and tech are some of the words that spring to mind, but he never tells any one his plans, he just lets his skating do the talking. -Ally Barr.

Simo Makela interview

Simo Makela Is the name on many skaters’ lips at the moment. Hand picked by Arto Saari to join himself and Eniz Fazliov as the Finnish contingent of the resurgent Alien Workshop roster, he is also one of the top boys on the Nike SB European programme.

This interview is an extract from the epic Fluff SB project, available at all good NikeSB dealers now.

Where are you right now, Simo?

Whuhuuu! I’m at home.

Helsinki still, huh? Isn’t it freezing and dark at the moment?

Getting dark in a couple hours! And I just woke up, really sucks at the moment, this weather.

No plans for migrating south?

I think I’ll be going to Barca in a couple of weeks, skate with the homies. Lots of friends are going there. If I can just get a hold of Kaspar.

Ah, you want him to pay for it, or what?

Haha hopefully he will. I’m trying my best to make him do so.

You’re gonna get a place to stay or crash at someone’s house?

Usually I just crash at someone’s house. Would be sick to get a place with some friends, though. Have to see what my friend Winkle says, that’s where I’ve been staying usually. Or maybe I’ll see what Madars says. That could be crazy.

Do they know about your feet?

My feet don’t smell anymore!

Really? Did you get surgery?

No, I got some new socks! I don’t know what happened, they just don’t smell anymore!

Haha, you’re gonna make lots of people happy with that. Unless it’s just one pair?

No worries I have a few pairs.

You can also wash them huh?

Also an option these days.

How old are you Simo?

22

And born and raised in Helsinki?

No, born and raised in Lahti. Which is like 1 hour away from Helsinki. But I live in Helsinki now.

Do you have your own place there?

I do. Just moved into a new one as well.

Didn’t you live with a girl that wasn’t your girlfriend, for 2 years and didn’t pay rent?

Haha- I did.

Well, now it’s your chance to apologize and say thank you to that girl don’t you think?

I guess so, THANKS!

What’s her name?

Her name is Ansku, you know that!

Ah you lived with her? Well she deserves a medal. And now you live on your own?

No, I live with my girlfriend.

What do you do besides skateboarding?

That’s a tough one, cause I don’t do much besides skating. Well… I just chill with my friends and party I guess. I draw sometimes as well. Yeaah, thats what I do.

No job?

No job.

So how the hell do you pay for those expensive beers in Finland?

Well there have been some jobs. Not at the moment. Ummmm, that’s what I’ve been wondering too. It’s not too expensive in the shop. But you were always buying Karhu beers, Koff is cheaper. I was trying to tell you.

You guys sure seem to like beer. I have never seen so many kids bring a case of beer to the spot, drink it and then film the gnarliest line. Is that the secret maybe?

Could be. I think you guys are pretty into it too. Or what do you think?

Well we don’t drink as much during skating.

But after skating, it seems to go down pretty swift and easy I must say!

So what’s a Makela day like at the moment?

Wake up, probably go surf the internet waves for some time, kill it on the Spotify, at 3 go to skate park. Leave the park at 8.30 then come home or go to my friend Pablo’s house. He lives on the same street. Now I’ll probably start watching TV since we finally got it working. It’s been a couple years since I had a TV that works.

Let’s talk skateboarding. What made you start?

Same old story I guess. Some kids from where I grew up started skating and I tried someone’s board and after some time of just borrowing their boards my dad got me one. Eleven years ago I think. Or maybe 12.

Who you ride for at the moment?

I ride for Volcom, Nike, Alien Workshop and Ponkes the shop. And Perus!

What is Perus exactly? And don’t tell me I know, we’re trying to educate the people here.

Perus is our posse. Just friends who skate together and film some shit and might even go as far as making a video sometimes. My friend Pirkka has a camera and he usually points it at us if something worth filming is happening. They are also making some boards and wheels and clothes now. So that must make it a skate company too.

Did you ever go on the partyboat between Helsinki and Sweden?

Yeah I’ve been on the party boat a couple times. Good times!

Never got locked up? I heard they have their onboard prisons for rowdy passengers?

Yeah they have. You have to get pretty fucking rowdy to make it into one of those. I haven’t been locked up.

Tell me about the partyboat for those who don’t know.

It’s a big boat that goes from Helsinki to Stockholm. You go there at like 5 and the next morning you´re in Stockholm. Then you spend the day there and go back into the boat at 5. People just go there to party. There’s a bunch of bars and stuff. And when you’re on the boat all the booze and cigarettes are tax free. So it’s pretty cheap, lots of people there and everyone’s having a good time.

Aight Simo, gimme your thank- yous then.

Thanks to Mum and Dad, all the Perus boys, SLP, Taika, Marcel, Deeli, Marius, Mcmanaman, Volcom, Alien Workshop, Nike, Kaspar, Hans, Travis, Colin, Anssi, Teemu. All my friends, you know who you are: THANKS!! That’s it.

Related interviews: Marcel Veldman Fluff SB interview

Dave Snaddon interview

Interview and photos by Chris Johnson

Right, what can I say about Dave, I’ve known him for quite a few years now and can definitely tell you that it’s always a pleasure to hang out with him, be it on a skate mission, chilling or having a scratch session on the Turn tables. Dave’s one of those guys who doesn’t take himself too seriously and after a good stress out session, he can always take the piss out of himself for losing it.

His constant high level of skating has earned him well deserved regular Magazine and Video appearances as well as an array of quality sponsors and a pro board with us at Motive.

Dave never likes to be defeated when trying to make a trick and sometimes goes on an emotional rollercoaster in order to triumph, occasionally resulting in some comedy moments as I’m sure he would admit, but all in all shows a great deal of passion, heart and determination towards his skating.

Besides skating Dave also is an amazing DJ and has also been trying his hand at music production over the last few years which has led to his first record release which will be coming out soon, if it’s half as good as his skating it should be well worth a listen. Peace. – Rob Selley.

Dave, you seem to have been around for as long as most people’s memories can remember, for those of us that can’t remember all the relevant details, where are you from, how old are you and where are you living right now?

I am 24 yrs old, I’m originally from Lyme Regis, but I have lived a few places since then. I lived in Nottingham for around 6 months when I was 16, that’s when I shot my Haunts with Horsely for Sidewalk, then I moved to Exeter for a few years which was cool and I have now been living in Bristol for the last 4 years which has been amazing.

How did you first discover skateboarding in a quiet place like Exeter?

Living in Exeter was cool and a good laugh, I met loads of good friends there and skating was real good fun. There’s not much of a street skating scene there just a few nice parks to skate. Flowerpots is the main one we skated, nothing serious just mellow sessions learning new tricks and stuff.

Below: Kickflip Elephant and Castle, London.

When I was a kid one of the older boys took me to watch an Osiris demo in Bristol, I was about 12 and super excited to see Dave Snaddon and who ever else was there anyway he didn’t turn up and I got given a massive t-shirt with his name on the back and a massive Osiris logo on it. After that demo, I ended up getting hooked up by Osiris and I still have Dave’s T shirt hanging up!!! -Dylan Hughes.

What made you make the leap from the sleepy back water to the one of Britain’s heaviest scene?

To get coverage and take photos I needed to mission to places, Bristol was the main place and was amazing to skate. I needed to move somewhere where there was a better scene as it’s super quite in Exeter, there’s no photographers or filmers. I moved to Bristol cuz the scene is amazing and it’s super productive for getting coverage and there’s loads of chillin’ places to skate and just hang out, there are always amazing filmers like Ciaran O’Connor, who I filmed my Savoir Faire and Motive Skateboards’ Dimensions part, and George, Louis, Shicken who are always down for filming.

As for Magazine coverage, Leo Sharp was always on for missions which was amazing. Bristol is an amazing city, I have met so many friends here and skating is amazing. I live 2 mins away from Dean Lane so have chillin’ sessions down there loads, it’s getting done up by Wheelscape in the near future so it’s going to be 10 times as good, can’t wait for that!

What was the transition like for you? Did you go from undiscovered local lad to the dude getting all the coverage and the hook ups?

When I was in school it was a bit like that cuz to get sponsored living in a sea side town doesn’t really happen that often. We used to skate the sea front in Lyme and was an amazing place to grow up and skate but I didn’t expect at all to get sponsored. I can remember when I got my check out in Sidewalk my friend brought a copy into school and I couldn’t believe it.

My parents were always super supportive and gave me lifts to comps and jams, which was a big help. It was so good getting packages sent too, Matt Law is a legend fully appreciate everything he and everyone at projects did for me. At the minute, I’m living in Bristol there’s a lot going on always projects on the go, I live with Nicky ‘Hammer House’ Howells so were always going on missions filming and stuff it’s amazing!!

Below: Backside 5050 to Feeble Grind, West Brompton, London.

Dave ‘Snaddz’ Snaddon is a unique part of UK skateboarding, he brings to the table a style and standard so original it’s super hard to draw a comparison with any other names in Europe. His Epic pop and super human balance is only matched by his over the top sense of humor, undoubtedly the funniest person I’ve ever met. This winning combo of original, natural talent on a skateboard, and a personalty to match, is what makes Dave one of the best, and he’s gonna be here for a long time to come, upping the level of British skateboarding all the way.-Layth Sami.

Apart from the recent Motive DVD and other related trips, what else have up to as far as traveling and filming?

Well Dimensions took quite a while to film and towards the deadline it took some serious effort to get things finished to a standard we were happy with. I had like a week left to film some enders for my part so had to go out with a head on to get some good shit. Since it’s been finished I have been chillin’ for a month or so, just going out skating and having a laugh, nothing serious. We also do some work for Wheelscape skate parks where we go to a new park they have built and skate; make an edit to promote them, which is really good.

As far as filming goes haven’t really filmed much in the last month, there is some DC stuff coming up which I’m filming for soon and in the new year I’ll get back out with Ciaran, Rye, George, Lui, Shicken to film some new stuff. I have some footage in the Bristol’s Finest DVD but only a few tricks I think, that video just came out this week and is sick with new stuff from hammer house Howells and some awesome stuff of Flynn! I just got back from Barca, went there for a few days skating, just chillin’ though which was nice, no pressure to film, just did loads of Ollie’s and 5050’s ha ha!

Right: Switch Frontside Flip, Dublin.

Obviously Bristol is known for its music and D’n’B culture, how did you discover and get into making music and what’s the deal with the record you’ve got out on release?

I got into music when I was quite young. I always listened to Hip Hop, Reggae and stuff when I was younger. As far as mixing and producing…. I started mixing about 8 yreas ago and started producing about 4 years ago.

I used to play out a lot when I lived in Exeter playing Dn’B which was cool but there’s a lot more happening music and skating wise in Bristol.

I play out a bit in Bristol but I’m trying to get my head down and get some good tracks on the go before I push the music stuff. I have a track called ATTACK which I did with Interface which is out round about now on Chronic Records, Bryan G’s label, getting played by quite a few DJ’s on Radio 1 Extraand DNBTV etc stoked out with that.

Now Snaddz is on another level of comedy stress far far beyond the rest of us. Hockey Temper Kerry Getz & Anthony Van Engelen might be able to chop down a sign post with the edge of the board or smash a deck clean in two with a well aimed cricket-style fast bowl, but Snaddz is a true innovator with the despair of filming…It seems he sucks up all of the world’s anguish and focuses it through himself in one outburst, with my personal favorite was the solemn delivery of “I just can’t express how angry I am” before burying his face in his hands. -Ciaran O Connor.

Do you get as obsessed when making music as you do while skating? And, can you draw parallels between the two creative forces?

I am obsessed with both skating and making music and they both take up a lot of time, but the way it goes is skate in the day, eve, and make tunes at night till early morning or all day when its raining. I love mixing and scratchin’ to so I’m always doing something, don’t really watch much telly unless it’s The Inbetweeners or Family Guy haha! Both are well creative but nothing can beat going skating!

What are doing as far as getting money to pay the bills? Does skating alone sort this out or do you, like most, work a job on the side?

As far as getting money I get some help through sponsors which is amazing and I’m fully lucky to have that, in the summer I didn’t work just got by but meant I could do whatever which was amazing especially as Ciaran was about loads so just went filming everyday, but now it’s winter and raining all the time I’m working to try get some money, got bills coming out my arse though so got to be done.

Below: Nollie Flip Backside Tailslide, Meanwhile 2, London.

Dave Snaddon has serious pop, facial expressions and beauty of a tash! He’s a cool fellow team rider of Motive Skateboards and DC shoes with bags of talent, a wicked sarcastic sense of humor and who is a joy to skate with. Big up the Snaddz! -Leo Smith

Like most of us, it’s been the best part of a decade (or more in some cases) since you left school and the majority of your class mates are deep in career and ‘family’ land. How different do you think your life would be if you’d never discovered skateboarding and are you always conscious of the unique opportunities for travel and experience that it continuously offers?

Yeah I look on Facebook sometimes at people in my year from school and they have full on careers and a family and stuff which is cool, but I still feel like I just left school so not up for that stuff. Skateboarding defo took me on a different path, I have seen so many places because of it, and traveling filming doing productive stuff is the best. I have had the best times looking back now traveling about with a crew, my first trip abroad with Osiris with Matt Law, Stu Graham, Gibsy and stuff. I couldn’t believe i was out there for free just skating and since then been so many places so its definitely unique.

What are your plans for the future as far as Music and Skating are concerned? Are you looking to move more heavily into the music world or try and balance the two?

My plans for the future are to get back on the filming photo missions next year filming for the next Motive DVD, Sidewalk DVD and DC stuff. Get to all the comps and jams and stuff as they’re always a laugh, and keep skating learning new tricks. Dean Lane is getting re-vamped next year so going to have a perfect block and manny pad to session which is gonna be amazing. Music stuff I’m going to keep pushing it and hopefully next year I’ll have some more stuff out, get my name out there and start playing out more, keep learning more production. I’m gonna put a mix tape out next year I think so I’ll work on that. Get my Darts up to scratch as haven’t played for a while ha ha!

Below: Backside Flip Fakie Nosegrind, Dublin.

What about your geographic location?

Bristol is sick so gonna stay here, I would like to go traveling for a bit but see what happens.

Cool, well that about finishes us off then Dave. Who would you like to thank and give a heads up to?

Heads up to all at Motive, DC, Shiner and stuff. My family, My girlfriend Lizz, everyone i skate with, all the Bristol crew, Big Up!!!

Snaddz is a cod but he’s fucking savage at skating! -Nicky Howells.

David Jasseppi Torgatelli slurpin meatball suckin’ Southerner. You don’t get a much crazier combo than that! If ever you’re lucky enough to be in the presence of him when he’s on one, you’ll quickly realise, with tears streamin’ down your face, that he’s the funniest guy on the planet. -Dan Wileman

Watch Dave’s section in the brand new Dimensions DVD from Motive Skateboards here and follow your nose on YouTube for the rest of the film.

Paul Regan interview

Interview by Chris Johnson
Portrait by Richard Chung
Photos by Rob Salmon and Alex Burrell
Footage by Neddy

Motivation! That’s the first word that comes to my mind when thinking of Regan. Why? Well, I’m still a bit new in town you see and one of the first bits of advice I was given when first setting foot on the British Isles was to go and visit Yorkshire, but never to go and visit either Doncaster or Hull. The well-meaning insider then proceeded to paint what at the time sounded more like a Russian prison then your picture perfect British countryside town. So, motivation is the word because Mr Regan is hardly put down by his fate of coming from the dark side of Yorkshire. Instead, you’ll easily see him catching the first seat out of town, going places, putting in his clean, tech, pop fuelled skate style to good use. -Mathieu Tourneur, Revival Distribution

So Paul, let’s start things off in the usual manner. For those out there who are unaware, give us your vital stats.

Easy mate, I’m Paul Regan, I’m 21 and I’ve been skating for about 8 years. I’m originally from Bradford but my skating was born in Hornsea/Hull. I skate for DVS Shoes, Girl Skateboards, Royal Trucks and Revival

Coming from such a cold, wet and windy place as Hull, how did you initially discover skateboarding in the North East?

Well to be fair Hull isn’t as wet as some places, it’s fairly dry most of the time but when it rains, man does it pour! It doesn’t rain nowhere near as much as Manchester for example, as Hull is at the end of the Pennine trail, whereas Manchester is right in the middle! I first discovered skating through a friend at school; he then introduced me to the Tony Hawk game, so my mate Luke and the Birdman got me hooked!

Right: Huge Backside Ollie: Photo Rob Salmon

Wow, The Birdman!! I too have Tony Hawk to thank for one of my earliest links to the outside skate world, but for me it was his first class ‘skate acting’ in Animal Chin. How did you make the transition for bedroom and local skate park lurker to getting your name out there?

Ha, sick man, yeah you’re showing your age there dude. I can shamefully say I’m of the Tony Hawk skateboard game era, stoked! Dunno really, it just happened?

Like as a skateboarder you enjoy learning new tricks and going new places and once I broke out of my town and into Hull city centre, I met other people… it just went from there. Later, I met Scott (Palmer) at 4 DOWN (defunct Hull skate shop) then as the years went by, started going places with mates and eventually places with Scott. A while later, I passed my driving test which opened up my world, giving me the freedom to skate all over.

Who were your main influences when you were finding your feet? Did you look at the guys in the US or more familiar homegrown heroes like Scott Palmer?

Well obviously before I met Palmer, I looked up to US pro’s such as Mark Appleyard, Marc Johnson, Daewon, Koston etc then I heard Scott’s name through people and at that age, I think I was about 14, I started looking up to Scott and everything he was involved with at the time. That’s how I got so stoked on UK and European skateboarding. Congratulations to Scott and Rachael on their 2nd born baby by the way!

Right: Threading the needle Kickflip: Photo Alex Burrell

How did things with DVS start off? Did you hit the comp trail hard or put out a heavy amount of YouTube edits?

I was hooked up via word of mouth, really. I got asked for some footage by Mathieu (Euro DVS Manager) and my shop sponsor sent it in about 3 years ago. A while later I got a text from Sam Culshaw (UK DVS Rep) saying they were going to hook me up, it was only a flow deal at the time and I got sent a pair of shoes a month.

From there, I worked on getting footage out there and traveling around to a bunch of events before my Haunts, as a result I got a place on the UK team which I’m super stoked about!

What are you doing with yourself when you’re not out skating? Are you in college or gettin’ stuck into some graft?

Well I’ve finished College now, so looking into a uni course at London Southbank doing Digital Media Arts, start that next September if I get in. I got laid off from my job, but I’ve been doing bits here and there working on HGV’s to get by, I’ve applied to Rubicon Skate School to be a teacher for skateboarding in schools. Hopefully I’ve got the job, just waiting for the CRB check….fingers crossed!

Tell us about the skate school. Have you any experience of mentoring before? And how do you feel about being a Big Brother type figure for younger kids?

Well It’s run by Rubicon and Geoff Else is one of the main people involved as he set it up, I just applied for it online after hearing people teaching skateboarding, so I thought what better job could I get really, so I just went for it! I’ve helped kids out in skateparks and stuff, always had a chat with them if they asked questions about things, tricks or what have you. I think it’s standard really to help anyone out if they ask… hmm- I guess being a big brother type figure would be quite cool, it’s a good feeling when someone looks up to you, it makes you feel like you’ve actually done something good to help someone. It’s always good to give.

Right: Crook pop over to Manny: Photo Rob Salmon

How do you think you will adapt to the hustle and bustle of London life?

To be honest I feel ready for it. My life has changed so much since I was 18 and nothing feels as it was to me here up in Hull no more, it’s like a ghost town to me now!

Everybody has left and gone in different directions and being here now just doesn’t feel right any more ’cause it used to be so lively every time I was out or when I went skating with my friends in the town centre on a Saturday.

Nowadays you’re lucky if you see a skater or 2 in town on a Saturday, it’s just like the era that I loved so much has died….

But yeah, enough about the past, here’s to the future. Every time I’ve been to London I’ve had the best times, it’s so online and alive, it’s definitely what I feel I would like around me now and London has so much to offer, too.

Well mate that is life and that is skateboarding, the part timers fade away and the strong survive. I remember being gutted when all my mates faded away at 21, now skating with people ten years younger is the norm. But surely thats what’s so great about our scene, that age isn’t an issue and difference is embraced?

Oh yeah definitely, age doesn’t seem to make a difference in skating, which is a good thing. It’s just a strange thing when good things change that you’re happy with and you end up getting swept away down a path you weren’t expecting to go down… but still definitely on the past, it’s such a weird feeling. I guess that’s why it doesn’t feel right to me no more up here and I need to make a good change for myself? Definitely a strange experience, that’s all I know, just gotta go with the flow of things, I guess.

Right: Switch Backside Ollie: Photo Rob Salmon

It sounds like you’ve made your mind up and that the few years you’ve had out from education has given you a good grounding on which to go to Uni on, instead of just following the masses at 18. So, do you have a bunch of mates in the London scene already to hook up with when you head down?

Oh yeah for sure, it seems right anyway, when I was down there in August this year I was thinking about it, and it just clicked really.

Yeah I know I wasn’t ready at 18 to go away to Uni, as I had my life in order… everything was good and then it fell apart (laughs). It all came at once, though, the skate scene dying, girlfriend leaving me, just fucked me up. It was after that when I really grew up and went into work and the real world, it sorted me out though!

Yeah, yeah, for sure, got a fair few good mates down in London, which is a bonus as well, because it’s not like I’m going somewhere I don’t know or don’t know anyone. So it’s good on that front, plus London is where it’s all happening most of the time!

So where do you see yourself going on from Uni and London? Do you think you’ll call London home in the long term or use it as a stepping stone like many others?

Not really sure yet. It’ll be like a three to four year course if I end up doing a Masters at the end, so we’ll see I guess. I really enjoy being in London though, so if I’m at home there then I’ll most likely stay but at the same time, really want to go travelling after Uni too. Maybe in time I’ll be doing that with skating anyway, who knows… can’t really say at this point in time and I just take it as it comes these days.

Right: Feeble Grind: Photo Rob Salmon

Well, maybe after 4 years juggling Uni, skating and more than likely a part time job in London, you’ll need a bit of time out travelling to sort your head out before the ‘real job’ starts. Any ideas of where you want to go? Somewhere you can skate, or escape all you know?

Yeah true, but hopefully the real job will be fun so it won’t be too bad! I’ve always wanted to travel around Europe, then some places in America like California, S.F, L.A and I would love to visit New York too. Maybe even Australia one day, they all look amazing to skate and just to visit.

Well mate, it sounds like you’ve got a firm grasp on reality and know where you want to be!! Finally, give a shout out to all those that have helped and continue to help you along your way.

I would like to give a big thanks/shout out to Mathieu Tourneur for hooking me up good with DVS, putting me on a GIRL flow deal, and giving me Royal trucks, cheers mate, appreciate it so much.

Cheers to Gustav for sorting out GIRL/Royal packages, you’re doing a good job mate, thanks for sorting me out good each month with boards and being interested in my skateboarding, Russel Laird when he was the Girl TM at the time cheers. Thanks to all my mates: you know who you are, cheers to Salmon/Burrell for taking the photos keep up the good work, all the rest of the dudes down at Revival, Matt Anderson cheers for giving me those GIRL clothes that time! Thanks to Crossfire for the interview, and of course Neddy for filming and editing the chiller park edit. Inabit, keep smiling!

Big thanks to Richard Chung, Rob Salmon and Alex Burrell for the RAD photos and Neddy for the bangin’ footage!

Mark Whiteley interview

Interview by Crossfire
Images by Mark Whiteley
Portrait by Joe Brook

Mark Whiteley has done it all in skateboarding: videographer, photographer, and for the last God-knows how long he has been the guiding light behind the seminal skate magazine SLAP.

As well as having launched the careers of countless skaters over the years, he has managed to keep a parallel existence as a photographer, a passion which stretches back not only through his own life but that of his predecessors too.

With a new book of his photography (This Is Not A Photo Opportunity) just launched, Crossfire tethered him long enough to garner some insights on skateboarding, the ever evolving nature of photography, and what style actually means.

I think I’m right in saying that prior to you ever having taken a skate photo you had already sold work from your college years- why didn’t you just leap into the world of commercial photography straight away?

Not exactly- I started taking photos at maybe 14 and started shooting skating immediately because skate photos are what got me really interested in photography. But they sucked, so really I didn’t shoot anything that could be considered remotely decent skate-wise until I was in my 20’s. The work I was doing in college was based in photography but very mixed-media with paint, collage, writing, heavily influenced by Robert Rauschenberg and the Starn twins.

I did sell some work from then and got some nice art award stuff, and I was intending on just applying to grad school and pursuing a fine art career, who knows how that would have gone, it’s a real tough world, but I got offered the job at SLAP because of all the contacts and friends I had made from my days as a video filmer and because skating was always my number one love I decided to take it and do it just because it seemed like a fun thing to do for a while. And also because I didn’t really know what else to do at the time, grad school seemed a little overwhelming and I didn’t have the experience to work as a professional photographer at the time. I never expected to be here as long as I have been and I didn’t think it would become as serious of a job as it became, but I also never expected I would get as much out of it as I have, either.

Right: Matt Field Ollie

I read your points about black and white photography in your Level interview, is there a danger that black and white becomes a kind of visual shorthand for artistic seriousness, in the way that Super-8 film of seagulls does for video?

Definitely. That’s a good parallel. Anything that’s become a signifier of one thing in particular is in danger of becoming a cliché. But that’s not to say it shouldn’t be used, just be aware of how you use it and how it can be perceived. With the advent of digital, black and white film has become almost strictly for “art” and that adds to the rep even more, but having been raised on shooting black and white film to me it still seems just like the basics, something that works for everything. But yeah, I get your point. I could see shooting black and white film in older film cameras becoming the next fixed gear bike craze for hipsters.

Joe Brook- simultaneously the best loved and least celebrated photographer in skateboarding?

Hmmm. Definitely in the running for best loved, I’ve never met a single person who had a bad word about Joe. It’s impossible not to love the guy, he’s hilarious, tells the best stories, works harder than anybody else, is totally reliable, just solid as it gets. Least celebrated, I don’t know, the last few years have been good to Joe, people are really recognizing how good of a photographer he is and how dedicated he is to what he does (see his new Guest model on Krooked out right now). Working for SLAP has always kept most of those who have worked here in the shadows because it isn’t a place that was in the limelight of skateboarding, nor often showing the limelight of skating.

We never had any Atibas here, but I think it’s good because I think it gives a true connection to the average skater, and it keeps us honest. A lot of amazing people have come through SLAP over the years and some have gone on to get a lot of recognition, but I always thought the underground qualities of SLAP are what made it the best mag. So, huge shout out to Joe for his beautiful work, his dedication to what we do, and his friendship.

Right: Jamie Thomas

Has the advent of digital photography created a new generation of professional amateurs in the way that the death lens did for filming a decade ago?

What I think it’s done is shortened the learning curve considerably. Massively really. It used to be when you were learning you’d shoot a roll over however long it took, save up money to get it processed, take it to the lab, wait a bit to get it back, and then see what you screwed up but maybe not remember what exactly you were doing at the time and have to guess and start again.

With the instantaneousness of digital, you shoot it, see if everything looks right half a second later and adjust on the spot. You learn real fast what works and what looks good, and so as a result there’s this huge new generation of photographers who got it figured out in a matter of months versus a matter of years. I guess you could say it’s watered down what it takes to become a good photographer if you’re bitter, but I think it’s provided an opportunity for people to become better photographers faster, and that’s good. I think my own photos have benefited from it for sure.

If the first rule of journalism is ‘write yourself out of the story’, what is the deal with visual journalism? Should filmers have magazine columns? Should photographers have signature backpacks? Or should they strive to be invisible and keep the message distinct from the medium?

It goes back to what I was saying earlier about us staying out of the limelight. I think our job as chroniclers of skateboarding is to make the skaters look the best they can, or provide the most honest look at things, not to get in the picture ourselves. It’s nice to be recognized for doing something well or that people appreciate, but it’s the skaters who should be the focus. I don’t think many people got the lesson on writing yourself out of the story in the last decade. And I think it would be awesome if more people subscribed to the Lance Dawes philosophy of ever-evolving pen names.

I’m guilty of writing a lot from my own perspective and presenting it that way but I’m not trying to draw attention to myself in particular, but to present the experiences I have as a representative of the average skater. My book of photos is certainly something that points directly to me as well, but it’s presented as a collection of work separate from the skate mag itself, so I think it’s in a different realm. All that said, photographers and filmers have some of the best stories to tell from being out in the wilds with the weirdos for so long that they do deserve some attention from time to time.

Right: Modest Mouse

Slap more than any other title is synonymous with style, and yet you dress like a destitute crab fisherman- what are the rudiments of style?

Fuck you very much! Style is an ephemeral thing with countless definitions, but regardless of if you’re talking about skating or fashion or what have you, personally I think it’s about making whatever you have to work with your own, rocking it with pride, and developing it over time so that it becomes simple, refined, and even more natural to you.

I love skaters like Kenny Anderson or somebody with undeniably “good” style as much as the next guy, maybe more, but some of my favorite skaters ever have weird style by most conventions, Paulo Diaz is a prime example. I love his style, and it’s far from smooth or clean, but it’s so unique and powerful, and I guess that to me is style: being unique and powerful.

TINAPO is noticeably light on action photography-is there a second tome to come, or do you feel that all your best stuff has already seen the light of day via Slap?

A good chunk of the photos of the book saw the light of day in SLAP before the book, so that’s not really the issue. There’s only one “skate” photo in the book, and I chose it more as an artistic photo than a skate photo. I purposefully left all the skate stuff out because I wanted the book to be able to exist and be seen on a more universal plane. Everybody can understand a nice portrait, but very few people can appreciate a good 360 flip photo. I feel like my stronger work is the portraits and “lifestyle” stuff anyhow. I think I took some decent skate stuff over the years, but I do think I’m better at the kind of thing in the book. That said it has crossed my mind to do a skate collection of my stuff but I haven’t moved on it yet. Maybe I will, I’ve really enjoyed the whole process of making the book and it might be fun to do again with a different focus.

Right: J Mascis

Slap held an exhibition at the Lausanne Grand Prix (Switzerland 2002) which was very well received- would you consider another as a way of breaching the digital divide?

Consider another SLAP show? Definitely. We’ve actually done several since the ones in 2002 and they’ve all gone over really well. Right now we’re working on a small book of the best, of type from the first year on the web, to put the strongest photos from the web era in a more classic photographic presentation, to remind people that we still have banging photography going on even though it’s not on paper every month, to give the photos their due and to give people something to hold in their hands from time to time. That’s still important even in this new realm we exist in.

Is it possible to take an abstract digital photograph without tweaking it subsequently? At what point does digital ‘re-touching’ become outright cheating?

I’m not sure I follow. Are you asking if it’s possible to take a digital photo that has abstract qualities to it without using photoshop to change it after the fact? Sure it is. Using photoshop is a choice, you can shoot digital and just print it or post it directly as is without any manipulation, that’s easy. But why? Was it cheating when photographers would manipulate a photo when printing in a darkroom, via burning and dodging, or toning? It’s just improving an image, whether it’s via printing or via photoshop, but yes, only to a point is that true. Where that line is is vague, and I think it’s up to each person’s own conscience to know when they’ve crossed it. There’s one photo in the book that I feel like I crossed the line on, but you’d probably never guess it…

Some people are more comfortable about having their photograph taken than others, does that say something about them as people, or is it purely shyness?

Yeah, I think it does, but on a case-by-case basis. The people who I think are the most together as people are the ones who are comfortable in front of the camera but aren’t overly hungry when in front of it; they don’t mind being photographed but they don’t put on a show or make a spectacle of themselves, and they don’t put on the big, fake auto-pilot smile that most people put on when a camera comes out. They just show themselves as who they are, and that’s what I’m trying to connect with as a photographer trying to make a portrait of a person- their true self, and to show window into that.

People who are overly shy in front of the camera might sometimes have either low self-esteem or are too image conscious, both of which are hard things to deal with for them and for me. Shooting portraits of people is my favourite thing to do and each person is different in terms of how to approach them and make them feel at ease enough to show themselves in a way that I get a feeling for who they are if I don’t already know them, but that’s my goal. I want to get the feeling of the person in a picture, to go deeper than their surface appearance.

You have seen all the great generations of SF skaters- who is (or are) the best of all time?

It’s hard to deny the Carroll/Sanchez/Jovantae/Kelch/EMB era, those guys were so innovative, influential and raw. It’s pretty much gotta be them, they ruled the world at that point… BUT I really love the mid-90s SF era, when the Deluxe guys were destroying: Huf, Daher, Fowler, that whole era is where my heart’s at. Skating and filming with guys like Drehobl, Shao, Field, etc was a treat for me. AND you can’t skip Tommy Guerrero. He put SF on the map.

Best of the current breed?

Let’s say Busenitz. But there’s a lot of rad skaters in SF again.

And who is the best guy who never did anything in the limelight with it?

I really hope Brian Delatorre gets more notice.

Years ago you did an issue where you tipped Rupp, Selego, Appleyard for future stardom which all came to pass. You ran the earliest Janoski coverage (that Sacto grass gap switch flip) …who today is the guy who you think is destined for greatness?

I don’t know if I can say there’s one guy destined for greatness above everybody else, but I can say Nestor Judkins makes my personal all-time Top- Ten list amongst the likes of Gonz, Jason Lee, Julien Stranger… I really love the way ‘Tor skates.

The musical odyssey with Guerrero and Barbee: was that the best trip ever? What are your memories of it?

One of ’em, for sure. I have tons of great memories from it… waking up and realizing I was on tour with TG and Ray Barbee. Recording them playing in hotel bathrooms in Mississippi. Doing a guitar duet with Ray Barbee on a song I wrote. Getting my ass handed to me by Ray in a game of all no-comply SKATE. Getting to skate with Matt Rodriguez every day. Going on the guided tour of Graceland with everybody except Matt, because he didn’t want to support the oppressive legacy of Elvis Presley. Matt’s commentary to signs on the sides of the roads. Watching TG shred so hard on what might have been the last trip that he really was going for it on. Being in New Orleans pre-Katrina. Eating alligator. Skating Duane Pitre spots. Just on and on. Yeah, maybe it was the best trip ever.

Lets end up with some old favourites: favourite companies?

Ever?

Yes.

Wow. Chin-era Powell Peralta, H-Street, Early World, Video Days-era Blind, Alien Workshop, Virtual Reality-era Plan B, Real, Stereo, Illuminati… Metropolitan wheels, Habitat, and Enjoi.

Favourite videos!

Video Days, Memory Screen, A Visual Sound, Eastern Exposure III, Man Down… I really like this new video from Japan called Night Prowler.

Favourite forum posters…

Gipper, MexicanSpaniard, Kamltoe, Star Whores, Nancy Chin The Manicurist, Grim City, Nick Dagger, Kilgore, Tarquin, Sleazy, SFblah, Upgrayded, My Penis Is On My Forehead, Forks/Knives, Vegan Shawn. 1992… there are too many to name them all. I really enjoy the whole situation on there.

OK final number. Bring back Forties: Discuss.

Forties was a state of mind. Julien Stranger, Reese Forbes, Karma Tsocheff, Ray Barbee, Jerry Hsu, Bobby Puleo, Ethan Fowler, Tommy Guerrero, Mike Daher, John Cardiel, and on and on. Just quality at every step. Anyhow, I seriously doubt DLX will resurrect the Forties carcass, but it could STAND for something in these trying times. A lot of the purity from that era is gone, and the Forties name would bring some of that feeling back. But given how the return of many other previously deceased companies has gone, I’m gonna vote for letting it stay done. It’s probably one of the only logos I’d wear, though…

This Is Not A Photo Opportunity is available from Gingko Press or on a limited run of discounted copies via the Slap online shop

Vaughan Baker Interview

Interview and Portrait by Chris Johnson
Photography by Sam Ashley and Chris Johnson

In around 1996, I’d heard about some young Worcestershire Wizard who was blowing minds and not long after we had a ramp down the Custard, got to witness the lads ‘potential’ and he blew minds with all manner of ramp magic.

I was due to shoot some shots with Wig and we headed to Detroitwich (the legendary Droitwich Spa transitioned brick banks) to shralp the banks, I believe it was Vaughan’s first proper link up with the ‘Skate Media’ and to be fair, I’m still to this day stoked to have been around on such a magical evening of discovery and skateboarding for both of us.

From that day forward, Vaughan’s been through the fickle upper echelons of ‘so hot right now/rollercoaster of yay & nay boarding’ and to be honest he’s come out the other side with his pride intact and true love on his side…Long may you shine VB!

-Bob Sanderson

So Vaughan, for all of those who are unaware, give us your vital statistics.

Right my name is Vaughan Baker, originally from Worcester and I’m 30 years old now!! Errm I’m currently skating for Emerica shoes, KR3W denim, Slam City Skates and I get flowed Girl boards from the kind guys at revival.

You’re living in London right now, how are you managing with the often-tricky juggling act of skating at a high level and working to pay the bills?

Shit, yeah times have been real hard of late, skating fell on its arse basically hey? I mean earlier this year, I guess I got messed and shifted around by various people and found myself with no money and then in finding a ‘real job’ which quickly ended being made redundant…I’ve had to hustle like fuck for the last few months, but I think personally juggling skating and work is great cause I ain’t got all my eggs in one basket anymore. I think the worst thing is that I don’t get to travel so much anymore which was always a perk!

Can you describe a typical day in the life of yourself? And how have your daily duties changed over that past few years?

They have changed so much and still do from day to day! Since I’ve not been working so much I’ve been trying to skate as much as possible, making the most of it before I start work again…..But money is definitely a worry for sure! A few years ago, I was living sweet earning enough to have an easy life. I mean the full time jobs I’ve been working pays a lot less than what I did skating and that’s really gnarly!

Below: Frontside Nollie Bigger Spin, Majorca: Photo Sam Ashley.

Do you still have the same work ethic and direction towards coverage and all the other responsibilities affiliated with someone in your shoes that you did in the early days of being pro? And are you more in control of your movements now that you are a free agent?

Well yeah I guess I do right now yeah! Skateboarding has been a major focal point on my whole life to date. I mean it’s easier right now cause I’ve had a lot of the pressures from companies lifted from my shoulders. I was having a tough time at one point with injuries and personal pressures and I couldn’t manage skating on top of that! I guess that didn’t sit well with the powers that be. When I began to feel ready to get more back on it again, things had changed and I found my place wasn’t there as much as before. But I’m feeling it more than ever right now, with personal goals and achievements to fulfill, I intend to get about as much as possible!

Going back to the early days of your sponsorship, you were fortunate to get hooked up by the legendary Pete Turvey with Duffs, then with Converse, and finally you have both found a solid home at SoleTech (Emerica for you). As your longest running TM, what sort of a working relationship do you guys have and has it altered over the years?

What can I say?! Pete has had my back since day one, he is one of the most solid people in the UK and European skate industry and has helped me out of a lot of sticky situations man! Its’ a shame there aren’t more like him like him out there. Cheers mate!

When you’re not jumping down stuff on a skateboard, what other activities do you feel your time with?

Errm, I’ve been up to so much random shit of late, working all sorts of jobs from set building to kitchen porter so on and so forth! But, I guess I just listen to Music, read and draw a lot. Aside from that, I just hang out with the pirates at my house getting faded and watching horror films ha ha!!

Hanging with your house mates? Word on the vine is that you have recently moved in with Birmingham’s very own 80’s Skateboard legend, Jagger. Are you constantly reminiscing and have you managed to re-kindle his Skate flame?

Jagger’s skate flame is always alive!!! His ankle is shot though, it sucks man. It’s weird cause we come from the same scene but from entirely different generations so we have our own memories of the same places.

Right: Frontside Flip, Majorca: Photo Sam Ashley.

While we’re on the subject of Birmingham and history, how did a young lad from the sleepy backwater of Worcester first get hooked up and who can be held accountable for helping this?

Well I started skating for Ideal Skateshop through Bob, Zip and Kris after a mini ramp jam in the Custard Factory in Birmingham and then I guess Wig (Photo Editor of Sidewalk Surfer at the time) caught wind and started heading up to shoot photos and stuff and it kinda followed from there really!!

It was so sick around those times man Brum was super good for street skating and we’d all do trips to Northampton with those guys and Benny, with Andy Evans filming and shit. Definitely helped me along man.

I can remember a few Worcester road trips down to Bristol to stay at your house there with Rushbrooke, Manzoori and the others in about 98. What are your stand out memories of the early Una-days?

That house was sick also it was the first time I’d lived away from home and with people who were really influential to me! Mike man!! That dude is so sick at Skateboarding and in my point of view way ahead of his time! But, Unabomber was I guess the main memory for me was just Frank’s fucking shitty mini that we used to go on missions in and it would always break down. I remember at the time he had no driving license so he used to wear a tie thinking that if he wore it the police would think him a better person and lessen his chances of being pulled over. We did get pulled over eventually ha ha ha, but I guess Frank, Mark’s and my sections in Unapromo came from those road trips, so dire but so awesome!

With injury being the main ruining side affect of skating and you with your fair share of what could have been skate-ending breaks etc, how have you overcome both the physical and more importantly the bottle destroying mental one?

If I’m honest, it’s taken a long while to get back to a standard that I’m comfortable with! It seems that I can skate how I used to again right now and having Stockwell down the road has been a blessing that place fuckin’ rules! I’m just older now so it hurts more ha ha ha!!!

You’re back on it? We’ve noticed!! On the subject of coming back and re-entering the consciousness of the public, you recently attended the UK Champs at Corby and reminded most people that you’re still out there. How did you find the event and how different do you find today’s’ events to those such as Northampton and St Albans?

Its so good to see a lot of these new guys growing into themselves, Ross and Kris, Grove and Man Head to name just a few, These guys right here are setting a new standard in this country and its amazing to be around them. It’s got me so stoked. Skateboarding now as opposed to the late 90’s is just different ennit! You can’t really compare the two and a lot of old faces aren’t around anymore!

Below: Fakie Flip, Birmingham: Photo Chris Johnson.

Secondary to that and equally as impressive, you managed to fight against the uneven cobblestones of the Alley and claim the title of Slam Game of Skate winner. In that sort of situation, is it more luck that judgment or is it a case of age and experience (a bag of tricks spanning a host of skate phases) prevailing?

Errm, I dunno mate. I play skate with these guys all the time so I just went in to have fun and I guess it was fluke!

If you were to pick up a copy of Sidewalk from the late 1990’s, there’s only a handful of its featured riders still skating, let alone still skating at sponsorship level. How do you feel about your journey through life over the last ten years and how different do you think it would have been without the opportunities that Skateboarding has presented you with?

Wow! I think I’ve been blessed to say the least. Ive ridden for two very influential British Board companies, traveled the world, met and skated with amazing people and come back from a fucked up string of hurdles and still be able to skate and have good friends holding my back!

Finally, what are your plans for the future? Can you always see yourself Skateboarding on some level and whom would you like to give the appropriate shouts to?

After a massive dark patch I feel like I want it again! I would like to thank first and foremost Mr. Peter Turvey for always looking out for me, always! Also, all the other guys at sole tech who have helped me, Henry Clay and all the other guys at Slam City Skates, Mathieu at revival for the skateboards and Ben Bodilly at KR3W. And I guess all my friends and family….Cheers!

See Vaughan smash the mini ramp to pieces this coming Saturday at the Crossfire Halloween Massacre. If you can’t wait for Vaughan’s highly anticipated part in the future Sidewalk Dvd release, then check out his most acclaimed section from First Broadcast a few years back.

Andy Evans – Heel Toe Magic Interview

After fifteen years of challenging the rule book and smashing down the walls of the domestic skate film industry with such classics as Chillin’ and Straight to Video, ANDY EVANS is back with his latest DVD release.

Heel Toe Magic is jam packed with innovation, skate acting, late flips and more tricks per second than other release to date! We caught up with him on the eve of it’s retail release to find out the method behind the madness and celebrate an opposing stance to the dominant production ideology.

At what point in the cycle are you consciously filming for the next video as opposed to just ‘filming’ filming?

Well when you start one of these things I think there comes a point where you start to see what could be possible after you’ve filmed a few bits. Obviously at the start of ever project you feel like you have a mountain to climb, but you know the climb can be a very enjoyable one with minimal need for oxygen tanks so it’s always very exciting. Also if I get a few silly ideas in mind that always gets me enthused. The catalyst for this video could easily be attributed to Churchill doing his seminal impression of Munson at the helm of the Starship Enterprise bellowing orders…. It was brilliant, such a strong and stupid image I couldn’t get it out of my head. I just really wanted to make it into a reality hence the need for a vessel to place it in. And so the video began.

Right: Sam Beckett Rocket Airs way above Mount Hawke’s coping: Photo CJ.

You are pretty strident about countering the overly serious aspects of capital ‘S’ skateboarding, what’s your take on that?

I think to an extent I probably am. When you look at the overall attitude towards making skate videos these days its seems to be more common to take these projects overly seriously. This attitude obviously reaps good skate footage but personally I feel it nullifies some of the best things that can surround a good time out skateboarding. It doesn’t seem to have a good balance.

Also, considering skateboarding is sold to us on being this free thinking individual “do what you want” activity there certainly seems to be a lot or rigidity in the production of the media. Legit spot legit trick etc which seem to be a massive oxymoron in the mix of things. The idea of certain things being legit and certain things not legit would just seem to be trying to push things in a singular and controlled direction.

Surely whatever trick the skater wants to do and wherever he wants to do that trick would be “legit” . Even though from an aesthetic point of view it’s obviously good to have a variety of locations I don’t think it’s very positive to get so hung up about that. If the skater is doing their trick the best at your local skate park block then that’s the best place for him to do that trick and there is nothing wrong with that. I think the skaters have a much better idea than the filmer of what is good skating, as they are the people actually doing it. They know what’s hard or interesting and enjoy pushing their own skating in different directions but their ideas aren’t always listened to.

I’d rather work with the skaters than try and dictate to them, it makes the process a lot more enjoyable for everyone. The main reason I got involved with making videos was that they have an amazing energy and could be used to illustrate all the good things that exist within skateboarding and be a catalyst for lots of fun times. This is something I feel has become a little lost with the enforcing of the present rigid skate video production guidelines.

Do people from outside the UK respond positively or do they just wonder what it is you think you’re playing at?

I know what you mean! Particularly with some of the sketches the humor its very UK based so I thought they would create a big question mark for people outside of this country. But I have been pleasantly surprised with the responses I’ve heard back from people outside of the UK. They do appear to get into it as odd as it might seem to them. Ben Powell told me whenever he sees Mark Appleyard he usually greets him with the phrase “Tapestry bitch” which is most amusing. So it’s translating OK- I think.

Right: Ben Raemers Frontside Air at last years War of the Roses in Blackpool: Photo CJ

The new breed of British champs are all keen to film with you above more serious projects, is it hard to convince them or are they up for the cup?

They don’t really take a lot of convincing. People like Mike, Ben or Kris I’ve know for years and they seem to keep coming back for more. Minimal pestering is required on my part and I’m just so flattered they want to be a part of it, to be honest. Without their input it wouldn’t be anywhere near as good or fun.

A lot of people have said that Greg Nowik’s part is a standout. Do you have personal favorites that you try to coax into pushing themselves like Mariano did in Fully Flared?

I like all the skaters I film in a variety of different ways. I usually tend to focus in on people who fascinate me with their approach or attitude towards things. I do love people who have strong ideas about their own skating, and you can almost see their personality shine through in it. That side of skateboarding has always intrigued me massively.

As far as Greg goes he’s been one of my favorites for a long time. I was fascinated by the way he skated from the first day I saw him. His style, energy, enthusiasm and seemingly bottomless bag of tricks, all executed at maximum tilt is just so, so impressive and infectious to watch. Greg is pretty inspirational. He’s killed it since day one and shows no signs of slowing down and he definitely was going all out for this part. As far as coxing the best skating out of him…hmmmm…well Greg is one of those skaters who thrives on pushing himself and isn’t happy unless he’s learnt 10 new tricks that day. The process worked by just asking him what he wanted to do and we would go and film it really. We would often have a trick list session to see what new ones we could come up with but as with most skaters it just depended what he was in the mood for doing that day.

I think when a lot of people see Greg skate they can’t help but be affected by the energy he gives off when he’s destroying a ramp like a kung-fu movie in fast forward. I think I just wanted to illustrate and bring that across as best I could and I’m glad it seemed to do that well. Check him out at this year’s Massacre for his skills, he will be there for sure.

Where did the monkey suits come from and how do you begin the process of persuading people to make arses of themselves?

I’m pretty well known at the fancy dress shop that’s for sure. It’s become a bit easier to convince people to dress up and do silly things but that still sometimes is the hardest part…phrases like ”Go on it will be funny honest”/ ”no one will know it’s you, you’ll be wearing a cardboard box on your head” often come into play. I’m lucky my friends are such good sports though. Again it wouldn’t be the same without their input. Ben, Marc, Bob, Munson, Steve and Horsley are some of the funniest people I know and their ad-libbed comedic input into the sketches really makes them what they are. I give them a general direction and then let them run riot within it….. That approach usually works the best.

Munson seems to be in line for an Academy award- but why does he keep saying ‘cake’?

Munson is like a human special effect. His screen presence is unrivalled…. I was absolutely made up he decided to play himself after he deemed Churchill’s impression of him to be “a bit harsh”. He viewed the script and decided it was the part he was born to play. He actually turned down a lead role in Lethal Weapon 7 to play this part…or so his agent told me. I hear he’s in the running for 2 Baftas and a Golden Globe for best portrayal of a shoe company Team Manager. He really was a good sport and had us in stitches during the whole shoot…the outtakes are priceless. As far as Cake goes…. I just think it’s a new swear word he was trying out.

Do you have all the skits in mind at the outset or do you just wing it as you go along?

For this one I actually figured the sketches out pretty early. I got more and more into the idea of making it work as one story so was keen to make them all link together. There is always quite a big dialogue with the people in the sketches and they all have a big input into them. In particular heavy contributors for this one on the ideas front were Marc and Mike who seemed to come out with all sorts of weird and wonderful ideas. My job was just to bring them all together into a vague order.

Is there a dream cameo that you’d like to get in the next one?

Dream cameo? Oh God…. So many….. Maybe Steve Olson’s brown romper suit…..possibly get Sheckler to “double pit to chestying” everything in his wake….hard to say… The real Brian Blessed would be on the wish list…. Although Churchill’s impression is getting better by the day…..Young Blessed?

Your props were cheap and shoddy- why can’t you spend a bit of wonga on them instead of spending it on advocaat and tumbling dwarves?

I think you’re watching the wrong video. My props aren’t cheap and shoddy at all. I think you will find it’s all part of the style …I can’t keep this up – they are pretty bodge job! I need a budget…perhaps a cardboard box and sticky back plastic sponsor would be they way to go. Will make some calls.

Check out our review of Heel Toe Magic here, watch the official trailer below and go grab a copy from your local skate shop now!

Lance Mountain Interview

Questions: Crossfire and Ray Calthorpe
Photos: MRZ and Lance

Portrait: Heel Bruise

Lance Mountain is the best friend skateboarding ever had. From riding for Variflex at the very start of the 1980s, to being one of the Bones Brigade, skateboarding’s original super- team, right through to being on today’s only true super- team in Flip, Lance has never strayed from skateboarding.

Where generations fell away only to come back later and try to rescue us from ourselves, Lance never quit, or specialized or re- invented or pigeon- holed himself. He competed in the era where competitions mattered, demo’ed right around the world when demo roadshows were the only game in town, he’s got street, he’s got vert, pools, the lot. What Lance understands primarily is that skateboarding has no prefixes: street, veteran, legend…you are either in or you are out.

Skateboarding in all its forms, first and last and always. Lance has always had fidelity for the activity itself in his heart first and foremost and it is this truthfulness of spirit which sees him venerated today as he was way back when. The other thing that is refreshing about him is that there is no nostalgia for a bygone era which never existed. Lance understands that the greatest thing is skating, and the greatest time in skating is right now, always.

He has had many parallel roles in his career- actor, 411 presenter, owner of The Firm, designer of some of the greatest graphics of all time, but always he has been a skater first, and always he has been whooping ass- take a look at that new Skateboarder cover and remember that guy has been taking the spills that pay the bills for 28 years straight and counting.

Can’t stop Lance Mountain.

So the Bones Brigade is year’s ago now but do you like the fact that kids still talk about it today because of Youtube?

It is great to be a part of something that has had such an influence on skateboarding. Don’t know if I could be here now if I wasn’t.

What were your fondest memories of that era?

The early years when things were changing skating was trying new stuff. Different guys were popping up with new things, anyone could win a contest, everyone was trying to figure out what this was, going to promote something they loved. It was creative, scary, and unknown, nothing had been proven to work yet, so it wasn’t contrived.

Do you still hang with the rest of that team now and then?

We see each other here and there.

Who is closest?

Steve and I were and still are the closest probably.

We took your autograph in 1988 on the UK Bones Tour as you skated Latimer Rd, what do you remember from that trip looking back? Including the demo at Livingstone as well?

I had been skating for almost 15 year already. We were going through the motions with skating at that time and things were changing. We had been doing the same thing, demos, contests, same ramps, tricks to make a living. New skaters were coming up and skating was getting interesting in a new way, street. I didn’t know where I fit in, wasn’t interested in riding the same thing over and over and knew it would be impossible to keep up with the new style of skating. But I wasn’t going to stop what I loved. Generally, it was a bit of a rough time.

Do you know much about the UK skate scene these days? Web nerd on that shit or not?

No, I used to try and stay informed on everything as much as possible when I owned my company but since then I guess I have dropped off the intelligence map.

What skateboard company around now comes close to that vibe the Bones Brigade had?

It is just a way different time and vibe now, what was done then can’t be now.

Did you ever get sick of the acting?

There were times we wanted to get our skating filmed because we new the acting stuff would take long, but the non skaters could leave and we would have to skate later when we were tired. But that is how skateboarding pro goes, it was worth it now that I get to be in this situation today even talking about it. Most skaters whole deal is acting now, I just don’t care if I admit to it.

Could you ever imagine a session with the entire Brigade for old time’s sake? Has it happened of late?

I think Tony was trying to set something up, it will happen one day with all of us at once.

You ran The Firm, what is your best memory of those years at the helm?

The relationships with the riders, the creative parts, just being able to stay involved.

I guess life is easier now you are not running a skate board company as it must demand so much time, are you generally skating more as a result?

Yes, for sure.

What’s the daily pattern for Lance Mountain?

Last year it was wake up, have tea with my wife, take a bath, read the word, go have lunch, film from 1-4, have dinner, go on a walk, go to bed. Pretty simple.

Upland, Whittier or your current backyard set up?

All different and great at they’re own time, although I could say Upland hurt the most.

Best (skate) thing that ever happened at Mountain manor?

Jeff Phillips ally-oop ollie channel.

Did you shoot your video part in your own backyard for the Extremely Sorry section?

Yes.

You must be stoked on the return of all that hard work surely?

I like hard work as it always opens the doors for more. The response from the kids has been real encouraging and it means a lot.

Are you loving your section?

I think it feels right, more the feeling you have when you start skating and the reasons you do rather than what you get caught up in once you get with the in-crowd.

How long did it take to put together?

I had a year and a half but I broke my arm and it took 9 month before I could skate and a few months of being scared still.

What trick do you wish you had in there but didn’t make the cut?

540, kick flip Indy, frontside invert fakie, I didn’t make them. If I did some of the other tricks that shouldn’t be in would be out with those filling the space.

What is your fave trick from the section personally?

I like the first line because that is the essence of pool riding. I think only the ones who have tried to do carve lines without lifting your front wheels up to do double doubles and figure 8’s can understand, to everyone else it looks boring.

How does it feel to travel the world knowing kids are stoked on it too? It’s been the talk of the town!

Overwhelming really, I’m so grateful to them that I still have the opportunity to have some influence to younger skaters or even do what I love.

What was your fave premiere so far, you did all of them right?

They have all been really different but the response has been the same. In London they were singing along to Geoff’s part! He would have been touched if he were there.

Bob’s Megaramp – ever fancied it?

It was pretty fancy wasn’t it, unbelievable.

How come there’s a shot of a large cat being shot in the Extremely Sorry video?

I don’t believe it is in the video just the premiere? I think it was a sleeping dart.

Were the whole team behind that decision?

No one saw anyone else’s parts until the premiere.

What was the full story behind the infamous yo-yo Schultz/Gonz incident at Munster?

Just Mark being hot and I was being nosey. Mark was way ahead of skaters at that time he could win any contest with his tricks. We were teasing Mark that he wasn’t going to win because he would choke. He did, so he went out and tried to show us that he could make his run but it was during someone else’s run, it was one of the first times USA skaters had come to Germany contest and I got mad at Mark because I thought all the skaters thought we were disrespecting them, that’s all. That night we locked him out on the balcony in the rain, so he asked for his jacket, I soaked it in the bath tube and gave it to him. We are friends even if it sounds like we weren’t.

You’ve done so many graphics, what’s your favourite ever?

I really don’t know, they seem to me like a learning experience for the next one.

Does Cyril still skate?

Yes he rides with his friends.

Is there any chance of the Titus skate band re-forming?

It has a new name, Indian Wig

Do you still take skate photos?

Sometimes. Not as much now that there are so many good photographers and digital cameras.
(The 2 photos on this page featuring Steve Alba and Eric Koston were 2 of Lance’s personal favourites that he shot.)

5 of favourite things to do ever that are not associated with skateboarding?

Spending time with my Wife and Son and his wife.
I enjoy fellowship with my Christian friends Ray Barbee, Richard Mulder, and others, keeps me grounded because it can get crazy out there.
Movies/Snorkeling/Motorcycle.

Top 3 albums of all time

For skating in the USA these albums changed everything:
The Clash – London Calling (although I think Give ‘Em Enough Rope might be better).
Ramones – Ramones.
Devo – Are We Not Men?

Top 3 skate videos of all time

Skater Dater.

Video Days.

Dogtown Z-Boys.

Top 3 Flip tricks of all time

Frontside Flips

360 Flips

Backside Flips

Looking back into your skateboarding life, what would you be most Extremely Sorry for?

It has all been good, not sorry. We only have a short time with people you meet, make it count. When we look back at what we did with the time we had will always be the biggest question.

Checkout Lance in the long awaited and highly anticipated new DVD release Extremely Sorry from Flip Skateboards. Lance features alongside other living legends such as Rowley, Penny and Rune as well as some of the latest teenage talent to break through State Side.

And, if that’s not enough for you, check out the current issue of Skateboarder where he has an epic cover proving once again that age and experience still mean a great deal within the modern Skate world!

Mark Nicolson Interview

Interview and photos by Chris Johnson
Portrait by Rob Galpin

Nicolson has been on Death pretty much from the start, that’s over 10 years. Skateboarding has always been his number one priority in life. He is shredding harder now than ever, and his original yet methodical approach to how he skates as well has how he edits has been a pleasure to behold for many years.

Both his skating and editing skills are frequently overlooked but Mark has done some seriously innovative skating and made on a LOT of really sick vids and edits over the years. Just some of his work includes all the Big Worms/Motel 6 videos, Dan Cates Day in the Life for UKVM, Death adverts for Viewfinder etc, some of the Death ‘Day in the City’s, Squadrophenia, all the Death Big Push sections, and ‘Better Than Life’.

So many people must have laughed out loud, or got psyched to skate whilst watching footage that Mark has sprinkled his magic on. So raise your glasses to Mark Nicolson. 100% Skateboarder. Thanks for capturing all the good times and memories so that they will live forever.’

-Nick Zorlac.

So Mark, first things first, you’ve been riding for Death Skateboards for ten years now. How did you first get on and how have your views of sponsorship changed now that you’re a seasoned Pro?

At the time I was approaching 17, living at my parents house in Hoddesdon and due to some flukey St Albans and Radlands comp placings I got hooked up by Big Worms shop in Harlow and local a company called Crafty Clothing (R.I.P.). After being on a flow deal through Big Worms for a while, Nick called me one day and straight up asked me to be on the full team! I am sure Cates had something to do with it as we had just returned from a contest in Cork, Ireland and I’d managed to do all right there.

I wouldn’t describe myself as a ‘Seasoned Pro’, maybe a seasoned skateboarder! (18 years skating this summer), but being a ‘Pro’ has always been just a bit fun. Don’t get me wrong, I am truly grateful that Nick thinks I deserve a board with my name on it and I try as best I can to skate good, get coverage and represent the company, but there’s no way I think of myself as much of a Pro as Koston or someone!

Below-Bluntslide-Spain.

As Death has grown as a company, it has diversified and now has a full international team consisting of American and Australian pros as well as a cross section of British talent. How different is this from the early days and do you ever get a bit Star struck when the big international Death names come over?

The early days were crazy because no one had any expectations of what we were doing. Nick was running the company purely for fun and the team riders were being selected on how much of a laugh they were to go skating with, their sense of humour, how much they loved skateboarding. Look at Adam Moss and Rob Smith for example, those guys were sending sponsor tapes to us and no other companies! They wanted to ride for Death or nothing! Robs sponsor tape is on the Escape from Boredom DVD. I remember Nick saying, “This kid is a nutcase, we better send him some stuff!

Adam was sending us a new disc every couple of weeks! The first few were pretty good, but nothing too crazy. As time went by we just couldn’t ignore it anymore! Especially when Nick noticed that in one of the clips he was wearing a Devo t-shirt. I think that was the final ingredient that Nick was looking for! Look at him now!

Nowadays those values still stand as strong as ever! But of course when Nick is giving you boards that are paid for straight from his own pocket, you gotta give something back. People don’t take 5 boards a month and sell most of them or something; we take only what we need. Having Richie and Melcher on the team is great as they have done a lot for us and definitely have love for Death. They could both get on some other companies with more pay if they wanted, but they are repping harder than ever and its a humbling feeling to know that they feel the same way we do about things.

After a bit of a coverage hiatus due to a heavy amount of filming and editing duties based around Better Than Life and the Big Pushes over the last few years, it seems that you have been trying to clock up the air miles with four trips within a year to such places as Turkey, Berlin, Cyprus and Madrid. Was it a welcomed change and be able to concentrate fully actually skateboarding without have the role of Filmer round your neck??

I have always battled with the skateboarder/filmer thing, and the coverage hiatus was kind of self-induced. I wanted the whole video (Better Than Life) to be as good as possible and if that meant sacrificing some personal skate time to show the world how good the guys are then that’s what I had to do. Don’t get me wrong, I was skating whenever I got a spare 5 minutes if something was rendering, but at times like that, sacrifices need to be made and the company as a whole is more important than me!

I have always handled most Death related video stuff because I always had an interest in videos and editing, and there isn’t really anyone else who wants to do it. I still really enjoy the editing side of things but nowadays I’m just not that into sitting at the bottom of some stairs holding a camera all day!

We have officially started working on the next DVD, which I can reveal is going to be called Ordinary Madness. I’m so psyched on it and have been trying to get as much footage as possible with filming/photo trips to other countries now my top priority. I’m so excited about this new video; we’ve got Jake Martinelli aka Jake Shunt from Harlow in charge of filming duties. He came on his first trip with us a few months ago to Madrid and I got so much footage cos I skated all day every day!

Above-Ollie out to 5-0 Bash-Cyprus.

Over the last few years you have become a solid member of the Harlow Massive and from what I can gather, pretty much live at the new TF. How did the move come about and how has the new park changed the scene for the better?

I have been skating in Harlow since about 1996 and have always got on with those guys. We all know skaters come and go, some give up, or move away, some end up on hard drugs some just fade into obscurity…I’m sure most skaters over 20 have similar stories of friends that peaked a bit too soon. Nowadays I’m am the oldest guy at the park! It’s funny cos up until about 5 years I was the youngest!! Last year I moved into my girlfriends house about 5 minutes drive from the new park and it’s so sick that a lot of the youngsters are already getting really good!

Below-Noseslide to Crook to Manny Backside Revert-Turkey.

Like many other member of the British Pro ranks, you can’t rely on skateboarding alone to pay the rent. What else do you do in order to get by and is it hard to juggle the two?

I avoided getting a proper job for so long. Living at my parents house and struggling to get by on sponsors alone. I actually believed that I would never be able to handle proper work! Nowadays I work part time at the Motel 6 warehouse, which is hilarious. I pack the EBay shoes so if you buy any and get sent the wrong ones it’s probably because I am hung over or something. Standing up for hours on end packing shoes gives you time to think about tricks, spots you wanna hit etc, so by the time I get finished I’m super psyched to skate and make the most of my free time rather than sitting about bored.

What’s been the most enjoyable and which has been the most stressful video to make?

I have found that pretty much every video I have ever made has been stressful. Better Than Life was gnarly because there were so many parts to do! The entire time Cates was telling me “it’s not going to be finished in time, what are we gonna do?” – he had no faith in me at all! Just about got it done though, with about 5 hours to spare before the premiere (seriously).

Every one of the Big Pushes were tough too, literally 4 hours sleep a night for 3 weeks. I was living at the Death house and would be still up editing pissed as a fart from the night before when it was daylight and everyone was going to work. Squadrophenia was by far the most enjoyable but equally as stressful. Having never made anything remotely ‘documentary’ style, we kind of made it up as we went along, watching Dogtown and the Z-Boys every couple of days to make sure we were on the right track!

What has been your favourite Death board so far?

The one I skate now for sure! It’s a basic skull team board but its 8.4 inches wide, its perfect! Boots rides them too. I thought about going slightly bigger, maybe 8.6ish but I don’t think they make Fury’s wide enough!

Below-Frontside Bluntslide-Turkey.

What’s your favourite photo that you’ve ever had run in a mag?

Is it lame to say a sequence? Probably the coffin grind in Milton Keynes from my Haunts many moons ago, it was a Wig Worland sequence (On film, before digital!), we were kind of out of light but he said if we shot it anyway he could process it a certain way and make it OK. It turned out cool!

If it’s gotta be a still then probably the switch flip down the ice rink gap which was also in MK. Leo Sharp shot it and it’s probably the best thing I’ve ever done. It was definitely not fun trying it as I never skate drops, and was convinced that it wasn’t gonna happen. I was psyched Leo had come out and I felt obliged to keep trying until I couldn’t walk. I couldn’t skate for nearly 2 weeks afterwards! I would like to thank Leo for his patience on that one!

What are your plans for the future? Continue working within the Skate industry or move over into more mainstream and more financially viable form of film making?

I think I would get bored editing something other than skating. I’ve seen many people turn hobbies into their jobs only to get burnt out on it in the first year; so I honestly think I’m gonna stick to skate only stuff. These days I’m just focusing on my skateboarding and trying to do as little editing as possible. I consider myself to be a skateboarder and the video editing is just a necessity because if I didn’t do it then no one else would! Actually, I have no qualifications in video stuff so I don’t think I could do it even if I wanted to!

So Mark, time for the obligatory thanks, props and high 5’s!

First and foremost a massive shout out to the captain of the ship Mr. Zorlac for all his help over the last ten years! Cates and the rest of the Death riders, they’re like a family and we all keep ourselves going through the rough times. Pete Turvey and everyone at Sole Tech for all the help with Etnies. Hemming, Dibble, Monk and all the Harlow massive! All the filmers, photographers and other media massive for your time and patience over the years, my girlfriend and family and to everyone out there for supporting us!

Check out some tricks shot for this interview at the Harlow park above and also Mark’s section from the latest Death DVD release ‘Better Than Life‘ below. Here’s a tribute from fellow UK film maker Andy Evans too:

Mark Nicolson has made some of my favourite UK skate videos. His ability to bring across an exciting and fun skate atmosphere while incorporating elements of the oddness that is in abundance in the UK skate scene is unrivaled but is often underestimated. He’s a timely reminder that there’s so much more to making a video than having all the top gear and an elitist attitude.