Ben Nordberg has been on a monster journey over the last 2 years. His first taste of UK team action was with Blueprint last year following a last minute swerve from an offer from Stereo in the US.
These days though Ben seems to have settled down at Flip after the label came in for him ahead of their highly anticipated Extremely Sorry video release.
We caught up him whilst currently on The Big Push this week as the film premiere’s across the US.
How was today on the Big Push and where’s the Vans team at?
We skated Leeds, was a long one. There’s me, Vile, Grove, Manhead and Chris Oliver and Gardner and Niall on media duty, we are now at Powley’s!
I’ve heard Niall does ballet…
Yeah, on the sly…
So what’s your thoughts on the revamped Big Push this year, is it working? Is everyone amped?
It’s a bit more challenge steez this year, do set tricks, go to certain parks etc….yeah it’s really fun.
Who rolled out the hammers today?
Manhead did some good stuff, can’t really remember though, sorry, i’m fucking tired!
You made the switch to Flip, how was hanging in the states with the team?
Fuck there where so many highlights. Just skating with those guys was insane and plus everyone is really cool which is a bonus…
How much filming did you manage to get down whilst you were there?
I got a fair bit done. It was hard to begin with just cause of how different it was to England. The weather was a pleasant change though and most of the spots where fucking good, by the end I was getting the hang of it.
We saw you steezing it in a hot tub at the side of a bowl sesh, spill the beans on that spot, it looked fucking sick!
Haha….that’s Jeremy’s house, he’s got a crazy bowl in his back yard…its so good.
Could you just imagine doing that in Milton Keynes?
Not quite the same eh?
So, if Jeremy’s pool is the mecca, how much of an influence is the Fox in the daily Flip program before a new video is about to drop?
He’s all over it….that is one busy man! He’s a big influence, he’s the boss!
I flew out to HB and stayed with a hardcore band in the 90’s. Was skating the HB park one afternoon on my own and Tom and Jeremy rock up. They say hello, realise i’m from the UK, chuck me in the van, flowed me some gear and we hit up Chickens pool. They were stoked to meet another Brit and were just starting out over there. That is Flip family right there with open arms and I will never forget it….I take it the vibe is still the same, did you get a big welcome when you all hooked up?
Yeah, still the same. The first members of the team I met where Geoff, David, Luan, Curren and Louie in Pheonix then we drove back down to LA met Apples etc, everyone was really welcoming and no bad vibes!
How much time in the future do you think you will spend in the states with the rest of the team? Could you do the Cali life full time?
Yeah, I could do some of that for sure. I’m going back in 2 weeks time so looking forward to it.
Filming footage for the new ‘Extremely Sorry’ film must be an exciting prospect, how much footage are we expected to see from you, have you been involved in what goes on or does the footage disappear until the premiere?
I don’t have a full section but I share a section. I have no idea what my part is going to look like but i’m hyped to see it. More hyped to see the rest of the video though, the line up is intense plus it’s sick that it has a completely original soundtrack!
Baron has been working hard, what styles of music have you heard from him on the soundtrack?
Yeah, he’s smashing it! I haven’t heard too much of what he’s made but the stuff i’ve heard is fucking sick!
What’s the drill?
I dunno how to explain it, you can just wait and see for yourself!
If you had to pick a track for your own section, what would you go for?
Ooh….it probably have to be a bit of Sizzla!
What would Niall and Gardner have?
Fucking Morrissey probably! I would like to have ACDC as well but don’t think I would pull it off.
Have you not gone for the rock and roll look yet?
Nah, not yet haha!
I reckon you would look dapper in a bandana..
Fuck that! [laughs}
Top 3’s for the ender…what 3 pro skaters in a mini ramp jam?
Deawon, Appleyard and Penny.
3 graphics of all time
Penny -Mushroom one, Appleyard – Yellow apples or something like that……New flip boards….P2 ones!
3 tricks that are a pain in the arse?
Switch tre’s, nollie flips, frontside flips.
3 injury niggles…
Ass bone, knee, elbow.
3 artists of all time?
Sizzla, Barrington Levy, Bob Marley….standard.
3 skate videos…
Sorry, Man Down, Chomp on This.
3 reasons to be at the premiere on the 25th Sept?
To watch the video, to watch the video!!!… to get drunk….!
Click here for the Extremely Sorry premiere details and last minute advance tickets. Look out for the film to drop in October.
It’s more than a pleasure to have Christian Hosoi grace this zine. Back in the 80’s when we all started shredding, he was the Don. There’s no denying the fact that he was a massive influence on so many skaters worldwide back then, we would wear our t-shirts out the back of our shorts and try to tweak our airs as much as possible. Nobody could get a Christ Air though. He had the style, the steez – all the attributes of what every 80’s kid skated for; to be unique, to cut out your own path and destroy it at the same time.
Moving into the naughties, Christian is ripping once again.The wheels came off for a little while, but he’s back and now a changed man, with a family to look after and a reputation to further.
This interview was cut in 2 parts. The historical 80’s section was done over the phone a while back with Zac over 2 phone conversations and recently more words were exchanged face to face with Phil Procter in London. Big shouts and thanks to our friends at Vans UK and also to the photographers that shot these incredible photos for us over the years to make this work.
Hey Christian, let’s start at the beginning, what’s your full name?
Christian Rosha Hosoi
Rosha, where does that come from?
My pops named me after Rosha Shana, the Jewish holiday
How old are you now?
The other side of 40 now! But i’m still strong.
So, hows life these days?
Life is good, best ever in fact!
What brings you over to the UK?
Just filming a reality TV show called The Uprising.
Where have you been filming already?
I just got back from Liverpool, we filmed at Brian Sumners house where he grew up The show is basically about myself, Alabamy and Brian Sumner, the paths we have followed and where we are now, its going to be on Sky TV over here. Brian’s a Deacon now and a pretty important part of our church group. He had his ups and downs and is doing pretty good right now with God’s help.
How’s his skating?
Amazing as ever, he is riding for Reliance Skateboards now, they are fresh out and he also will have a wheel on Hosoi too.
What about your skating, getting chance to get out much?
Oh yeah, lots, it’s still there and will always be a big part of me.
How are you finding the veterans comp’s?
I want to get to everyone of those, it’s great on top of the vert ramp with all the guys, everyone gets on super well, it’s a great atmosphere, so many more styles. It’s not so much like at a street spot where you can’t do a trick because blah blah blah already did it here, it’s more like “hey man, let’s skate!”
Fancy a ride at the Mega Ramp one day?
Oh for sure, i’ll definitely add that to my list of accomplishments.
Did you see the Jake Brown slam?
I was there at the time, he is blessed to have been able to stay alive, let alone walk away, that was a miracle.
What do you think of the current crop of skaters, and the way things are heading?
Well it’s very different to when I was coming up, we were landing tricks ever other try and doing runs, now it’s 2 weeks to land a trick for a advert or your video part – I don’t think people will be remembered the same, so much less consistency, but the level tricks are at is quite amazing.
How’s Hosoi Skateboards shaping up?
Really good thanks, there is a new website coming up, the boards are all out there – the teams hot.
Who is on there?
Sergie Ventura rides for us, plus Richard Mulder and Andre Genovesi, Daniel Cardone, Jason Vanzant, Jay Haizlip, Aaron Astorga too. The team’s very strong right now.
Sick, so what about Pocket Pistols?
Well yeah, that’s my thing, me and Chicken, he is running things back home.
Yeah he does a lot over there, plus we have Gonz doing some work too, he did the deck i’m riding now.
Who else do you ride for right now?
Hosoi Skateboards of course, plus Vans, Indy, Quiksilver, Nixon, Protec, Ninja Bearings, Kahro Bushings. I just got a new shoe out on Vans.
Cool, seems like Vans are looking after you, it’s good to see a company stick with its roots, the way Vans have kept John Cardiel’s shoe out there even while he isn’t skating is a credit to them..
Exactly, they are doing the right thing with Cardiel, such an authentic company. It’s an honour to be on there and the way they stick with and support the riders is unique.
I’m going to delve into the past here. Am I right in saying you had your first ever photoshoot doing a frontside ollie?
Frontside ollie, in the rust bowl at Marina Del Ray skate park. Yeah it went into Skateboarder Mag.
Is that an image that’ll stay with you for life?
Of course, it’s one of the first real inspirations that I had when it came to publicity, of thinking “Man, I’m in a magazine, I’m on my way to reaching my goal!”. And my goal was to be the best skateboarder in the world and be a professional and the way to start out was being in a magazine.
I was reading on the internet earlier that Tony Hawk saw the photo of you and was quoted as saying “Who is this girl? She rips!“, did that happen a lot back then when you had long hair?
Oh yeah, it happened all the time, all the time. My hair was down to the middle of my back and I was oriental so people just thought, “wow this must be a girl” because no-one really had long hair back then. If they did, they were surfers or older. No younger kids did.
And I guess the punk rock scene was fierce then and everyone had shorter spikier hair back then?
Yup, it was the late 70s still but the UK was just coming out with the Sex Pistols and all that, and it started getting punk really quick, so by 1981 it was all punk rock.
How much did the UK punk style have an effect on you out there? Did you dig it?
Loved it! We were listening to The Clash and Sex Pistols. I was pretty rounded when it came to music because I was into reggae, I’d go to reggae concerts from when I was 5-7 years old. Go to blues concerts with my dad, and classic rock. So I grew up listening to Led Zep, Stones, B52’s and Sex Pistols. I had a pretty wide range.
How much did it inspire you then? Because it inspired a hell of a lot of people back then in the US skate scene, the whole punk thing exploded. Was it just the music? Or did the skating differentiate?
With the skating, you loved to have music playing while you skate, so when you have the Ramones jamming while you’re skating, there’s nothing better than having music that pumps you up and really gets your adrenaline flowing and brings the extra excitement and rhythm into the atmosphere and you just start flowing. Like surfing – when you watch a surf movie with good music and you watch the wave move with the rhythm of the music, it just like skateboarding. And that’s what music does when you add it to skateboarding, it makes skateboarding really come alive and you look at it like a fluid movement, so it’s artistic almost.
I can definitely vouch for that! Were there any particular bands back then, other than The Ramones and Pistols, that would absolutely have to be in your session if you were skating a bowl?
Bob Marley and AC/DC, Van Halen, they were the ones I’d play during my runs. I’d play the Go-Gos too, I could go on and on.
So you were riding for Powell Peralta back then am I right?
Yeah I rode for Powell Peralta back in 1980.
And you switched to Dog Town skates?
For someone who was involved in the Dog Town scene right at the end, what was your initial reaction on the documentary that came out? How well was that documented in your eyes?
It was pretty good, it was really just a documentary on these guys talking about the past. I wasn’t really at the places these guys were at, I was only really at the Marina Del Rey skatepark when it turned into Jay Adams and Dennis Agnew, Polar Bear… so that was pre-my time. Marina Del Ray opened in 1978 and that’s when I came on the scene.
Your Father helped in many ways yeah?
Yeah, actually he ended up managing the skatepark there, after we went there, because I wanted to go there so much. And he was like, “you know what? I might as well manage it!” as he thought it could be managed better. And so he worked there and I could skate there as much as I want for free.
When Thrasher magazine started in 1981, it was the start of a new generation of skateboarders like yourself, Lance Mountain, Tony Hawk, Lester…..there’s so many different skaters in that scene. When you look back, has skateboarding changed in many ways since then?
It definitely has changed because of the evolution of the skateboarding and the tricks and how people perceive skateboarding today, is a lot different to how it was perceived back then. Back then we were rebels and outlaws and people were shunning skateboarders because of their attitude and lifestyle. But today it’s accepted and its come a long way in that I’m a father. I have a kid who’s 9 years old and you’re even having grandfather’s who used to skate and so you have generations to generations that are interested in our culture. This culture that has really cultivated itself and has become a real big influence on our whole culture today, being an individual, being artistic, having your own character and personality and it really bleeds into a lifestyle rather than a sport.
So it really has grown and evolved into a sport that is influencing the generation today which is a lot different from when were doing it when it was just the top 20 to 40 guys who would skate and maybe 80 guys total in the whole world who skated. And it was only vertical back then, and vert takes a lot of practice and time to become a good vert skater, where with street skating, kids can practice all day every day and don’t need a ramp or a skatepark. We needed a ramp or a skatepark to practice and progress but now kids just need a ledge or a handrail or steps and they’re doing these radical manoeuvres and become these phenomenal street skaters that you can breed anywhere. So now you have 20 to 25 million skaters probably in the States that skateboard and influence the world. It’s a huge difference.
And how much of an influence was someone like the late Fausto Vitello on your skateboarding career?
It’s so sad, he was like a Father to me because I rode for Indy since say, 1981, so I’ve been riding for them for all these years and we’ve travelled all over the place and I’ve stayed at his house. I know his family and his opinion towards skateboarding is probably the most respected out of anyone I know because he had such a passion for the heartbeat of skateboarding and really the core group of skaters.
He didn’t want to compromise for money even though he did have a huge empire of businesses and magazines and companies, but he still stayed true to what he thought skateboarding was – hardcore, real people that loved what they did and he didn’t take away or add to that and I think that is more dignified today in skateboarding than those that have been super successful or those that are trying to live out some past.
He was always right there on the cutting edge, always keeping up, always letting the skateboarders dictate to him what they thought he was like for the skateboarders and he was there from the beginning when skateboarding was at it’s lowest level and lowest peak. He was throwing backyard contests, he was putting money in our pockets and putting a mag together to promote skateboarding. He just loved skateboarding, and that’s something everybody is going to learn to realise and appreciate. Appreciate who he was and what he stood for, and he stood for skateboarding.
For those that know him personally are blessed, and those that don’t know him, or have only just come to know about him, are going to be blessed. He’s impacted not only my life but also the whole industry in a way that no-one else has or can affect them in the way he has.
Let’s talk about the 80’s some more, it must have been a blast in many ways, cars, girls, fame, international skate trips. What’s your most insane tour story that springs to mind that’s the most memorable?
They’re all pretty memorable but my European trip was pretty good because it was a Thrasher tour and it was perfect for Fausto. He sent us out there and I tell ya, I can’t even remember everybody on the trip, but we went out there and took a Eurorail pass and toured all of Europe. When I got to Venice, I lost my passport, Eurorail card, ID, wallet, credit cards, everything, on a train and I was sitting there in Italy with nothing!
Here I am, sitting there and then I go to the Police and they told me I have to go to Switzerland and gave me a letter to say I don’t have a passport. So I sneak over the border under bags, fall asleep outside of the bags and get to the border and they ask for my passport and I tell them I don’t have one and so they pull me into the side room. They throw me aside and escort us back and get an emergency passport. My mum just happened to tell me to take $1,500 dollars in traveller’s cheques just in case anything happened, so I had those and got back to Amsterdam by train, in time to get home just in time to meet all the guys and do the Suicidal show, it was radical!
The 80s were a crazy time for skateboarding and you were right at the pinnacle of it. We’ve seen the Stoked movie where it was just crazy, so what was the most ridiculous thing you were asked to do, that you just thought “I can’t do this, this is outrageous.”?
I don’t feel that anyone asked me to do anything stupid. They were careful with me because really I was just a super nice guy and I wanted to help out and make every demo and exhibition the best they could be and I was always wanting to make it a big show. I wanted to entertain and be there for the kids, handing out the most stickers and give out the most products. I wanted to hang out the longest and talk to the kids and interact with my fans, because I knew how important that was for me, in my eyes what it’d be like for them.
You know, I was asked to travel almost every single weekend in the year to go somewhere else and that was pretty ridiculous. And so if there was anything ridiculous asked of me, it was to spend so much time away from home. I was away for like, 40 something weekends a year and would be home only one week a month. It was like a vacation being at home, it was pretty ridiculous being gone that much. But other than that, nothing too out of this world.
I suppose as well, because you started so young and became so adapted to riding your skateboard so well, so young, you didn’t really even get a chance to get any advice or anything on how to deal with such pressure. Who were the guys you were looking up to back then?
Back then it was Jay Adams, Kubo, Tony Alva, Polar Bear, George Wilson, those were the main guys I looked up to. The guys who skated Marina and who I hung out with every single day and they were the guys that took me under their wing, they came over to my house, they were friends with my dad. And because he owned the park, we’d be skating out there until 10-11 o’clock at night! They were a little bit out of control at times, and I can tell you right now that their influence on me wasn’t always a good one but their hearts and their souls were for skateboarding. They were totally real skateboarders, loved what they did and had a passion for skateboarding and that’s why they were the pioneers of our sport.
Like, Tony Alva doing the first front side air, Jay Adams getting as radical as he could every time he skated, with the aggressiveness. Kubo being smooth and stylish. Those elements together with surfing, because they all surfed, influenced me. And my dad was a surfer in the 50’s and 60’s in Hawaii, and all those elements shaped me and made me skate the way that I did. And made me be how I wanted to be today. I had to go through some things to get where I am today, but I’m here, I made it. Not all the influences they had on me were good ones, but there were good ones there.
Do you look back on those and regret anything whatsoever? Do you ever think “Oh, I wish I hadn’t done that”?
I wouldn’t take anything back, because all things happen for a reason. Once we realise that, we don’t have to keep making those same mistakes or dictate our lives by what the world is feeding us and having to live up to expectations. Looking at society today, this messed up generation, looking at it from my messed up generation, where kids today go out partying loads, drink alcohol, smoke weed, have sex, and it’s all so accepted. And now I can speak out about it because I’ve experienced those at all levels. Fame, fortune, being in Hollywood and going to prison, being addicted to drugs, being a husband and a father, I can definitely talk about those subjects and have experience.
People will listen to someone who has been through it rather than someone who is just telling you something you shouldn’t do. That’s where Satan tried to destroy me and I can bring people the knowledge that God is real through the very things that were trying to destroy my life – Drug addiction. I can talk to drug addicts and talk to kids about drugs and give them help to give them up and live a better life, but definitely things all happen for a reason.
If you could go back to a certain year, what year would it be and what reasons would you have?
I would probably go back to…..that’s a tough one, I mean from 82 all the way up to 92, skateboarding was awesome. And really, I would just go back to the 80s and relive those times and enjoy the skateboarding because those were the days when we were inventing tricks, the Rocket air, the Christ air… just making the fish shape and the Hammerhead. Those days are so inspiring for me because now I’m looking back. When you’re in the day and in the picture, you don’t really know what you’re doing. But when you step out of the picture and look back at what was happening, it was so innovative and influential that it’s a blessing to be a part of skateboarding at such an era that has made a big impact on skateboarding.
What’s the highest air you ever achieved, do you know?
I went over the 10 foot mark but I think I’ve gone higher, maybe like 12 feet on a 10 foot ramp.
Do you have a particular favourite session?
One session that really sticks out to me was when me and Neil Blender went down to Del Mar and we would spend the night in the parking lot in his car and we’d be up early, at 8 in the morning, to be the first ones in there to skate the pool by ourselves. That’s really intense when you’re so passionate that you’re so in love with skateboarding when that’s all you wanna do. That’s one of the best sessions. We were cooking eggs on a hot plate in the parking lot, we were there living the moment and seizing it and I believe, right after that, I made the 540′. It was one of those times when me and Blender would just go down there and skate. Another session would be at my ramp in Hollywood skating with all the boys.
In your back yard?
Yeah, just up off Sunset Boulevard. WC Fields’ estate where I rented his house. They were some awesome memorable sessions. I could probably sit and tell you a whole bunch more.
If you could recreate one of those amazing sessions, which skaters would not be available to ride and why?
A lot of skaters have passed away, Jeff Phillips, Joe Lopes…those guys were guys that loved skateboarding and are gonna be missed. But other than that, it’s guys like Gator who is in prison. Right now I’m just looking forward to skating with Cab, Lance Mountain, Chris Miller, those guys are the ones I used to skate in competitions with, Jeff Grosso, Mike Smith, Pat Ngoho… probably gonna leave out a bunch of guys.
What makes the perfect ramp?
Just as long as it’s smooth and not too grippy. It doesn’t matter what size it is, I like any size ramp. Quick transition, big transition, small, tall, whichever. As long as its cool. Even some kinky ramps are good so long as they’re good kinks. So a perfect ramp… as long as it’s a ramp and it’s skateable. As long as its not falling apart, its skateable! In fact, I’ve skated some pretty dodgy ramps that were falling apart too and still had a laugh. That’s skateboarding for you!
Talking about the perfect ramp, let’s talk about the perfect board to ride the thing with. You’ve had some pretty crazy shapes over the years. The shapes of the boards were very innovative. Nothing else had a Hammerhead on it or a big Blockhead, it was very different at the time. Did your shapes actually improve your ride and how much were they different for different’s sake?
Oh no, it was all function and then I added to it. When I had the fish shape, it was because I did these body jars air tail taps back then. I wanted my hand to be on a flat nose instead of a round nose so it would be perfect, so I made a flat nose. And then I wanted it to be nice and sleek and I cut it in, side cut, and we were skating ramps at the time, there were no real pools anymore, the PVC wasn’t coping so I’d go up to do tail taps with a round tail and my tail would slip off and I was bummed because I wanted to do tail taps in the contests and all we had was plastic coping. So I made a swallow tail so my tail wouldn’t slip off. And I thought it’d be sick, with a swallow tail like a surfboard, because I was influenced by surfing so that’s how the shape came about, through function. I started the fish shape in 83/84 when I rode for Alva and I did the Hammerhead in 84/85.
So what about the graphics then? Any graphics that you had back in the day that you’d take to your grave because they’re that inspirational?
The Rising Sun graphic is pretty memorable, that embodies my identity, that’s why we called my movie “The Rising Son”. All the graphics my father did, the triangle with the sun which is really original stuff, even the Alva stuff, the flaming ball, we did that. But if I had to pick one, it’d be the Rising Sun.
What about other people’s graphics? Are there any that caught your eye and made you think “wow, that’s amazing”?
It would have to be the Rodriguez graphic, y’know with the Sword and the Skull.
The Powell Peralta one?
Absolutely, that one was one of the most classic graphics of all time.
Thanks for your time Christian and good luck with the skate company and the future.
Brighton in Sussex has always had some of the best history in the UK as far as youth culture goes, whether it be Mods and Rockers kicking the crap out of each other on the beaches, the vibrant music scene, gay & lesbian rallies or indeed the wonderful world of skateboarding.
The centre piece for skaters that held it all this energy together over the years is called The Level and its fame has been derived from the mish mash of bullish attitudes, amazing skateboarders and general seaside town mental cases.
This month the Brighton skate scene celebrated the release of the follow up to Cheese on Tape, called Brighten, a local scene video filmed and edited by the work horse that is James ‘Slim Jim’ Cheetham. Knowing that Brighton is just down the road from here, we decided to knock on his door to find out why he decided to do it all over again.
Brighton has always been a tough place to skate over the years, generally the attitude down there used to be pretty gnarly. How different would you say it is now compared to the golden days of Pig City?
I’ve heard a lot of the stories about how back in the Pig City days there was an attitude, I guess if you weren’t ripping the vert then you weren’t aloud on it haha!! Now it is a nice place to be, the scene is proper tight, everyone is sound but it’s the usual thing, any newcomers seem to have to prove themselves if they’re skating The Level.
Many of southern skaters have always believed that The Level should be a world class park, where are people at down there these days to regenerate the area for skateboarders?
The park seems long overdue but I think the project is moving along. I’m not to sure who is in charge of it all but Jack Forester is always working towards something, I think he has a lot to do with it. Kevin Eason has done some designs and stuff, Darren Dartnell and the people up at Brighton youth club are always trying to raise funds and push things foward. Not sure when it will get going but hopefully in time for this generation. If not there are still a bunch of little ones who are already killing it.
With the sun, sea and tight units on offer in Brighton you would imagine that an annual jam down there would work well for visitors, what’s the score with bringing the local scene together and who is responsible?
The last Level Jam was amazing, massive turnout. Pasty on the mic, Horceface killah on the drums! I think doing it every summer would be a good idea, It manages to get everyone down and skate together, always brings the older Levelarmy generation back down for the day to. The man behind the last one was Jack Forester, hopefully he has something in the pipeline for this summer too.
What is the funniest story from the level that did the rounds over the last few years?
Theres way way to many to pinpoint one! Recently a skaghead walked through the level to jack up in the toilets and some one went in and set his hair on fire! See a lot of crazy people pass through there. If you want to see what its like to spend everyday there then just wait for Ed Hubert’s new video ‘LA*’ He has endless amounts of footage of all the crazy things that go down there.
We see that our buddy Stevie Thompson has a new shop there, has that brought more people together?
Yeh, Stevie recently opened up ‘Another Skateboard Shop‘. It’s what Brighton has been needing for a while now. You know it’s a true skateboard shop when you can go chill on the sofa and have a brew. ‘Another skateboard shop’ is sponsoring Isaac Miller and Ollie Smith at the moment and Stevie has some big plans for go skateboarding day, Sure a lot of good things are yet to come. You can find his shop downstairs from Cool Hand Luke, 29 Gloucester Road. Brighton.
So, in a sentence for people who don’t know, tell us what Brighten is all about…
Not sure if I can fit it all in a sentence. I love everything about Brighton, you can’t beat an ice cold beer down the beach in the sunshine!
So when did you start putting this footage together for Brighten?
It pretty much started straight after my previous video ‘Cheese on Tape‘ was finished. I kind of new that I was making another video but it took a while to work out who is in it and stuff. I’m stoked that it managed to differ from the line up in Cheese on Tape. Tried to get as many people as possible in the video this time. As the video progressed it started to make a bit more sense and was a lot clearer who was getting full parts and stuff.
How long did it take from start to finish?
Think it took between 2 and 3 years over all. I was working 9-5 for a year which made it quite difficult to film during the week.
Who was involved in the filming process?
I got a lot of contributions from other filmers. Really thankful for all the donations from Ryan Gray, Ben Powell, Andy Evans, Ed Hubert, Liam Teague and many more. I really couldn’t of done it without their help!
How long is the DVD and who is in it?
The DVD is about an hour long and features everyone from Brighton and a lot of uk heads too. Full parts from Louis Cooper, Stevie Thompson, Tom Felix, Joss Heierli, Niall Birnie, James Kilpatrick, Amir Williams, Wojtek Smith and Tom Grantham. Also a fair bit of footage from Sam Blewett, Mike Niccolls, Matt Ransom, Joe Lewis-Collins and many, many more!
Whose part was hardest to film?
Probably Tom felix simply because he hurt his knee and had to have an operation so it kind of cut it short. Just about managed to scrape enough though for a full part. A lot of people pushed it so hard though! Louis Cooper was on point from start to finish which is why he has ended up with an 8 minute killer part. Joss Heierli made the mission from worthing to Brighton every weekend without fail, He put a hell of a lot of effort in and sure it won’t go un noticed. Niall Birnie would wake me up every morning and force me out of bed to come and film him haha, He’s already on the case filming for a new part in Ed Hubert’s video. Basically every part had its difficulties but it is clear who pushed it when you watch the video.
How many times did you get busted filming it?
Non stop, most the spots in town are a complete bust. We would end up just walking all day not being able to settle down and skate anywhere!
What DVD was on the TV screen to inspire you to finish it?
I’m not actually to sure, I think it was a variety of videos. Static videos are amazing and have that unique style to them which seemed to fit in with Brighton a lot. Fully Flared steps up the production of any skate video and that is obviously a big influence as it just makes you realise how far skate videos can be pushed production wise. Also Mindfield is incredible, I have only seen it once but I am a fan of all Alien’s older stuff.
Was it a relief to finally get to the video premiere?!
Such a relief! I finished the video at about 5am the day of the premier. The theatre didn’t know it was actually a skate video until about 3 days before, I just told them it’s a film. So i was quite worried they were going to cancel it, the woman’s face when she saw the mob outside the theatre was priceless! Don’t think they knew what they were letting themselves in for. Was such a good feeling watching back on the last 3 years of Brighton skateboarding, never seen so many skateboarders from Brighton together! Really stoked on the turnout, You can peep Ed Hubert’s coverage of the premier here.
Who was most shameful that night after the consumption of too much juice?
Haha, everyone was pretty shameful! That night got extremely messy a limousine tried to run someone over outside the theatre and got a board through the windscreen, then we moved onto a rave at the Level where the predictable bitch-fight kicked off and some girl ended up getting a bottle to the face. I think everyone has there own stories to tell from that night, some people got lost by themselves. I think James Kilpatrick managed to end up with a broken nose or something. Quite an eventful night haha!!
What is the future of Brighton’s skate scene?
I think it’s going to carry on kicking off, there seems to be a non stop supply of little sick kids that appear out of nowhere. Expect more videos to come in the future, hopefully Brighton will be able to get the coverage that it well deserves!
Interview by Joe Moynihan with thanks to Etnies and Oliver Barton for the photography
Mikey Taylor is a pretty chilled guy. His skating is just like his taste in women, natural and – for want of a better word that just won’t come – ‘pretty’.
Anyone who’s had the pleasure of watching his section in the mindblowing mindfuck that was Mindfield is no exception; it stands out, just by sitting down. Ease and precision taken to proper spots (I know you ain’t fronting on that K grind, and you know what one I’m talking about) and makes skateboarding a real pleasure to watch. No homo.
What follows is your standard five minute chat on the mini-ramp platform, recorded in between runs at the Etnies TF during our recent trip earlier this year. You can look forward to reading a behind the scenes feature on Soletechnology’s Institute here next week but Mikey talks to Crossfire about his new shoe, California girls, a leap of faith like no other and a brief insight into his own Mindfield. Get some.
So, let’s start off with your new shoe dropping in the autumn; any words on that?
Ha! Hold on, I’m not sure! (Mikey looks over the Etnies TF fence and calls over a passing worker) Hey! What shoe of mine is coming in fall? (The knowledgeable dude mutters something inaudible in response to which Mikey appears to have understood). OK, well, there’s the pro shoe that’s been out for a while now, in fall there’s the low version coming out. It’s a nice, kind of small, thin and a more basic shoe. But there’s also a new design which I think may be the one you’re talking about? Half the people buying shoes seem to dig the thinner models, but then the big shoes still sell like hotcakes so the new design is an attempt to get the best of both worlds you know?
Big shoes do sell, who’s to say the D3 won’t make an unwelcome comeback?
Haha! And that was the most hideous shoe of all time. But people loved it, seriously. What I’ve started to notice is that everything you think will sell, doesn’t, and those you just look at and laugh, they fly off the shelves. People are weird.
A friend of mine used to skate in D3’s and everyone would rip the shit out of him for it, and for some reason he still bought them. If you knew people would buy your shoe, would you put your name on a D3 lookalike?
Haha, that’s a tricky one… Actually you know, if it’s up to me, if I’m only going to have one skate shoe with my name on, then it’s gotta be a good shoe, one that I like, purely for skateboarding. But if I had two then I don’t see the problem in having one strictly built for skating and the other aimed at those who are just into the fashion. Keeps everyone stoked.
For sure. Moving on: The Alien Video. Shit’s huge dude.
(Mikey laughs slightly nervously) Go on…
Did the hype surrounding it affect you?
Oh yeah, absolutely, I was a complete nut.
A lot of people were looking forward to it more than Fully Flared, I know I was.
See, I’ve never really been too stressed about things, sure I stress about tricks but not the video as a whole. I’ll normally just skate, let the part create itself and that’s it. But with the Alien Video, there was all that anticipation built up alongside it, I know that when I was a kid, the Alien Video was the video, one of my favourites of all time, and when we started filming for the new one it’s suddenly shit, I’m going to be in that video. That was a gnarly thing to consider and it messes with your head.
On top of that you had the tune, that Dinosaur Jr tune.
Yeah! Well, I really wanted my part to feel as Alien as possible. Before, they didn’t show us what the video was going to look like, what our parts were going to look like or anything, so what I wanted to make sure, was just like Photosynthesis, that indescribable Alien vibe, that’s what I wanted my part to be like. So, I guess I kind of lucked out with them using a Dinosaur song! But the video is just as I hoped it would be; I’m stoked to be a part of it. I love it.
Who’s got your favourite part?
Someone asked me that yesterday! I’ve only really seen the video once after the premiere, so it still hasn’t fully sunk in. But, I really like Jake’s part, AVE’s and Kirchart’s (but who doesn’t?), Dylan kills it, the whole video man! But Heath stands out just for being so in-your-face gnarly, seriously woah gnarly.
I’ve heard rumours that to separate his part in the Emerica video he’s wearing nothing but either all black or all white, is that true?
Yeah, he is.
Haha, for sure.
So what’s going on for the rest of your day down here?
I’m not too sure actually, I know that our team manager just gave me a call and told me that there’s going to be a few people down here so can you come here and skate, so ‘sure! I’m down for that’. And here we all are, just skateboarding, there’s beers and girls, (fun fact: hired girls) it’s all good.
See, I don’t know about you but… those girls aren’t my type, for me anyway.
California! That’s the best we have to offer man. Me, I’m more into, y’know, naturally beautiful girls, just pretty girls.
Quick question to finish off, well not really a question… that bail. (This is referring to the most terrifying near-collision I have ever seen. Mikey avoided certain death by leaping right over the top this dude who came out of no-where, only to find himself in the path of the Etnies Training Facility fence.) What happened!?
Holy shit! You saw that!
Dude, you cleared his head, that is a whole new definition of POP.
You know when life just pauses. Everything around you stops, not just slow motion but full-on STOPS. Well, I was there; my head was screaming ‘oh my god…this is it… I’m gonna die’. It was one of those definitive, almost clichéd near-death moments, but somehow, in this case I made it out ok and unscathed. Phew… Wait though! I swear, honest to god that I had somehow leveled out six feet high in the air. Was I? It felt like it.
No man, you really were. We’re talking Brophy height here. You essentially hippy jumped a fully grown man.
Haha! Now I know how he feels every time he rides a skateboard, I’m not sure if I could handle that to be honest! That shit was scary. I’m glad I made it out alive.
And on that note…
Let’s go skate!
Mikey Taylor rides for Etnies, Alien Workshop and Thunder Trucks. See Mikey skate on the Etnies Recognition Tour this month.
Philip Patrick Paul Evans has skated for 13 years and has been on a serious mission. Whilst most kids are buying VX’s and looking for the HD upgrade, Phil has been working his socks off turning up in various cities with his Super 8 kit planning, meeting people and formulating an exciting end product.
We are talking about his skate video The Scrum Tilly Lush that has spread like wildfire throughout the online skate fraternity worldwide since the trailers have been unleashed.
We caught up for a quick chat with Phil to find out what went into such a laborious but gratifying skate video…
So where are you and this video project based?
I’m over in Dublin, Oireland.
What made you decide to make this film?
I actually enjoy doing them believe it or not! I love indulging in anything creative, be it filming, skating, drawing or whatever. Skate videos are the ultimate creative outlet for me though!
Portrait by Rich Gilligan
Looking back was there an influential video out there that inspired you in any way?
I guess the most inspirational skate video was Alien Workshop’s Photosynthesis. It’s a mix of amazing music, the streets, the skaters, and the content overall.
What length is the full production overall and how long did it take to complete?
It’s a full 45mins in length featuring 11 cities/sections. I started in June 2008, finished in December, but I was working a full time 9-5 office job at the time so that made it take longer, but I needed the job to afford the film.
Did you actively fly around different countries on a mission to film skating for this directly at first or did it start to come together naturally for your own enjoyment whilst you visited countries and came home with more footage?
It was a conscious decision to have a core theme to the entire project that I would shoot with a local in each city. I really like concept albums, and they’re always based around one theme, so I thought that idea translated to a concept skate video would give a more consistent and refreshing result. The guys and the cities were not planned too heavily, as long as they were suitable, then they just came through contacts as I went along.
With camera’s being so easily available these days was shooting this on Super 8 a challenge?
I think availability of other cameras makes this stand out more. It was a challenge in that it’s a gamble with film, you don’t see the instant result like digi, and I also have to send my stuff to the Netherlands as that’s the closest lab!
Conhuir Lynn’s kickflip’s on top of the ‘Europa’ – Europe’s most bombed hotel. Shot by Big Stu.
How did you pick the riders featured?
I started with Nick Jensen then it was just through contacts and hook ups. Nearly all the dudes I asked were down to rip and provide a couch/bed/floor, nice bunch of guys!!
What was the funniest day filming?
Filming in Belfast during the notorious Orange Lodge parades. I was advised that it was such a bad idea for someone from South of the border to come up on that day, as there is always tensions, riots and general bad stuff. A lot of friends from there just bailed for that weekend as they do every year. It made the whole thing feel like a covert mission, which I guess it was as if anyone heard my Southern accent they were throwing daggers (not literally luckily) and shouting our way, so I had to put on this ropey Belfast accent when we were around anyone else so I didn’t get lynched!! “Whada bout ye big maaan“. Big Stu was the one who convinced me to come up and it was worth it as we got to shoot some spectacular stuff and the ‘ol bill were not concerned with us skating for once.
What are the negatives of using such a format?
You don’t know if its going to come out, which is kind of a thrill too as it’s pretty exciting getting the reels back. Cost was the biggest pain in the hole, film is expensive!!
Could you give upcoming videographers any advice on using Super 8 that you had to learn the hard way for this project?
Don’t get a cam off e-bay, get it off an experienced Super 8 dealer or site otherwise you’ll end up with problems that you’ll have spent time and money on before you even know they exist! Onsuper8.org is the most helpful site you’ll find.
When does The Scrum Tilly Lush officially release?
Right now, boom!
How can people support the film and buy a copy?
High fives when they see me in the street would be sick? Or else they can go to www.thescrumtillylush.blogspot.com and securely purchase a copy (including postage and packaging) for the princely sum of €11. Thanks for your support!
*The Scrum Tilly Lush is a film exploring various scenes from the local’s perspective through the medium of Super 8- featuring- Nick Jensen in London, Conhuir Lynn & Denis Lynn in Belfast, Danny Wainwright in Bristol, Al Collins & Wayne Gallagher in Dublin, Janne Saario in Helsinki, Per Magnusson in Malmo, Love Eneroth in Stockholm, Lennie Burmiester in Berlin, Wieger Van Wageningen in Amsterdam, Danny Lebron & Vinnie Bressol in Barcelona. Go buy one today and support your local skateboarder.
Portrait: Jerome Loughran Sequences: Harry Bastard
Ever since this fiesty Colombian joined forces with the mighty Flip Skateboards he has undoubtedly been their most lethal weapon.
After an impressive apprenticeship, 2008 was the year that took David Gonzales to full pro status on the team and deservedly so.
We managed to grab some words with him in London ahead of Flip’s anticipated Extremely Sorry DVD scheduled for 2009 whilst Flip’s new ams look forward to catching him up…
Welcome back, how did you find the UK for skateboarding over the 2 visits?
I love it, it’s tight here.
Do you enjoy the demos or do you feel pressure to perform on the spot?
No way, I enjoy doing them for sure.
You travel a lot but where in the world do you want to visit most?
We have not seen anyone skate both park and rugged street spots with such ease and confidence since McCrank. Where do you feel most comfortable?
Both. I don’t care, it’s all skating to me.
What got you into skateboarding?
I just saw people in the neighbourhood skating and decided to try it out for myself. I was about 10 years old then in Colombia.
What kind of terrain was on offer to skate?
Street – that’s all we had.
What sort of set up were you riding back then and how easy was it to get new boards?
I had an Alien Workshop board with no nose or tail. I never had a new board as it was always too expensive for me. The scene in Colombia is getting bigger all the time and becoming pretty good. You just have to go and see how it is.
What sort of person do you think you would be without skateboarding?
No idea but probably something pretty sketchy!
Have you thought of moving to California with your family?
No, I just visit and get down to business.
Flip frontside blunt
Do you miss your friends when you go?
Fuck yeah, a lot.
How did you and Flip find each other?
Jeremy Fox saw a promo video of me and came down to Colombia to check me out.
Did other skate companies get involved and ask you to join their team?
Maybe, but I can’t remember as I couldn’t speak English back then.
Did you feel any pressure being amongst the likes of Penny, Rowley, Appleyard and co, or was it just a good outlet for getting around and having some good times?
I was too young to feel any pressure back then so I was just chilling with the team.
How do the new ams on the team see it?
They are care free just enjoying the skating.
You seem to have a very good mindset about turning pro. Do you feel, spiritually and physically that you were ready?
I never even thought about it. 2008 was a great year and it’s amazing that I made it to pro but I don’t feel it has changed my skating or personality in any way at all.
Can you see yourself cashing in on the mainstream of skateboarding?
No way fuck that shit i’m going to keep it real like proper skaters.
What are your 3 fave movies?
Cheech and Chong’s Still Smoking, Stir Crazy and Rambo.
All time skate movie?
Streets on Fire. (1989)
What other skaters do you personally see as up and coming talent in skateboarding right now?
Louie Lopez, Luan De Oliviera and Curren Caples.
Geoff Rowley and John Cardiel.
Do you see yourself being tempted by the nightlife scene?
I don’t know, i’m not old enough to drink yet but for sure i’m going to go out now and again. I’ve seen enough though to know not to become one of those crazy drunk guys.
Huge front blunt
Anything out there out that actually scares you?
I get scared flying and motorbikes scare me, but that’s about it.
As the deadline draws closer for the Extremely Sorry DVD would you say you are happy with what you’ve filmed so far?
Fuck yeah for sure!
What should we be expecting from it?
Well, you will have to wait and see!
Imagine five years into the future, filming for ‘Seriously, You Have No Idea How Sorry We Are‘, is coming to a close – How do you think your skating would have developed?
Who knows. I’m still young and too busy enjoying life!
If you could pick 3 guests to skate in your part, who would they be and what tune would you choose?
My friend who died from Colombia, my Brother and Geoff. I would use ACDC for my music.
Thanks to everybody who has helped me especially Crossfire for the Iron Maiden tickets last year. Bloody amazing, I’ve never been to a concert that big before!
Watch Flip Skateboards ‘Extremely Sorry’ trailer here and look out for Gonzales to blow the doors off it when it is released this year…
We hear that you’re the newest addition to the Karma Skateboards team, so how did that come about and what happened with Icon?
I think the Icon brand had run its course and they decided that they wanted to concentrate on their other companies so made the decision to put Icon to rest.
It’s a shame but it’s a business at the end of the day and if its not making money then its fair enough I guess. I spent a few years with them and I appreciate all the support they gave me but unfortunately it doesn’t always last.
I’m still good mates with Smedley and the guys from Rollersnakes so there’s no hard feelings. I’d skated a few demos for i-five because they sort me out with Silver trucks and me and you both know Adam (Karma/I-Five Distribution Owner) and get on well with him so it seemed like a pretty natural move. Plus I’ve known Pete (King) for years so I’m stoked on how it turned out.
That was a pretty quick cross over, how long was there in between the two? (laughing) About an hour wasn’t it?
(laughing) It was a bit longer than that but there’s no point hanging about. Adam had asked me a while ago if it riding for Karma would be something I might be interested in sometime in the future but at the time nothing came of it so when Icon finished, I called him to see if the offer was still open. Thankfully it was and I’m stoked to be riding for them now…
You’d been filming for a few different projects though right? Tell us a bit about that. Whats happening to all the footage?
Yeah, I had a fair bit filmed for Toby (Batchelor)’s video but the rest of the people that were going to be in it had other commitments, so for one reason or another the video never really happened. I think a lot of the footage of (John) Tanner and Nicky (Howells) ended up in Savoir Faire and my stuff was going to be an Icon promo with Smedley but that’s not happening now either. (laughs)
So whats happening with it? Is it going towards the Karma video?
Yeah a lot of it is. It was kind of sitting around not doing anything for a while so we were going to put it all out, just to get it out there you know? I had a few pictures that Matt (Clarke) and Chris (Johnson) had taken so we were going to run it all together with the footage but then the Icon thing happened so we decided to put a bit of the footage out as a teaser and the rest will go into the Karma video which should be out sometime soon. It works out well all round really. I’m definitely looking forward to doing some more filming and getting some new footage, I find it easier when you’ve got a deadline and a target to work towards as opposed to just filming for the sake of it y’know?
Stoked. One more thing: what was with the orange on all your Icon stuff (laughs) Are you going to be aiming to get any Karma graphics in “ginger” or what?
Cheers for that mate, yeah I’m over that now for sure (laughs) I’m gonna pick a new colour and we’ll take it from there…
Interview by Kyle Green
Photography courtesy of Matt Price
Kyle Green seems to get everywhere. He’s like one of those raving reporters that sits up all night searching the web for a new A-Z to come out and plans his trips accordingly.
For the record, Kyle has now been deported back to the US and we miss him but anyway, this ones all about Mr Marty Murawski so read on to find out why this gifted skateboarder landed here for this interview at Crossfire this month…
Alright man can you just give us some basic details for anyone who doesn’t know you?
Yeah man, I’m Marty Murawski, i skate for Matix, DVS, Bones, Indy and Freedom Boardshop. I’m from Mesa Arizona born and raised.
What’s it like growing up in the desert? I think you guys have about the complete opposite weather to what we have here.
Yeah it’s dry and hot in the summer, and it doesn’t rain that much at all. The winter here is very nice.
Yeah it is, during the winter you guys get a visit from pretty much every skater on the planet right?
Yeah during the winter time it seems like everyone is in town. Some move here for the winter others hang for weeks then leave then come back, it’s always a good time.
So can you even really skate during the summer or do you pretty much have to stay inside with the air conditioner waiting for the sun to go down?
Yeah just wait till 8pm when it gets dark, then skate all night and sleep all day.
So what kinda ways do you combat the non-skate boredom when its blazing hot?
Swimming a lot and playing video games…also hang with my lady.
Backside 180 nose grind.
That doesn’t sound too bad at all.I think most people out here would like to be in your shoes sweating there ass off. You ever been out to the UK?
Yeah, it’s such a good time. I think I was there at the best time of the year. It gets pretty cold and wet huh?
Yeah it gets pretty bad, it seems like we didn’t even have a summer this year just like one nice week then back to grey.
Yeah I don’t mind the greyness I like wearing long sleeves and jackets.
What did you think of all the spots here compared to those massive perfect skateparks you guys have out there?
The spots I skated were fun, just any new spots for me are fun, I really liked the way everything looked out there. The skateparks here are fun but Arizona is so flat and dusty. I do love going to the park every night and cruising around with my friends.
So you don’t mind adapting to some roughness then? Seems like a lot of people come here and just get put off by the cracks everywhere all the puddles and the miserable people etc.
I don’t mind cracks and stuff, I don’t think I have ever bondo’ed anything ever in my life. just skate it as is, wax if necessary but that’s it.
Or just take another push.
Yeah I’ve definitely had to do that a few times.
Well what did you think of Southbank? I could see you busting a few moves down there.
I loved it! my shoulder was kind of hurt while I was out there but I still loved it.
Did you have on your shoulder brace that looks like a bra?
Haha yeah I did! I don’t have to wear it anymore though.
Yeah, you gotta be careful wearing something like that down Southbank, you’ll lose some style points you know?!
Yeah it was cool you couldn’t see it. and it was either that or pop my shoulder out of place and have to ask someone to pull my arm out to pop it back in.
That would have definitely lost you style points.
Haha and it would have hurt a lot as well!
How did you even do that to your shoulder by the way?
Just fell wrong on it like two years ago and it popped out. it kept happening over time so i had a sports doctor tighten everything up, its been all good after that.
Backside hip flip.
Well that’s good to hear. We cant have you out there with your arm flappin’ about out of the socket.
Yeah I’m happy about that.
So you were mentioning how much you miss meeting everybody at the skatepark when your away, and having visited a few times I know you guys have a really rad skate scene out in Phoenix, can you sum up what the Tempe park is and how important it is to everyone there.
It’s the park that has everything, it’s right in the middle of the valley and its where everyone hangs out and has fun. All the kids are cool and just want to have a good time. Even if you have a bad day the Tempe Park session at night is always a good time. Oh and sometimes Matt Price will get mad and snap his board which is also fun to watch.
Seems like a much better way to spend your nights. Cause I know when the sun goes down here most people are heading straight to the pub.
Well that happens here too.
Haha yeah Tempe park then bar.
I go through phases, skate then bar or sometimes just skate and skate.
You ever bar then skate?
If it’s a mini ramp, then yes I will.
Last time i tried to bar then skate I got into a fight with a brick wall…he won.
Haha nice, yeah he’s been working out.
The last time I skated Arizona it was overwhelming the amount of good skating going on. Who is really holding it down at the moment?
Man so many kids are good. I’m gonna say John Motta and Jon Rob because I just saw some new footage of them and it’s really good stuff. But there are alot of good ones right now…
Yeah John Motta. That creep can roll man.
If you had to pick just one skater in the entire world who would you say is winning the most?
Probably Lucas Puig.
Yeah but he’s French.
Haha just kidding he is a fine choice
Yeah just his style and his tricks are sooo good.
So what’s it like living with the worlds happiest photographer Matt Price?
It’s a great time. This summer we haven’t been able to hang much. Either he’s in town but i’m on a trip or i’m in town and he’s on a trip. This winter should be a blast though, lots of skating.
Have you ever come home and caught him doing something really embarassing like cleaning the house in the nude or crying while reading “chicken soup for the teenage soul”?
Umm let me think, one time I came home and my brother was passed out on the couch drunk and his dick was hanging out. He was halfway on the couch with the TV blasting full volume.
Wait, is this Matt or your Brother?
No no my Brother, he stayed on our couch for a month or three.
Oh man, I heard your brother was quite a character, please induldge us in one of his more memorable shenanigans.
God so many stories. Ok this one has Price in it as well so I will tell that. I was out of town and Price called me up and said “dude when is your brother moving out”? So i said “why what’s up” and he said ” dude came home and he was half naked eating a burger on the new couch, so I said, dude don’t eat that shit on my new couch and he simply replied” – “I’m gonna eat it all over your couch Price” and started spilling it all over the couch, then he started kicking his shoes at Price knocking things off the wall then he passed out with his boxers down and his bare ass on the couch! Price wasn’t too happy to be scared in his own house.
My other Brother is even crazier.
Are you the most normal in the family?
Yeah me and my sister, my brother is really rad he’s just an angry drunk.
I think you, your Brothers and price should all live together get a little weiner dog and make a TV show out of it.
Haha would you watch it?
Yeah I would, but seriously what’s the best thing about weiner dogs?
They are so funny looking, I just get hyped when i see them, its the only dog that I get hyped on. I want to have one so when i get home even if I had a bad day a get to see that little bastard and he will hype me up and make me think “look at this little guy ,he’s all funny looking and shit but he’s still happy so shouldn’t I be happy too”?
Well I hate to rain on your parade but my grandparents had one growing up and it was a little shit, it would bite me and bark non stop.
Awww not mine, he better not.
Well when you gonna step it up and get one? Hold on I got the perfect idea for you.
What is it?
Wait till it’s your girlfriends birthday or Christmas or something like that then get one claiming its a gift for her but really its for you…boom. Two birds one stone, weiner dog achieved!
Haha, yeah but her birthday was three days ago so I will have to wait till Christmas, plus I want to make sure I’m around for the little man too, maybe when I travel less and have a back yard for him.
Well we are working on something. Dan Magee is flying out to the states to meet up with Shier, Coakley and I in LA then we are gonna go out to AZ. I’m hype on it, been into Blueprint for sometime now, since the Waiting For The World vid came out. Always liked the company and their videos and I’ve been getting boards from them for a little bit now, so I’m excited to try and get something going with them.
Well hopefully this interview comes out after your out here or else you wont be doing any skating you’ll be too busy signing boobs.
Haha yeah better get out there soon then!
What kind of message of hope and inspiration would you like to give the young children of the UK?
Man just be yourself, skate and have fun, i don’t know life is short
Thats very nice Marty, is there anybody you would like to thanks or say hi to?
I would like to thank my sponsors, Tony at Matix, Tim Gavin and Gabe at DVS, Rick and Sam for hooking me up and helping me with product over the years, Lance at Indy, Jared at bones and Swiss, Eric Olson, Brandon and Jason at freedom, Matt Price, Travis Adams, Chavo, My brothers, anyone I missed and Kyle gotta thank you as well.
Chris Johnson – salt of the earth, top geezer, always up for traveling, getting involved, straight up, mellow, we could go on and on.
The point is though that Chris has been taking photo’s of skateboarding for a good while now and has graced pages in mags with his own style of lense clicking. It’s been a while since we ran a Triple Shot so we thought we would kick it back into gear with this chap who should shed some light on his favourite subject matter.
Tell us about yourself Mr Johnson.
I live in Worcestershire, I shoot for Sidewalk, I’ve shot adverts and promo stuff for Emerica, Vans, Death
How long have you been a photographer?
I’ve always had a camera of some sort to take snap shots of skating with friends and to help fill in the gaps in my memory.
How did you get into it?
About six years ago I wrecked my back and was unable to skate for a year or so. I found myself tearing my hair out whilst sitting watching all my mates having fun. I began to shoot the odd thing to give me something to do and a reason to be there, before long I was hooked and knee deep in a 35mm SLR outfit.
What were the best and worst bits of advice anyone gave you in regards to photography?
I grew up skating with a guy obsessed with documenting everything around him. For years he shot skate and lifestyle photos alongside filming the Worcestershire and Birmingham scenes in the mid to late 90’s. He was naturally my first port of call when I begun to get more serious and need technical advice. Luckily for me, by this point he was studying Documentary Photography in Wales alongside non other than Richie Gilligan who passed on all the equipment info I needed via my friend.
Why did this image you have submitted inspire you so much to take up photography? What effect did it have on you?
I started skating in the mid 80’s, so I was raised on a healthy diet of T.L.B, helped through my teenage years by Horse and Wig when Sidewalk Surfer started and in more recent times found constant inspiration through Leo Sharpe‘s work.
At the time this photo was run as the cover of Sidewalk, I was working as a Land and Measured Building Surveyor and was in the middle of a contract on the Lloyds offices opposite the spot. I would spend most of my lunchtimes sitting on the blocks fantasizing about what tricks I couldn’t do on them. At this point, the issue in question came out and I was blown away by the technical excellence of the photographic effect and the shire radness of the Gap Out Switch Crook by Will Ainley.
Have you ever felt bad about taking a photo?
A big part of a skate photographers’ job is to help guide and encourage the skater when they are deep in the inner turmoil and mental torture associated with today’s standards. Even if you feel bad at the time, it’s nothing compared to how bad you’ll feel if you didn’t shoot it.
What are the best and worst days shooting skateboarding?
The best days are usually when it’s not raining, you’re with a good group of people who are pushing themselves and you come away with something unexpected. A constant high for me is the late night drives back from any mission, trip or event with a bunch of guys all discussing the days events, knowing that you’ve got the bangers which they are referring to safely logged.
What’s the relationship like between a photographer and filmer?
Any serious filmers and photographers have a mutual respect for what the other person is trying to achieve and work together to ensure that neither fucks up the other ones shot. The relationship’s good.
Please tell us why you have picked your fave skate shot you have submitted.
The photo was shot on a Kill City trip to Bilbao in the early part of this year. We’d spent two and a half days staring out of the window at the monsoon which was unfolding outside. Dave Davies and me had discussed the potential of the spot and when the sun finally came out, we hurried straight to it. I love this photo because after nearly three days of stressing about not getting any photos, it was the first in the line of many bangers.
Are there ways of getting better/free equipment as you continue to grow or do you have to fund everything yourself?
Everything I have, I bought myself. I’m not aware of anyways of getting things for free, but there are certainly some great deals to be had if you shop around.
Do you get by in life with this income alone?
I do other types of photography such as lifestyle and the odd bit of fashion, but adverts work well along side the editorial to help pay the heating bills. Luckily I got a Surveying qualification under my belt ten years ago and am even luckier to have an understanding mate who throws a bit of Building Surveying work my way when I need it…… although these credit crunching times have seen an end to that…..
Please tell us about the non skate shot you have submitted and the story behind it.
I’d spent several weeks in Brighton over one summer working on a Haunts with Louis Cooper. As the summer turned to winter, the deadline came around. I hurried back to Brighton to get his portrait and last minute bangers. Unfortunately, when Louis showed up at Andy Evans’ house (where I had been staying), there was a Gail force wind swirling a combination of rain, sleet and snow in his face. Imagine how stoked he was when he had to eat an ice cream on Brighton beach in the sub zero temperatures. Within half an hour of this, he had switch frontside flipped the Sugar Rush gap.
Does music ever inspire your photography? What music artists can you not leave for a tour without?
Music is an amazing form of escapism when you’re sleep deprived, worn out and need a bit of head space on a skate trip. Also it’s brilliant for hyping up people on the way to a spot. Slayer and Cam-ron seem to do this at the mo.
Would you recommend digital or film?
Both. They are equally brilliant in their own unique ways.
What are the benefits of using film or digital?
Sequences go without saying. Digital gives you peace of mind and is brilliant for short time scales (deadlines etc).
What kit do you use?
Cameras: Canon 1d mk 2 for sequences, Canon 5 d, Canon 1 (35mm) and Bronica SQAI for stills. Lenses: Canon 15mm fisheye, Canon 50mm USM, Canon 75-200 L series and a 80mm on the Bronica. Lighting: Lumedyne, Sunpak and Nikon flashes with Pocket Wizards and a Sekonic light meter. Film: Fuji Provia and Velvia for colour and Ilford for Black and White.
What main advice would you give to upcoming skate photographers?
Don’t be scared to contact an established skate photographer, their advice is priceless and specific to your field. Don’t waste your time and money on High Street opinion.
Lastly, best true photo story ever.
I’m bored of all mine! John Fisher went to Barcelona when he was about 16 and Frontside Flipped Macba. He snapped his hanger on the role out. Whilst he was lying in a heap Jamie Thomas, who had been watching from afar, skated over, gave him a pair of trucks and invited him to a game of skate. A photo of John holding the broken hanger turned up in Transworld a few months later. Not my story or photo, but good none the less.
Chris will be shooting at this year’s Crossfire Xmas Jam on Saturday December 13th so get your position for Sidewalk BGP’s.
AD is a proud citizen of the Croydon skate scene, which itself needs no introduction. His many influence’s along his interesting journeys might have been the spur for his creativity, but it seems Adam has a constant urge to be drawing, designing, or doing something creative. More than ever, Ad can now channel his art into both of his companies: Drawing boards and Coping Clothing, along with his team and friend Simon.
When he isn’t taking care of his companies he can be found looking after the local skate park and you can be sure setting a good example for the up and coming generation in Croydon. He’s a good friend and is definitely that guy everyone likes.
Hey Ad, so give us a bit about your company Drawing Boards?
Drawing Boards started about 3 years ago with the intent of making fresh looking graphics on high quality skateboards, supporting the scene and sponsoring open minded shredders.
When did you start getting into drawing?
Drawing has always been a massive part of my life. When I was growing up we didn’t have a TV and I was quite a fidgety kid. I would draw all over my school books and then at night when I was meant to be sleeping ha-ha…. That was my little escape from reality and still is. When I started skating around 1992 the graphics where definitely a big deal and I was always well hyped as a yoof when I saw new graphics come out. I rarely used to buy em though mind you, cause they were too expensive. I’d get second hand decks with no graphics left on and paint them up and pretend they where new. Sad but true ha ha!
How is it all going?
Mate, it’s all going really well! We just recently sponsored the Crossfire Gap Jam which was a nice bit of exposure. Jerry, James and Potter have been featured in the magazines which I’m stoked on. Tweaker covered our little tour this summer and have done several features on our team. The decks have been selling well with plenty of support from the independent skate shops. Board of the month in Kingpin can’t be a bad thing either. We have just started making decks in Australia too which is really exciting. Crossfire has been featuring our new products and updates the mass’s on what’s new with the company. All in all there is a lot happening and things are really looking up!
Why did you start making skateboards?
Well it was something I had always wanted to do since I was a puppy. I have been designing T-shirts for the past 8 years for Coping Threads and skateboarding is a massive part of my life so I guess it was a transition from that. A lot of the graphics I had been drawing where suited to skateboards. Ultimately the aim is to help promote the scene and try and stoke people out by sponsoring some sick skaters who up until now didn’t really get much coverage. Also it’s very important to make sure we got the best decks we could find, so we got lots of samples from different wood shops which were tested by the team until we found the right wood for the job.
You’ve also designed plenty of stickers over the years tell us about them.
I’m a proper sticker geek!! I love designing stickers, when you are an underground company they are the best form of advertising. Give them to the kids. Stick them just about anywhere, on buses, trains, signs, on people’s fridges when there not looking. Sometimes if the cleaner likes the sticker they won’t remove it for years (shout outs to the Oval Tavern in Croydon) ha ha! It’s funny because when we first started out we went on sticker frenzy and that’s how allot of people found out about us. Everybody loves stickers they can turn something bone into something interesting ha ha! I hoard my stickers. But the minute I have two of the same sticker one gets stuck, mainly on my fridge.
I’m also bang into making gimmicks to! Over the years we have made lighters, car stickers, bottle openers, badges and even mini basket ball hoops all good talking points ha ha!
What was your background? Did you study art at college?
Nah man I never went to art college, I was kind of ignorant to all that. My opinion at the time was “Nobody is going to teach me I want to have my own style “ which I think did work in the creative process. Sometimes though I wish I knew how to do certain stuff straight away. When we started Coping back in 2000 I had hardly used computers at all. I had a few lessons on Photoshop, Quark and Illustrator which got me started, but you kind of learn those programs the more you play with them. Also Si has been a big help setting up the website and various other things. Maybe I should’ve gone to Art College who knows ha ha! I don’t have the time right now though that’s for sure. I got bills to pay ha ha!
So what’s new product-wise with Drawing boards?
We just released our 10th graphic (not including limited editions) the Fairfield deck. The decks get real good feedback on their pop and shape which is what it’s all about.
Also we have bought out some tasty looking limited edition jumpers and hoodies to stop your nipples from getting too hard this winter.
How are the Drawing Boards team going?
The team is going well! Since the spawn of Drawing Boards the riders have been getting more coverage. Jerry got his shine on in Kingpin. Potter had a first light in Sidewalk and James has been busting out moves in Document and Sidewalk. Nat’s been keeping it pretty ghetto but watch out for him he’s our best kept secret ha-ha! Tweaker and Crossfire have been giving them props too. Also stoked to have Sylva, Darth, Chris Baldwin and Ivan ripping down under, those guys lay it down hard. It’s good because there are a variety of styles on the team so expect everything from tech manual behavior, ledge monkey trickery, handrail gnarl, out n out shredding and everything in-between.
Anyone who has been to your house can see you are completely immersed in your art, from the paint’s around on the floor, the canvasses on the wall’s and the way you have intricately painted your whole stair banister. You spend a lot of time making new designs and drawings, what is an average day?
Ha ha! The banisters isn’t really based on anything it’s just a result of having too much paint on my brush and needing somewhere to put it. I doubt that they will ever be finished. Ummm, an average day is wake up, coffee, then get down to it. I am obsessed with lists ha ha! There’s no way I could do anything without them. My memory isn’t good enough to get it all done on its own. I don’t just do the art/design. I wish ha ha! I also do the ordering of all the garms and decks, the pantones, distribution,blog, filming, promotion, phoning people, chasing up money, quality control, sort out the riders, organize stuff for Oz and lots of other bits n bobs too. Then I go to my day job at the skate park. Lots of talented local skaters down there too. Little Nick, Felix, Calvo, The Eds, Freddie, Casper and Conner to name a few. I work 3.30pm till 11 then drop little Nick home. Then back to working on the companies until the wee hours. Don’t get me wrong I do find time for other things in life too, but sometimes I wish there was about 5 more hours in an average day. On a non average day I do normal things that normal people do in a normal way ha ha!
Is the drawing as much therapeutic and enjoyable as it is work, or do you draw a line between them?
Ye man. It does chill me out for sure .Drawing is chilled; I have definitely used it as a replacement to a therapist ha ha! Over the last 6 years I have had 4 surgeries on my legs. The first one I couldn’t skate for nearly 2 years!!! The last one I couldn’t walk without a stick for 10 months so working on Drawing Boards, Coping and drawing in general has been a massive release for me. Just putting all my left over energy into something positive rather than thinking about what I couldn’t do. Sitting in front of a screen bums me out sometimes when it’s a nice day but if you want to make something happen there is always a certain amount of work to it.
You have a unique and easily recognizable style tell us about that and who have been your influences?
It’s always good when people can look at a certain piece and know who did it. Not to say that all the stuff has to be the same. I like to do a variety of stuff. Drawing the same stuff to often becomes stagnant and nobody wants to see the same stuff regurgitated over and over. I am very conscious that there are a lot of similar styles out there and it’s very important to me that I keep all our graphics as original as possible.
Over the years many people have influenced me artistically, Old cartoons like Popeye, story books like Dr Seuss and What-a-mess. Comic strips like The Beano and the Freak Brothers ha ha! Other Artists who I think are really talented such as Hokusai, Esher, Jim Philips, Andy Howell, and Rolf Harris, my friends Beansnax and Marley. Traveling has also had a big impact on my artwork because when I’m seeing and experiencing new things my mind goes mad with new ideas and concepts about my surroundings.
Have you had any exhibitions?
Yeah I had a couple a few years back now. They were called AD another skate related artist. One in Birmingham’s Epic Skate Park in the bar before it got smashed up. I managed to cover every wall in the bar so it was pretty full on. The paintings were up for about a month and I got really positive feedback from it. The other one was in Crystal Palace above Dojy skate shop. A good turnout for that one, I’m not sure if it was for my artwork or the premier of Keep the Streets Clean though ha ha! It was cool cause a lot of heads that know me but hadn’t seen any of my paintings before showed up. So that was nice for a bit of local support. Also do a bit of live art at a local hip hop night called Bangers. I have been keeping a lot of my paintings from the last few years under wraps because I’d like to do another one soon and it’s good if peeps see paintings for the first time at the exhibitions. Also I’m a bit paranoid because a few people have nicked my ideas. No names mentioned. You know who you are, hah!
You have been quite active in the situation over at Fairfield Halls in Croydon, you have met with the council, what is going on there?
Fairfield has been a big part of my life over the years. In my younger years (ha ha) I was inspired by all the rad people I used to see skate down there. Shier, Billy, Lee, Skinner and Dan Callow all used to blow my mind when I watched them skate. It’s countless the amount of amazing heads I have seen take on the planters over the years (Cairo Foster, Penny, Baines, Rattray, Jenson, ect ect. ). Drawing Boards also sponsors Jerry “the tre” Wilson who has been skating there since he was the size of a nits left bollock. However over the past few years the place has really gone down hill. The paving slabs are cracked, the big planters became unskateable and there was a fair few pricks who thought it’d be a good idea to rob the kids. Myself and my friend Peter Sageman thought it was about time that people became aware about what’s been going down there so we have started an online petition please take the time to sign it. We have also held meetings with planners and the CEO of Croydon Council along with the kids to ensure that there is a future for street skating in the area.
Do you think it will be better in the long run?
Well, Jon Rouse the CEO was impressed with our commitment and said that the final designs for the redevelopment of the space were not yet confirmed. He has agreed to open up discussions with the skaters and the developers to work on the final design of the area. He sees no reason why continued use of the space for skateboarding can’t be built into the design as a duel used space. So basically we need to try to keep this issue in the public eye to keep the pressure on the council.
So what’s next for Ad’s and Drawing boards?
Next thing up is a cup of tea! After that I want to keep dropping graphics and being creative. Plugging away at all the odds n ends. Cracking the whip getting this video done ha ha! Sponsoring events and learning new things. Keep plugging away at the council. I also want to get back into skating as I’ve just started again and I’m remembering how lucky I am to have my limbs in working order ha ha!
What advice would you give to up and coming artists?
Draw, draw, draw… Computers are good but unless you have the key drawing skills your art will be stifled. It’s a bit like skating you got to practice ha ha, unless your some wonder kid. Also try and be unique. Don’t just do what others are doing around you, experiment, have ideas and go with them. Passion and dedication always helps too.
Any shout out’s?
Massive thanks to all the heads that have supported over the years so many to name. Love to the team thanks for reppin’ hard. Also big thanks to Si and Donny “fuggin”, Fraser for their inputs into the companies. Mad love to my mum, twin and famz. HB pencils, Props to Tweaker, Kingpin, Sidewalk and Crossfire for the coverage. Thanks to Toe n Nick for helping film, Lanyard, Smay, Gorm, Lec, Marley, Vost and Austino for the photos. FM and all Fairfield skaters ever. Thanks to Skaterham and shouts to all the kids there. Jakes Alley, Chadwick, Coatmonster, Gilo, Callow, Worthless, Teaguey and Dojy Dylan for the support. The independent skate shops that stock us. As well a big old’ “cheers mate” to you Mr. Marley for your questions. Nice one Zac thanks for having faith in what we are doing here. Basically I don’t care if that sounded like a Grammy award speech I couldn’t do this shizzle without you lot ha ha!