Danny Garcia Interview

Danny Garcia is one of those rare nonchalant characters that simply being in the presence of eradicates all thoughts of stress. In fact, he is so laid back, he’s horizontal. You can see the evidence in his casual skating style, especially how he managed to put an apt ending to one of my personal favourite skate videos, Mosaic, without seeming to break into a sweat.

On the London leg of the European éS tour, I had the pleasure of discussing the finer things in life with the fellow over a glass of red wine, or in my case, a miserable excuse for a banana milkshake. When I say the finer things in life, naturally I’m talking about the upcoming Habitat video, goth haircuts, Camden market, ultimatums from Death and of course, all that whiz-plank nonsense. Sit back, and enjoy, and leave yourself feeling refreshed and perhaps knowing a little bit more about Danny Garcia than the average bear.

Skate shots: Courtesy of éS
Portrait:Tim Mogridge
Words: Joe Moynihan

So Danny, you’re on the last leg of the Europe tour right now. How has the trip been?

It’s been ok. It was kind of hard for me to leave home, because I had a few things going on you know? It’s going alright though. The turnouts have been a bit whatever at times but that doesn’t really bother me. Going to Italy was really cool though; I’d never been there before, so just being able to be in Italy and admire how beautiful it is was awesome. We didn’t get a chance to do anything that interesting because we were driving a lot. But then of course we got to saw a lot of the countryside while we were driving, which was great.

What sort of shit has gone down skate wise? Any stand out moments?

A couple of things. We haven’t got to skate much street hardly at all, but we did yesterday before we got on the plane. We went to this really nasty ditch in some beach town in Italy, and Rick ollied into it, that was sick.

You’ve got the demo at MK Plaza tomorrow. Have you been there before?

Not since they’ve built the ledge complex. Before, it was just a big open space, and not quite as interesting. I’m looking forward to skating it, definitely.

Why such a short stay in the UK?

I don’t know really. Though, being able to stay in one city for four days is kind of a lot for us. A couple of times we just did one night in a city, and two days, so yeah four days is pretty ok for us. It gives us that extra little time to cover a lot of ground, quickly, but that’s how it is. I kind of set a rule for myself, I really can’t do anything over two weeks on a trip. More than 14 days is just too hard for me to deal with. I’d kind of go crazy.

What’s the major difference between European spots and spots in California?

I think the weather makes spots a little easier to skate. Weather does a lot of damage to the ground y’know? As opposed to California, the east coast is a big difference because everything is so harsh and rough. And I think weather has a lot to do with it. But Europe, it’s got a lot of marble, and the materials used are really good, and we don’t see variety like that back at home.

Which do you prefer?

I just like granite, marble and plaza type spots. Just like the bus station at Milton Keynes.

More of a ledge man then?

Yeah, usually. Lately I’ve been trying to skate a little tranny here and there. That’s the thing too, in California public skateparks are everywhere, so it’s becoming unavoidable.

Would you ever bring the session to a vert ramp?

I drop in for sure. I dropped in on vert for the first time a couple of years ago. It was great. So I guess anytime I come across a vert ramp, I’ll definitely drop in and pump around for a while. But then I’ll just hop out and go back to the street course.

Inhabitants is getting close to wrapping up now, are you happy with your footage?

Hmm. No. Not really. Though I’ve never been happy with my footage for anything. You never get to call when you’re done for a part. You never reach that stage where you have all the footage you want, and can say, “I’m done with the part”. When the video is out is when you’re done.

You had the closer for Mosaic. And that went down really well.

Yeah, I’m glad about that. It was the same thing with the whole ‘I’m done with the part’ but I’m not scenario. This time around, I don’t know what’s happened. Maybe I’m just being lazy.

There’s a poll on the Transworld site right now, so far your section is the second most anticipated (behind Janoski). Not to put any pressure on you or anything…

Uh oh. You know, I should be able to respond to that poll, and tell them to calm down or something. (Danny laughs), that’s funny, ah I guess it’ll be ok, it’ll turn out fine. We’ll see.

Are there any surprises in the video?

Surprises? I don’t know what Joe (Castrucci) is planning to do yet. One good thing that we have talked about, is that this time round we won’t have to get the rights for the music because we won’t be making over a certain amount of copies. We’ll be able to use any song we want without it becoming expensive, stuff like that caused difficulties in Mosaic.

In Mosaic you had a fair amount of specially recorded tracks by The Greenhornes.

Yeah, they helped a fair bit with intros and stuff. But there was a love song they wrote that they were a bit possessive over. Kerry wanted it for his part, but they didn’t want it being used, which was a shame. But this time around things like that won’t be such a hassle. We’d be able to use whatever we want, which will be awesome.

Do you think you’ll have a song involved again like you did in Regal Road?

Hmm. Maybe, I’m not sure, I know that Joe mentioned it to me but I’m not sure. If we do, it’ll probably be very subtle.

How long have you been playing guitar?

I’ve been playing all sorts of music my whole life, but I only really got into playing guitar seriously when I was about 20. So about 7 years of taking it seriously. I played piano when I was a kid, violin, saxophone and some other stuff but never really got that into it you know? I kind of just did it because I was around it. But the guitar is a keeper.

Tell us about your new shoe on éS.

Yeah, it was just a shoe I wanted really (laughs). I went for the most basic design ever, just to make myself happy really.

Was it your decision to have a Hi Top version made?

No, actually. I didn’t really have much of an idea what was going on, in terms of what seasons everything was coming out and what. They had the plan completely sorted, and I just agreed with it and worked on the colours and materials and took it from there.

Does it skate well?

Yeah, for sure. I like it a lot, mainly because I was skating vulcanised soles for about 6 months beforehand so it was a nice change. But my next shoe is going to be vulcanised, as I am quite partial to them.

Does it not ever feel weird to be rolling around with a shoe with your name on?

Not really. I kind of forget it’s there now. I mean, maybe the first time I was riding a deck with my name on, yeah I thought that was a bit trippy, but I got over that feeling pretty quickly.

I always thought it would be like when you were in the early days of school, and your mum would sow a label with your name onto your clothes in case you lost them.

(Laughs) Thankfully it’s nothing like that.

If we take things right back now Danny, what made you first pick up a skateboard?

Probably the group I started hanging around with. I was in junior high, young and na├»ve trying to figure out what I wanted to be, what crowd I wanted to hang around with and shit. At first I was trying to be like a tagger, or graffiti kid, but that didn’t last long. Probably because I sucked, I dunno, I couldn’t figure it out I guess. I think I moved and started hanging around with a couple of kids that had skated. I used to ride my bike everywhere, and I remember that it got stolen, but these guys hooked me up with some old parts of a skateboard so I could get about still. But I was competitive at that age too, I would see them skate and I’d strive to be better than them. So that was what pushed me at the beginning.

What made you keep going after all that?

I don’t really know, it was something new I guess. It was exciting, and it just kind of took over. No one was really doing it at the time, compared with nowadays anyway. To me, that was really thrilling, and I just kept going.

Did you ever see it becoming a full time job?

I don’t know, I never really knew it was an option. Whenever I saw guys in magazines I just thought they were the same as any other skater. I didn’t think you could actually make a living from it.

Now that you are making a living from it, can you imagine doing anything else?

Yeah, I’ve thought about it. Sometimes I actually want to do something else. Like, I need that refreshing feeling of something new once and a while. Skateboarding has become a different thing for me now; it’s not necessarily as exciting as it was when I first started.

So do any recent videos inspire you as much as back when you first started? You said once that Goldfish was one of your favourites. Do you ever get hyped on newer stuff?

Goldfish was one of the first videos I saw. I loved it. I don’t watch as many videos these days, if a new video comes out I wouldn’t go searching for it like I used to. I still watch the older stuff though; Goldfish will always be a fond favourite.

What about skating with other people then, do they inspire you?

Yeah, definitely. That’s kind of my main inspiration now, when I travel I get influenced by a lot of the new skaters, and non-skaters for that matter that I meet.

Who’s the raddest skater to skate with?

I don’t think I could single anybody out really. I do love skating with Anthony Acosta though, a photographer. He always pushes me to do something, or taking me to new spots. He’s got so many, man, plus I’ve been skating with him since forever, so it’s good for me personally.

My mate influenced me with this question. Being one of those sorts of bizarre things he would regularly pounce on me with on any given day. If Death paid you a visit and told you that you had one week left to live. What’s the last spot you would hit up, and who with?

Hmm, I don’t know. I haven’t been there yet, but maybe those ledges here in London.

East India Quays maybe? Are they grey and marble, near a lot of buses?

That’s the ones. I saw Alex Olson skate them in a Girl promo, they look perfect. Yeah, I’d definitely like to skate those. As for who I’d skate with, I couldn’t name anyone right now.

You could skate them today! But let’s say that that didn’t happen, and you live for a long time, what are your plans for the future?

I don’t know really, I think I’m just going to let it happen, whatever it is. That kind of worked for me when I was younger. I never had a plan, and I would never like, sit down and think about it or whatever. I just did what I wanted to do at the time, obviously with respect to the people around me, and hoped it’ll work out really. Yeah, I’ll be doing that in the future.

Speaking of doing whatever falls in front of you, would you ever consider getting another haircut like the one in KOTR?

(Laughs) no, no, no. That’s funny though, I was thinking about that the other day. If I went on a king of the road right now, without doing the first one, if it was now, I can safely say I wouldn’t have got that done.

How long did it last?
I think I shaved it all off on the last day, it was just getting too much for me. But then I hated it even more, because before I had a little bit of hair and a baldhead. But after shaving it all off, I just had this huge head, like a full on meathead, which wasn’t cool. Even with a hat on, I dunno, I looked like a cancer patient or something.

(Laughs) well it’s been a pleasure to speak to you Danny; I wish you all the best with the rest of the tour, and of course with Inhabitants!

Thanks, and no worries. Easy man.

Check the Crossfire competitions page for the chance to win a signed pair of Danny’s new shoes and an éS tshirt signed by Danny and the rest of the team.