DOGPISS ISSUE 4
ANDY CRAYTON / DAVE BEVAN / JOHN P FINUCANE / BELLIES / JAZZ WADE / VISION TRAVEL / LUKAS KACEVICIUS / ben l. cooney
cover photograph: snail
skater: andy crayton
ISSUE 4 EDITOR : BEN HAIZELDEN contributors: Lukas Kacevicius John Finucane Jazz Wade Forde Brookfield Tom Sparey Tom Quigley Sam Roberts bruce mcclure lucien harris Robert Gurney Dave Bevan rob salmon rich‘scumtash’dowton Sam Cooper Snail Andy Crayton Vision Travel (George Eksts) Leo Sharp Dylan Lewis james griffiths Aron Ward Claudia Gibbons Ben L. Cooney Rob Whiston Alex Ramsell Chris Dale Simon Woods ben haizelden sincerest thanks to all who have contributed to or supported the magazine in any way.
Robert GurneyS Curvy multi combo snake mogul bowl photographs by lucien text by rob gurney
artist features from
DAVE BEVAN JAZZ WADE VISION TRAVEL LUKAS KACEVICIUS
interview by dylan lewis photgraphs by snail & leo sharp
three crail photographs in one magazine!!! MUSIC FEATURE:
FOR SUBMISSIONS OR ANY QUERIES PLEASE EMAIL:
Robert GurneyS Curvy multi combo snake mogul bowl PHOTOGRAPHS BY LUCIEN HARRIS TEXT BY ROBERT GURNEY A bowl in a wild garden on an old dairy farm I grew up and skated during the grey-gold rush of the late seventies skatepark phenomenon and, like so many of us, it’s stayed deep in my psyche. Why not? Maybe the lack of a preconceived idea of what a skate park or bowl must be, gave the early builders and pioneers a chance to experiment. We know the history and it’s now being celebrated in a new way with a better focus. Not only because the few remaining relics are still great to skate, but perhaps because they are special, unique and require some attention to skate. What has stayed with me most is the pools, the bowls, the bumps and the snake runs, the proper curves and lines that go with them. They weren’t all that special of course and, we could always improve on them with what we know now, or can we? In more recent times we’ve learned how really good transitions and shapes and can transform things. However, some modern bowls and parks can be a victim of their own success. They’re so good; they’re so go good they’re almost less special to skate. They’re honed and refined and incorporate every conceivable additional extra.
Nothing is left to chance, except maybe the simplicity of a really lovely hip or a just a good way to skate down some sloping land and end up popping out or carving back, is left on the ideas shelf. With our bowl here, we wanted to try and mix the best, or what we thought was the best, of the old, the new and the stuff in between. Hard to do, so it ends up just being an idea. We didn’t want a hybrid, we just wanted it to skate well. After the 80s and 90s DIYing dirt jumps and ramps, while in the Alps shaping snowboard jumps around the shape of the landscape and then, skating all over and a short spell involved in the skatepark industry in the 2000s, I knew being completely free to build was the concrete dream. When I found an old dairy farm on a moor, now a wild garden, and a lot of good friends who were up for the challenge, we started digging. The friends and volunteers enjoyed it most of the time I think, I hope. The process of the ideas, the planning, the digging, the forming and then the concrete and now landscaping, were and are the most fulfilling and enjoyable undertaking I’ve ever been part of. Seeing all sorts skate it, and skating with them, is pretty good too! When the weather breaks and we can skate more we’ll see what lines can be found? An old diary farm, maybe fifty cows, has a slurry pit, but not a big one, two tier, about the right shape and size for a modest two or three bowl set up. Three hips, all slightly different in size and shape and a mogul with rolled over spine/sausage/ snake to define and help the run down or back up hill. Lovely trannies and some hand shaped coping and a large roll in from platform. There you have it, easy.
BEN FLOYD GRINDS COPING BIGGER THAN YOUR THIGH.
Well, only if you can find a masterful skatepark guy and concrete builder with a team of god-like shapers to do the important bit. Shapers that don’t want to build the generic stuff and think unique is right and very high quality finishing is just default procedure. Well, we did find them and I’d like to thank them, whenever I get the chance - without them, no matter how many ideas we have, nothing will happen. The guy is Ryan Alcock, who came on board at the “large hole in ground” stage, gathered a team of - Div Adam, John Coppen, Marlon Taitt - who got involved a little later in the project and although they seemed to like the evolution so far, they brought new and very good ideas to help tweak the digging and forming as they prepared for the concrete. The way they prepare the ground and rebar and go about things is a wonder and when they pour it all gets very serious, really scary for me, but for them it’s just normal. Shaping with care and custom made tools.
LOLA TAMBLING GETS SOME.
Non stop trowelling with dozens of hand made trowels, some made specially for this project and the transitions and shapes of just this bowl. They pushed themselves, they pushed me (in a good way) and they created this lovely thing. Thank you to all that helped, to all that will skate and help inspire another perspective on bowls and parks to come and thank you to Ryan and Opus Skateparks who performed miracles.
Love from Curvy multi combo snake mogul bowl Robert Gurney
DAN WAKEMAN OLLIES.
MARTYN TAMBLING TABLES OVER TOMMY BOWERS BACK SMITH.
LIGHT OF DAY FEATURE: UPCOMING PHOTOBOOK FEATURE
DAVE BEVAN Freedom is wandering in a strange place, with no direction or destination, other than the wandering and learning something about wherever it is you are. Freedom is in the tools in a tweaker’s garage, and the cool, old, rusty shit he keeps just about alive with them. Freedom is flying outta your skull, and seeing where and how you end up. Freedom is shooting a hill and the wobbles that follow. Freedom is in the rush when you make it and in the fallout when you don’t. Freedom is music. Freedom is friends. Freedom is falling In love/over/out/together/apart... Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to loose.
jocko & brad
Freedom Is Where You Think It Is
These pictures are from a book Dave is currently working on called â€œFreedom Is Where You Think It Isâ€? - out sometime/never. Keep an eye on http://happygoingnowhere.blogpsot.co.uk for not quite daily truths & lies.
LUKAS KACEVICIUS Lukas is a skateboarder and artist currently living in London. If you want to know more go follow him on Instagram @rainyforest
images copyright of lukas KACEVICIUS
JOHN FINUCANE INTERVIEW BY BEN HAIZELDEN
INSTAGRAM@JPFPHOTOS So where are you from originally John? Hi , my name is John Finucane.I am basically from the west of Ireland. A city called Galway which is right beside the Atlantic Ocean.It supposedly rains up to 225 days a year there. It’s quite tough skating there. And you’re now living in South Korea , whereabouts are based and what are you doing with yourself out there? Yea , I am based in Seoul. I have been here for around 6 years and I don’t know when I am leaving. It is home now , it feels weird when I’m back in Europe.Reverse cultural shock i guess.. I teach English in a university out here. The university which I teach at is 30 km from the North Korean border but to be honest it feels a million miles away. I don’t pay much interest to that stuff
How does the scene compare to what you re used to back home? The scene here is similar to Ireland. It is on the small side. Everyone basically knows everyone which is cool. The locals in Korea are nice , they put on a bunch of events which are always good. If people are interested in whats going on in the Korean scene check www.dailygrind.kr . To be honest , my favorite thing about skateboarding in Korea is the spots. There are so many untouched incredible spots here. Every weekend , the crew I usually skate with
search and skate new spots. We post a bunch of photos and videos on @lurkorea
Did you find photography through skating, or was it a separate past time that ended up overlapping.? I definitely found an interest in photography through skating.I used to shoot skate photos as little kid on a point and shoot whenever I got hurt. Only really started focusing on taking photos in the last 3 years after I hurt my back from filming.I found that I enjoyed it a lot more compared to filming. Gotta really give props to my mate Ikbal for the all tips and advice about taking photos. Still have so much to learn , really enjoy it though.
Do you have an interest in photography beyond skateboarding? Definitely , I do have a tendency to be more focused on skateboard photography though . I shoot the odd non skate photo , trying to make a conscious effort to shoot more. There are a bunch of types of photography I enjoy looking at but I don’t know a huge amount of photographers outside skateboarding. One of my favorite photography instagrams is @historyphotographed , some of the images are so powerful.
Is skateboarding you favourite subject ? Yea for sure. Ive been obsessed with skating since I was 13/14. Definitely get stoked on shooting a sick trick but it can be frustrating at times if it doesn’t come out exactly the way you wanted it or sometimes you don’t get anything. Waiting till 3am to hit a spot and then only to get kicked out after one try, the joy of skating. I don’t really enjoy just shooting a trick, compassing the surrounding makes the photo a lot more interesting in my opinion.Used to love the old Kingpins , the style of photography in those mags were definitely an inspiration.A typical fisheye photo of a trick down a SoCal rail doesn’t really get me too stoked but I guess it really depends what the photo is for etc… .
Its refreshing to see someone shooting almost exclusively with a standard prime lens. Was this a conscious decision? To be honest I usually shoot with my sigma 24-70 2.8. My fisheye broke last summer but I didn’t use it too often. I am in no rush to replace it.I feel that shooting with fisheye has been overplayed a bit in skateboarding. I am not against using a fisheye , it definitely has it’s place . Trying to get a unique angle is the main focus i suppose.. Sometimes I get lucky
Whats next for you? Any trips planned ? Finishing this masters hopefully soon. Then I’ll have a lot more free time. Update a bunch of my gear when I get the cash. Going to try get to Chengdu in China sometime soon, the spots and food looks incredible there.
And lastly can you name a favourite skateboarding photograph or less specifically photographer? Tobin Yelland is my favourite... so much energy in his images. ! I guess if I had to pick one it would be French Fred. The unique angles are inspiring.He definitely stands out in skateboarding photography my opinion. Thanks for your time John, any parting words, thank you’s or fuck you’s? Thanks for featuring me in your mag. Thanks to my girlfriend, my family , all my friends and anyone who has the patience to shoot a photo with me hahaha..
DANIEL HOCHMAN - NOSEBLUNT
ROB QUICK - BS SMITH
CIAN EADES - FAKIE OLLIE SWITCH BS NOSEBLUNT
IKBAL NAMANI -
ASHER STRINGER - BS 180 NOSEGRIND
SEAMUS Oâ€™FLAHERTY - OLLIE
JAZZ WADE INSTAGRAM@JAZZWADEILLUSTRATION
When I think of Jazz, I initially think of him in a skateboarding light, and I sometimes forget he’s actually a pretty incredible artist. I’ve known Jazz for 7/8 years now and his artwork has progressed from small scribbles on a piece of paper that we’d use for Baghead Crew logos, to full blown A3 pieces that I own, and have framed proudly on my wall. The recent commission pieces he’s created up have blown me away. The sheer amount of detail, time, effort and love he puts into every single project is incredible and should be recognized on a wider scale! It’s wonderful to see the degree of improvement in Jazz’s style - not only in his artwork, but his skateboarding too. I think Jazz’s originality, both on and off a skateboard speak volumes, and naturally
translates well onto paper.
- Forde Brookfield/ Baghead Crew.
jazz noseblunts on a bank AT BROOM
photograph by mike simons
all illustrations copyright of jazz wade
GALLERY OF RADNESS
JOXA / CRAILSLIDE / THAXTED / PHOTOGRAPH BY RICH SCUMTASH DOWNTON
JAKE TUCKER / MELONCOLY / BRISTOL / PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM SPAREY
CALLUM THOMPSON / NOSE YANK IN / SUTTON COLDFIELD / PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM QUIGLEY
BAMBI PRICE / HURRICANE / PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM QUIGLEY
THREE PHOTOGRAPHS BY ROB
JOHN HOWLETT -
MYLES RUSHFORTH -
TAILSLIDE - NORWICH
OLLIE OVER BLOCK - BURY ST EDMUNDS
TOM DAY -
OLLIE TO BANK - PETERBOROUGH
STEVIE THOMPSON / BACKSIDE BONELESS / EAST SUSSEX? / PHOTOGRAPH BY BY SAM ROBERTS
JOE HINSON / 360 FLIP / PHOTOGRAPH BY SAM COOPER
SNAIL / FS CRAIL / PHOTOGRAPH BY CRAYTON
GULAN / KICKFLIP MID CONVERSATION / MILE END /PHOTOGRAPH BY CALUM SIMPSON
HENRY MOORE / BS LAYBACK / PHOTOGRAPH BY RICH SCUMTASH DOWNTON
SNAKES WHEN HE WAS SAT ON THE COUCH STARING AT THE FIREPLACE HIS HEAD STARTED TO FILL WITH SNAKES HE’D RATHERTHEY STAYED ON TOP OF HIS HEAD,
MEDUSA’S VENOMOUS FRIENDS KNEW THEIR
BUT NOT THIS WRITHING SERPENTS NEST BIG AND SMALL COILING
TO A CARNIVALS MUSIC BOX
HE GRABBED HIS HEAD, TRIED TO TWIST IT OFF SAW IT SHRIVELLING IN THE FLAMES IT REMAINED ATTACHED TO HIS NECK,
AND NOW THEY WERE WRAPPING THEMSELVES AROUND HIS BODY, DRAGGING HIM DEEP INTO A SUBMERGED FOREST,
THAT LOOKED SUSPICIOUSLY LIKE HIS SITTING ROOM CARPET HE FORCED HIMSELF TO HIS FEET STRAIGHTENED HIS BACK WITH A CRACK THE SQUAMATES REMAINED WHATEVER HE DID DIDN’T MAKE A DAMN BIT OF DIFFERENCE MAYBE SOMEBODY WOULD COME THROUGH THE DOOR TAKE A PHOTO OF HIM AND HIS SNAKES
MAKE IT INTO A FLAG FLY IT FOR SUBURBIA
THE STRANGEST PET ON EARTHS POEM BY
VISION TRAVEL firstname.lastname@example.org
The world of Instagram is a strange place. More and more users are sharing the work of others, or photographs of the minutiae of the their everyday life, (and obviously the endless skate photos). But there are some photographers out there making curated accounts seeking to address certain subjects, and occasionally more specifically, creating photographic projects that exist solely and by design as Instagram accounts. Vision Travel is one such account. utilising the time honoured topographical photographic strategy, like that of the Bernt & Hilda Becher or Lewis Baltz, the account adds a post modern twist to this established image making methodology. the eschewing of fine art printing and gallery installation, and the appropriation of the easily accessed digital world of everyoneâ€™s favourite picture sharing service seems like an informed and synergistic decision. the subject and its presentation seem linked. The liveries featured within these tightly and consistently structured images attempt reveal so much about the places from which they came, but they provide no clear answers. As all great photography should be. Ben Haizelden.
ANDY CRAYTON INTERVIEW BY DYLAN LEWIS
INTRODUCTION BY SNAIL PHOTOGRAPHS BY SNAIL & LEO SHARP
Is it a rat? Is it Bill Danforth? No, its Andy Crayton. This ageing skeletor lookalike has been on his board for 30+ years and still rips harder than your precious little Olympic prodigy. Original member of the D.L.H, this tea drinking ninja with a lust for crust and all things grotty can usually be found in the air or pushing furiously uphill. The last ten years hes been in the Deep South west of kernow tearing up backyard ramps, weird diy creations, dirty ditches and old mine ruins (that most wouldnt even bother to look at) Make no mistake. Andy is 1 00% skateboarder and long may it continue!
Where did you grow up and when did you start skateboarding? I grew up in Penzance, Cornwall and started skateboarding at the age of 8. The moment I stepped on a board I knew that walking was now the last resort! How many years have you been on the earth? 40 years this year â€“ although I still think my parents must have it wrong! I heard you grew up in an amusement arcade in Penzance, what the fuck was that like? Looking back now, pretty mental, although at the time it seemed perfectly normal. I guess I saw a lot of things at quite a young age and became quite streetwise very quickly. Living in the arcade also introduced me to skating as it was right on the promenade, next to the banks that everyone skated. Summer was totally amazing living there. As it was so close to my house I was allowed out to skate when I was 8 years old. I was hanging out with kids 10 years older than me who would look after me, and often carry me home after I had broken myself in a jump ramp session. This was the late 80s and skating was huge at that point; Animal Chin had just come out and we all thought we were the Bones Brigade.
You spent some years in Bristol, what made you move there and how did you find the skate scene? The scene in Bristol was amazing. I moved into a house right next to the Deaner, which had recently been re-done so everyone was skating there. We formed the D.L.H not long after moving up and the next 10 years we skated all day everyday, got drunk and smashed things up at night. After coming from Cornwall it was so good to just be able to go out and skate without having to pre arrange anything. Moving to Bristol was definitely the best thing I could have done. I met so many people in that 10 years and it led me to travel the world.
ollie off the old denaer mini to bank
You lived in the infamous DLH HQ in Warden Road, Bemmie (Bedminster, Bristol) have you got any stories to tell? Living in that house was completely insane and there are many stories from lots of people. I guess one that stands out would be the morning we left the house to find we were sealed in the middle of a huge gun running bust and that they had been selling guns from all the surrounding properties. We also had a quarter-pipe in the kitchen that would often get sessioned all night. The last night in that house we had a massive party and smashed the whole place to bits. The last thing i saw that night as i walked down Warden Road was our sofa being thrown through the window of the joke shop opposite. Did you get your deposit back? No! But the landlord was kind enough to send all our parents photos of the aftermath, which I still have to this day! Oh and threatened to take us all to court.
ollie out the kicker
Now you are back in Cornwall, how is the scene there now? The scene in Cornwall is really good. The standard at Mount Hawke on a skate-only night is ridiculous; so many good kids coming up. I think Cornwall has always had a good scene even back in the days when there was nothing to skate. Now there’s loads of good concrete parks to hit in summer and everyone migrates to Mount Hawke in winter. We also have a ramp in Snail’s orchard and an endless amount of timber and skatelite to build random obstacles to skate. Getting older isn’t so bad after all! I know there is a good nudist skate scene there, how come no one wears deodorant? I skated naked far more in Bristol than I ever have done in Cornwall. People do wear deodorant, but nothing overcomes a good pasty-sweat! Do you have any final words or shout outs? T hanks to anyone who has ever helped me, skated with me or called me a cunt! Snail,Dyl, Darren Rathbone, Pin, Derek Harris,Ross Mace,Crazy Phil, Matt Chivers, Shiner, Leo Sharpe,Mount Hawke, Cheryl, Harry Stephens for keeping me young and of course D.L.H....Ben Dass R.I.P
KICKFLIP ROOF GAP / photograph by
IN HEAVEN, EVERYTHING IS FINE COPENHAGEN ANTICS WORDS BY SIMON
WOODS PHOTOGRAPHS BY CHRIS DALE
FATE noun 1. the development of events outside a person’s control, regarded as predetermined by a supernatural power. “fate decided his course for him” Four years ago a ramshackle squad of skateboard enthusiasts and cheap beer connoisseurs assembled in Dover to embark on a European voyage of epic proportions. We all boarded the aptly titled “sausage wagon” for a 3 week road trip full of skateboarding and debauchery with no fixed agenda apart from the need to be in Hamburg in time to congratulate a good friend on the impending arrival of his first child. Skateboarding certainly did happen as did a nasty ankle tweak, we camped, and we swam and partook in a ridiculous amount of boozing. A fortnight later we arrived in Hamburg just in time to meet the new born and of course whet the baby’s head, we even managed a celebratory skate with the proud new Father. Upon completion of our only real objective we were left with a week’s more holiday and a by now stinking van- Europe was our Oyster if only we could make a group decision of where to go… At this point fate played its part, a destination jumped out of the map- a place that we could make it to and back that would still allow us the majority of our final week to skate and drink ourselves into oblivion. Kobenhavn (Copenhagen) By luck we managed to bag a cheap camp site in the notoriously expensive City and our arrival just happened to coincide with the annual skateboard competition/festival CPH Pro. We were all blown away by the City’s tolerance of Skateboarders, it seems that it is actively encouraged which is an alien notion, magnify this by the fact that we were in the midst of a blissful heatwave and it seemed as if we had truly stumbled into Heaven. We hired bikes, strapped our boards to the back and filled our baskets full of beer before venturing further into the city. As we cycled along the wide open promenades we passed endless amounts of skateable architecture, cultural hotspots and beautiful people before arriving at the best public skatepark I have ever seen where it seemed the party was just beginning.
PHIL BACHELOR - HARDFLIP REVERT
The next week consisted of impromptu skate competitions throughout the city with an endless amount of free beer and food. Roads were closed to allow some of the best professional skaters from around the world to strut their stuff on the inventive architecture whilst a riotous drunken crowd get to spectate. I had to pinch myself on numerous occasions to insure that partaking in this merriment was indeed a reality. Each day a number of competitions would pop up around the city and would be followed by a party, this led to the kind of behaviour that you would associate with drunken skate rats- albeit ones who were in the presence of their idols during a heat wave and with bellies full of free booze. Searching for your bike in a pile of frames and beer cans after all day drinking in the sun is a challenge, perhaps not as much of a challenge as getting 6 drunk lads back to the campsite in one piece. We managed to skate away our hangovers in the mornings and even discovered a public swimming pool right by our campsite. Surprisingly, we all survived and witnessed next level skateboarding and shenanigans, the week concluded with the indoor skatepark final, people hurling themselves through a flaming ring of fire and of course another party. The gang packed their weary bodies into the van and headed back towards England, all exhausted and broken bodied but with the kind of tired euphoria that can warm the soul. Once rested it became apparent that we had well and truly lucked out and had an amazing adventure, it was as if Copenhagen had been calling us the whole way, beckoning us to visitâ€Ś. This article relates to our first ever pilgrimage to Copenhagen in 2014 but this year we made our third visit to attend the last ever CPH pro. The usual proceedings occurred but this time we were accompanied by a group of younger skaters that brought devices to document the experience as well as an added enthusiasm that allowed us to get out and skate more of the city. CPH Pro really is the best skateboard event that I have ever witnessed, the city embraced and welcomed us with an understanding of the positive energy that skateboarding can provide. It could well have been fate that drove us to visit such a wonderful city at the perfect time, I am thankful to the organisers and the city for providing some of the best experiences and memories that I have ever had. Skating and travelling have made me feel fulfilled, Long live Copenhagen!
bellies! MUSIC FEATURE:
INTERVIEW BY ARON
WARD ILLUSTRATIONS BY CLAUDIA GIBBONS
Their music is completely fucking out there and played with uncompromising intensity and glee. This duo has been blowing our little DIY minds since 2010. bellies! are incredibly kind people, when I got to their house we had tea while DM made some killer nachos. Their cat came and went. I don’t think I could have asked for a better interview. How did bellies! start? DM: I don’t know really. [laughs] I genuinely don’t remember. Nat: Drunk Granny were a thing at the time and Jelas were a thing. We met because Jelas were putting something out with Local Kid so I met Sam (Drunk Granny’s drummer) then met you [speaking to DM]. We started going out and it wasn’t very long after that that we started making music. DM: Well yeah it was like January 2010, I guess we both liked each other’s music so decided to have a go. I was playing guitar in DG and singing and I wanted to play the drums. Nat: Yeah I never played guitar - I had only ever played an acoustic guitar in my house or whatever and didn’t really know how to play guitar so we just thought we’d have a go at something we’d only messed around with. To take you out of your comfort zone? Yeah we wrote some music and we were like “you do what you want and I’ll do what I want” and thought, “Whoa that sounds great!” What was that song? It’s called like Second Born or something. It’s the second one [sings some lines]. No, that’s the First Born. DM: Yeah well, it was good. I think I was trying to be mathy in my drumming style. My drumming has gone into various different evolutions. I wasn’t very good at drumming. I don’t think I’m amazing now but I’m definitely better than I was. When you first started we’re you looking to sound like certain peers or anything? Nat: I don’t think there was a “try to sound like anyone” thing. I’d kind of been inspired by seeing real life, like, just queer people really. Watching bands like Chaps or Corey Orbinson and stuff like that. Seeing Drunk Granny - seeing queer people make post punk music that was energetic. Jelas maybe had that but people thought we were a bit… odd. Compared to that we weren’t very cool so when I saw bands like CO or DG and met you and saw the Chaps / Drunk Granny tour I thought it was great, something about it seemed really diligent and simple enough. DM: Yeah it was like you [Nat] wanted to be more like Drunk Granny and I wanted to be like Jelas. That’s what it is. Drunk Granny was just very angry, very intense… punk music! Like proper visceral, simple chords/song structures and it wasn’t particularly refined. So I think I wanted to do something that was a bit more refined, a bit more arty.
So you went math drums? Yeah. [laughs] DM: I tried to do math drums but actually I can’t really count [laughs] I can’t count either. DM: It’s absolutely true, I cannot count. Nat: I get in a strop if you try and count in. I’m like “You’ll do it wrong.” Like “ 1, 7…” “No like “1,2,3,4” [said really quick then hums a riff slowly]. “The count-in is an indication of the speed!” DM: Because drumming actually for me is not about rhythm, it’s not about having a meter. I don’t know what it’s about but it’s not about that. That’s probably why it seems inventive compared to how most people drum because most people keep a beat, don’t they. Do you have any specific bands/artist you grew up on or constantly heard that make it into your songwriting? Nat: I don’t know, I always talk about David Bowie’s transitions. Like an obsession of mine is the way that when you listen to his music you can just be in a brand new place and think, “how do I get there?”. Like when we were dissecting the Black Star stuff I was ironing a shirt and was just like, “how am I here?!” like 3 minutes ago I was doing the collar [laughs]. Yeah it’s just magical. DM: We had a great car journey didn’t we on the way to my parents house listening to Scary Monsters. [Nat, “yeah!”] Which is my favourite DB album! An underrated one I would say. My favourite as well. Maybe not underrated but most people talk about Low or whatever. Nat: I don’t think I’ve ever written a song and thought lets do a DB transition because I don’t even know how to go about it but maybe we’d go back and think we…
DM: we transitioned okay, we started with the fake maths but the biggest influence recently was when we spent the year in the Mill with Maggie. Maggie (Nicols) is such a huge influence, in terms of just basic stuff, joy, just finding these little nuggets of… practice like you’re performing; if you enjoy your practice you enjoy your performance. The whole space, ethos and spending time with Maggie improvising, everything. That had such a transformative effect on my life. It really stopped my depression and helped integrate me into life in a way that I’d never been integrated before. So it was very personally therapeutic but part of that was also musical. I had so much angst about music. For so many years I got so stressed about my relationship with music and music making. It’s a release isn’t it. Yeah it’s a release and a lot of it had to do with gender as well. I had a lot of anger about gender. I managed to integrate it and music making has become a lot more joyful as a result but also there’s more of an improvised element in what we do I think now in the performance. It’s a lot looser. I’ve always enjoyed improvising. I wanted to talk about DIY spaces. We’ve all played here for long enough to know venues close like every 3 years, but I’m trying think of what’s next. Nat: Every time something goes away… DM: something seems to appear, which is maybe a little bit complacent. Nat: Yeah like County Sports was our weird home for years, and that was such a great weird place to put on shows because you could do it without any financial risk. DM: It had awful sound though, terrible sound… Nat: but the sound when they had the carpet was alright! DM: The carpet was alright, but when they took the carpet away…that was the death knell. Nat: I actually think that’s what made us start playing at Roll (Roll For The Soul), that was one of the factors, and also it had an accessible toilet. Hey! [their cat Sanjay walks in] Nat: I don’t know, what kind of spaces… it would be nice if there were some places that weren’t pubs, that would be really cool, or places that were pop ups. Just using different spaces for a bit would be really nice. Using spaces in a different way. DM: It’s just nice to have a home though isn’t it, and a good sound as well. Maybe I’m just being naive thinking that someone else will just come along and do it. Nat: Have a homely vibe, you know if you had a gig at Roll, you’d knew you were gonna get Rob, just being nice, and you knew that the vibe was going to be ok, if anyone was a dick they would have to leave, if anyone came in being disrespectful to people playing it would be pretty obvious. Do you think the gig experience is different now as opposed to say 5 years ago or is it pretty much the same? DM: There’s clearly been a lot of enclosure of public spaces in Bristol, because of the gentrification or whatever you want to call it, privatisation of public spaces and all the problems of the building of flats. I feel like the level of determination at like the Brunswick Club, you can’t take it for granted because it will get snuffed out and destroyed if the enclosures of public space continue, but at the same time there does seem to be a resistance spirit, and things seem to move around in Bristol.
It is pretty nomadic DM: It is nomadic and that is what DIY culture is like, it’s ephemeral, it doesn’t have a permanent space, it moves around because it’s central core is the practice, and that practice can be put in to different spaces. It’s fantastic if you do have a permanent home but then it stops being DIY and then becomes an institution, it becomes something else, it becomes the Bristol cultural development partnership, it becomes entrepreneurial and urban marketing, all that bullshit which is just revolting. All that kind of like, “Bristol is trendy”, “Bristol is a cool place”, that stuff is all so fabricated, to generate money for the elite people in the city and to stimulate the economy, and make people come here and spend money, often on alcohol. Nat: Surrey Vaults seemed to have its thing, that gig we did there was like the making of us in a weird way. Best gig we’ve ever played, people were rushing up to us on the street after that gig! We were in a coffee shop and the person bringing us our coffee was like “are you bellies!?” wtf! DM: and it’s only like a tiny room. DM: That Glitch space on Old Market, they had a gig space in there, people occupying a gig space in a temporary way, appropriating spaces around them, taking up those opportunities. That’s what we did with FAG Club, and we had the energy to do it then, amazing events, we had shit loads of people there, it was huge, we had a tea bar, it couldn’t last forever. Its that combustible energy that Bristol has, of things arise, they generate and they come together, then they combust and that’s DIY culture, because everyone’s fucking exhausted. I can’t put gigs on anymore I cannot do it. That Les Diaboliques tour, that wasn’t DIY in the strictest sense, but the energy that took to do that, and the marketing, I just thought I cannot do that anymore, or I do it and then I have a rest and do it again. It’s exhausting. There’s a split that you’re doing with EP/64, when is that coming out? Nat: We’re just starting to think about where and when we can record it. DM: September/October I reckon. We’ve got these 6 songs that we haven’t recorded yet, so Annie (Gardiner) is going to record them, Annie recorded all the other bellies! stuff. Where are you going to record it? DM: I think probably at Nick’s place (Bobby’s Place). We’re just going to start from scratch, Annie had these presets, but I just said lets start from scratch, I’m just trying to get a fresh perspective, I think these songs will be different from what we’ve done before, they’re more transitional songs. It would be nice if we could somehow capture the energy of the live performance, I don’t know how to do that. That’s Annie’s business. Nat: Give ourselves more time to say “lets get it right”. We just need to be a bit more patient with it, if we just do it local somewhere that we’re both comfortable with, if we just do it more slowly. I think it’s great we can just shoot the shit about the process. Nat: Yeah and it’s fun because you never let yourself take yourself that seriously. It’s actually really nice to be like, “well, we are actually a band”. Just because we’re a DIY band doesn’t mean we don’t put any less thought into what we do. We just don’t do it as regularly as other people. bellies! are teetotal. We talk about how drinking can fuck with your creativity and performance amongst other things. Nat: Yeah well performance, like learning to be un-inhibited while sober. [Everyone: “Yeah!”]
So how the fuck can you do that? Nat: You just have to do it. As a performer, I actually consider myself a performer. Especially in bellies!. I feel like I have a lot more freedom. I feel much less responsibility. I still have to do what I’m meant to do at the right time but also we’ve built in so much improvisation that I will choose the bits that I want desperately to play and to play right, then if other things go hideously wrong that would probably be just a moment of enjoyment. Over time I feel more and more happy and just really enjoy playing live and as a sober person. Cutting loose in a bellies! gig can be as wild as it gets. Yeah! When you two turn up to a gig you go up to the front and have a dance or whatever I’m thinking, “that’s crazy, they’re fucking sober!” That’s pretty inspiring to witness that kind of social confidence. DM: Yeah I don’t even think about it anymore. I’ve been sober for so long, since 2006, so this is my 12th year in February. But yeah it is something you move into and gradually go into. It relates also to being confident and feeling more comfortable playing and being on stage. I think being a bit older and just being more comfortable in my own skin helps. Energetically I love performing live and I love communicating. It’s disarming to watch because it’s not the norm at shows. Generally bands drink, everyone is wondering around with pints. It goes with the culture of gigs. You’re standing in a pub for four hours it’s like whatchya gonna do. DM: This is that thing about being present, centred and in the moment. The improvising relates to that as well. And that relates back to Maggie and that lesson of just being authentic in your energy in the moment that it’s happening… and listening. Those are the two things that Maggie taught me about improvisation and there’s almost nothing more and nothing less than that. Nat: Yeah I get more excited now about the prospect of playing live. DM: Yeah! Nat: It’s really thrilling. DM: It is. It’s thrilling. [laughs] DM: As queer people, weird, genderqueer, tranny, whatchamacallit feminised blah blah blahs that we both are it’s not always easy, it’s hasn’t always been easy to have that space, to feel confident and to value what we’re doing. What I’m doing. I haven’t been able to value what I do - I still undermine myself. I still don’t have confidence in everything that I do but I’m a lot better. It’s just a bit harder because of that cultural stasis. We’re kind of creating that cultural space and forcing it open a bit. I’m sure like in 5 years time we’ll become even more ourselves. We’ve covered so much and I’m at a loss to discuss anything else so I mention skating. Nat: Something for the skaters? DM: We can’t skateboard. Nat: There’s some killer footage of me on a skateboard. In the Hangar (our former practice room in Bedmo) where I just skate into a bin… very slowly. I stop the interview because I need a piss. End. Thanks to Nat and DM for being so fucking rad. Ax [You can find bellies! on bandcamp]
ILLUSTRATION BY CLAUDIA GIBBONS
listen to bellies! bellies.bandcamp.com
BEN L. COONEY
Words tend to get stuck...pictures help. Thanks for looking...and Thank You to anyone who’s ever picked up a comic, zine, asked me to do skate graphics, tshirts, stuff for their zines, posters etc...it means more than you’ll ever know. ‘The rebellion of art is a daily rebellion against the state of living death routinely called real life.’ - Jeanette Winterson
BEN L. COONEY
I tried to paint as much as I could, dropping at least a couple of pieces everywhere that I went. Here is a small collection of a few of the highlights.
The trip included visiting iconic sights, meeting Pat butcher, coming close to death in a spontaneous Ozzie thunder storm lots of skating, lots of painting and making many companions along the way.
Last year I was lucky enough to be able to travel for two months between mid September and mid November. Firstly flying from Bristol to San Francisco.
TOM STEELE / DOGPISS FAKIE / MIDSOMER NORTON / PHOTOGRAPH BY TOM SPAREY
CAM EDWARDS / FASTPLANT / PHOTOGRAPH BY ROB WHISTON
DAVE PLEWS / FS PIVOT / DEAN LANE / PHOTOGRAPH BY RICH SCUMTASH DOWNTON
FRANK DARBY / FS CRAIL / DEAN LANE / PHOTOGRAPH BY BEN HAIZELDEN
HENRY FOX / WALLIE / MILTON KEYNES / PHOTOGRAPH BY ALEX RAMSELL
SYD / SUGARCANE / PHOTOGRAPH BY GRIFF