Wheel Scene ISSUE01/MARCH 2011/FREE
MATT ALWAY JOE ATKINSON TYRON BALLANTINE GABRIEL HYDEN RAEKWON DAEDELUS THE STEPKIDS LITTLE SCREAM AND MORE...
Contents 4. Introduction / Upcoming Events 6. Keir Lindsay / Jamie Stenner 7. Rewd Adams 8. Pearson Sound 9. Rosie O’Donoghue 10. Robert Guerrero 12. The Stepkids 14. Joe Atkinson 20. Raekwon 22. Gabriel Hyden 28. Cameron Card 30. Starfucker 32. Tyron Ballantine
Issue 01, March 2011 © Wheel Scene Ltd. Cover Photo: Sam Cooper captures a curvy soul grind by Matt Alway Editor: David McNamara Sub-editor: Chris Delaney Designers: Graham Patrick, Gareth Linsday Web Design: Ewan McDonald, Stewart Chown Words: Jamie Stenner, Sam Cooper, Colin Chapman, David McNamara, Robert Guerrero, Jesse Keene, Jeanie Rogers, Louis Flood, Ryan Drever, Ewan McCreath, Luke Carey, Peter McGee, Lauren Corona, Dominic Radcliffe, Gena Hollyoake, Francesca Scott, Javeer Singh Gill, Joseph Cardle, Sam Heatley. Photos: Adam Kola, Sam Cooper, James Keyte, Hitomi Yoda, Guillaume Simoneau, Rachel Granovski, Sarah Cass, Jeremy Stephenson, Richard Manning, Matty Pearce, Bojd Vredevoogd. Art: Alice Devine, Luke Williamson, Adam Davies. Online www.wheelscene.co.uk www.facebook.com/wheelsceneblading
38. Daedelus 40. Daniel Gorman 42. Dimbleby and Capper 44. Little Scream 46. Matt Alway 50. Pareto 51. Simon Mulvaney 52. Elliot Stevens 56. Album Reviews 59. Jenny Logue 60. Where Are They Now? 62. Fun Page
Wheel Scene is the UK’s largest rollerblading and music publication, and offers a wide range of advertising packages and affordable ways to promote your business. Get in touch to find out more. Email: email@example.com Address: Wheel Scene 1/ 2, 12 Highburgh Road, Glasgow, G12 9YD. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part without the explicit permission of the publisher. The views and opinions expressed within this publication do not necessarily represent the views or opinions of the printer or the publisher. Printed by Mortons Print Limited, Horncastle.
Welcome to Issue One of Wheel Scene, the UK’s first free blading and music newspaper. We love rollerblading magazines, but we have noticed that most of them don’t have a lot to read and dedicate too many pages to pointless photo sections. It’s a little disappointing when you wait for months for your favourite magazine to come out, only to find that you have read the entire thing from cover to cover in less than 20 minutes. We decided to remedy this situation by cramming our first issue full of interesting blading and music editorial from all over the world – and some amazing photos, too. After all, everyone likes pretty pictures.
St. Patrick’s Weekend Skate Festival March 19-20, Skatepark of Dublin, Dublin
We have exclusive interviews with some of this country’s best rollerbladers, including Joe Atkinson, Elliot Stevens and Matt Alway. We also have great profiles on Holland’s Tyron Ballantine, Austria’s Gabriel Hyden and Ireland’s Dano Gorman. We figured Europe has some of the best rollerbladers in the world, so why not give them some exposure?
London Spring Jam May 8, Bay Sixty6 Skatepark, London
You may be wondering why there are no interviews with Scottish bladers, considering we are a Glasgow-based publication. Well, we tried, but poor weather and time constraints meant that it just wasn’t possible. At least, those are the excuses that James Keyte and Lewis Bowden gave us – lazy bastards. Don’t worry, we’ll make sure they get us some epic blading shots soon, regardless of the physical or emotional sacrifices they may have to make in the process. For all the music lovers, we have insightful interviews with hip hop legend Raekwon, beat scene pioneer Daedelus and psychedelic soul outfit The Stepkids. There are also a bunch of features on new artists, including Little Scream, Dimbleby and Capper, Pareto and more. Some might say we have spoiled you. David McNamara. Editor
Thanks Ewan McDonald and Stewart Chown for our wonderful website, Dave Bell for acting like an agony aunt when things got a little worrying, Jake Eley for being the first advertiser to take a risk on our publication and all of our writers, photographers and artists for their hard work. This would not have been possible without you. To our advertisers: Loco Skates Razors Roll Kings Rampworx Ukskate Hedonskate Thanks for the benjamins!
Noiya Jam 2011 April 9, The House Skatepark, Sheffield Unit 23 Open April 16, Unit 23 Skatepark, Dumbarton Slaptap Sessions at Minehead Eye Skatepark April 23, Minehead Eye Skatepark, Minehead
Chaz Sands Invitational June 11, Rampworx Skatepark, Liverpool Relentless NASS July 8-10, Bath and West Showground, Avon West Coast Clash 2011 July 16-17, Evolution Skatepark, Stevenston Slamm Jamm 13 October 14, 15, 16, Rampworx Skatepark, Liverpool
First blades: Roces Rome with blue cuffs. I got them at the end of summer and modified them with some Hyper Dwarfs and Midgets, not forgetting the Roces grind plates my mum’s friend bought me for my birthday. Thanks Anne! I got the skates for £90 and paid my mum back a tenner every week until they were paid off. First video: Hoax 2. I was like: “These guys are crazy. I want to be like them and blade forever.” First skaters I looked up to: Neil Owen - absolutely amazing for the time. Johnny Hock, Chris McMannus and Ricky Grady were also really good. First event I attended: The Puberty Finals at Rehab. The format was great because it gave everyone in the UK and Ireland a chance to show what they could do. There are no comps like this in the UK and Ireland now. The Jagger brothers were so far ahead of everyone else at that time. They were great organisers and truly used every avenue of opportunity to its fullest potential to make blading bigger.
Firsts – Keir Lindsay Keir Lindsay has been at the heart of the Glasgow skate scene for over a decade and continues to promote blading by introducing newcomers to the sport and making regular online edits. It seems only fitting that, as a Glasgowbased publication, we enlist the services of the Route One and USD rider to write about his experiences on rollerblades.
First European event: Brian Adams told me one day before: “Keir, we’re going to Amsterdam me, you and Maci.” It was 2003 and the flight was £150 because we left it to the last minute. It was a great comp and Brian got joint 1st, a true testament to how good a blader Brian really was. To go over there for the first time and be received so well was a great day for Brian, and a great day for Scottish blading.
Tales from the Trenches
First serious injury: It was actually back at the start. We were at these little banks beside my house and I tried to 360 into it from the top. I only made it 270 and twisted my ankle an absolute belter. Straight away I knew it was broken. When the ambulance people came they were offering me gas. I declined, but my skateboarder mates took care of that offer. First bit of trouble through blading: The only bit of trouble I’ve ever had was when Cammy, Chaz and I skated some ledges in Clydebank and kicked the caps off them so we could get a longer grind. The CCTV caught us and the cops came along and did us for vandalism. Cammy and I had to go to court and pay £62.50 each for damages and a fine. That could have been a lot worse!
The ‘90s was a progressive time for blading and nowhere was more on point than Wakefield. I saw tricks go down there before I knew what they were called or saw them in any video. Ben Jagger was doing disaster mute tornado top souls on the single rail in ‘97, Sparky showed me the first true kind grind I had ever seen, Nicky Humpelby was doing front torques down the flat bank ledge and forward 900s on vert in ‘98 and Mackie had the most stylish backslides I have ever seen. I also met a tiny girl who had one of the meanest torque souls in existence and back to back 540s on vert. That girl was Jenna Downing and now she is one of the most recognised personalities in our sport.
By Jamie Stenner
I have spent over half of my life rollerblading and working at our family run skate store. I’ve definitely got plenty of stories to tell - the hard part was choosing one. Do I discuss when Paul McCormack and I stayed in Barry Island with Richard Taylor and I did my first rail, the time Blake Bird and I got random matching growths on our chins after a heavy IMYTA weekend in Amsterdam or how I fell in love and ended up marrying a girl that I met at our local skatepark in Chichester? There are too many to choose from. A place that really stands out for me is a grotty back street warehouse in Wakefield called Rehab. If you speak to any skater over 25 years old, I’m sure they’ll tell you about the overwhelming presence that Rehab had in the UK scene and the rest of the world.
Donna once made someone leave the park because they weren’t good enough. She said they’d cause an injury to themselves or others, gave them their money back and advised better times for them to come back. It seemed brutal at the time, but it makes sense when you think about it.
The Jagger family ran the skatepark in a way that I now compare a mobster’s chain of command. Steve was the Godfather. It is rumoured that he single-handedly carried the skatepark’s safe into the park from the front door, even though it took four people to deliver it. To tell you the truth, I was always more scared of Donna, Steve’s wife. She had a glare that could crumble the biggest of men. Staff members Julie, Jane and Bentley all reinforced a zero tolerance policy to idiots that has become massively overlooked in skateparks nowadays.
The first time I went to Rehab, Jane told me to get off the vert as I wasn’t ready. I had just travelled nine hours to be told to get off the first ramp I tried to go on!
First sponsor: My first sponsor was Empire Distribution. They flowed me Franco Shade, Night Hardware, Project Blow wheels and Able Hardware. Thanks to Dave Bell for hooking that one up. My childhood friend Chaz Sands arranged for one of the Salomon reps to come and see us street skating in Glasgow. They took us for dinner and organised a deal of free skates with no contract. They paid for travel as well. Salomon had a lot of money and they paid for me to go to a street comp in Cardiff before I even had their skates. Thanks Chaz, for everything you did for me.
My friends and I travelled to Wakefield at every possible opportunity. We would sleep at the park and wake up to someone chucking us down a vert wall. We basically skated until we dropped. When the park closed we would session the humps with Anthony Mackie until the early hours whilst The Jackson 5 blared in the background. Those were good times!
I think one of the things that made Rehab special to me was experiencing what went on at the park after the last session each day. Professionals would visit the park to prepare for demos, Lee and Squirrel would let loose with their air rifles and massive games of ‘man hunt’ would take place in the dark. The parties that went down there were amazing. For me, Rehab defined what rollerblading is all about: long sessions, style, loud music and lots of fun. www.everythingesp.co.uk
a great hook or a great verse. The good thing is you can see the features are purposeful, it’s not just “get whoever is hot right now” it’s “get whoever is dope at what they do to come smash it”
For an artist starting out, what advice would you give in terms of carving out a career within the scene as it stands?
Well, to be honest, I’m still learning a lot so I guess I’ll bite alchemist and say, “Always remain a student” of this shit here. Stay as humble as possible, network, find people, whether it be producers, DJs or artists that believe in your talent - that always helps the cause. Make good music, man. That’s what we all need - good music!
Can’t Sleep Due to Rewd Awakenings Welcome, one and all, to the scrambled up, thought provoking world of Rewd Adams. This London-based MC has been making big noise within the underground scene for a hot minute now, so we thought it would be wise to bring this rowdy upstart to your attention.
What’s in the pipeline for the future and have you got any tour dates coming up?
I got an EP coming out produced by The Last Skeptik and a mixtape produced by Beat Butcha. Oh, and this month we’re supporting Raekwon in Brighton and Joell Ortiz at Cargo in London. Words: Jesse Keene
Rewd Awakenings heralds a new arrival to the Skandal persona, can you explain the concept behind the project?
Basically, I felt like I needed a change and Rewd Awakenings basically helped push the new brand of Rewd Adams with the title. It was a tough decision to change the name, but the project has done well at getting me back on track again. The concept was kinda born over the last year while I was writing a bunch of tracks and basically venting a lot. Music is my therapy, so if I’m writing a lot around a crazy time I’ll produce a lot of tracks with a similar theme. Basically, we chopped some tracks off to make the project a little more rounded in terms of making it more concise. The name Rewd Adams itself came around through an email someone sent to me with the title as the subject but it was to do with another matter. It just suited it, you know?
You have released this as a free download. How has the reception been and do you feel this is the way forward in terms of getting music out to the masses?
Reception has been good. Downloads have been good as well. I won’t lie, I would have liked to sell the amount that was downloaded cause then I’d have a big smile on my face. I probably won’t put out a whole project of original music for free again, not unless there’s something in it for me. I took a big loss financially from this, so I doubt I’ll do that again. As far as getting my music out, it was a good way to do things but I definitely feel if you do a proper release you have the backing of the whole scene as technically you’re helping more than one cog turn, you help a bigger machine than yourself to move in the right direction.
There are a lot of heavy weight guest spots on the album. How did the hook ups come about and what do you feel they brought to the table?
Most of the features came through from the producers on the tracks. Loudmouth helped hook up the Black The Ripper link. Beat Butcha hooked up Klash, Sivey hooked up Neenah, and Chemo (who mixed it all) helped with the Graziella feature & P- Money came through with Little Dee. I think they all done what was needed, all be it hype,
Ramadanman is Dead Perhaps organising an interview with David Kennedy (formerly known as Ramadanman), the evening after he’d played a warehouse all-nighter was a little misguided. Suffering from an unfortunate combination of tiredness and a migraine, a meaningful chat following a DJ date in his hometown of Leeds was never likely. However, it is a testament to the producer’s snowballing popularity that his weekends are now filled with club bookings months in advance. A chance to catch-up with the artist behind such forward-thinking dance-floor moments as ‘Glut’, ‘Work Them’ and ‘Stifle’ and now the next instalment in the Fabriclive mix series seemed too good to pass up.
17, he was first known for his dubstep output but admits that he arrived at this more by accident than design. “I’d been working on grimey stuff then someone said a tune of mine was more like dubstep, so I checked it out and I guess things kind of developed from there.” With nearly forty productions and remixes to his name, Kennedy’s already built up an impressive back catalogue and it’s one that shows an evolution over time; the last two years in particular have seen him lower the BPMs, while his emphasis on percussion and drum programming has increased.
Only 22, the North London-based producer (who now prefers to use the Pearson Sound moniker) was barely in his teens when he began making music.
“I’ve always made different styles, it’s just that I’m best known for dubstep”, he explains. “Now things have shifted, people are embracing a more houseorientated sound. It’s not just me others in the scene are also producing and playing it out. It all started with the emergence of UK funky.”
“Back then it was just general electronica really. It wasn’t until others heard what I was doing and gave me feedback that I began to develop a sound. I think having an audience definitely changes your approach.”
While he acknowledges that one of dance music’s freshest sub-genres is an inspiration, his use of sampling and 808 and 909 drum patterns has seen others suggest that Chicago’s juke sound is an influence, but he’s not so sure.
Releasing his debut single aged only
“Yeah, comparisons have been made
between what myself and say, Addison Groove has released and juke but I think this is more because it’s suddenly become quite popular. It’s an easy label to put on stuff. I don’t think it’s influenced me as directly as people have made out.” In fact, taking another view, it’s actually the young producer who’s acted as stimuli for other, more-established British acts; not only has Radiohead’s Thom Yorke charted his ‘Pitter’ and ‘Tripped Up’ releases on the band’s website, the shuffling rhythms and fractured vocal samples of Radiohead’s ‘Feral’ arguably owe him and others in the bass music scene a musical debt. How does this make him feel? “Well, I like them and used to listen to a lot of their stuff so it’s definitely an honour. It feels a bit strange if I’m honest. I don’t really like to think about it too much! I guess it shows that they’re listening to new music; supporting and introducing it to their fans, so that’s only a good thing. Thom Yorke’s definitely very on it.” Aside from his solo productions, he’s also worked with Midland and Appleblim and produced remixes for the likes of MIA, Delphic and Jamie Woon. How does he approach the collaborative
process and the opportunity to work on others’ material? “To me, collaborations should come about quite naturally. Midland and Appleblim are friends I just started messing about with, making tunes. I think this approach is much better than creating an artificial situation where you shut yourself away with someone to make something.” “With remixes, I really just try to get a groove or idea going. With some, I know exactly what I want to do - others are more the result of a happy accident.” Finally, what are his plans for the future; does he feel there’s any impetus to make an album? “To be honest, I don’t like to plan too far in advance. Most of what’s happened so far has occurred quite naturally and I want to keep it that way. Yes, I probably have got enough material for an album but I’d rather release one when it feels right, not just for the sake of it.” Words: Colin Chapman Photo: Jimmy Mould
Exposure: Rosie O’Donoghue There is not a particularly large female presence in the world of rollerblading. In fact, it is slightly alarming to observe that at any major skate event you are only likely to see about 20 competitors in the women’s category, and that is if there is a particularly good turnout. Yet, in such a male-orientated sport, there are still a few ladies making a name for themselves by competing on the same stage as the guys and holding their own. One such individual is Scotland’s Rosie O’Donoghue. The 18-year-old from Ayrshire has been skating hard for over eight years after being introduced to the sport by her two brothers. When she isn’t “getting people drunk” at her bar job, Rosie can be found sessioning her local park, Evolution in Stevenston, and mercilessly taking on transitions across the country with the style and creativity of someone who has clearly studied a lot of skate videos over the years. Rosie may not be the most talkative person in the world, but she has been sending shockwaves throughout the industry and impressing people everywhere she goes with a trick vocabulary that can quite easily match that of any male rollers her age. Since 2006, Rosie has been competing at national events and never seems to stray too far from the top three when the results are revealed. She took second place at the 2006 Slamm Jamm in Liverpool, then won the same event in 2009 and 2010. This is a feat she hopes to make a triple by taking home top honours again this year. Rosie also walked away from last year’s Slamm Jamm with the Richard Taylor Scholarship Award. This means that we should see her competing at the AIL World Championships in the US later this year, where she hopes to improve upon her eighth place finish in 2006. Who could have guessed that the small town of Ardrossan in the west of Scotland could produce one of rollerblading’s most promising female athletes? The talented young woman has an impressive list of sponsors that include Rollerblade, Slaptap, Evolution Skatepark, Unit 23 Skatepark and Enigma Brand (apparently). Setting aside the legitimacy of riding for a brand has not produced an item of clothing in years, Rosie has also gained the respect of Europe’s most respected professionals, counting childhood hero and World Champion female skater Jenna Downing amongst her admirers. “I look up to Jenna Downing a lot,” says Rosie. “She’s done so much for female rollerblading.” If you are attending any of the major UK rolling events this year, make sure you keep an eye out for a petite young lady rocking a pair of Rollerblades with the style of a young Martina Svobodova. You could be witnessing the rise of blading’s next female icon.
The Rob G Column Each issue we invite a professional rollerblader to take over one page of our publication to discuss whatever they like. In this issue, Rollerblade rider Rob Guerrero shares what is on his mind. I am sitting at the local library near my house, drinking some Yerba maté I brewed earlier and surfing the internet, feeling really good. I just got done hanging out with a good friend of mine who is a very well known figure in the raw food community called Dave “The Raw Food Trucker”. Dave has been in and out of my life for the last two months and has had an extremely positive influence on me. He has gone through an amazing transformation over the last three years and through adhering to a strict raw food diet has overcome colon cancer, diabetes, a heart attack, a stroke and a few other things you can find out about if you do a simple Google search on him or check out his website www. therawfoodtrucker.com. About ten years ago I started becoming more conscious of what I was putting into my body and decided to become vegetarian. It wasn’t a moral decision, but one I was driven to as I have always wanted to reach and maintain a certain level of experience as a human being. In other words, I wanted to be happy and live a rad life, and this diet spoke to me as a means of achieving that experience. Since then, I have gone through many ups and downs and my diet has been on that same rollercoaster. It has been interesting studying the correlation between my emotional state and my diet. When I feel good, I am more receptive to what foods my body needs in order to feel good emotionally, mentally, physically, and spiritually. When I am feeling down or being too hard on myself, I seem to gravitate more towards foods that continue to bring me down and make my overall life experience a negative one. About ten days ago I made a commitment with my girlfriend to be 100% raw, which means eating vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and legumes in their natural, uncooked state. By eating foods in this natural state you assimilate the greatest amount of energy from the food. If you cooked them you would be killing the natural enzymes and nutrients that food has obtained from the sun. Living this way is by no means going to be easy, as I have tried and failed before, but this time around I feel I am ready to take this lifestyle choice on and transform myself. I have always felt that this diet would eventually be a part of who I am and now I am starting to live this life and reap the benefits. Within the blade community this sort of lifestyle is unknown and eating healthy while taking care of your body is virtually ignored. I know it is because I have been ignoring it as well for the majority of my life, which is ridiculous when you think about what we put our bodies through when skating. We perform feats more daring and physical than some professional athletes that train every day to prepare their bodies, yet we do absolutely nothing to compensate for it.
Illustration: Luke Williamson@Babylon Tattoo
Living this way is like being a rock star. We live an extreme life doing whatever we want to our bodies because we are young, only to feel the pain of all that abuse years down the line after the damage is already done. I am far from being a food or fitness guru and I still go through ups and downs daily, but I thought I would share my personal experience with those interested in having the greatest human experience possible. I want to discover my greatest human potential and share with others who are also learning what it really means to be a human being. I am going to start updating my blog (www.robguerrero.com) more often with updates on how this new commitment to raw food is changing my life and ultimately affecting my skating. I will also be doing video updates with Dave â€œThe Raw Food Truckerâ€?, as he will be coaching me through this process. Thank you all for reading.
The Stepkids Interview
Dust off the lava lamp and dig out your favourite pair of bell-bottoms because psychedelic soul outfit The Stepkids are here and they are ready to make you shake your groove thing. The Connecticut-based threesome are the latest signing to Stones Throw, who are on a winning streak after the international success of retro soul signings Mayer Hawthorne and Aloe Blacc. It looks like The Stepkids are going to make it a hat-trick for Peanut Butter Wolf’s label.
The three-piece have been together less than two years but they are no strangers to the music industry. Bassist Dan Edinberg was a member of punkreggae outfit Zox and managed to break the Billboard charts not too long ago, and drummer Tim Walsh has released several solo albums and toured Europe as a jazz musician. However, it is Jeff Gitelman, a graduate of Berklee College of Music, that possesses the most colourful curriculum vitae. The gifted guitarist has played in the touring band for several chart-topping artists including Lauryn Hill, Pharoahe Monch and Bobby Brown. In fact, he recently gave up his position in Alicia Keys’ backing band to concentrate on The Stepkids, but he still finds time to work with the odd superstar now and again.
It is this love of jazz and classic soul that propels The Stepkids’ slow grooves and Motown-inspired harmonies, but it is the flourishes of hallucinogenic electric piano that sets them apart from their contemporaries. This is because the trio take as much inspiration from Jimi Hendrix, David Bowie and Iggy Pop as they do from Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder. Anyone requiring proof need only listen to the bizarre lyrics that accompany ‘Brain Ninja’.
“I just did a video with 50 Cent,” says Gitelman. “He is one of the most punctual, professional people I have ever worked with. He has a certain reputation in the entertainment industry and I have been in other situations where the artists are always late, but not 50. I was running a minute late for the shoot and the manager was calling me and telling me he was already there.” As a child, Gitelman was a massive jazz fan and took advantage of the short commute to New York City in order to see his idols perform live. However, he soon discovered that his Connecticut has a rich musical heritage of its own and is home to famous gospel guitar player, Jonathan Dubose. “Connecticut is not too far from New York City, so we were always there checking out the world’s greatest jazz musicians. There was a really good jazz scene in Connecticut back then. When we got older, we realised that Connecticut has one of the world’s best gospel scenes.”
The Stepkids have already recorded an album’s worth of material, some of which is available on their Myspace page, yet they are not planning on releasing it until autumn due to the fact that no one really knows who they are yet. Gitelman believes that the band should earn their stripes on the road before trying to make a dent in the charts with a long player. “We are a fairly new band and relatively unknown. I think it will take some time to develop us and introduce us to the public. We would rather have that time than just release the album and hope for the best.” Their as-yet-untitled debut was recorded in Bridgeport which, as well as being the birthplace of the frisbee, is also notorious for having one of the highest crime and poverty rates in the US. In addition to providing a location to record the album, Bridgeport has also given the group inspiration for several of their songs. “Bridgeport is interesting but throughout history it has been a really rough area. We think it is reflected in our sound because it is a really weird place. The towns that are outside of it are considered some of the richest in the country. It is an extreme location. That’s what songs like ‘Suburban Dream’ are about.”
The promo for ‘Suburban Dream’ is a quaint performance video featuring the band bathed in lights of varying colours and a backdrop that makes them look as if they are trapped inside a stereo equaliser. They even have a fourth member playing the keyboard, who turns out to be a close friend that performs with the band when they play live. That is, when he is not creating his own musical instruments. “Fred D plays keyboards in the video and plays on a couple of songs on the album. He is one of the most sought after electric piano technicians in the world. He actually just developed a new kind of the electric piano that premiered this year. We love working with him because whenever we play live he always has an original ‘60s or ‘70s electric piano and that’s what gives us that sound.” The band dynamic of The Stepkids is quite unlike anything that exists in the charts at the moment, as each of the three members are singer-songwriters that take turns at the responsibility of being the lead singer. This is why each of their songs posses wildly differing lyrical themes. Such an arrangement could easily turn into a battle for the limelight, but Gitelman advises that he actually finds it a relief to not suffer the burden of being the frontman all of the time. “That’s what excites me about the group. It’s always the lead singer in the limelight and we are excited about sharing the singing because there won’t be all that pressure for one person to be singing for hours and hours. Whenever I am feeling tired the other guys can come in and fill in where I leave off. Plus, we are looking forward to helping each other work on their solo projects.” Words: Louis Flood Photo: Matt Bologna and Jesse Mann
The Endless Travels of Joe Atkinson
Illustration: Alice Devine
In the space of three years, Joe Atkinson has become an internationally-recognised figure in the rollerblading community by taking first place at major competitions on both sides of the Atlantic and gaining sponsorship from USD, Loco Skates and Eulogy Wheels. The little man with the big personality is on one hell of a winning streak at the moment, and it doesnâ€™t look like itâ€™s going to end any time soon.
In addition to proving himself to be one of the most consistent competition skaters the UK has to offer, Joe has been travelling up and down the country on a one-man mission to form friendships with skaters in every major city. The eighteen-year-old has roamed from city to city relentlessly and proved that he is an extremely versatile street skater by holding his own against some of the most respected professionals in the UK. Along the way, he has been lacing aweinspiring tricks and building up his reputation as one of the most exciting street skaters in the country. He refers to these excursions of his as “Lads on Tour”, seemingly oblivious to the fact that he visits most of these places on his own. “Lads on Tour” has taken Joe as far north as Glasgow and as far south as Brighton, with numerous stops in between that have resulted in late night drunken adventures, hilarious situations that only someone with Joe’s infectious personality can get tangled up in and the annihilation of any obstacle that gets in his way. When asked to recount some tales of debauchery from his travels, Joe responds: “There have been too many to say, from crashing Patrick Schwarzenegger’s Halloween party to shitting myself in Primark. I think most are best kept a secret.” Are either of these stories true? You will need to ask Joe in person to find out. It is not just Joe’s skating ability that is winning the respect of fellow skaters and company owners all over the world: The cheeky little loud mouth from Yorkshire has an excitable, self-deprecating charm that is impossible to resist and he will do everything in his power to get a laugh out of you. Perhaps that is why he has formed such a close friendship with Scottish street skating icon and notorious party monster Keir Lindsay, who Joe is rumoured to be getting a flat with when he sets up home in Scotland later this year. “It’s going to be a jam packed year for me,” says Joe. “I’m moving to Glasgow soon and hopefully going back to Cali.” Unless you have ever witnessed Keir and Joe partying together, you will never fully understand just how terrifying this prospect is. When these two get together, you could be fooled into thinking that you are watching a pair of attention deficit disorder sufferers that have replaced Ritalin with Red Bull.
In 2009 and 2010, Joe took first place at seminal skate event Slamm Jamm at Rampworx in Liverpool and won the Richard Taylor Memorial Scholarship as well. For most people, winning the longestrunning rollerblading competition in the UK two years in a row would be enough to satisfy even the most competitive nature, but when Joe travelled to the AIL World Championships in 2010, thanks to the afore-mentioned scholarship, he fought off some of the best amateur rollerbladers in the world and took home first place, much to his own disbelief. “I was stoked,” says Joe. “I arrived hangover like a motherfucker from partying with the Intuition boys the night before. There were Japanese kids doing star jumps and skaters going all out. I thought I had no chance but I pulled through and landed everything. Thanks to Rob and Gaynor Taylor - that wouldn’t have been possible without those guys. Rest in peace, Richard Taylor.”
Over the past two years, Joe has spent every penny he owns on travelling, cheap booze and tobacco, so if there is anyone that knows where the best skate scene in the country is at this moment in time, it is him. “It’s hard to say,” concedes Joe with some hesitation. “Manchester has a strong scene but so does London and Ireland.” This Page Trick: Allyoop Fishbrain / Photo: James Keyte / Edinburgh Previous Page Trick: 180° Mute / Photo: Adam Kola / Eindhoven
Trick: 180° Fly Fish / Photo: Adam Kola / Brighton
This nomadic lifestyle has helped Joe connect with so many skaters all over the country and he can now safely say that he has a floor to sleep on no matter where he goes, but there are certain places that he prefers to stay over others. “Blake Bird and his nan Joyce always look after me when I am in London and skint,” says Joe. “Keir Lindsay is a good one to visit in Glasgow - going for Spars, hitting the karaoke bars and living like rock stars. Erin Orbach showed me an amazing time in the US, picking me up every day to hang out in LA and see the sights.”
One of the first things you will notice about Joe upon meeting him is that he is very opinionated and will be more than happy to let you know if he is not happy with something. It comes as quite a surprise to find that he is quite optimistic about where the industry is going, especially as it seems that everyone else that rollerblades appears to be of the opinion that things are going from bad to worse. “It’s going really well,” says Joe. “People and companies are coming out of the woodwork. K2 is back on the scene and USD, Valo, Razors and Remz are making a big impact. 2012 is looking good.”
This year looks set to be Joe’s biggest yet. He will be competing at the 2011 Slamm Jamm, hoping to take home top honours for the third year in a row. He is also collecting clips for his first ever video part. “I am filming for the Rollcam video,” advises Joe. “That will be coming out early 2012.”
Words: David McNamara
Trick: Kindgrind / Photo: James Keyte / Edinburgh
Trick: Truespin Topside Pornstar / Photo: Matty Pearce / Eindhoven
Bringing it Back
The Raekwon Interview
Mafioso rap pioneer Raekwon discusses revisiting his Wu-Tang Clan roots and admits a surprising admiration for Justin Bieber. Raekwon has never been short of confidence and maybe he has earned the right to be a little cocky. Staten Island’s rap veteran has been the Wu-Tang Clan’s heaviest member, in more ways than one, since the very beginning and is largely (oops!) responsible for pioneering the Mafioso rap sub genre that influenced the output of The Notorious B.I.G., Jay Z and Nas. His latest album, Shaolin vs. WuTang sees Raekwon return to the original sound of early Wu-Tang Clan productions, something he believes has been missing in recent years. Shaolin vs. Wu Tang, Raekwon’s third album in 18 months, references Gordon Liu’s 1985 film Shaolin and Wu-Tang, a kung fu classic that was heavily sampled on Wu-Tang Clan’s debut album Enter the WuTang (36 Chambers). Wu-Tang have not released an album in over five years, so Raekwon, real name Corey Woods, sees this as his way of keeping his group’s legacy alive. “I feel like there are a lot of fans out there that really want that WuTang sound back, so this album represents the true essence of where that Wu-Tang sound came from. When you listen to the tracks, you will know for a fact that this is one of the hottest albums we have made in a while.” Only Built 4 Cuban Linx..., Raekwon’s 1995 debut solo album, is widely regarded as one of the greatest hip hop albums of all time due to Raekwon’s ability to create a cinematic narrative where he presents himself as the protagonist. The adventurous album effectively documents the crack cocaine epidemic that took over many major US cities in the ‘80s. It has been credited as the album that pioneered Mafioso Rap, with its constant references to the Italian Mafia and organised crime. His follow up, Only Built 4 Cuban Linx... Pt. II, was met with even more critical acclaim and won album of the year at the HipHopDX Awards in 2009. Despite past successes, Raekwon does not feel under any pressure to burden himself with comparisons to his previous work and looks at each project as an opportunity to develop as a rapper “At the end of the day, nothing is here to compete with nothing, know what I mean? Everything is about growth and development when it comes to me. It’s like going to school. When you in the first grade you wanna get into the second grade. I feel like I’ve paid my dues through the years to become a stronger, greater artist. I’m in my college course right now when it comes to being a great artist.” Fellow Wu-Tang Clan member and close friend, Ghostface Killah, appeared on over half of the tracks on Raekwon’s debut and the pair have regularly featured on each other’s albums since. Ghostface, real name Dennis Coles, makes frequent appearances on latest release, Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang. Raekwon believes they are the two members of the Clan most dedicated to preserving the sound their group pioneered on Enter the Wu-Tang (36 Chambers) back in 1993. “We value our flag when it comes to Wu-Tang Clan. He (Ghostface) is constantly out there doing his thing. The guy is almost nine albums deep. It just shows you that he is really trying his best to keep that legacy that we created back in the early ‘90s. We work great together. He’s my guy.“ As a member of the Wu-Tang Clan and a solo performer, Raekwon has been recording albums and performing for over 19 years and observes that a worrying transformation has occurred throughout hip hop since he first emerged on the scene in the early ‘90s. He claims the strength of a rapper’s lyrical ability is no longer enough to make them successful and record companies are to blame for manufactur-
ing chart-topping acts in order to ensure high record sales. “The art has been abducted by record companies. When I was growing up it was about explaining why you were a great MC and shining through - it was all about skill. It wasn’t the label that made you hot. It wasn’t the label that made the choices on the records that were being made. Back then, it was the artist that was making a lot of these decisions. The record companies was only just there for marketing. Now they are trying to dictate what they feel is hot. They see an artist that is hot and they want you to mimic that individual. I don’t understand it.” As record labels struggle to find ways to make money from album sales in spite of the seemingly-unstoppable force of illegal downloading, Raekwon claims that a lot of it down to the fact that most rappers these days are simply not releasing albums that make people want to part ways with their hard-earned cash. “I think the MC side of things has faded away. It’s not that there aren’t any great MCs, it’s that they are not working as hard as I would expect. There are people making great singles and great videos but when it comes time to make a great album, no one really delivers. The fans will tell you. There have been a lot of disappointments and that is why they download music, because they say it’s not worth buying.” Over the years, Raekwon has developed a reputation for being quite confrontational, openly criticising fellow rappers that he believes do not inhabit what it takes to be a real MC. The Notorious B.I.G. and G-Unit have both felt the wrath of Raekwon in the past. Even fellow Wu-Tang members are not safe from criticism, as RZA found in 2007 when he came under fire for his production style on Wu-Tang Clan’s last album, 8 Diagrams. However, in 2009 Raekwon converted to Islam and it seems to have mellowed him out a little. When asked for his opinion on the current crop of recording artists, Raekwon is full of praise for his contemporaries and has a surprising level of respect for a certain teenage pop sensation. “There are a lot of cats out there doing their thing. One of my friends, Tech N9ne, is a great underground artist. I feel that he is about to take off. Black Thought is one of the most incredible artists in the game right now. Shout out to The Roots and Kanye West for doing their thing. Justin Bieber has done phenomenal things for his age and his generation of music.” In a recent interview, Ice Cube claimed that the hip hop culture constantly pushes older artists out of the industry and denies the pioneers the respect they deserve for laying the genre’s foundations. Raekwon disagrees. He believes that as long as rappers stay on top of their game and continue to produce relevant, innovative music, fans will continue to support them. “Hip hop has really helped a lot of people’s lives. It has brought out the best in a lot of cats but it also ruins cats too. People look at hip hop as being a universal language. It reaches a lot of urban, suburban and old people. You can be 45, you be 55. If you love hip hop you always going to adapt to it. They key thing is, how long can you stick around until the fans say, ‘No more. You can’t do it no more?’ I refuse to make the fans look the other way and say, ‘Rae doesn’t have it any more.’ It’s not in my book of options.” Words: David McNamara Illustration: Alice Devine
A Life Less Ordinary The Gabriel Hyden Interview
Hyden skates for some of the most respected companies in the industry including Ground Control, Chimera Wheels and Ignition Skateshop, but after the demise of his skate sponsor, Nimh, there was some uncertainty regarding his future. Fortunately, Brian Shima realised what a great skater he had and now Hyden has made the transition onto the Shima Skate Manufacturing team alongside some of the greatest skaters in the world, including Montre Livingston and John Bolino. “Yeah, they kept me,” says the 21-year-old. “I’m glad because the skates are great. It’s about time someone put his name up there on a company. It’s the roughest out there right now, I don´t fucking care what the rumours are about. I talked to both Jon (Elliot) and Brian (Shima) about it and it’s alright - it’s just sad that their friendship broke up.”
Previous Page: Trick: Truespin Makio Below: Trick: Savannah
Above: Trick: Backside Backslide
Austria’s Gabriel Hyden refuses to settle for the status quo. The young skater from Innsbruck had a good job working as a graphic designer in Salzburg and enjoyed the financial security that came with it. However, he rapidly realised that working in an office was simply not for him and turned his back on a regular income to pursue his interests and lead a more fulfilling life. “I saved some money and took some time off to fully concentrate on art, music and skating. I needed to. I felt so depressed when I had a job, although it was a nice one, but now I work for myself. I’m not getting any money from anybody for the things I’m doing right now but, look at the world, I just don´t feel like taking part in society right now. I’ve got a point to prove, and that is to be satisfied with myself and the things I do.” It takes a brave man to walk away from a good job that allows the financial freedom to travel and fund other interests. Was it a difficult decision to make? “It’s just sitting at the computer,” says Hyden. “Come on, what’s so cool about that? Plus, it’s the lies of capitalism that lead us to the misery we are in now.” I guess not.
The rumours Hyden is talking about are the stories circulating various blading messageboards suggesting that Jon Elliot left Nimh as a result of Brian Shima’s poor management of the business. Neither party has issued a statement in response to these stories, but Hyden is adamant that all of the rumours are the result of idiots with nothing better to do than spread malicious lies. “All the haters better get out,” warns Hyden. “It’s just skating. Hate yourself for not landing pussy tricks instead of posting shit all over messageboards.” You can’t say fairer than that.
Anyone that has ever seen Hyden’s blading knows that he likes to skate fast and is not afraid to try a massive stunt once in a while. Knowing this, it comes as no surprise to discover that he appreciates skaters that portray rollerblading in a similar light. “There are a lot of cool dudes out there right now,” says Hyden. “Andrew Jacuzzi, Keaton Newsom, Marc Moreno and the Strange Creatures guys - there’s a big list of people you should watch out for. They bring back the good-old dirty skating. Also, Broskow is always somebody I like to watch.”
Now that Hyden has a lot of free time on his hands as a result of his sabbatical from working life, he is dedicating himself only to things that bring him happiness. That means bills, responsibilities and taking orders from anyone simply does not feature in the equation.
Apart from a few online edits, Hyden has not produced a full section in several years, but all that is about to change as he is currently filming for several projects. If his past performances are anything to go by, this should be worth the wait. Also, it’s a good thing that Hyden has some upcoming video parts, because it is unlikely that you will see him competing at any international events in the near future, as he disagrees with the current favouritism of big spins and complicated switch-ups over style and consistency.
“Music takes up a big part right now, since I got into it from skating. All the great videos have good tracks. Other than that, I’m painting a lot, doing photography and film and hanging out with my new gorgeous girlfriend.” Is this Hyden’s polite way of saying that his old girlfriend was a bit of a troll? Who knows.
“Right now, I’m filming for the Ground Control video and Le Seans 3, plus the Shima video that is about to come out next year. I haven´t had a section in years, so I’ll try to get something together. I don´t know about competitions, since spin to win is still up and running. I also don´t really care about taking part.”
Trick: Negative Acid
Hyden’s attitude towards the rollerblading industry is similar to his views on conforming to the restrictions of a normal job. He believes that there is no need to get trapped in the pitfalls if you don’t have to, and refuses to support the larger companies that he believes are not doing their part to improve conditions for the sport and his fellow professionals. “The problem is, companies don´t fucking care so why should I? That’s why I support smaller companies that can´t give me anything back because they really can´t, rather than supporting big companies that just don´t give me anything even though they could.”
Words: Louis Flood
Photos: Sebastian Hofer & Michael Schmücking
Gabriel Hydenâ€™s Top 5 Bands of all Time The Velvet Underground The Rolling Stones The Beatles Arcade Fire
Trick: Zerospin Fishbrain
Catching up with Cameron Card Utah-based rollerblading icon Cameron Card was once one of the most fearless stunt skaters our industry has ever seen, until a freak accident whilst filming for the Six Won Six video Blood Pride and True almost ended his life. Since then, Cameron has been keeping a low profile, so we decided to find out what he has been up to.
Trick: Truespin Topside Soyale / Photo: Jeremy Stephenson / Japan
What have you been up to recently? On August 7th, 2010, I married my amazing wife. I’m currently in my second year of college. Other than that, I have a weekend job in a warehouse and I rollerblade in my free time. How is married life treating you? I can see how being married could go both ways but I love it! I couldn’t have found a better person to spend the rest of my life with. Are you still rolling as much or has it taken a back seat? I think it has taken a back seat with the injury, and now that I’ve got my life back on track it’s become something I do on a regular basis. My wife is very supportive of my passion for rollerblading, which makes it very easy to keep in my life. Are you still riding for anyone? I picked up Denial soon after I started rolling again. Adam (Killgore) has been a close friend since I started travelling on the ASA Tour in 2001. I have a wheel out from Denial. How is the photography going? I’ll never stop taking photos! I can’t walk around anymore without looking at things as shapes and curves, looking for the perfect crop. I couldn’t help but buy a cheap t2i and play around with a video SLR.
“Tell them you’re getting me back on a daily regime of skating and they can expect an over-the-hill edit soon,” says Tory. Do you have any plans to release another skate video? I have plans for a video about my adventures through rollerblading, but that’s still a work in progress because the adventure hasn’t stopped. I’ve contemplated doing a local Utah video because we have so much talent out here, but work and school are keeping me busy. What events can people expect to see you at this year? I never really know where I’ll be with rollerblading. One day I think I’ll be spending a normal weekend at work and the next I’m getting plane tickets to go to Bitter Cold. What do you think of all these companies merging into one big unit? I have no problem with that as long as the company that’s in control of all these companies does it for the right reasons. What is your view on the state of the international blading scene at the moment? Every time I leave this country and rollerblade somewhere else I learn something I wish the US would implement into rollerblading. I wish our society would accept it or at least view it like others I’ve seen. The guys out there are killing it and hopefully making careers out of rollerblading. It’s very good to see and I hope it spreads to the US sometime soon.
What’s Tory Treseder up to these days? He seems to have dropped off the face of the earth!
Just for Laughs
The Starfucker Interview
Building on the momentum and critical acclaim of their selftitled debut in 2008, Portland’s trippy electronic outfit Starfucker return with latest album, Reptilians. After a lot of toying with alternatives to their bold moniker before settling on the original, it seems that now with a new label (Polyvinyl), new songs and a strong band unit in tow, things are looking all the more stable but nonetheless exciting for Starfucker. As the band makes preparations to embark on the UK in support of their sophomore release, bassist Shaun Glassford fills in the blanks. You’re on the cusp of releasing your second full-length record together as Starfucker, but for anyone as yet unfamiliar with the band, would you mind getting us up to speed on your, albeit brief, history? Starfucker started as a joke. It was just Josh (Hodges) trying to have a good time and not caring if anyone would like it. Since people did end up liking it, he got three more band members and here we are three years later. It’s still kind of a joke to us though. We try to just have fun, doing it for ourselves and not caring if anyone else likes it. How did you become involved with Polyvinyl? Were you guys already fans of the roster? We met them in San Francisco at one of our shows. They seemed really nice and not like other robot label heads. We could tell they were genuine and actually cared about music and not just money. The roster is amazing too. Bands like of Montreal, Casiokids and Deerhoof definitely added to the appeal of Polyvinyl.
I understand the initial decision to name the band Starfucker was in direct relation to how stupid you thought it was, but having switched to Pyramid and then to Pyramiddd, only to come back to the original name, what’s changed? We were brainwashed into thinking our lives would be better with a different name. Then we came to our senses and realised it didn’t matter that much to us. We only went by Pyramiddd for two months anyway, so it’s not really that big of a deal. And we never released anything under that name. We’d like to never speak of it again, but nobody seems to want to let it go. After a little bit of confusion then, how would you like to see the rest of the year pan out for the band? All the confusion ended last year when decided to move forward and make another Starfucker record. Now that we’ve been with Polyvinyl for a while and everything is working out, we’d like to start playing overseas more and try to go as many places as possible. All we really want to do is tour in other countries - and then make another record as soon as possible. Are there any plans to come to the UK? Yes! We’re working on it now. Hopefully we’ll be there for the Great Escape in May. If you can, describe the best possible conditions in which to listen to Reptilians for the first time On good headphones! And while walking by yourself, that’s always good too. Words: Ryan Drever Photos: Sarah Cass
Tyron Ballantine True topsoul
Comeback Kid The Tyron Ballantine Interview
Dutch street skating prodigy Tyron Ballantine talks about overcoming tragedy and his renewed passion for blading.
Trick: Truespin Topside Pornstar
The first time I witnessed Tyron Ballantine’s skating ability was at the IMYTA Amsterdam in 2005. I was there to cover the event for the now defunct UK rollerblading magazine Unity and, despite the fact that he didn’t qualify for the final, Tyron made one hell of an impression that weekend. The Dutch skater was only 15 years old at the time but he was charging at every obstacle with lots of speed and every trick he executed was done with perfect control. At the time, Tyron was being mentored by rollerblading icon, and Valo owner, Jon Julio and it seemed that the young skater from Amsterdam was destined to become the next European rollerblading star.
For the several months that followed IMYTA Amsterdam, Tyron regularly appeared in the Clip of the Week (COW) section on the Valo website and got a split section with Sean Keane in We Are Valo 2. Then, without explanation, Tyron mysteriously disappeared from the team and for several years very little was heard from the promising young skater. It seemed that another talented rollerblader had simply lost interest in the sport, but the reality was much more tragic. “I had a break,” says Tyron. “A good friend of mine (Theo van Gogh) lost his dad. He got murdered and from that moment I lost my motivation to skate.” Tyron has managed to put his tragic past behind him and, if you have seen his recent Razors online profile, you will have been fortunate enough to get a brief insight into one of the most exciting rollerbladers Europe has to offer at the moment. If you have not witnessed his amazing back royale 450 back royale on the monster square rail at the end of that amazing edit, don’t worry; there is a lot more where that came from. “I am filming for Adrien Anne’s new DVD,” says Tyron. “It is coming out in September. I have actually just returned from Barcelona with Diego Guilloud, Allan B and Adrien. I’ll probably go to some competitions this year as well but I am not sure which ones yet.” Anyone who remembers Tyron as the floppy-haired teenager wowing the crowd at IMYTA Amsterdam may be surprised to find that, at the age of 20, he is now a fullygrown man with the build of a featherweight boxer and a large collection of tattoos. He also has a pretty healthy stack of sponsors that includes Razors, Jug, BHC, Grindhouse and a new Dutch clothing company called Leger Des Stijls. When asked about his reason for leaving Valo even though it was clear that the brand was giving him so much exposure and support, Tyron is quick to assert that his motivation for changing sponsors was simply due the fact that he preferred riding other skates. “Razors fit me better than Valo,” says Tyron with a shrug of the WWW.WHEELSCENE.CO.UK
Trick: 180° Gap
shoulders. “I am still good friends with Jon and I am really thankful for what he did in the past for me.” Tyron recently graduated from high school and is currently working in a Thai restaurant kitchen to fund his future blading trips. Like many people in our sport, he is frustrated at the lack of exposure compared to other extreme sports, like skateboarding and bmxing, but he is happy about the regular emergence of new companies and feels that it can only help to benefit the sport. “Every brand that tries to represent rollerblading is a good thing for us,” says Tyron. “They are all doing stuff their own way, but at the end of the day it’s of benefit to everyone.” Amsterdam has always had a strong skate scene, which is probably due to the fact that there are incredible street spots around every corner and the police are not quite as strict as they are in other European countries. Despite the regular increase in rollerbladers taking to the streets of the city in search of fresh terrain to conquer, Tyron prefers to skate within the confines of his small group of friends and tries to avoid commenting on the current state of his local scene. “At the moment I skate most of the time with old school skaters from Amsterdam,” says Tyron. “It seems like there is a new scene coming up but I don’t really skate with them at the moment.” Many things have changed in the years since I first encountered Tyron and his natural ability on rollerblades. Tragedy may have prevented him from taking advantage of the opportunities that he was offered during his first stab at the rollerblading limelight, but when someone has the ability to make rollerblading look as incredible as Tyron does, it is only matter of time before the world takes notice. If Julian Bah can get a second shot at rollerblading stardom after the scandal he got caught up in with Coco Sanchez, it seems only fair that Tyron should get one too.
“Thanks to all the people who support me,” says Tyron. “Razors for letting me travel around and film, Grindhouse for the clothes and the hotel rooms, BHC for the FIX bearings and the wheels, Jug for hooking me up with shoes and liners and Leger Des Stijls for the dope Shirts. Shout out to David for giving me this interview.” Words: David McNamara Photos: Bojd Vredevoogd
The Daedelus Interview
LA producer Daedelus goes off on tangents and divulges his dream to one day be suited and booted in only bespoke clothing. The LA beat scene pioneers, and most bedroom hip hop producers in general, are not well-known for their dapper dress sense; they punch furiously at laptops, drum machines and samplers during live shows dressed in scruffy jeans and an ill-fitting T-shirt. But don’t dare accuse Alfred Darlington, better known as Daedelus, of such a crime against fashion or he will tear your head off and dangle it in front of you just to show how deeply you have offended him. The producer may have made a name for himself alongside experimental hip hop heavyweights Flying Lotus and Gaslamp Killer, but he is not your average hip hop peddler by any means. Darlington dresses himself head to toe in bespoke Victorian-era clothing, looking like a cross between a Shoreditch try-hard and a senile great uncle at a family gathering. The eccentric producer is so obsessed with his tailored outfits that he has dedicated his entire new album to this passion. Bespoke, the follow up to 2008’s Love to Make Music To, is every bit as eccentric and unpredictable as the man who has created it. The record is a beautiful, disorientating mix of bouncy Latino house, glittering pop ballads and dark indie, all fused seamlessly together with Daedelus’ charming ability to completely ignore the fact that these genres don’t complement each other. When asked to provide an explanation for this patchwork quilt of sounds, Daedelus commits the ultimate conversational sin by answering a question with a question. “How strange is it that so many things aren’t made by one person, and certainly not made to measure? We deal with their inadequacy all day long in that they don’t quite fit! This inadequacy seems accepted in all things except the arts, most of which express themselves as quite exacting in their creator’s vision. So being not suited to everyone and there’s the point: It has the capacity to cut straight through you, so right it’s like an old glove or close friend.” How rude. Undeterred by this delightfully odd response, I decide to rephrase the question to see if I can trick him into providing a less cryptic explanation by asking about the influence of house music on several of the album’s tracks. It was a foolish mistake to assume such tactics would reap any success with such a man as smart as his Greek namesake.
“I’ve dabbled a bit in even and odd time signatures,” says Darlington. “No matter how hard I try to play the easy, narrow path it always seems to go astray. It’s fun to represent electronic music wrongly. I mean, why even bother with this or that sub-genre when it’ll be underwater in a few months time? It’s better to just mess in the sandbox of your own creation - even or odd-beaty as it may sound at times.” The attentive listener, and Daedelus fanatics, will observe the absence of long-time collaborator and wife Laura Darlington on this record despite her alluring vocal performance on ‘Order of the Golden Dawn’, the stand-out track from last year’s Righteous Fists of Harmony EP. “Laura will always be my favourite collaborator, co-conspirator,” say Darlington. “She’s been getting great feedback for the other work she’s been up to with Flying Lotus, and has been busy with some other projects as well. Look for some revenge in the future.” This year will see Daedelus clocking up air miles in promotion of Bespoke and he is eager to show off his latest onstage aid. “At some of the events I’ll be able to feature an invention codenamed Archimedes,” divulges Darlington. “I can only say we are trying to have it live up to it’s mythical reflection. That’ll be at Coachella among other US festival appearances. Sadly nothing planned for the UK yet. I just can’t fly it across the sea, unlike my namesake.” In addition to holding down a fulltime position as the most obscure artist on the LA beat scene, Daedelus also finds time to run his own label, Magical Properties - suitably titled as the producer seems to be wired into another frequency most of the time. Getting him to say who is actually on the label, aside from fiercely experimental producer Jogger, and what releases can be expected this year is like trying to get any answers from a terrorist that has just failed a suicide mission. “It’s a home for misfit children right now,” says Darlington. “I want it to be a little oasis of melody in rhythm, a springboard for sounds that I believe deserve attention. It is ridiculous to have a label right now. There is so much audio asking for your attention, people must get tired of the constant hype of sounds, but it is not a major label endeavour and so just for those who seek and find.”
he unwittingly got himself into a heap of trouble when an interviewer quoted something he said concerning Londonbased dubstep producer Ikonika and her inability to convey her femininity through music. This led to Darlington being berated on his Twitter page, yet he is still happy to voice his unease at the dominance of males in the genre.
“Bespoke clothes in particular call to me as I’ve never felt really suited for this culture of off-the-rack apparel. Go into your average Topman or H&M and you’ll find a dizzying amount of options all from the new season, colour and cuts prescribed, but rarely does any one piece seem to fit just right. Not that I have anywhere close to the money it would take to be decked from head to tails in custom cloth. I’m aspiring.”
“It is a frustration in this art form that we don’t have more female artists getting the attention they deserve, no matter the gender or musical genre there are some qualities intrinsic and differentiating between every noise maker. For instance, Tokimonsta is going to destroy 2011, I believe, and sure she’s held in regard, but her bio surpasses some sign on a bathroom door, her beats just crush. By her example and others, hopefully we will see more voices inspired to contribute, male and female.” The best part about Daedelus’ music is that, like his conversation, you can never tell what is coming next. Last year’s EP Righteous Fists of Harmony was a lush exploration of orchestral sounds and delicate melodies, but Bespoke sees the producer tackle commercial dance music and moody indie rock while managing to retain a style that is unmistakably his. This is an impressive feat when confined to the safety of a production suite, but it must pose all kinds of logistical problems when playing live. For starters, how the hell are you going to fit all of those instruments on stage?
The top five moments in history according to Daedelus: 1– Somewhere around 2002 Brian Crabtree invents the Monome, which by itself does nothing, and thus redefines musical interaction 2– Les Paul invents multi-track recording in the 1930s, and dubs the modern era of recording (All of which allows me to do what I now try.) 3– 1917 “Pelo Telefone” (“By Phone”) is considered the first samba tune, and also way ahead of it’s time as a musical comment on technology 4– Late 19th Century Nikola Tesla conquers electricity, makes AC. 5– 1675 - Charles II of England introduces the waistcoat
“Happily, I’ve discovered it impossible,” concedes Darlington with no trace of disappointment. “There is just something to distinguish the LP listening experience from the live show. I know people love familiar and sometimes safe, but discombobulation is a good friend in the pursuit of some well-placed askew. I think that’s my battle and cross to bear, so to speak, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.” When faced with such a worthy adversary in the art of obscure conversation, it is best just to accept defeat and succumb to talking about that which they love the most. If Daedelus is prompted to speak about his beloved tailor-made clothing, he will happily pontificate about it for hours with the excitement of a pervert in a strip club. A shopping trip with him and his wife must be a bloody nightmare. Words: David McNamara Photo: Adam Kola
Daedelus regularly comments that more women should get involved in electronic music in order to provide a muchneeded feminine touch. In fact, last year
Exposure: Daniel Gorman
Trick: Sweatstance / Photo: Donal Glackin / Dublin
Ireland has always been a force to be reckoned with in the European blading scene and leading the current charge is Dublin-born Daniel Gorman. The miniature ripper has been making a name for himself at UK events over the past few years and the industry is taking notice. Dano currently rides for Kaltic, USD and Slaptap, and it seems inevitable that he will pick up more sponsors if he keeps progressing at his current rate. The 16-year-old has been raised in the caring bosom of the Dublin skate scene, home to international street skating icon Al Hooi, and regularly prowls the streets of his home city looking for new obstacles with a tight crew that consists of brother Jay Gorman, Donal Glackin, Dylan Higgins and Kaltic owner Conhuir Manweiler. Despite having a good group of friends that are always looking to help him progress, Daniel is well aware that Dublin is a particularly challenging city when it comes to developing his street skills. “The weather is shit most of the time and it is hard to get people to go skating,” admits the talented young blader. “There is definitely a lack of public spots that don’t have cunts kicking you out.”
The poor weather, restrictions of an often aggressive Garda and capped spots have not deterred the dedicated street skater, who was first inspired to strap on a pair of rollerblades after seeing his brother at their local outdoor skatepark. “I went to the skate park one day to watch Jay and it looked like fun,” says Daniel. “I got my mum to buy me some junior Salomon skates for my birthday. After that I just never really looked back. I love skating now more than ever.” Trick: Topside Acid / Photo: Donal Glackin / Dublin
The development of blading-orientated websites over the past ten years has created a culture where everyone that skates seems to have an opinion on our industry, with every company and professional skater subject to constant criticism from people who are brave (and abusive) when safely tucked behind their keyboard yet remain strangely quiet when faced with the individuals they have slandered at skate events. Daniel is not one of those people. In fact, when asked about his views on the industry and the current state of rollerblading, Daniel simply responds: “I can’t be arsed with the industry” and says nothing further. For the fifth year student, the most important part about skating is simply the act of doing it. There are a few edits of Daniel floating around the internet, offering a brief insight into the young man’s impressive trick vocabulary and rock solid style, but the teenager is confident that the world will be seeing a lot more in the near future.
“I was saving some footage for an edit, but all my clips got deleted off my computer. I just started filming for a new Irish DVD that should be out by Christmas and there’s also the Kaltik DVD that should be out soon.” Daniel is eager to visit as many events as possible on both sides of the Atlantic in order to show what he is capable of and represent Ireland on an international stage. “I’ll be at most UK comps and some other European ones if I can,” says the Dubliner. “You can also expect to see me at Winterclash and The Kaltik Paddy’s Weekend street comp, The Chaz Invite and I’m also heading out to America for the AIL in October.” Those American bladers better watch their backs because Daniel is intending to repeat Joe Atkinson’s success at last year’s AIL and he seems to be hungrier than Kerry Katona in a kebab shop.
Trick: Truespin Alleyoop Mizou / Photo: Donal Glackin / Dublin
Taking Back Control The Dimbleby and Capper Interview
South London’s Laura Bettinson a.k.a. Dimbleby and Capper may look like a Powerpuff Girl who has attended a few too many drug-riddled illegal warehouse raves, but don’t be fooled into thinking this is simply another in a long line of manufactured porcelain dolls with dreams of stardom. This is a determined young woman set on making her presence known on the UK indie scene with her razorblades in ice cream brand of pop songs. The self-taught studio prodigy from Rugby moved to London in 2006 to study at Goldsmiths and quickly found herself gravitating towards electronic music as a necessary means of continuing her passion for performing live when it became virtually impossible to get heavy classical instruments to live shows using the London transport system. “I was writing songs with just a piano and trying to get gigs when I realised that a 5ft 2” girl cannot take an 88 key stage piano on the tube with her. That’s why I started experimenting with electronics and using looping. I slowly started buying basic recording equipment and using it to perform live sets.” In the four years that Bettinson has been living and performing in the nation’s capital, she has managed to attract the attention of Radio 1 DJ Huw Stephens with her caustic pop ballads, which led to performances at Glastonbury and Latitude in 2009. This is pretty impressive considering the producer has not released a single song. “Huw Stephens got hold of one of my demos that I did with a producer called Liam Howe, who did the Marina and the Diamonds album, and he just ran with it. We got asked to do Glastonbury and Latitude, which was all really brilliant but at the time we only had about five songs!” The initial flurry of interest that surrounded Dimbleby and Capper may have been extremely encouraging, as it would for any young artist eager to get their big break, but Bettinson was adamant that she would not conform to the same mundane format that has spawned the successful pop acts currently boring our nation to tears. Take note, Alesha Dixon. “When everything slowed down I got back to producing my own music,” says the Goldsmiths graduate. “Working with pop producers was becoming more of a reality, with every demo sounding completely different, and I just wanted to bring it back to how I wanted my music to sound.” It seems very likely that this year could see the multi-faceted performer gain some much deserved recognition on the indie pop scene. Her debut single, ‘Let You Go’, is a moody pop anthem with flurries of distortion and chopped-up vocal harmonies that promise to secure slots on indie club DJ sets and radio playlists alike. Bettinson promises that this is simply the first in a long line of releases we can expect over the next twelve months.
When asked about the overwhelming presence of adhesive in her costumes, Bettinson responds: “That started while I was at Goldsmiths. I always had gaffer tape. I was turning up at a load of gigs with tables and wires and things that plug in and I always got discerning looks from the sound guys. It became an essential piece of kit, so I started making these sexy-ish costumes. It’s DIY chic!” Dimbleby and Capper may sound more like an up-market coffee shop for the discerning middle class rather than a band, let alone a solo performer. That’s what happens when a musician is too lazy to come up with something meaningful and simply picks the first name that comes to mind. “I was just looking for something to hide behind while I figured out what I was doing with the electronic stuff. I always had the intention of it not just being me at the live shows. I wanted a live band and dancers. We regularly collaborate with friends, artists and photographers. I think they are all pieces of what makes Dimbleby and Capper.” The wide range of influences are evident in D&C’s output. The edgy, and sometimes dark, productions seem to compliment Bettinson’s uplifting lyrics and radio friendly, sugar-coated vocals that evoke the grittiness of early Sneaker Pimps productions. “I listened to a lot of old soul and Motown and a lot of my harmonies are borrowed from that time. In my teens I listened to Smashing Pumpkins, Weezer and a lot of indie guitar bands. After I started at Goldsmiths I got into Bjork and things like that. It’s basically a huge mashup.” When asked about her views on the current state of British pop music, Bettinson confesses that she is not completely enamoured with the vacuous acts dominating the charts but is optimistic that a change is on the horizon. “I listen to Radio 1 in the car, but not that much. I am kind of sick of the machine to be honest. I am really excited that Anna Calvi is getting some exposure this year and James Blake was at Goldsmiths with me. It’s really exciting because there is a little shift happening. I enjoy Rihanna’s new stuff but I think it’s exciting that there are new people like Anna and James coming up. “ Finally, the UK pop chart is offered a cure for the adolescent ramblings of Cheryl Cole and the simply mundane existence of Marina and her Godawful Diamonds. Words: David McNamara Photo: Hitomi Yoda
“I have just spent the last six months writing songs. There is an album’s worth of material, so hopefully I will be able to release that in 2012. I am planning on releasing another single in autumn and hopefully a couple of EPs as well.” Dimbleby and Capper may not have stormed the pop charts just yet, but the south London resident clearly has a gifted group of artists and video producers at her disposal, as she has already released some impressive music videos that perfectly capture the imagery of her beautifully elegiac songs. The video for ‘Want This’ is a deliciously odd visual delight that sees Bettinson glammed up like an art Goth femme fatale, rotating between striking orange locks and some rather dubious headwear that makes her look like one of the guards at Buckingham Palace. This is what a Lady Gaga video would look like if it was made on a shoestring budget, but it is startlingly well-executed. When Bettinson and co. take to the stage it is an equally impressive display, which is probably down to Bettinson’s father, who worked in theatre and was as an early inspiration to the young performer. Bettinson stalks the stage with the presence of a proud lion, sporting bizarre outfits that always seem to incorporate gaffer tape in various patterns.
Patience is a Virtue
The Little Scream Interview
If good things really do come to those who wait, singer songwriter Laurel Sprengelmeyer is in for one hell of a treat. The talented multi-instrumentalist has been playing piano, violin and guitar since she was a child, yet a combination of procrastination and interesting opportunities has meant that she has not fully-dedicated herself to a career in music until now. “I have always played music,” says the Iowa–born singer who now lives in Montreal. “I just got involved in a lot of interesting projects, so music fell to the wayside for a while, but it was something that I was always going to put time and energy into. I just ended up spending longer doing other things than I thought I would.” Those “other things” that Sprengelmeyer refers to are the community projects and performing arts jobs she worked after the singer followed her heart to Canada several years ago. All of these experiences seem to have had a profound effect on her ability to create endearing storylines within her music. “I was dating someone at the time that was moving to Montreal. I came up to visit and just ended up falling in love with the city and doing some school here. I did quite a lot of work with a community centre that helped refugee and immigrant women. There was a theatre company in town and the work overlapped with that. When I graduated I worked with that company right away and I ended up managing another theatre company.” Little Scream has been the moniker for Sprengelmeyer for quite some time now, but it took her a year and a half to create her debut album to a standard that she was happy with. That is bloody long time to spend on making one album but it seems that not all of this time was spent in the studio obsessing over every chord and lyric. “We spent a long time working on it and we put a lot of love into it”, she advises. “From start to finish it took a year and a half. The people I was working with had really weird schedules so we only managed to get a day here and there.”
“It was something that Richard and I thought would be a good title. It’s just such a beautiful story. I also think there are a lot of parallels with how I feel about this record and the gesture of that record. There is just this strange, eclectic collection of sounds that are trying to represent the experience of humanity as a whole, which you can’t really do. I guess it’s just a beautiful, futile gesture.” The more Sprengelmeyer speaks, the more apparent it becomes that she is a person who wears her heart on her sleeve. She is disarmingly open, ridiculously polite and free flowing with praise for those who inspire her music. When talking about her sources of inspiration, the singer seems to restrain herself from referencing every single performer that has ever had an effect on her writing, but only just. “One that comes to mind is Mary Margaret Ohara. A lot of the old rock stuff that was referencing stuff from the ‘20s and ‘30s like Led Zeppelin or early Aerosmith was really influential early on in my life. People like Neil Young, Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell and a lot of the classic ‘70s musicians.” The Golden Record contains an intensely personal collection of songs referencing different stages of Sprengelmeyer’s life, but she is particularly proud of stand-out single ‘The Heron and the Fox.’ “I wrote that song right at the moment when I decided to do Little Scream,” she says. “I think it stands up in terms of song writing and that makes me very happy. There’s something hopeful about it - being hopeful in dark times.” Words: David McNamara Photos: Guillaume Simoneau and Rachel Granovski
It is clear that Sprengelmeyer strongly believes that if you are going to do something, you might as well do it right. For her debut album, the songwriter enlisted an all-star cast of Montreal-based musicians that includes Silver Mt. Zion’s Becky Foon, The National’s Aaron Dessner and Arcade Fire’s Sarah Neufeld. Neufeld’s fellow Arcade Fire member Richard Reed Parry was also brought in to assist in producing the record. “Montreal has a really rich cultural community but the English speaking part of it is really small. Richard and I met years ago through mutual friends, as I was close to people in a band Richie is in called Bell Orchestre. Richard and I decided to work together and the rest of the collaborations just came together naturally.” Little Scream’s debut album, The Golden Record, is as grand as the title suggests and this is thanks, in no small part, to the plethora of talent that supports Sprengelmeyer’s undeniable song writing talent. The album is named after the 1977 Voyager Space Shuttle that had on board a time capsule recording of sounds, language and music that was intended to represent human existence. Sprengelmeyer intended to do the exact same thing with her first release, but does not seem fully convinced that she has achieved her goal.
Uncertain Future The Matt Alway Interview I first encountered Matt several years ago at school, where I was the teacher and he was the pupil. I mentioned that I rollerbladed during class and we formed an unspoken bond from that moment onwards. However, it wasnâ€™t until rural Norfolk gained a few useable skate parks that I met Matt again, enthusiastically cruising around the park. Being classed as an â€œold guyâ€? now gives me the hindsight to notice which kids will last the distance - those who enjoy what we do for the right reasons. All too often those who concern themselves with just taking pleasure from learning the hardest trick will eventually lose interest as the expectation begins to outweigh the enjoyment of how much fun our sport is. Matt does not fit into that category; his enthusiasm to push himself is matched with an understanding of style. This will ensure that as Matt matures, we will all continue to be treated to an intelligent skater, who thinks about using his talent to deliver technical, creative tricks chosen to fit the obstacle he is skating. It is a refreshing change from most other kids his age who need to prove they are, at best, a clone of someone else.
Trick: Rocket Makio
Let’s get the formalities out of the way. What is your name, age, location and years skating?
Street or park and why?
How has it been growing up and skating in the wilderness that is Kings Lynn?
What drew you to rollerblading, what was it about this sport that made you want to be a part of it?
My name is Matt Alway. I’m 16 years young and I’m from the small fishing community of Kings Lynn. I have had a love for rollerblading since I was nine years old, so it’s been about seven years now.
Growing up and living in Kings Lynn has its advantages and disadvantages. I have met many people that have influenced my life but living in a very flat county means less handrails. I make the most of it by trying to be more creative with tricks.
That’s a hard question for me. I grew up skating park but as I slowly progressed I found myself flying down handrails and there is no better feeling than that. Also, in street the vibe feels a lot more chilled. You are not restricted and therefore street is the way forward.
I was watching the Extreme channel and rollerblading was on there. Suddenly, I had this instant urge to rollerblade so I got a cheap pair from Argos. The Shed skatepark was built soon afterwards in Kings Lynn and that’s where I met all of the skaters that inspired me to learn more.
What is the rollerblading scene like in Kings Lynn?
The skate scene is amazing and always has been. Recently there have been some little rollerbladers who have shown up from nowhere. It has been crazy seeing them progress and helping them along the way. The Kings Lynn skate scene is thriving.
Bit of a geeky question but what is your current set up and why did you choose it?
My current setup is the Valo A.B.1 with black and white liners, white Kizer Slimlines with stock wheels and bearings. I have been rocking Valo for a number of years now and they are the perfect skate for me. Not many skates can offer a solid and comfortable feel. I couldn’t imagine skating anything else at this moment in time.
Who or what inspires you to strap on those boots every day?
Watching a good skate video gets me hyped. Leading the Blind and The Rain have my vote at the minute, as the tricks never get old. There is so much music that gets me pumped for a session. It varies from Jay-Z to MGMT depending on how I’m felling on the day. The thought of chilling and skating with my mates makes me want to skate but my love for blading and learning new tricks is what motivates me to go out skating most of the time.
What’s good and what’s bad about rollerblading today?
Rollerblading is like no other sport. It is such a tight-knit community due to lack of people in the industry. Some people may see that as a bad thing but I believe that it is better as everyone knows each other. The only bad thing I can say about rollerblading is the odd person with the massive ego.
You’re on the verge of finishing your formal education. What does the future hold for you?
I am off to college for a couple of years to do a science course. Hopefully this will allow me to go to university or straight into work. I don’t know exactly what the future holds, like most people my age, but what I do know is between now and then there is going to be a lot more skating.
Who are you currently riding for? At the moment I am representing a new skate shop called Roller Junkies. They are based in Midsomer Norton, so show your support and visit their website. What are your favourite three British spots and why?
The top spot for me is ghetto rails in London. They are amazing as you can be so creative with the banks next to the rails. Milton Keynes as it is just one massive street spot and city hall rails in Norwich are just perfect. Trick: Cess Slide
What is the best experience you have taken from rollerblading?
It has to be Slamm Jamm. Meeting so many people and seeing most of the rollers from around the UK skating together is amazing and it keeps getting better. Just meeting people in general that I wouldn’t have if I didn’t rollerblade - that is the best thing I could ever take from rollerblading.
Well I think that’s about it, thanks for your time Matt and do you want to give any shout outs?
Yeah man, I would like to thank my mum, Lloyd and the rest of the family for putting up with my injuries over the years, my mates that I skate with and Sam Cooper for being patient with me when we were shooting for this. Support Roller Junkies and thanks to everyone who supports the rollerblading scene.
Words and Photos: Sam Cooper
Trick: Alleyoop Fishbrain
Trick: Backside Tourque Slide
Introducing: Pareto Glasgow’s Pareto are proving that you don’t need a label to release music in this modern age, as long as you are willing to put in a bit of good old-fashioned hard work. The noise-pop quartet, fronted by lead singer Kanul Kapur, have been releasing their own music via iTunes and their online store for over a year and it seems to be paying off. The band’s profile has rapidly risen in a short period of time and they have created enough hype to earn support slots for the likes of General Fiasco, Attack Attack and Flood of Red. Pareto kicked off 2011 with a nationwide tour alongside fellow Glaswegians Skies Fell and they are planning on seeing a lot more of the UK later this year. Pareto’s last EP, Your Heart is Ready for Home, was well-received by national press and fans alike, and their latest effort, Paint Them Silver, could see the purveyors of epic pop rock receiving some well-deserved recognition. We speak with drummer Ewan McDonald ahead of their upcoming release to find out what Pareto are doing to ensure they get their shot at the limelight.
For those who won’t be familiar with you, introduce yourselves. We’re Pareto, Kunal (vocals, guitar), Dave (guitar), Stuart (bass) and Ewan (drums). Where does the name Pareto come from? We named the band after the legend Vilfredo Pareto and it just seemed to work - probably because it’s pretty ambiguous. You added Dave Aird as an additional guitarist this year, how is that working out? It’s working really well. We’d just finished a tour with Penguins Kill Polar Bears and The Whisky Works last May and decided there was only so much noise we could make as three, so we decided to ask Dave, who I had played with in another band. Dave is really big on effects and brings a lot more volume and atmosphere to our sound. There’s also less of a chance that we’ll collectively shit ourselves on stage if there are four of us! What bands have you been listening to lately? On the tour van iPod we usually pick an album each, so everyone is forced to listen to everyone else’s choice. Dems the rules! I’m really enjoying Union Sound Set’s new album, Start Stop. Kunal went to see Admiral Fallow the other night and Caldo is a real sucker for noughties British post hardcore. Dave likes heavier stuff like Mastodon, so heaps of variety really.
You have a new EP coming out this spring. How does it compare to 2010’s Your Heart is Ready For Home? It’s definitely darker than YHIRFH, and with two guitars we think the songs sound fuller and a bit more expansive. We also recorded it in a proper studio this time, whereas before we put out an EP and a single recorded in a home studio. We also worked with a producer called Iain Cook on this one. Ian knows a lot more than us about music! That really helped in terms of arranging vocal ideas and backing vocals. Iain also played piano on a song called ‘Collapse’. What are your plans for the next few months? We’re releasing our new EP, Paint them Silver, in April, which will be available as a download at all the usual digital stores and also a limited edition run of homemade physical copies. We’ll also be doing our first English dates in April, starting with a show supporting our friends Brigade in London. We’re also squeezing in a couple of music videos between now and then to accompany the release. For the Glasgow launch we’re planning something pretty special. For our last EP launch we played at a bar called the Courtyard in Glasgow, which had never hosted a rock band before. We managed to cram 100 people into a tiny space and it wasn’t long ‘til the cops arrived. I’m pretty sure the venue lost their live music license soon after that. Words: Louis Flood www.paretomusic.co.uk
Behind the Lens with Simon Mulvaney You may not be familiar with Simon Mulvaney but, if you are a rollerblader living in the UK, I guarantee you will be familiar with his outstanding work. Simon was responsible for the Chaz Sands Invitational documentary that was shown on the Extreme channel, thrusting rollerblading into the mainstream for the first time since it was dropped from the X Games. He is also the man behind many of the Rampworx edits, and last year he filmed a great online video for Razors featuring team riders Chaz Sands and Scott Quinn in Dublin. Simon is currently working on the first Ground Control team video and, as we found out, has quite a few other exciting projects planned for this year. For the people who are not in the know, tell us a little about yourself. My name is Simon Mulvaney. I’m 23 years old from Merseyside, England. I’m a freelance film maker and owner of a small production company called Outlook Films. How did you get involved with the Ground Control project? I’ve been trying to build up my skills and profile for quite some time now, but what really set the ball rolling was Stew Game calling me up and asking me to go to Dublin with Chaz Sands and Scott Quinn to make a Razors Podcast. Once online, it turned out to be quite successful and got a lot of positive feedback. Jon Elliott ended up emailing me, (which I was really honoured by) telling me how much he enjoyed it and asked if I’d be interested in making the film. Is there anything you can tell us about the DVD? Where’s the fun in that!? I don’t want to give away too much; apart from the entire film is being shot on DSLR. I’ll just say that I’m aiming to make it a bit more engaging than most other rollerblade films. My aim is to make the DVD I would have wanted when I was a kid. In years to come, I want to watch it and be reminded of how incredible this industry is, how many inspiring places I was able to visit and how many amazing people I was lucky enough to meet.
Any memorable stories from the filming process so far? The last few months have been amazing! Apart from getting to meet a lot of my childhood idols and work with an amazing team, the most memorable story for me was not being granted access into the US! The original production plan was for me to spend three months filming in and around California. However, when I arrived at Atlanta to transfer flights I was basically hauled into a back room, interrogated and threatened with ten years in prison! I have no idea why (it must have been the beard), but I ended up being held in a detention centre in Atlanta for 38 hours, then I got put on a flight back to the UK. Luckily, I spent two weeks in Barcelona with Chaz, who was shooting secondary angles with his 550D. He managed to pick up the style I wanted and did a great job replicating it during his time in America. I had to direct the filming through Skype every day from England, which was interesting. Can you tell us a little about your production company? My company is called Outlook Films and it provides visual media solutions to a variety of different clients, from rollerblade companies to charities, corporate clients and anyone else who could benefit from a personally tailored film. What other projects are you working on at the moment? It’s a really busy time for me as I’m juggling a lot of other jobs with the GC film. I am actually writing this whilst filming on location in Earth Terminal Recording Studio in Hampshire, filming a studio diary for an up and coming band called Evelyn.Is. Amongst other things, I also have a large corporate client I am working with called Morgan Hunt Recruitment. Although, the project that I’m most excited about (apart from the GC film) is a viral advert for a new innovative skateboard product being produced by Nokia. I’m working on that with Stew Game and Jordan Maders, which is definitely something to watch out for! Also, Sim Warren has been in contact with me to get me on board with a short film to promote rolling to the masses, which is currently in pre-production.
The Elliot Stevens Interview Manchester’s Elliot Stevens has a lot going for him right now. The twenty-three-year-old has a flourishing modelling career, appearing in several Topman campaigns over the past couple of years, a beautiful girlfriend (who also models) and a list of sponsors that most rollerbladers would kill for. He also has the ability to envisage and execute innovative tricks on obstacles that most bladers wouldn’t give a second look. We decided to catch up with one of the most creative skaters in the UK scene to find out more about this exciting period in his life.
Elliot has been one of the most recognisable figures in UK blading for several years due to his distinctive style and massive trick vocabulary. If you have attended any major rollerblading event in the UK over the past five years, you will have witnessed Elliot’s technical rail skating and exceptional ability to link lines together like Britain’s answer to Jeff Stockwell. It’s a good thing for us that he chose to put down the hockey stick and get into “aggressive” rollerblading all those years ago.
“I got into blading after playing roller hockey when I was about 12 years old”, says Elliot. “I remember one of my friends that played said he was into aggressive skating and that he went down to the skatepark in Bolton. We would watch videos like Coup de Tat, Salomon Focus, Everything’s Fucked, and rob scaffolding poles and skate them on the driveway. It kind of just went from there really.” Whoever that “friend” was, thank you.
Elliot is originally from Bolton, but has been living in Manchester for several years and takes every opportunity to skate with an incredible selection of the country’s most-respected bladers, including Sam Brookfield, Scott Hallows and USD professional Nick Lomax. With a group of such high calibre contemporaries to keep him motivated, it is no wonder Elliot is progressing at such an alarming rate. “The Manchester scene is tight and has been for years,” he explains. “There is always someone down to go skate, film or get a photo. There’s always the Tuesday night sessions at Ukskatepark.”
Trick: Backside Backslide
That was eleven years ago and since then the UK scene has witnessed Elliot grow into a confident, consistent skater that is not afraid to think outside of the box. It is his imaginative trick choice and approachable character that has prompted several companies including Valo, Dirt Box, Eulogy and Loco Skates to ask him to represent their brand. The only thing he seems to be missing at the moment is a frame sponsor. What are they waiting for?
Elliot’s passion for blading is infectious. When you see him at an event he is constantly on his skates, regardless of whether the competition is still underway or not. When it comes time for the after party, he can normally be found drunkenly hugging every person he meets and excitedly rambling like he is under the influence of some potent illegal substances. Just look at any of the footage from previous Slamm Jamm events if you require proof. What keeps him motivated to strap on skates after all these years? “The fact that I’ve been doing it for so long, it’s something I’m good at and the hundreds of cool people I’ve met from all over the world that I would never have met if I didn’t blade.”
Over the next year we should be seeing a lot more of Elliot, as he is going to try and get as much filming done as possible for his sponsors and hopefully visit some of the people behind the companies that provide him with product. By the looks of things, we can expect more online edits and captivating photos from the dedicated roller. “I’m hopefully going to put something together for the next Valo DVD and hopefully pay them a visit at some point this year, if I can save up enough money. I am also going to be joining Jake and the rest of the Loco Skates team on the upcoming Lovescotland tour, so will definitely get some filming done then.” When Elliot isn’t pushing himself to the limit of his physical and creative abilities on blades, he is working in a high street men’s fashion store as a sales assistant. But don’t be fooled into thinking he is just another slacker wasting his life away in a retail hellhole, as Elliot regularly attends castings for modelling agencies D1models in London, Karin in Paris and Boss Models in Manchester. It was one of these castings that resulted in Elliot appearing in a recent Topshop campaign and he seems to enjoy the perks of the job. “That came from my agency in London,” begins Elliot. “They sent me to the casting and obviously the people at Topman liked the look of me. Gemma, who was holding the casting, called me back for a second look as I was walking away from the building, so I went back and they told me they wanted to use me for the new limited edition range. I also did their denim video with my girlfriend Emma last summer. It was pretty sweet being paid to chill by an outdoor swimming pool all day.” Despite the fact that his modelling career is taking off and he seems to be picking up more sponsors as the years progress, Elliot is keen to keep his options open and pursue something that offers more stability. The only problem is that he does not know exactly what it is that he wants to dedicate his life to yet. “I have been looking into barber courses at the moment but I don’t know what I really want to pursue,” says Elliot. Let’s hope that whatever Elliot chooses to do with his life, blading will always remain a priority. Words: David McNamara Photos: Richard Manning
Trick: Mute 180°
Trick: Royale to Safety Grab Gap
Album Reviews Artist: Daedelus Album: Bespoke Label: Ninja Tune
Artist: Argon 40 Album: Fair Lawn Label: Self Released
Artist: Leika Album: Space on Tuesday Label: Leika
Oddball producer Alfred Darlington returns with his first long player since 2008’s Love to Make Music To and he seems determined to mix things up. Bespoke is an absolute mess of genres that takes inspiration from latino house (‘Tailor Made’), futuristic soul (‘In Tatters’) and the LA beat scene (‘Penny Loafers’), striking gold every time. Darlington has the ability to find the perfect vocalist to convey his intended mood on each track and this is displayed perfectly with Amir Yaghmai’s mournful crooning on the frantic despair of ‘One and Lonely’. Will Weisnefeld provides the haunting vocals against the unsettling backdrop of ‘French Cuffs’, giving the album a much-needed dark edge.
The opening track of New York duo Argon 40’s debut starts promisingly enough, with sweeping synths and big beats complimenting Greene’s gorgeous voice, but by the end of ‘4466 Days’ Adam Williams and Heather Greene are meandering aimlessly. Their cover of Tom Petty’s ‘Free Falling’ is a massive misstep; the sound of someone shooting themselves in the foot then prodding the wound with a stick. The album doesn’t recover, quickly slipping into faux Morcheeba territory. This is ambient without soul, a pretty sphere but chilly to the touch. Ultimately, this is inoffensive ambient pop that could find Argon 40 snug on a Radio 2 playlist.
Leika’s debut offering showcases the band’s ability to craft melodic, catchy pop songs with indie sensibilities, but lacks continuity of style. The album’s best offerings, ‘Indigo Skies’ and ‘Deeper Waters’, are fun, earnest pop gems. When they stray from this sound and try to play darker, more hard-edged music such as ‘Go!’ they let themselves down. The vocals simply don’t suit this style, with a rock and roll sneer being affected that completely rings false. However, when Leika play their unashamed pop it is glorious, with an excellent use of backing vocals and saxophone that gives them a somewhat different sound to what you may hear from other indie-flavoured pop bands.
(Luke Carey) Rating: 2/5
Artist: Dorian Concept EP: Her Tears Taste Like Pears EP Label: Ninja Tune
Artist: John Maus Album: We Must Become the Pitiless Censors Of Ourselves Label: Ribbon Records/ Upsettherhythm
It has been almost two years since the release of Oliver Johnson’s excellent debut, When Planets Explode, but he has been keeping himself busy by fascinating crowds across the globe with his mind-boggling keyboard abilities and lending his skills to the Ninja Tune XX compilation. This latest EP picks up where ‘Trilingual Dance Sexperience’ left off. ‘Her Tears Taste Like Pears’ and ‘My Face Needs Food’ open proceedings with enough bounce to match any of his previous releases and ‘Toe Games Made Her Giggle’ possesses a fascinating fusion of dubstep, garage and jazz. This is Dorian Concept’s first EP on Ninja Tune. Let’s hope there will be a full length follow up very soon.
With his latest release, Minnesotan intellectual John Maus gives a joyously crude redressing to ‘80s synth music. Careering far to the left of the conventional production mould, this album utilises a deliberately lo-fi approach that bears occasional resemblance to The Sisters of Mercy. Consequently, tracks ‘Keep Pushing On’ and ‘Head for the Country’ have a likeable ex post facto buzz to them. This album is bound to have a polarising effect on listeners, but this does seem to be intentional. It is here that music can be seen as a complex form of art. Enjoyable as much for its quirkiness as for its subtleties, this is a fine album from an artist that clearly knows his strengths.
(Tom Emery) Rating: 3/5
Artist: Pharoahe Monch Album: W.A.R. Record Label: Duck Down Inc
W.A.R. is not an album; it is a set of military orders only meant for true hip hop soldiers. From the intro you are dragged into the album as someone “preordained” to receive this message and Monch gathers up some of hip hop’s best lyricists (Styles P, Immortal Technique, Royce Da 5’9) to help him convey his message. Alongside Immortal Technique and Vernon Reid, a true showcase of lyrical wizardry takes place on the adrenaline fuelled ‘W.A.R’. The standout track on the album is ‘Clap’, a soulful rap ballad with a positive message which Monch describes as “An America postmortem.” For something that can stimulate your brain and get your adrenaline pumping, W.A.R has got it all. (Javeer Singh Gill) Rating: 4/5
Artist: Pearson Sound / Ramadanman Album: Fabriclive 56 Label: Fabric Records
It’s hard to reconcile David ‘Ramadanman/ Pearson Sound’ Kennedy’s already prolific music career with his relatively tender years. Only 22, he’s already notched up a significant bass-heavy output, while the acclaim heaped on Hessle Audio, the label he co-runs with friends Pangea and Ben UFO has earned him a Fabriclive residency alongside the pair. With nearly a third of the tracks used his own work; the North Londoner’s entry into the club night’s mix series acts as a primer for his percussion-driven, deeply rhythmic sound, but also ranges from Levon Vincent’s rolling deep house to the African chants of Tiyiselani Vomaseve. Elsewhere he drops UK Funky, Burial’s atmospherics and gives a nod to his dubstep roots with the inclusion of D1’s ‘Sub Zero’. (Colin Chapman)
Artist: Rolo Tomassi Album: Eternal Youth Label: Destination Moon
Artist: Little Scream Album: The Golden Record Label: Secretly Indian
To mark the start of their very own record label, Destination Moon, the brilliantly innovative Rolo Tomassi are releasing a two-disk anthology of rare and unreleased tracks, entitled Eternal Youth. The anthology contains tracks spanning from their earliest recordings, cut six years ago, to tracks taped in August of 2010. This is a must-have record for fans of the band, letting you see how they’ve developed and evolved their sound over the years. It is fascinating, if you love the band, but maybe not so great for those less familiar with the rest of Rolo Tomassi’s work. There are some typically stunning heavy and technical songs on this release, but watch out for a few acoustic surprises on the second disk.
Calling your debut album The Golden Record is a pretty risky move for any new artist. Montreal based singer-songwriter Laurel Sprengelmeyer has taken great care to ensure the title rings true by enlisting the production skills of Arcade Fire’s Richard Reed Parry and collaborating with Snailhouse (Mike Fuerstack), Silver Mt. Zion’s Becky Foon and The National’s Aaron Dessner. ‘Cannons’ is an indie pop gem of epic proportions featuring piercing piano flourishes, Regina Spektor-style time changes and galloping drums. ‘The Heron and the Fox’ shows Sprengelmeyer at her most vulnerable, with wounded vocals that evoke Beth Orton at her best, and ‘Black Cloud’ sounds like a mild- mannered 4-Track Demos era PJ Harvey. This is a solid first effort.
Rating: 4/5 Artist: Young Legionnaire Album: Crisis Works Label: Wichita Recordings
Artist: Kode9 & The Spaceape Album: Black Sun Label: Hyperdub
Artist: The Xcerts EP: Stairs To Noise: The Scatterbrain EP Label: Xtra Mile Recordings
Young Legionnaire are a new UK-based outfit featuring members of Bloc Party and The Automatic. Their debut album, Crisis Works, is at its best when adopting the stop-startshout dynamic which so much embodies the post-hardcore genre, such as on opener ‘Twin Victory’. The band lose their way a little on the mellower tracks, but have the knack of popping up with a surprising stoner rock riff or technical bit of lead. On the whole, the album is a little confused and inconsistent, at times reminiscent of Quicksand or Rival Schools, but then slides into a full-on pop song on the next track. It’s not a bad album, but screams of a band that needs to focus their sound.
Revisiting similarly ominous themes to their now five-year-old debut, Black Sun sees a change in the musical horizons of the South London-based duo. Delivering visions of a scorched, post-apocalyptic planet and societal, political and economic breakdown, the dark intensity of Spaceape’s poetry remains; however Kode9’s production now holds less of the dub-orientated focus present on Memories Of The Future, instead centring on the jagged, four-four rhythms and tribalistic beats of UK Funky. The soft, sometimes near-whispered vocals of Chinese singer Cha Cha feature on four tracks and her harmonies offer some light to an album that places its main emphasis on moody, sonic experimentation.
The Xcerts’ new EP Stairs To Noise: The Scatterbrain EP follows the release of their second album Scatterbrain. The band has produced a highly accessible EP with what are leftover tracks from the New York sessions. The Xcerts’ can be easily dismissed as generic but in their defence they have been able to reach pop territory about five years before Biffy Clyro did. The Brighton-based three piece are a prime example of a hardworking band done well and will win over sceptics with their cover of Elliot Smith’s ‘Say Yes’. Stand-out track ‘Let’s Run’ is executed perfectly with singer Murray Macleod’s ability to change his voice from sweet to deathly in an instant.
Artist: Starfucker Album: Reptilians Label: Polyvinyl
Artist: Raekwon Album: Shaolin vs. Wu-Tang Label: EMI
Starfucker may have an unbelievably crap name and questionable taste in album artwork, but the Portland-based indie electronic outfit’s follow up to their 2008 self-titled debut does not reflect these short comings. The British summer is so far out of reach it is soul-destroying but, when it does arrive, Reptilians will be the soundtrack for legions of semi-conscious festival goers parading around damp grass fields. ‘Julius’ and ‘Bury Us Alive’ are sun-kissed backing tracks for drunken afternoon chats at the back of the crowd, while the tweakers bounce along to nervous energy of ‘Mystery Cloud’ at the front row. Stoner anthem ‘The White of Noon’ will comfort weary human shells on the long walk back to the camping area as dawn approaches. Bring on summer.
It’s been a long time since the Wu dominated the world, but it looks like this new release from Chef Raekwon could herald the return of their grip on hip hop. The production is tight and echoes back to the days of that banging 36 Chambers business. Rae is on point and his lyrics cut deep, like a Samurai wordsmith, taking you on a journey deep into the heart of tight flows and intricate wordplay. The album itself is not short of guest appearances, some that you may expect and others that you may not, but either way it’s a refreshing (yet nostalgic) sound that puts Wu back on the map. Plus, it’s heavy as shit. (Jesse Keene) Rating: 4/5
Artist: The Rural Alberta Advantage Album: Departing Label: Saddle Creek
Folk rock outfit The Rural Alberta Advantage garnered praise a few years ago for their album, Hometowns. It was wistful, powerfully emotive and full of energy - a palpable success for a genre that seemed to be running out of steam. However, details that were so insistent and charming about Hometowns are mournfully difficult to locate on their latest release. The musical conversations between Nils Edenloff and Amy Cole have all but evaporated and the manic drum fills seem more out of pent up frustration than anything else. The songs no longer have the depth or range that is necessary to become memorable. Without the previous resonance and harmony of parts, it sounds flat and straining to achieve anything above mediocrity.
Artist: 31Knots Album: Trump Harm Label: Polyvinyl
Artist: Marry Waterson and Oliver Knight Album: The Days That Shaped Me Label: One Little Indian Records
31Knots’ eleventh album is an eclectic mix of technical guitar riffs and vocal harmonies. The album is a bit of a difficult listen to begin with. ‘Onanist’s Vacation’ opens the album with a drum solo that catches the listeners’ attention, but it goes on to sound less memorable - like a math rock version of Mumford and Sons. After a few listens, it is easier to appreciate. The use of harmonies to create effect is outstanding, especially on ‘Candles in Open Water’. Technically, the music is brilliant but it may take a while for it to stick in the listeners’ memory. ‘Egg on My Face’ is the most outstanding track on the album, with good use of melodies and dynamics. (Ewan McCreath) Rating: 3/5.
Artist: DELS Album: GOB Label: Big Dada
Marry Waterson and Oliver Knight share an impressive folk lineage: their mother was Lal Waterson, a much-revered singer-songwriter who died suddenly of cancer. The impact of her loss is a theme that runs through Days That Shaped Me, the sibling duo’s debut album together. Marry Waterson’s lyrics are achingly personal and complex; her voice – and this may be a little obscure – smacks of Bridget St. John. However, some of the songs, such as the twee-brooding ‘Gap’ and miserable shuffle ‘Windy Day’, veer from morose to downright mawkish. There’s nothing here that will change the mind of anyone who isn’t already fond of folk. However, for the bearded and forest-dwelling, this is a well-constructed first record - even though it’s drenched in tears.
From the opening track, it is clear that DELS is trying to fuse hip hop and ‘90s computer games to create an electro-rap crossover album, made even more obvious by the appearance of Hot Chip’s Joe Goddard on two tracks. It’s an interesting concept but something is always missing. ‘Hydronenburg’ has some painfully-overused hooks and ‘Melting Patterns’ sounds like it was produced by a stoned teenager with a laptop. ‘Shapeshift’ almost pulls off 16-bit rap, with some clever verses, until DELS lets himself down with an unforgivably-lazy chorus. ‘Trumpalump’ offers a glimmer of hope, but that’s mainly due to Kwes’ retro gamer samples. If this is the future of British hip hop, it is looking very bleak. DELS needs to go back to the drawing board and develop a style of his own.
Know Your Roots: Jenny Logue When “aggressive” rollerblading first emerged in the UK in the mid nineties, there were no female skaters attempting grinds or stair gaps. That is, until Jenny Logue appeared on the scene. She was (arguably) the first woman in this country to grind a handrail and a huge inspiration to female World Champion Jenna Downing. Jenny has been living in Australia for several years now, so we decided to catch up with the first female skater to represent the UK on the world stage and find out if blading is still a part of her life. As it turns out, she works for one of the most respected skate shops in the country and still holds her own on a pair of blades.
For the kids that don’t remember when you were the queen of UK rollerblading, can you tell us a little about your life as a pro blader? My first pair of inline skates were Bauer Rec skates with three plastic buckles. I put grind wheels in so I could do frontsides. After a year I got some Roces Streets and that allowed me to do soul tricks. I was one of the only females skating street in the UK back then and until my first comp I had never skated with any other girls. After winning the British Championships in ‘96 I got sponsored by Oxygen and until 2003 I travelled all over Europe and the US on the ASA pro tour. My first international trip was to the US in ‘97 when I was 15 to skate in the X-Trials in Rhode Island. When I first arrived I felt like I stepped into one of my skate videos. I was skating with Dawn Everett, Arlo Eisenberg and Chris Edwards. I have the best memories of being on tour with a core group of girls including Fabiola da Silva, Jenna Downing and Martina Svobodova who went to almost all the tour stops. What was it about rollerblading that first attracted you to the sport? My older brother talked me into getting my first pair of skates and from then on I was hooked. I wasn’t interested in watching any of his skate videos until I actually starting skating as I couldn’t really appreciate it. As soon as I had skates, I would watch 18days and The Bottom Line over and over. The Bottom Line is still my favourite video. It brings back so many good memories from that time. Everything was so new and fun. The feeling of skating really fast down the street and jumping down stairs or over bins had me hooked from the start. Why did you eventually decide to stop living the pro skater lifestyle? I had decided to spend the whole of 2004 working and travelling in Australia, so I spent 2003 making sure that I skated as much as I possibly could and did all the comps that I had wanted to do. I stayed a lot at Woodward and qualified for X-Games and ASA Finals. My year in Australia turned into seven years and I’m still here now! Do you still follow skating or keep in touch with any of the people from your pro skater days? Thanks to Facebook, I stay in touch with a lot of people I used to skate with from all over the world. It’s great to see what people are up to. I miss Jenna and Jayne Downing the most. They are like family. Jenna was skating and travelling with me from the age of seven. What do you think about the current state of the sport? I watch new edits here and there to see what’s happening but I don’t like reading comments as it’s a bit of a downer. When I started skating it was so new and exciting to everyone, and whoever you met that had skates was instantly your new friend. I guess we didn’t have message boards back then too, so that whole concept of talking crap about someone but not being known wasn’t even born. I still keep up to date with what’s happening in the industry as it comes hand in hand with working in a skate shop. We have a good scene here in Australia, it’s small but tight. It’s also very welcoming. What are you doing with yourself these days? I’ve been working in at Bayside Blades in Melbourne for the past five years. I’m really happy living in Australia. I’m also on the Roll Vic committee that organises all the comps over here. My brother just moved over here for a few years ago, which is awesome.
Dean Jagger If you want to know why the UK has one of the strongest scenes in the world and why so many of our sport’s most respected professionals visit here on a regular basis, look no further than the Jagger brothers. In the early ‘90s they laid the foundation for what UK rollerblading has become by opening their own skatepark (Rehab), launching two clothing companies (Puberty and Anglo) and developing UK rollerblading’s first competition series (P.I.S.S.). We decided to sit down with one half of the dynamic duo, Dean Jagger, to gain a little insight into his contribution to the sport and find out what he is doing with himself these days. The older of the “Puberty” brothers won the British Inline Skating Championships, appeared in many magazines including Unity, DNA and Daily Bread and was sponsored by Oxygen, Jansport and Sony. Between Dean and his brother, it was guaranteed that a top five place in any major British event would belong to a Jagger. When asked about how he first got into the sport, Dean is quick to assert that it is down to the godfather of “aggressive” rollerblading, Chris Edwards.
Champion Baumstimler If you are too young to remember Champion Baumstimler and the chaotic impact he had on the rollerblading industry, I truly feel sorry for you. He may have looked like a stunt double for the Milky Bar Kid, but Champion was the original bad boy of rollerblading and he seemed to cause havoc wherever he went. The bespectacled terror was almost as well known for his delinquent behaviour as he was for his exceptional talent on skates and tales of his exploits became legendary.
“I was watching MTV one morning and they were doing a feature on Chris Edwards. It was my first time seeing anybody on a half pipe doing big airs, flips and rotations. I was skating at that time, just not aggressively. I bought a pair of bright yellow and blue plastic monstrosities from Argos, had the piss ripped out of me for ages but stuck to it and three years later I was riding with Chris Edwards in America.”
”I would say the worst situation was when I was in Escondido and a little tipsy,” says Champion when asked about his troublemaking days. “My fake ID was denied when I tried to buy a cheap bottle of wine, so I just walked out with it. There happened to be police officers in the parking lot. They saw the raucous and gave chase. I guess my pants weren’t of the highest quality and when they tried to grab me, my pants ripped completely off my body. So they were chasing a pant-less 15 year old kid through the streets of Escondido. I was eventually apprehended and taken to the county jail, pant-less.”
The Jagger brothers seemed to have a monopoly over the competition circuit in the UK, ran one of the most popular indoor facilities in the country and they were the go-to guys for any travelling professionals coming to the country. But all was not as it seemed and soon enough Rehab, Puberty and Anglo all ceased trading. Shortly afterwards, the Jaggers removed themselves from the scene that they helped create.
When Champion wasn’t a menace to society, he was an extremely gifted rollerblader with a lot of sponsors including Pawn, USD and Rise Above, but his heart always belonged to Shane Coburn’s original wheel brand. “Medium was a really fun company to skate for,” advises Champion. “They always had plans for videos and new products, so there was always something going on.”
“The skate park that my family owned had a really shit deal. We had to close because the council was tearing down the building. We tried to relocate ourselves, which didn’t really work. I had other things I loved doing before skating that I wanted to pursue. Rollerblading took me around the world and really opened my eyes. I’m so thankful for that.”
The Odessa, Texas native first came to international prominence through Dave Paine’s VG3 and went on to have iconic sections in numerous Medium videos, including Film of the Year and Smell the Glove, but it was his appearance in the first USD team video, Coup De Tat that cemented his status as a blading pioneer. Despite being at the height of his career with his own pro skate and various other endorsements bearing his name, Champion mysteriously vanished from the industry without any explanation and left many people wondering what had become of rollerblading’s wildest character.
Dean does not follow the sport any more, but he still keeps in contact with the many friends he has made over the years and knows that the industry is not as financially stable as it was when he was competing on the European competition circuit. “From what I’ve heard, it’s dropped off a little,” concedes Jagger. “It was bigger ten years ago. I think it’s become more underground right now. It’s swings and roundabouts, though. It happens to many sports.” The one-time British champion of rollerblading is now pursuing a career as an actor and currently filming for several projects in addition to running his own production company with his brother, Ben.
“I made a film in LA last year, directed by my brother, called A Night at Robert McAlisters which has been winning awards. I also have a feature coming out called Travellers. I’m working on another feature film which I’m the lead in. My brother and I now own a production company called Belief Films. I know that this is what I’m supposed to do. However, skating really did give me so much. I am thankful.”
“I stopped skating professionally to finish college, although I got really burnt out towards the end. I was never a competitive skater and so much emphasis was on competitions at that time. It was hard to make money without skating comps and I really had very little motivation to do well in them. I felt like I was in a circus, skating in front of a crowd of people, and I was uninterested in being in a circus.”
“The current state of rolling is cool,” offers Champion. “It has never looked more aesthetically appealing. People are doing some incredibly difficult stunts and it is amazing. I don’t really care that it doesn’t get much attention - that is kind of appealing to me although I would like my friends to be able to make some cash. I’m sure it will gain notoriety again. People are always looking for something different and for the kids who don’t want to be part of the massive mainstream skateboarding phenomenon, they will look to blading as that which makes them unique.” It seems that blading’s original hell raiser has turned over a new leaf, as he is now a family man with a solid career. This is a far cry from the angry teenager that once picked fights with grown men twice his size. “I currently work as a laboratory manager for a petroleum company,” advises Champ. “We do research and quality control work in Texas. I live with my girlfriend Thuy and my son, Little Champion. My son and I skate a few times a week. Even though the Texas born legend is no longer in the limelight, he still receives products from a couple of companies. “Sic Apparel supports me along with Valo,” says Champion. “If I get the urge to go shred I still can thanks to those guys.” If you are lucky enough to live in Texas, you might just get to see why every teenage blader in the ‘90s admired (or feared) Champion Baumstimler.
Joshua Clarke Australia has a rich rollerblading history. It is home to the first generation of vert skaters that invaded the US and dominated vert ramp competitions in the mid ‘90s. Cesar Mora, Tom Fry and Tim Ward were amongst the skaters that astounded the world with their massive airs, extensive trick vocabulary and ability to create new manoeuvres with startling regularity. The second prong of the attack came in the form of Sam Fogarty, Dion Anthony and the mighty Josh Clarke. Josh was the poster boy for Aussie street skating and the Australian Champion three years running from 1999. When he travelled across the world to compete he was equally consistent, taking first at the Ultimate Inline Challenge, ASA regional stops and many other events. In fact, Josh has won so many accolades that he struggles to remember them all. “There’s a whole bag of top three trophies from around the world but I would have to pull out the old trophy box to confirm them all,” admits the Melbourne native.
Like many of today’s bladers, Josh was attracted to the sport by the simple act of rolling and the endless possibilities it presented. “I think the thing that attracted me to rollerblading was the feeling of just rolling, going fast and learning new tricks every day. Back then it was just so different from anything that any of our friends were doing.” Josh may have been travelling all over the world with like-minded friends and taking top honours in some of the world’s biggest events, but all of the travelling took its toll and eventually it became too much for the talented young athlete. “I competed and travelled so much that it took the love out of rolling for me. I was under contract to go to all these comps all over the world and once I won a couple I just didn’t really have that drive to compete anymore. I was in the states and wanted to come home but Roces said I had to stay for another month. I went to 7-Eleven, cashed a cheque for two and a half grand and bought a plane ticket home to Melbourne. By doing this I broke my contract and Roces were not happy. They gave me one more chance to redeem myself and said I had to go to Italy for two weeks but I stupidly rocked up to my flight a day late and missed it. That was the end of my bank cheque every month, but it never stopped me from rolling.” Despite ending his pro career on bad terms, Josh never lost his love for blading and continues to skate today with as much enthusiasm as he did when he was a teenager. “I’ve been rolling on and off for the past couple of years but have just recently been hitting it hard again. I keep in touch with all the blader boys from Melbourne but they’re all my best mates. I’ve pretty much lost contact with the cats from the states and Europe.” Josh is no longer the young man that regularly skipped school to skate with his friends and became notorious for throwing temper tantrums when he couldn’t land a trick within a few attempts. His priorities have changed and he now has a family to take care of. “I have been married to my beatiful wife for three years and we have two of the most amazing kids in the world. Harley is two and Macey is just two months. I have been a chef for about eight years now and will soon be a restaunteur. My wife and I are opening our own place as we speak and it will be the beginning of another new chapter for the Clarkes.”
As far as sponsors went, Josh had a list the length of his arm including Blunt, Krank, FR Wheels, Boss bearings, United Urethane, Roces and Cozmo. He also appeared in VG 6, Some Free Advice, Hoax 5, One Love and many other videos. However, he claims that the best sections were the ones he created with his close friends. “My most memorable videos were the two that Kris Corvino and I made,” states the former professional. “8 Reasons and Lost Island, those were real deal rolling, just a few mates and a camera.”
5. VG 4 Puppets of ____________ 1. Debut album by the Deftones 7. Grind invented by Brooke Howard 2. Dad of Amy Winehouse Smith 3. Lady Sovereign’s debut album 8. The first ever USD skate 4. Barcelona music and film festival 9. Paul _______, member of Slipknot 6. American extreme sports camp that died in 2010 7. Josh Petty’s liner company 11. Arlo Eisenberg’s daughter 10. Lead singer of The Prodigy 12. Tory Treseder’s frame company 13. Number of Pearl Jam albums 14. Rapper, also known as The Chef 15. Name of Louie Zamora’s old clothing company
Old and New Skate Companies: senate able fiction heat mindgame
hyper roces jug pawn remz
valo scribe eulogy kaltic dirt box
fiziks kizer xsjado create originals ground control
Published on Oct 17, 2011
Featuring: Matt Alway, Joe Atkinson, Tyron Ballantine, Gabriel Hyden. Also featuring: Raekwon, Daedelus, The Stepkids, Little Scream, Dimbeb...