Interview conducted by Dave Morgan
I’m currently sat in a sea front café in Fažana, a small town close to Pula, Croatia with Stu Smith & Jackson Davis, all three of us (not-so) subtly nursing last night’s hangover. Skating a miniramp in former Yugoslavian military barracks until 6am dancing to The Venga Boys will do that to a person you see...
Starting out as a bedroom zine project for Stu almost 17 years ago, Lovenskate has gradually found its way to becoming a major influencer in both the UK skate & DIY craft scenes. Stu Smith – the mastermind behind the brand, began his own thing after working for several commercial printers & saving up enough money to rent a studio.
Alex Hallford Eggplants at the newly reopened Flo Skatepark, Nottingham. Photo: Harry Watson.
D How did you & Jackson Davis initially meet then?
JD Through Alex Hallford actually.
I got a job as a Tech at a university in Nottingham, where I first started working with video, having trained as a sound engineer previously. I quickly discovered the absolute gold mine of vintage camera equipment in the back of the kit store!
I stumbled across a VX1000 and a few 2000s that the university just wanted rid of. So obviously I obliged & took a few, hooking up a few friends with them & started filming Alex and the Nottingham crew.
We sent a raw cut of Alex’s footage to his sponsors, Stu included, and off the back of that Redbull got in touch and wanted to use a few clips for a little web edit. They must’ve been stoked, because they asked me to do one with Jordan (Thackeray). I drove down to Essex and we stacked clips all weekend.
D So how long ago did Stu ask you to film the Lovenskate video then? Not too long ago right?
JD Yeah, just under a year ago, Stu approached me and asked if I’d be down to film the Lovenskate video. Of course I was keen, having been skating with the boys for a while & being a big fan the brand.
Alex invited me out to Malaga in December last year to hang out and film with him and Jordan either side of the Natural Bowl Riders contest. That was basically the first filming trip for the video, and the boys started like they meant to go on and killed every spot.
Once I’d moved from Nottingham to London at the start of the year, Stu and I met up for a drink and planned some trips, and set the ball in motion.
JD Whilst out in Malaga, this really hospitable family drove us out to this back country DIY that they’d created called Dinero & it was like an art exhibition. They were so stoked to show us what they’d made- it was all painted in crazy ways! The ‘euro gap’ was legit euro notes painted onto the crete! It really was like skating a work of art.
They also took us to another DIY called Fabrik in an old barn nearby. They’d painted all the transition up to look like cliffs and mountains and shit. Jordan & Alex got stuck in soon as we got there, the locals got so stoked! It was a real trip running around with my camera in this dark, dusty barn, trying to keep up with the boys while the locals kept laying on the beers, zoots and bbq!
JD Another team trip was to go stay with Lovenskate ripper Aaron Wilmot, in what turned out to be a ridiculously sunny Scotland. We’d managed to get up there in some heat wave, which meant we got to skate every day! The Transport Museum in Glasgow got sessioned heavily, and we hit Livi and some other crusty parks. Everyone killed it that trip, and it was rad to have so many of the team together.
SS Aaron came down to meet us in the carpark of his flat with bagpipe music blasting out of his phone. He took us up to his place, where he had Braveheart playing on the TV & a table full of Buckfast! Talk about Scottish Hospitality ey!”
DM Haha bloody hell! I guess if you’re going to do Scotland, you may as well do it good & proper! So what was the general idea behind the video? What did you guys set out to achieve?
JD We basically wanted to get across how much fun it is skating and hanging out with the Lovenskate crew! We’ve linked up with so many homies, locals and other crews on our travels, and it’s always super positive vibes, so hopefully that comes across in the video.
DM That’s rad! It definitely does mate. When did you guys set the deadline for the video then?
JD The initial deadline for the video was actually at Vladimir Film Festival (where it was premiered), so that gave me a pretty good reason to get my shit together & get the crew working.
DM I can remember seeing on the Lovenskate instagram about a week before the festival that Aaron was still sending you footage in the post, which was pretty crazy! When I first met you boys in Croatia I went out to the garden of your flat to find Jackson on his laptop still rendering the final edit – pretty much five minutes before the opening night! Talk about last minute squeaky bum time!
DM Anything else you want to say to cap off this interview then Jackson?
JD Big ups to Vladimir Film Festival for letting us premier the video out there!
Thanks Nikola, Marina, Aymeric and all of those involved with making it such a sick week!
Also want to give a massive shout out to George, Keanu, Marcus (best video of the week!), the Grey Area Crew, The SixStair guys & also Jim Craven for his beautifully put together Iceland Video!
Cheers lads! Pleasure to have a chat with you both!
Aaron Wilmot Backside Airs at the Tottenham DIY spot. Photo: Deimante Sprainaityte.
Don't Worry Gordo, the Universe Will Get Us There Review
The general gist of the video seemed to consist of two main parts, with a mega chunk of medley madness in the middle.
Starting out with Jordan blowing some minds right out of the gate with his fast footwork & plenty of un-nameable tricks I’m pretty sure he makes up on the spot. Bigflip back disasters on twelve ft vert bowls are not something to take lying down, that’s for sure!
It was really great to see not just the transition ripping JTHAXX we all know & love, but to see the boy killing it on the streets too, with some pretty ridiculous stunts being performed on the more civilian friendly obstacles.
His ender really got the crowd at Vladimir going, starting with a hippy jump before diving kickflip first into what could only be described as a vertical wall built by a pissed up builder. Like the flip, that shit was bloody precarious!
Then the mash-up started, with heads not just from the UK, but folks the boys have met throughout their travels, with guys like Sox getting some, along with team rider Aaron going in on some doubles, sometimes triple bowl lines with the crew. Pretty much anyone that’s contributed towards Lovenskate in the past & generally brought a vibe the boys can flow with was in this part & unsurprisingly, it was a really enjoyable barrage of gnarly shit.
Pretty sure it’s not only me that thinks Alex Halford is a firm favourite in UK skateboarding and has been for a long time, so it was only right for this guy to get the end section in the video. Expected effortless floating on big boy ramps, composed along with seamless street lines, where Alex really didn’t look like a fish out of water – how a lot of boys that skate big ramps used to look. Of course, the talk of the night was the advert for the video – Alex’s backside noseblunt on the ‘too good to be true’ street tranny in Glasgow.
Perilously thin, only a foot or so of transition and then boom! Somehow manages to scoop round this noseblunt and land in exactly the same spot as take off, popping back in like it was his local mini ramp. I’ve seen some pretty horrendous bails at that spot, namely the blunt fakie to hangup from Grant Johnstone. (In Paul McGonnach’s excellent Dalraida video). So I was very stoked to see Hallford ride away in his ever-so-nonchalant style with a massive grin on his face.
This is one of the first videos I’ve seen in a while that really just makes you want to get out and skate. Most videos are too crazy to even attempt to relate to, and make you just want to quit and sit in a dark room. This video however truly embodies what skateboarding is & should be. TOP MARKS ALL ROUND!