So Will, let’s start off with how old you are, how long you’ve been skating and what you generally get up to these days…
I’m 24, I live in Harrogate and I’ve been skating about 14 years. My life consists of work, riding my skateboard, making music or chilling with ‘part-time bae’ (laughs).
What do you do for work?
I work in drug development. We test new drugs so that they don’t fuck you up when you take them and that they are suitable for human consumption. If you were to take paracetamol and we hadn’t done certain tests, the drug could just stay in your body forever. We make sure the tablet is made so that your body flushes it out.
What was it like it growing up in Harrogate and what got you into skateboarding?
It was actually really good growing up in Harrogate. For such a small town, we had a really good skate scene. I originally started skating with my friend Jonty. It was just me and him, a two-man crew. Then when we hitting up local spots, we started to meet other people and the crew grew from there. There were the ‘Skateharrogate’ boys like Tim Humberstone, Liam Hobson and Jamie Humphrey and then there was our crew that was a little more diverse. It was the off-cuts of different crews all mashed into one. We weren’t cool enough to be in Tim’s crew because we didn’t like Oasis (laughs).
We can laugh about it now, but I know Tim was a bit of a hero of yours…
Yeah man! I used to look up to TH loads. He was into hip-hop, wife beaters, new eras and he was nose-sliding handrails. He just backed his local Starbeck crew really hard and I liked that.
So when did you actually start skateboarding? Was it with Jonty or earlier?
I started before I even moved to Harrogate. I moved there when I was about 10 or 11…
Wait, you didn’t grow up in Harrogate? I never knew that!
How long have you known me and you didn’t know that?
Before Harrogate I lived in this tiny village called East Keswick. My dad bought my older brother a skateboard and he wasn’t into to it, so I stole it and used to go down to the village hall on my own to hang out with this random blader.
You spend loads of time making ‘beats’. What sort of stuff are you into?
The beats, the wobbly beats. Basically it’s house music. At the time, Leeds had a really good and busy house scene. I don’t quite know what it’s like these days, but back then I just wanted to go to clubs underage and that’s how I got into it. When I went to Uni, I didn’t have a skate crew up there, so I really got into making music on my laptop. Then I did a little bit of DJ’ing, but that fizzled out and now I’m hammering the production side of things.
How was your university experience up in Newcastle? We definitely lost touch for a while when you moved up there.
It was a slight crend. Am I allowed to use the word ‘crend’? Uni life was good and bad. I felt like I was falling out of touch with skating and that sucked. I was definitely going through some shit at that time and I was just basically trying to work stuff out.
Basically, everyone that knows you knows that you’re gay. It seems so weird to bring it up in an interview because it’s not even an issue, however, it seems to be something that still isn’t properly talked about in this open and diverse art/sport/activity that we all do every single day, so…
Shall we do the ‘coming out’ story? Well, this really hot chick was into me at Uni. She was a bit older and was in our little friendship circle. We would always go out and get pissed and she would tell everyone that she had a thing for me. We were in a club one night and she started getting all emotional and started spilling her heart out to me. At that point I just thought it was getting weird and that I needed to tell her because she was getting upset about the whole situation. So we left the club and sat down in some alley and I just said, “Basically, I’m not into girls I’m afraid”. That was the first time I told somebody. Then the following morning I phoned my best mate Oli to tell him. I’m really close to Oli, but even him knowing was a huge thing for me at that point. Then I just took some time to take a step back and chill because everything was just spinning and it felt pretty fucking mental. Once I was ready/could be arsed, I started telling more people. I told you over Facebook right?
Yeah, I contacted you asking where the hell you were. I hadn’t seen or heard from you in ages, so I just wanted to find out what you were up to. I think you said, “I have just been going through some shit. Basically…I’m gay”.
Pretty soon after that I came and chilled at yours in Leeds and obviously it was all cool. I know now that it’s not a thing, but back then my head was just a bit out of control. I wasn’t too sure how to deal with it all.
How was it been opening up to all of the skaters you know?
In the LSC crew, it’s just banter and jokes all of the time. It’s mentioned all day everyday and it’s hilarious (laughs).
You love that though.
Yeah it’s jokes. It’s so funny.
I want to clarify that there’s no bullying.
Except for Zealand. He bullies me.
Oh of course.
There are people outside of our crew that know, but we don’t talk about it.
Well, it’s not a thing you need to talk about. It seems crazy that we are even talking about it now. Funny, but crazy.
Yeah, I can’t be like, “Right, before you hang out with me, you just need to know…”
I love it. It’s a constant source of joke material within our tight crew.
The thing I love about it is that I can annoy you so easily. If I decide to pretend that you’ve taken the jokes too far, you get all serious about it and start feeling guilty.
I hate it when you do that. I hate it so much.
There obviously are gay skateboarders across the world killing it. Kids should know that it’s just a normal thing.
There definitely are. Just think of Brick Lane and all of the dudes down there with boards. I bet they’re smashing the gay clubs.
This isn’t meant to be some world’s first skateboard self-outing thing….
No, not at all: it’s strange to talk about, but at the same time it’s kind of interesting, right?
Yeah. There’s that whole ‘who is gay in the American skate scene?’ thing and there’s always certain names being thrown about. People evidently do actually care or there wouldn’t always be these rumours. I wonder if anyone has lost sponsors or anything like that because they’ve admitted it?
You ride for Welcome Skate Store in Leeds as you’ve known all the boys for years, but how did the recent hook up with Fabric come about?
Yeah getting that hook up was rad. When I was at Uni in Newcastle, I spent the first three years not skating, but in my last year I got back into it. I was skating with my mates Scotty and Malls. The thing that drives me in skating was always filming and Malls had a camera, so we would go out and try to film some things. Around that time I met Adam Todhunter and managed to get a few clips in his ‘Coast to Coast’ video. I also met Bish and I started to film a bit more with him for his video ‘Northern Souls’.
So I’m guessing Bish was the one that introduced you to Baines?
Yeah Bish passed on some of my stuff to Jackie and Baines at Fabric and I guess they were kind of hyped.
Actually, as I remember it, Bish tagged Baines in my Instagram clip of you skating the block at Subvert and that’s how it happened…
(Laughs) So essentially, it was Bish and you that got me some boards from Fabric.
How is skating with Baines?
Super fun. He’s let me stay at his house, eat curry and hang out with his two cats, so he’s a good one.
You guys recently went on a Fabric trip to Cumbria. How was that?
It was dope. I’d actually only met Baines once before that and I hadn’t met any of the rest of the team, so it was slightly intense at first. It was great in the end though. Adam Todhunter was there as well though, so we were roomies in the tent for the trip.
Who was MVP on that trip?
Oh clearly Bush.
That dude is fucked.
Just wait for the edit and article. That’s all I’ll say. **Hint hint** Whitley Bay…
So you mentioned earlier that filming is what drives you, which to some of us that really know you, comes as a surprise. Are you currently filming for anything?
Obviously a killer part in the Welcome video. Essentially, I’d be really keen on a full part and I love skateboarding to bits, but I don’t want to put all of my eggs in one basket. I work a lot and skateboarding to me is just something really fun that I like to do, but it’s not everything. I really do love it, but I never buy or watch any DVDs and I don’t really know much about it these days. I just skate.
You basically don’t keep up with skateboarding.
I’m really bad with names of people. I have no idea who’s killing it really.
Come on, there must be somebody you’re stoked on. Who do you watch to get you hyped before a skate session?
Do you know what might be easier? If you name some skaters that you think that I might be into…
Amazing. You don’t know anything. Come on – give us one.
In the UK? I don’t watch skating before I go out, but I get what you’re asking. Right, I know how good Matlok Bennett-Jones is from seeing hit shit on Instagram. I just want to see more from that dude. If Matlok dropped a part I’d be watching that.
He’s really good. I’ve been filming the odd thing with him now and again and I think he has a full part coming out in James Cruickshanks’ video.
I’ll definitely be into that. I’ve heard about some stuff he’s done and seen photos, now I just want to see the footage. Yeah, there you go. Matlok is one I’m hyped on.
Right, let’s wrap this up. Got any plans coming up over the next few months?
Just continuing to skate and go filming. Next month all of the Welcome boys are going to Barcelona for a week so that will be dope. I’m moving out of Harrogate and over to Leeds soon, but I’m just doing some saving at the moment. I basically just want to be a full-time member of LSC. That’s all I want.