Select Language: German
It’s 10 a.m. and Nick is just enjoying English muffins for breakfast as I contact him via Skype. He has to laugh when I ask him if that’s part of his English heritage. He was born in England and afterwards went to India, Oman, and Indonesia, before he came to Perth in Australia. By now, he resides in Portland. Also with his board sponsor, it was a bit of a back and forth, but here as well, he’s finally safely arrived at Polar. I try to not to fan out too much, but this interview with Nick was on the top of my to-do list since I’ve seen the first clip of him in 2011, cause nobody can charge in a more interesting way than olyungolbrassy! Finally, it’s time.
[Photos: Fabian Fuchs, Alex Pires, Matt Price | Interview: Stefan Schwinghammer]
Photo: Matt Price
You lived in Perth and then moved to Melbourne. Is there the same East Coast-West Coast thing in Australia as in the US?
[laughs] Nah, but I do think because Perth is so isolated that there’s a higher concentration of more individual styles and weird ways of skating because you’re less influenced. It’s like a little Petri dish. The skate scene grows in strange ways. Even little kids just seem more individual than little kids I see in other cities.
Where does your style come from? Cause you’re charging, but you’re not just the common handrail guy, there is also always something special.
I think it’s out of necessity cause I can’t do anything, I’m not that good at skating, so I had to try and make it interesting somehow. I mean, I think skating is really interesting and I don’t wanna be a boring dude and I don’t wanna have boring skating. I guess that’s part of it, but I really think it’s out of necessity. [laughs]
I guess it’s not that you’re only able to do 50-50s.
Yeah, sure I can do other shit, I just don’t think that it’s as interesting. The stuff that I film is stuff that I think is sick. You choose what you film. You can tell if something’s sick to show people or just sick for fun.
“I guess if people didn’t know me, they actually thought that I would choke someone, but it definitely never happened”
Has your skating changed since you’re on Polar now?
Not anything I noticed so far. After all, I’ve been injured twice now since I got on. But no, not yet, maybe in time it will. They have very strong opinions, so maybe I have to change. [laughs]
You’re part of the “Beer Money Crew”. Callum Paul is also a member. Was there never the idea to ride for Pass~Port?
I spoke with Trent [Evans] a little bit. I know all those guys. I know Geoff Campbell and Callum and everyone really well, but I don’t think the timing made sense. I went through a lot trying to figure out what to do with the board company and in the end it was really obvious I should ride for Polar. Once it came down to actually make the decision, it was an easy decision.
And before going to the States, was it never an option to ride for an Australian brand? Did you always want to ride for a US or European board brand?
In Australia, when you try to ride for a US company, you just ride for the distribution. I’m sure it’s the same in Europe. Your friend or this guy from the shoe company runs a distribution and is like, “Hey, you get boards from me.” So I was getting Enjoj boards and then I was getting Workshop boards through Cameron Sparkes. It’s just your friend that sends you boards. So many times I was like, fuck it, I should just ride for an Australian company. Just support something small, something local, but it never ended up working out. I don’t know why, it just didn’t really make sense. Moving to the States was like, I got to a point where I never thought I’d really get to. Where I could actually, maybe, if I tried really hard, make a living of skating. And that involved moving to the States, so I did it. But I don’t think it had anything to do with board companies.
50-50 | Photo: Matt Price
How did you get on the Workshop?
That’s the thing, I never got on Alien Workshop.
But you had this Life Splicing part.
That’s what everyone thinks. I went on one trip and it didn’t work out. I don’t think I was ever gonna start getting boards or whatever outside of Australia. Here’s the story: I didn’t know that people thought I was gonna get on until I found out I wasn’t gonna get on anyway. I thought I went on one trip and then I keep getting boards in Australia and then maybe go on one or two more and then something happens. I found out people were like: “Dude, I can’t believe you got kicked off,” and I didn’t even know anyone thought I was gonna get on. To me those Life Splicing things were just Workshop’s internet whatever. I didn’t really think as much over this as anyone else did, I think.
Once I heard you didn’t get on, because you choked Jason Dill. Bullshit or true story?
[laughs] Well, people can ask Jason Dill.
I don’t have Dill’s number, so I thought I ask you.
I’m not choking anyone, it’s ridiculous. I guess if people didn’t know me, they actually thought that I would choke someone, but it definitely never happened.
“I never really dreamed about being sponsored by specific brands. I just liked the idea of being on a skate trip”
But what were the reasons for not getting on the Workshop?
I don’t know, that one you really do have to ask someone else cause I never really found out.
And how did you get on Zero then?
They had a team meeting and either Lannie Rhoades or Tom Karangelov, who were already my friends, mentioned my name and then Jamie [Thomas] called me and we had a couple conversations about what his plan was. It sounded really good, so I did it.
Was it like a child’s dream come true? Was Zero always one of your favourite brands?
I loved Zero for sure because I watched Dying to Live a million times, but I don’t know if I had dream brands growing up. I had a bunch of phases, but I never really dreamed about being sponsored by specific brands. I just liked the idea of being on a skate trip, being a sponsored skater. Two videos I always loved watching were The Chocolate Tour and Videoradio, that C1rca tour. I never pictured my name on a board, it was just like: Skate trips are amazing. If I could travel the world for free on skate trips, it would be a dream come true.
Ollie | Photo: Matt Price
You live in Portland now. Dane Brady also lives there. Do you skate a lot with him?
I skate all the time with Dane. That’s one of the reasons why I wanted to ride for Polar as well. I only skated once or twice in L.A. with him and Aaron [Herrington] and then I moved up here and hit him up to go skating and then we ended up skating all the time. And I already knew Hjalte [Halberg].
Why did you make the decision to leave Zero and ride for Polar?
There’s a million things. I don’t really wanna talk about why I wanted to leave. It just didn’t make sense anymore. Going to Polar is like easy. It’s like… I knew Hjalte and Hjalte talked about it. I already liked the videos, I like it here inside my mind just came out and that was really cool. The graphics are really awesome. I love the AMTK guys, the two friends that do the colorful painted graphics. I always loved those graphics a lot. Everything is there, the art direction, the team, the videos – it’s a no-brainer.
I think it’s a pretty good team spirit as well. They always hang out together.
We just did that and it’s really cool. Even the people I didn’t know I’m so glad that I know them now, they’re such good people. And everyone’s so passionate.
Jamie as well as Pontus are pretty strong characters. How is working with those guys different?
A lot of people have compared the two, but as much as they’re the same, they’re completely different as well. Working with someone with a super strong personality can be really hard, but it can be really easy as well. Because when you’re not sure about something, they always get it done. They’re the people who always do everything that you don’t want to do or don’t have the answers to. They both wanna be a leader or the person with the answers or the person who can organize something or the person who takes care of something. They wanna make stuff happen. Not everyone wants to make stuff happen all the fucking time. Most people don’t wanna be responsible for a lot of things and be creative and do all these things. Not everyone wants to do that. I don’t want to do that. Not like them. So people will talk about how it’s hard to deal with someone who has such a strong personality, but they’re getting a lot of shit done that I don’t think other people wanna have to do. And they’re doing it well, especially Pontus, he’s super driven and super professional but also incredibly creative as well.
Photos: Fabian Fuchs
You say you don’t want to have to do stuff all the time and when I look at your Facebook pictures, it seems you’re a fan of holidays. You just went to Iceland, how was it?
It was fucking amazing. It’s insane. It’s a fucking crazy island.
I heard you enjoyed pissing in the outdoors a lot there.
[laughs] It can be pretty funny sometimes.
Is having fun with pissing a special Australian thing cause Callum Paul also has this little thing going on?
I don’t know, maybe it is Australian. But just for the record, it was Austrians who started bubbling, pissing in their own mouth.
So, as we slide into the important topics, I have to ask: What’s up with your beard and what does it have to do with cats? Cause I heard something.
It’s because Fabian [Fuchs] thinks that I’m eating cats and I’m hiding them in my beard and I’m attacking them.
I think Fabian’s a crazy guy. I said: “I don’t wanna do another interview with just a bunch of normal questions,” and he said: “You can have weird questions if you want. Like how you eat cats,” and we made up this hole cat-attacking personality. It was pretty funny at the time. We wanted to do a whole interview about how I attack cats and hide them in my beard.
I think the only explanation why you would eat cats that would make sense is that you’re from Melmac.
Melmac? What is that?
The planet Alf is from.
They eat cats on Melmac.
Oh yeah. [laughs]
And Alf also has a lot of facial hair. There are similarities.
That’s the parallels maybe. I completely forgot about Alf, maybe Fabian knew about it.
“We shot fireworks and BB guns for three hours at two in the morning and no one said anything.”
Is there any special reason for your beard?
I didn’t really ever like shaving, that blade against your skin feeling. I was young enough, but I could grow it, that’s nice, and once I had it, I didn’t wanna get rid of it. It’s not that great of a story.
Would you shave it for 1.000 dollars?
It’s gone too long now for someone to just be like: “Ah, here’s a few bucks. Shave it!” I’m too invested.
It’s part of your personality.
Yeah, a part of me. I probably have a tan line. You gotta give me more than a 1.000 bucks. Maybe if I have to go into hiding, I’ll shave and then no one knows who I am. So I wait till it’s really an emergency.
You also color your toenails with shiny colors, how did that start?
Yeah, sparkles are the best! One day, my wife wanted to paint my nails and I was like: “No, that’s not happening! You can paint my toenails.” It was before a trip and the trip went really well and I had another trip pretty soon afterwards and I was like, “Paint them again,” and it just became a habit. I guess now it’s the same as the beard. It happened once just for fun and then I liked it and I don’t wanna stop doing it.
Photo: Fabian Fuchs
Is it always your wife who paints them?
And she decides which colors?
I pick the colors now. [laughs] I love the sparkles now.
Are you in contact with Daniel Lutheran? Cause he also paints his toenails.
Oh, I don’t know, I’ve hung out with Daniel, but I went not like talking about what nail polish we get.
I think he’s into black.
I’m not really into black. The more sparkle, the better. I don’t think I’ll ever do black or red. Red looks like my mum’s feet. It’s weird.
Talking about feet, let’s talk about Nike. You recently were on street mission in Copenhagen while other guys were skating the contest. Are there different “teams” at Nike? The contest superstars, the legends, the “cool guys” that hang with Johnny Wilson?
I’m not in Street League and there is only some of us that are friends with Johnny and go on that skate trip, but it’s not like there’s different teams. A lot of people actually think: “Oh, there’s this Nike team, that Nike team, that Nike team…” It’s not like that, nothing in life is that like clean cut. I went to Minneapolis for a Nike thing with Theotis [Beasley], Guy Mariano, and others. You’ll be with whoever is at the thing. Koston came skating with us some of the times. It’s not like that fucking different. It’s not like this dude, those dudes, these dudes.
You’re injured right now, but when you’re back on the board, are you working on a Welcome Clip for Polar or something?
Yeah, there’s something coming out. I don’t know what Pontus wants to tell anyone yet, so I’m not gonna say anything about it, but of course, I just got on, I wanna film as much as possible. I’ve been hurt twice now on the last two Polar trips, which sucks a lot! But of course, whenever the next Polar thing comes out, that’s were all my footage is going.
Photo: Fabian Fuchs
Was the first trip to Paris a test if you fit into the team?
[laughs] Yeah, it was my tryout. No…
And in the end Pontus came and said: “Now you’re on!”
He had like a sword that he put on my shoulders, exactly, except it was a Polar board. Then he took a Polar hat and crowned me with it. No, I basically just knew Aaron, Hjalte, and Dane, so it was to meet the rest of the guys and hang out with Pontus, just to make sure everyone wants to do it still and it was perfect and once we got back we skyped and emailed a little bit and that was that.
And now you’re part of the Polar WhatsApp group.
Yeah, I said: “Now it’s for real when you put me in the group chat.” But yeah, it’s a very lively group chat, it’s a lot of discussion.
You said you like touring a lot and I read this fucking amazing tour story in your Thrasher interview. So to wrap it up, I wanna get another tour story from you.
That whole trip was insane. It was the most American skate trip. Everything that you could ever picture on a skate trip, it really happened. It was the first skateshop signing we went to and one of the dudes got some girl to flash her tits behind the skatepark while he was smoking weed. The next one we went to was this crazy setup in the car park. A wedge ramp that was too steep, a bank to a dumpster, and that old flatbar, and we threw boards from the top of the van and everyone was screaming… I didn’t think that shit was still real. Everyone gathered around the van and the van looked like the same one they drive down El Toro [in Birdhouse “The End” (1998), ed. note]… It was the most American tour I’ve ever been on. We drove across America, someone was racist to Windsor James. We went to this crazy gas station in the middle of nowhere and Windsor was like, “Fuck that, I’m not getting out,” and stayed in the van. The whole trip was ridiculous. We met up with a guy and he had a bunch of fireworks in his house in the suburbs and we shot fireworks and BB guns for three hours at two in the morning and no one said anything.
That’s pretty American.
Ollie over to 50-50 | Photo: Alex Pires