1.) Let's start off this interview with introducing yourself to the world. Give us the Denham-Rundown. Age? How did you start? Why freestyle?....etc.
Nice one! So I'm Denham, age 25 skating out of Leeds in the grim Northern wastelands of the UK. I think I must have got my first board when I was about 10, around the time of the Tony Hawk's Pro Skater boom. All my mates had decks and it took me a bit of time to persuade my old man to finally get me a decent deck, as I don't think he really got it at the time. I started out skating mainly mini ramp, pool and bowl. I've always had a bit of a self destructive urge and from being around 13 I just used to throw myself off or into anything that stood in the way. I was always into the "Old School", and when our local park was knocked down and renovated it was just a flat area of concrete for months. So, I took to freestyle. Skated freestyle until about 2009, then abruptly stopped for a few years. Still skated, but had a bit of a problem with drink, so it took a back seat. I got myself an okay job and had the funds to get another freestyle board, which I did on a bit of a whim to be honest. Anyways, this was is 2014 and I wondered why I hadn't got back on it sooner, it's one of my biggest regrets. I got full swing back into freestyle, hooked up with the UK guys after they saw some videos on Facebook, and a few weeks later got invited to NASS to skate demos. From then I think I just fell back in love with it. Quit drinking completely and went straight edge at the back end of October 2016, and I attribute alot of that to freestyle and the constant need for progression. Needed a bit more focus, particularly in competitions and such.
Ah thanks matey! I try and skate as much as humanly possible really, if weather allows it! There's weeks where I'll be out every day and weeks where I might only get an hour or two at the weekend. If I can't skate, I'm either planning tricks or drawing stuff. I work as a skate coach educator, so I work away alot at skate parks and with other skaters, so I get the opportunity to skate then too and meet plenty of new people. They're all really receptive to freestyle. So I used to skate on hand me down street decks and just batter them into driftwood over the months. I couldn't get my hands on any decent equipment. Then, I discovered YoYo was selling Decomposed gear out of Germany so I started riding Decomposed decks, and did for ages actually so cheers! My favourite shape is still the old YoYo Psychotic Critter deck, I've got a snapped one kicking around at home somewhere, that was such a rad shape. I started out with Tracker Trucks before switching to Indys, and I've been riding the Kevin Harris Momentums for a while, but recently switched back to some OG Powell freestyle wheels. I love em, but I'm acutely aware I'll probably never get another set... Of course I'm now riding for Moonshine, and they're treating me really well. The decks are great, and I can't wait until I get a pro board sorted and covered in disgusting images. I suppose I'd best start skating well in competitions first though!
Yeah the UK scene is looking pretty good! Alex Foster has basically united the UK scene and brought loads of us together. That guy lives and breathes freestyle and does so much for it here in the UK. I don't think I'd have met the UK guys if it wasn't for him. So cheers Alex, you rad bastard. We've got good numbers here at the minute, of course shredders like Tony, Callum Bowran (who I haven't seen for a little while but is still rad), Reece Archibald, John Hanson.... but also now that we're going out to longboard and downhill events, there's a few more coming through the ranks. There's a young lad Tony skates with called Alex who's got Mroz style footwork and some really nice tricks. Then of course Tony has located some of the old mint such as Mac of Death Box fame and also Shane Rouse for a couple of sessions. I try and get us out to demos and such so that we get the word out a bit, and had an interview in Free Magazine which is a pan-European mag, so it's getting a bit of coverage and people are becoming more receptive. Got high hopes for the UK scene, we just need to pollute a few more young guns I think. Nice young fresh minds to warp.
Cheers man! Yeah I think some of the aggression comes from days of just throwing myself into everything and destroying myself in whichever way possible. It's kind of where the whole "Weasel" thing came from later on. I'm small, quick, and angry I suppose, and I also have really fucking messed up teeth so it was quite apt. I think it developed more over time and I wanted to try and limit tricks to three movements, to keep things brief and not waste too much time setting up. I always loved watching Pierre Andre's old clips, and loved how fast and fluid it was. I often thought freestyle was a bit too... floaty. Don't get me wrong, for some people that really works but I don't think that style really reflects what I'm all about. I like to see skating with a bit of aggression behind it, a bit of Aggro-Style. Freestyle's a bit too nice, I think it needs to be taken out back and given a good kicking. Roughed up a little bit. Part of my style also comes from the fact I'm a pretty nervous guy and I can't sit still for 5 minutes. I freak out at competitions and I think a lot of the fast twitchy style is based on "let's just get this done". I'm not as bad now that I don't drink though and my confidence is much more than it was, but I still retain that fast aggressive style because every skater needs that one thing that defines them. Turi Zoltan has got this pretty much nailed. Quick, flawless transitions from trick to trick. That's the sort of thing I aim for.
Yeah the weather's not great, and because we're an inbred island that hasn't changed a great deal in the past 10 - 1,000 years alot of streets are still cobbled. I'm convinced this is a government conspiracy to take out a few more of the old folks to tackle the aging population by means of rolled ankles and hip replacements. How we cope with the shoddy weather is really dependent on where you are in the UK. Some cities have great indoor parks, some none at all. The good thing about living in the North is there's an abundance of abandoned factories and warehouses. When we were 16/17 alot of our time was spent building spots in abandoned buildings so we had somewhere dry and free to skate. I think we've all got at least one or two scars from stray nails, glass and other shit that was just lying around or not hammered in properly. My current spot is an old car garage that's sheltered and absolutely massive. It's resistant to some rain but it's still a bit open to the elements and is gradually becoming home to smackheads. It'll do for now though, until the glorious week of summer comes around. Mind you, alot of the time we end up with 4 seasons in one day. Pretty unpredictable stuff but allows for good fertile soil in which to grow an abundance of foodstuffs which we can then ruin with our shitty cooking. Unfortunately, we can't yet grow crumpets, which is disappointing considering a million years of evolution. What's the point in even being alive?