1. Who’s behind this show?
I’m (Greg) steering the general visual direction and sorting out production/talking to shops. My best friend George Toland is heading up the filming and editing our videos, he's the double sided sticky tape that keeps everything and everyone attached (glue sounds a bit extreme). Alongside us two all of our mates make up the returning cast of our videos and they will be contributing to the art and creative projects that we put out.
2. When did Serious Adult get so 'serious'?
I suppose when the rest of the world did and everything fell flat on its arse last year. Over the last few years I’ve been getting progressively more bogged down with boring office life and we ended up having a pretty unproductive year in 2019, which was unusual for us! Then lockdown started and I got furloughed, it freed up time to think about what made me happy and what we could do with Serious Adult. 2020 was spent having fun, skating an empty carpark and making a Serious Adult Zine (so you’re having a midlife crisis).
Over the last 5 years our group of friends have been making video and print projects, putting on art exhibitions and premiers it's naturally led us to this point where we have a little cauldron of creativity that we’re all contributing to thats started to bubble over.
3. Now you are under the guise of 'Serious Adult Publishing House', what's going on?
Our friends have all had more time freed up to work on their own projects because of the lockdowns and a lack of 9-to-5 work me realise we have a vehicle to promote our friends creative output.
I also got really into reading up on the Oz Magazine Trials and that led to learning about the underground press movement in general. It’s been a big influence. so we’ve created the Serious Adult Publishing House; to host creative projects and promote the work of our friends and collaborators.
4. The "brand" has always seemed to be video output come first and product second do you see that shifting?
Our latest video is a remastered compilation of the last 5 years of work from our first video to the most recent. George worked out there are elements from 13 videos involved, so we’ve definitely always made more videos than products! Going forward there will be more of both as things become more structured. We’re aiming to put out three runs a year, with each run split into a product release, followed by a print or video project release.
The products are always rooted in illustration so they’re really fun to work on and we’re planning to get some more artists involved this year. Products in shops give us that financial kick to give back to our contributors so there’s some security to get things made.
A portion of money made on products will be set aside to fund the print and visual projects as well as the homies that create the projects, they'll be able to take the profit made. This first run has given us budget to cover a UK trip, get some new camera gear and pay George a wage to film while we’re there, so the incentive for more product is always going to be to fund our video and creative projects.
5. With the switch up on the product front does that mean the whole team has been cut?
We're dropping everyone to free up some cash to incentivise Dan Peterka to come out of retirement. Obviously all our friends involved so far have been cashing some serious cheques these last 5 years. We’re talking storm era Osiris monthly take homes!
6. Who's riding for SAPH?
The same crew that’s consistently filmed in all our projects plus a few new additions; Josh Mason is a mate of ours thats had odd clips in our videos. George and I have always been really stoked on and Theo Hughes whose been a staple of The Grove DIY. Those two are both going to be filming for the new video we’re working on now, George and I are really stoked the two of them are on board.
After such a fragmented year it’s gonna feel amazing to get everyone together on a trip, we'll finally hang out and have a laugh together. It's all reliant on it being safe to travel and hang in a group of course, fingers crossed!
7. What makes Serious Adult tick?
Seeing my mates work get out there and if we’re successful give them the chance to earn something back with the profit we make.
I’m really excited to push the zine and print side of things further and hopefully we can get more people involved and get more art out there and in shops and peoples houses.
8. Could you talk us through producing the Zine 'So You're Having A Mid-Life Crisis?
So last summer I was on furlough, just waiting to be made redundant after spending two years working to an unhealthy level trying to push my career. It kind of all fell apart so quickly and with the good weather and time on my hands I just started skating at my local carpark during my daughters naps and after she had gone to bed. I got super stoked on skateboarding because it was like reliving that first year of skating when you were figuring it all out. Also the carpark nearby was pretty much an exact replica of the carpark I grew up skating with Hold Tight Henry and Faris Hassan, so maybe there was some subconscious link there. Either way I realised I felt like a kid again, then worryingly I realised that I was listening to Frampton Comes Alive alot. I’m a 34 year old bloke skating by myself, selfie filming on a vx2000 (I'm thick and didn’t realise I could buy pretty much unlimited storage on my phone for 2 quid) propped up on an old tub of paint for a camera stand, trying to learn all the tech stuff I wanted to do in my twenties while sipping non-alcoholic beers. I thought although I’m not middle aged, if ever there was a mid life crisis, This has to be it.
This is a bit pathetic maybe but perhaps I was just afraid of going back into a career. I had began to hate myself for immersing in that and also afraid that there were no jobs to even go back to. When I finally knuckled down and accepted that it was an inevitability that furlough money wasn’t going to be there I realised that if what I was doing was a bit of a reaction to work taking over my life and although it may look a bit sad from the outside (mostly the Frampton element there) it was actually really fun and I wouldn’t have changed it for the world.
The zine is about accepting the changes that come with age and life outside of skating and to me learning to embrace it. It’s for skaters hiding their bald patch under their stüssy caps. Read the zine and by the end you will be skating bare headed or your money back guaranteed.
9. Does anything inspire SAPH?
If you want a nerdy answer about the visual inspiration, I spend all my spare time thinking about skateboarding and watching cartoons.
The comix and underground press movement is really interesting and a big influence in terms of concept but maybe visually I’m more interested in the images that birthed that new wave, or that those cartoonists ended up pushing against. Funny animal comics and Detective Comics from the 50s and 60s.
Traditionally the cartoons or drawings I’ve made are structurally based on Newspaper strips like Pogo by Walt Kelly and Peanuts by Charles Schulz. It’s only recently that I realised it’s redundant just posting this stuff online when I’m emulating these print products and strip compilation books when it’s totally within my grasp just to produce that myself.
Once everything is in shops and less chaotic I’m gonna get really stuck into Carl Barks, Fred Guardineer and a few others comic artists. There’s a Japanese cartoon called Future Boy Conan which has some great visual slapstick stuff and I’ve spent a lot of time watching that this year and it a definitely been an influence in the drawings to some degree.
In terms of skating and videos, I’ll try to avoid answering for George but I can say just going out and having fun with our friends, bouncing ideas off each other and a strong desire to find fresh and fun spots is a major factor.
10. At what point are you going to sell-out?
As soon as we get the chance.
This week in Studio E sees the visit of leg arch Illinois skateboard Marisa Dal Santo!
Marisa talks growing up skating with characters like Neen and Sinner, her legendary ‘Strange World’ part, current day shenanigans and much more.
Then remind yourself of this goodness....
Long time Blueprint Skateboards fan Tom Pickard recently sat down with legendary videographer Dan Magee to talk all things @meetatbenjys, filming for multiple video projects, his favourite filmmakers, nostalgic Instagram accounts and much more!
”Like you are saying ‘Then’ and ‘Now’, it’s like, everyone now goes apeshit about VHS, and it’s like, me and my mates actually used to film on VHS and edit tape to tape when it was like the new tech!”
Below, witness John Rattray, Scott Palmer and Colin Kennedy in 97/98 skating around a much quieter capital city in the latest instalment of Dan’s look back into UK’s skateboarding past.
Then feast your eyes on Dan’s first involvement in a full length video ‘Foolish Lifestyles’ from way back in 1990.
10 Years, 10 Questions
As we celebrate our 10 year anniversary we've hit up a few brands from across skateboarding and put together some new collaborative collections.
After setting in motion the More Information Promo last year Garden Skateboards quickly began to be a favourite choice for ourselves and locals alike. The 'Dave' collection encapsulates Talking Heads head honcho David Byrne with a £5 donation going to the National Autistic Society from every item.
Headed by Kieron Forbes Garden Skateboards showcases the Edinburgh scene as well as other hidden talents in Scotland. We took a few minutes of their time to ask them the all important set amount of 10 questions.
1. Why/When did you start More Information/Garden?
In earnest probably around the end of 2016, it was something me and Miles (Kondracki) had joked about, talked about, thrown names about, for quite a bit. I had been doing a company called Harvest with our friend Jamie Johnson and that had ran its course. Jamie and I had other creative pursuits we wanted to focus on, so naturally things lead to doing Garden.
'Why did we start doing Garden?' is a good question that I ask myself a lot haha. Genuinely because I think my friends and artists that I like are worthy of attention and often it feels like things can be too considered in my day to day life. With Garden we just try to do what we want rather than thinking too much about what other people will 'like' or think.
For example I couldn't find a Kate Bush t-shirt I wanted to wear, so I made one.
2. How many people told you it would be a bad idea to start a skateboard company?
Do you know how Pi as in '3.14' goes on forever but we just write 3.14 because it's easier.
3. Who rides for Garden?
Miles Kondracki, Rory Muirhead, Cameron Lenton, George Horler, Neil Kellas who is about to have a great North mag interview, we've been sorting out top geezer Billy Wells with some boards as well as our pal Dunder (Scott Anderson).
Basically all people that are much cooler than I am and make me feel pretty god awful at skateboarding.
4. Where's the number one tourist spot in Edinburgh?
I'm meant to say the Castle, but you could miss that and not regret it. Arthur's Seat early or late is a must.
If you're with us it's likely you'll end up at the Mosque Kitchen which is sort of a right of passage in Edinburgh skateboarding. When old Bristo Square was around the Mosque was a 'go-to' for cheap food and good chat. Most of us involved with Garden have kept going ever since, our filmer and decent scran sherpa JJ Jabbar would more than likely take you there if you visited.
5. What's the number one skate spot in Edinburgh?
Old Bristo Square around 2008 at 3pm. Nowadays whatever scheme has the worst bank spot.
6. What's the deal with David Byrne?
Man Burny-D is the coolest. Most folk don't know he was born in Scotland. When I was in the first year of High School we had double music one day and our teacher played us the 'Stop Making Sense' film by Johnathan Demme. That lesson sort of stuck with me because at the age of 12 for a teacher to be so clearly into a band, but also to be like "Watch this it's important." is memorable. That's a hard one to explain to your boss an hour and forty minutes of David Byrne wearing a big suit.
To be serious though I hadn't really switched on to the whole art school rock thing and that really cemented it for me...well actually no I moved schools the next year and brought up the Talking heads to my new teacher who promptly told me they were "talentless" so that endorsement probably made me love them more.
7. What's the best Talking Heads song?
There's all the obvious ones that you're a liar or trying to be a cool guy if you say you don't love, 'Psycho Killer' I'm never going to be mad at that. I don't have a definitive favourite but lately I keep going back to 'Life During Wartime', also 'This Must Be The Place' was played at my wedding so that's always going to be important.
8. Who's produced art and graphics for you so far?
Some of the best people have produced work for us and frankly they are our mates and that's a big part of it, Harry Whitelock, Jack Fletcher, Elliot Snowman, Cameron Lenton, Chris Coatham and myself too. I think we are guilty of just going to friends but at the same time those friends have all never made skateboard graphics and it's a solid argument, it's opened them up to many more people.
I would love to work with more people and the plan is eventually to do open calls for artwork, as well as working with the shops that stock us to make suggestions based on locals and artists they admire.
9. What's the future for Garden?
Honestly keeping things tight and clean, I really just want the product to be the best it can be which is pretty tough when this is essentially a side project and our spending power is maybe 10 spaces behind the guy in front of us. I've been joking about setting up a UK board company co-op although I don't think anyone would go for it.
It would be the best to make some more beautiful things and that is on the horizon. It's about having some sort of bedrock where we can be adventurous with our decisions. We just need some old Edinburgh art benefactor to fund us! We're definitely keen to make some really nice rugs or an amazing jacket, actually there's no end to good ideas. Who knows what's next?
10. Is Garden a Scottish, British or European brand?
That's a really interesting question. I think about it like this; growing up skating I could easily travel to mainland Europe and instantly make connections. That freedom coupled with skateboardings lack of cultural borders made me feel quite free almost like we had it figured out and everyone else was blowing it.
Lately be that due to politics or the pandemic my own personal world seems stunted and that's upsetting because despite whatever was going on it seemed like that undercurrent that wasn't going away. I don't think Garden is anything other than a skateboard company and doesn't need geographic definition, the amount of times we've vetoed making various products because they were too "Scottish" is untold. This is an annoying statement but not invalid, you can act locally and impact globally and by that I mean we can keep doing our own thing in our corner and still be relevant to someone on the other side of the world.
If someone is buying a deck or a piece of our clothing just because we are A,B or C then we should probably call it a day.
Shop the collection here
More from Garden Skateboards here
Learn about the work of the National Autistic Society here