You all know about Wes Kremer’s lack of an iPhone, his refusal to take photo incentives and of course, how much he loves to roll – ambiguity eh? So rather than rattle on, I’ll let the catch up with Wes speak for itself. Enjoy –
Photography – Mike Blabac
Interview – Stephen Cox
Hi Wes, how are you?
Just waking up and shit. I got up about half an hour ago.
Late night session going on is that right?
Oh fuck, yeah. We were actually lighting shit up ‘cause it gets dark so early here. It’s getting fuckin’ dark at 4.30 or 5 o’ clock. I was out with all the Mafia homies. We were out until about midnight a couple of nights ago but this time around 10 ‘cause we got kicked out and shit.
Happy birthday for last week.
Thanks homie I appreciate it. I just turned 24.
How did you celebrate?
I just kept it mellow, man. Just met up with the homies over at this little sports bar right under this parking structure. We bomb and skate down just about every week, we call it “the run.” The bar has good happy hour specials on fuckin’ weekdays and shit; went over there, kicked it, got a couple of pitchers, got some appetizers and then [laughs] just ended up going to the top and hill bombed. You literally just walk out the bar, take a right, head straight through these elevators, go to the top floor and kick it up there, chill, smoke a spliff and then bomb all the way down.
I was texting Walker Ryan and he said you had a staph infection
Fuck. I went to Europe in July and the first day I flew out there, I got to Madrid and met up with a bunch of homies out there from San Diego. I saw them right when I got there. I was kickin’ it with them and went out straight away- barely dropped my shit off at the hotel- kicked it with the homies, went out that night, drinking, partying, whatever. Then I woke up the next day with this giant golf ball on my elbow.
Yeah. So I had a little staph infection the first day I got on that trip. I ended up staying out in Europe for like 5 weeks. First day I got home I had one on my leg dude. It was rough, the one on my leg was worse.
What is it exactly?
It’s basically where you get a little infected ingrown hair. It’s almost like a pimple that fuckin’ gets infected to point where it’s building a lot of pus. It swells up. If you don’t drain it out yourself you’ve got to get to the hospital to get it done.
At least it wasn’t on your face.
[Laughs] for real, right? If you actually leave it for long enough untreated it could kill you. When it gets to the point where it’s super infected, there’s a red line of poisonous blood that can creep up from the infection towards your heart. If it makes it to your heart, you’re done.
Good to know. He first spelled it “S-T-A-F-F” when he texted. I thought he meant an STD or something.
[Laughs]. I could, who knows? I haven’t been tested.
Get checked [laughs]. So we stalled on this interview cause you’ve been doing a fair bit of traveling recently. Where have you been?
I’ve been on numerous trips, man. I guess it all started with the summertime. I went on a camping trip with OJ wheels. It was amazing. I went to Oregon for the first time and saw Washington. It was a skate park camping trip with a fuckin’ epic crew. Super amazing, man. Probably one of my favorite trips. I had to leave early on that one – I was on it for 10 days – I had to go over to the east coast of Canada for a trip with all the DC Canada homies. We did Montreal, Ottawa and two random French Canadian cities. That was sick; it was 8 days. I came home from that, got home for a week and then did Europe for 5 weeks: Madrid, Copenhagen, Sweden and Finland.
That’s a lot.
For sure dude, it was mellow. I got home with that staph infection, I was home for a week and then went out to south east Asia on a DC trip, went to China for a week and a half. Went to China, Hong Kong and then from there flew out to South Africa to go and skate in the Kimberly Diamond Cup skate contest.
Did you compete?
For sure. I got last, all good [laughs]. I was devastated man, was still feeling rough from the 3-week trip in Asia, still jet lagged and shit. Everyone was jet lagged you know? I was just feeling almighty crushed. I think my trucks were broken too. They were cracked. I should have won that shit you know? Nyjah [Huston] got lucky [laughs].
[Laughs] you’ve been stocking some footage up then?
Trying to stay healthy for sure. I’ve been trying to some footage here and there but I don’t know.
You don’t think about it too much?
Every time I’m on a trip I’ll try to get something. It’s part of the game. I try to not let it get in the way of having a good time and enjoying yourself when you’re out there. You’re in a different country, you’re out there for skating. It’s a joke [laughs].
You’ve been skating every day since you were around 7 years old right?
Yeah. I went to my first week of skate camp in the summer of 96 [laughs]. I first rolled around the cul de sac and then my mom was like, “you wanna go to skate camp?” “Fuck, yeah!”
Do you think things could have faded a little without the sponsors or the traveling?
Oh no! I would be doing something else for work you know? At least I hope so, a proper 9 to 5 or just fuckin’ hustle. I’d still be living at the folk’s house that’s for damn sure [laughs]. But yeah, my folks wouldn’t let it fly; I’d probably still be in school.
Is changing things up a bit with your skating something you think about? It’s good to see you skate a lot of tranny, which some street skaters often avoid.
For sure dude. Some day I just wanna throw some pads on and skate some vert! It’s tight. I love it. It’s fun to pump around the vert ramp and shit. I love transition because it’s low impact, high fun you know? It’s not too hard on your body like skating something like a ledge. I mean, I love skating ledges but I can barely jump sometimes honestly [laughs]. You can drop in on a mini ramp, get up to the coping and grind without having to work for it.
So when are we going to see the footage of that darkslide?
Oh shit. I don’t know [laughs]. It was a mission. I definitely battled that shit. I had to go back 3 different times for sure. It was battle dude. I’d be trying it and then eventually after so many tries your grip tape wears off and you need some of the grip to keep control. When grip wears off it’s almost like you’re doing a fuckin’ board slide upside down. The last time I tried it I ended up bringing a couple of old boards in case the grip wore off.
Your Run and Gun line was sick too.
[Laughs]. You saw it?
It seemed like a lot of people liked the fact you didn’t take it as seriously as some of the other dudes in there. Almost like you didn’t care about the 25 grand.
Oh dude, first off I definitely don’t deserve 25 Gs. Someone else needs it way more. The competition was stiff! We didn’t know who was in it from the beginning but I knew someone would spend the whole 24 and do the most insane line ever. [Laughs] luckily it was a homie: Felipe [Gustavo)! I actually watched it recently. [Laughs] I’ve got Madars staying at my house, man.
Yeah he’s here right now, we were talking about it, man. My mom brought it up. She was like, “congratulations Madars, you won best trick on the fuckin’ Run and Gun thing [laughs]. He was like, “what?” [Laughs]. It’s crazy with the Internet you can’t get away with anything, man.
Then she asked who won the competition, so we ended up finding out it was Felipe and watched his shit. We were like, “oh my god.” It was hectic. When I was there I was trying something else at first, a 180 manual on the manny pad and I just got stuck on it. I was like; “I’m going to be here all night so I’m just going to get away with whatever I can. If I get away with something, I’m hyped.” To actually get away with a minute? Skating on my board? It was a miracle.
When I last spoke to you STEE wasn’t out.
Did you see it?
Yeah, congrats on the shared part with Josef [Scott Jatta].
The vibe of the video is definitely that of skating in its most natural form; having fun and the rest of it. How important is it for you to think of skating this way instead of “work”?
Dude. It’s the only way we grew up skating. There were different crews growing up and shit. We grew up looking up to all different crews in the early 90s. They were the golden years of skating. There were different crews. There was just a whole scene in LA with Menace and Girl and all those homies; a bunch of heads and the EMB shit. A bunch of heads just going out and skating and there happened to be someone with a camera. I guess we saw that and just wanted to keep the same hype. That’s the only way we work more or less: show up to a spot and skate. At the same time it’s heads you’ve been skating with consistently for the last 5 or 10 years. I love it dude, I love skating with the Mafia. Just skate, ‘cause kids nowadays worry about people getting hooked up, people getting sponsored: “I want that, how do I do that?” The only way to do it is quit worrying about it, honestly. [Laughs] just go out and skate in the first place! For us, this shit didn’t happen overnight. The Mafia is about to hit the 10-year mark and people are only starting to accept it in the last few years.
How did you feel about your part when you’d finished?
Oh dude, I was pleased with the whole video, I don’t know about my part. Fuck [laughs]. I was super hyped on how the whole video turned out. The Sweet homies definitely fuckin’ held it down and killed it. Of course the Mafia held it together with those dudes. Pretty much every day in San Diego I meet up with the Mafia and fuckin’ kick it. They always hold it down.
The collaboration says a lot I think. Do you think the lack of this comes down to business?
I guess so yeah. Everyone is pretty strapped for cash. It’s hard to say, there are different collaborations here and there. It was sick what Girl and Anti Hero did, the collaboration trips: “great minds think alike, let’s fuckin’ hop on a trip and get whatever.” We just ended up building a relationship with the Sweet homies by going out to Europe and them coming out to San Diego. After a few years of going back and forth it was just, “let’s do a video and fuckin’ kick it.” We did a couple of trips and [laughs] just fuckin’ vibed together. They’re on the same page as us and hopefully companies out there look for crews that skate together and kick it outside of skating; go out and get some food, or stay in and play video games, cards, bowling, whatever. Shit like that. Like what I was saying before, everyone having that vibe back in the day. Shit that people could relate to. People saw the Menace crew: “that’s like our crew back home in the school yard skating, talking shit.” That’s what we do [laughs].
Was the pole jam to bank in your head as a last trick?
[Laughs] not at all. I didn’t even think it was that good, I was trippin’ on using it for last trick. I was expecting it to be in the teaser, but then everyone is their own worst critic. I fuckin’ ended up flying in to San Diego from Japan, I got picked up by [Tyler] Surrey and we kicked it and ended up going to that school. I didn’t have a board and had to borrow one [laughs]. I just skated around and threw that one out there, I had the jet lag legs again which didn’t help.
You got a shoe too. How are you feeling about it?
I’m hyped. Honestly I’m hyped to see it came out and so thankful for DC for hooking it up more than I could have ever expected or imagined. It gets me hyped to see it out in the wild, some random kid wearing it. I’m hyped when the homies wear it but it’s a different seeing some random head wearing it: “what the fuck like? Where’d you get those things, man? That kid doesn’t look like he skates.” [Laughs].
Do you point at your feet when women ask your name?
I’ve never tried it [laughs]. It’s so awkward, I don’t wanna be that dude: “yeah babe, check out the tongue. Not this tongue, that tongue. The tongue on my toes” [Laughs]. “You read that?” “No. I can’t read that shit.”
[Laughs]. It was Yes on Wes. When I spoke to Evan Smith he said you should be president.
I said I thought you’d be too chilled. If Obama resigned and you filled his shoes, what would be the first change you’d make?
Go skateboarding! That’s the first change: skaters run the streets, dude. Pretty much make skating legal everywhere [laughs]. Skate the White House for sure; get a white mini ramp up in there [laughs]. That’d be sick. This country would go down if I was president. I can tell you that much, we’d be fucked [laughs]. Actually it’s impossible, I can’t.
Because you’re from Tokyo. I forgot about that.
Yeah, I’ll never be president. Born in Japan.
That’s out the window then. What’s inspiring you outside of the Mafia and the era we’re currently in?
I’d say right now, YouTube. Honestly, looking up old footy, dude. In with the old, out with the new, dude [laughs]. All the old footy gets me hyped. Last night I was watching old El Gato footage; Eddie Elguera. That to Dan Drehobl’s Damage part, Gino [Iannuci] 101, the first person to use Wu Tang [laughs]. That shit was amazing. I get inspired by the old shit, dude. The new shit is hard to keep up with. I don’t know, I’d rather at least fuckin’ try and pay homage to the old tricks and spots and watch old shit to try and hype up some homies. For example, I’ve been trying to learn…you know the way they call Lotti spins big spins? Where there’s a 360 body varial but the board just does a shove it?
That trick is fuckin’ ill, dude. I’ve just got them on flat.
I saw you do one at the DC embassy actually.
Oh yeah! On the pole jam, dude. That shit is [Brian] Lotti inspired. That’s funny, I forgot about that.
How do the Kremers spend Christmas then?
Oh, we go up north. My mum’s side of the family is up there in Santa Rosa, which is near the Bay area. Every year since I was born pretty much, we go up to my Grandma’s house. The last 3 years I found out that my homie Alex Horn on OJ wheels has family real close so we’ve done road trips from San Diego to Santa Rosa, kickin’ it [laughs].
So is the 10-year reunion of the Pillage Tour happening next year?
Holy shit. It’s in the works, man. I was talking about it with Dan [Connelly] the other day. I need to find the original lineup of shops and shit. It has to go down! I think it’s going down this summer, we’re going to make it happen. It could be another collaboration, the more the merrier.
Special thanks – Mike Blabac & Dan Connelly
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