We recently caught up with Wes Kremer to chat about the upcoming Sk8Mafia and Sweet Skateboards collaboration project, having last part in Not Another Transworld Video and being on the DC team – enjoy
Interview by Stephen Cox
Photos by Mike Blabac
Let’s do the usual. If you could tell us about where you’re from, life growing up, how you got sponsored and how your parents felt about you skating?
I was born on November 27th 1989 in Tokyo, Japan. I lived there for about ten months then I moved back to San Diego with my family. I grew up in Carmel Valley, pretty much lived in the same area my whole life. It’s a nice suburban area there and about a 10 minute drive down one street from my house to the beach. My parents were always real supportive of me skating growing up and I think its because they are both avid surfers and they see the same passion I have for skating that they have for surfing. Surfing is their niche, they seen me get into skating and I think it reminded them of their love for surfing. They supported me in anyway they could to keep me happy on board and in general. They were always very supportive and never skate coached me the slightest bit. I ended up first getting sponsored when I just turned thirteen, from Craig Glover who used to work at Osiris, he gave me pair of kicks once a month for about a year and a half. Thanks Craig-Ass! Then I got hooked up by the local shop, Utility, right afterwards.
That’s cool. You must be a decent surfer then too?
[Laughs] you would think that, but I never really got into it. I think it was one of those things as a kid where my parents were into it, so I was over it. Nowadays I wish I would have been in to it more. The water is way more forgiving than concrete. I can surf, but recently I haven’t been able to because my wrists are so toast. I can’t push up.
Where have you been skating and what have you been filming recently?
This summer I was out in Europe for about six weeks. I started out in Copenhagen, then to Barcelona, Paris, and Budapest with a bunch of the DC homies, American and European. Good times all around, plus we had a good crew of heads which made it all the better. From there, Sk8Mafia was doing a road trip with Sweet Skateboards through Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. They were going through Scandinavia while I was on the DC trip, so when the trip ended, I flew with Madars from Budapest to Riga, Latvia. We then met up with the Sweet Mafia homies who drove in later that night. That trip was epic. Went through Eastern Europe and I had the pleasure of driving for the second leg of the trip.
I drove the van from Poland to Prague, then Prague back up to Copenhagen, Norway, and Sweden. That was one of the best trips I’ve been on because it was the Mafia homies, who are my friends I grew up skating with, combined with the Sweet homies who we’ve all become good friends with in the last couple years. They’re legends. Everyone was just on the same page, always having a good time and ready for whatever. We’re doing a Sweet/Sk8Mafia Video which should be out by May or so, who knows.
Jimmy was telling us he was paired up with Nisse for the video, can you tell us about who you are paired up with and what we should expect?
Hell yeah that’s what’s up. I didn’t know that, but it’s definitely gonna be a proper collab part. I’m pretty sure I’m getting paired up with the Demon de la Speed. That’s Josef, he’s a good homie of mine, true Speed Demon, and down with the Sweet crew. Expect nothing less than something demonic, Billy Chustah will definitely be making a cameo up in there. Good times with good people. Blood, sweat, and cheers!
[Laughs] so to rewind back a bit can you tell us about how you got on Sk8Mafia. Who approached you?
I went on a skate mission in a van full of O.G. Mafia homies up to Chino. I officially became apart of the Sk8Mafia family when Dan Connelly gave me a T-Shirt at Chino four block, and told me I was part of the crew. I actually remember Tyler driving the van home that night literally right after he got his permit. It was like his second time driving and it was from Chino Hills, driving a bunch of guys getting wasted in the back. From there, I met everyone in the Maf within that week. I love all the Mafia homies, we’re family.
Sounds like it really is Mafia for life then? Jimmy told us about you waiting and everything.
Mafia for life. Ain’t no fun if the homies can’t have none. We all grew up skating together and the homies definitely know how to skate, it would be awkward to get singled out.
A while ago now, but how did you find the reception to your Not Another Transworld Video part? Last part and everything.
[Laughs] that’s a crazy one for sure. I got hit up by Jon Holland and he was like, “What’s good, let’s do this.” I was of course down from the start, but I didn’t think I had it in me to film a worthy part. Some of the first videos I grew up watching were Transworld, and they are always amazing. That was definitely a mission, I was pretty broke off for most of it. The first trip was a Barcelona to Madrid trip for two weeks. I was already in Barcelona for a month with the Sk8Mafia homies. Transworld dudes came in as the Mafia homies were going to Alicante, I stayed in Barcy to film with the Transworld homies. The first day, the first spot with those dudes, I ended up re-dislocating my toe.
The day I skated again was the day they left [laughs]. So yeah, no footy on that trip. Then I came back to San Diego, I think I filmed a trick or two before I broke my wrist and got surgery. After that, I was convinced I wasn’t gonna have part, thought I was done. What I realized when I was broke off, was that I needed to just skate. I was trying to think of what tricks to do at what spot, which is bullshit. Skating is suppose to be spontaneous, at least the skating I’d like to see. So pretty much I just told myself to skate and film whatever. Don’t worry about anything, just skate. Exactly a month after the surgery, Transworld did a trip to Australia which was incredible. It was my first time out there and the crew we went with was pretty G. When I got back, there was about two and a half months left to film and I had no footage. Jon and I went out and skated everyday we could. I’d roll up to LA for a couple days or he’d roll down to SD and we would head out on the mish. Jon’s probably one of the main reasons I had a part, he’s dedicated and always motivated. I was just so inspired to skate with Jon and stoked he gave me the opportunity to do this. I felt like I had to come through for the legend. He’s dedicated a part of his life to the game and it would be rude to Jon and myself if I didn’t give it my all and go for it. I think the last part came about because I was the last one still filming while everyone else was done with their part.
I think you’re being a bit modest there [laughs]. You seem to give it your all, there’s a lot of people who get annoyed at skaters who don’t put out a lot of footage in the latest videos and so on. What’s your opinion there?
I think people are starting to realize their favorite pros can’t keep going forever though. For real, skating is definitely tough on your body no doubt. I guess when your a kid you don’t realize that you can actually get hurt, to the point where you can’t skate. Bones are one thing, but ligaments, muscles, whatever. You can get broke off getting out of bed. Especially if you’ve been skating for a while, some of these injuries don’t go away. I don’t ever take it personal if one of my favorites doesn’t put out footy, it is what it is. I’d just watch the footage that got me hyped on the skater in the first place. Everyone would love to see a new Gonz part, but who would hold it against him if he never skated again. Just appreciate the skaters and video parts that got you hyped to go skate in the first place.
That’s a good way of looking at it. What skaters and videos have inspired you as you’ve progressed? Are you an avid video fan?
One of the first videos I remember seeing was Transworld’s Anthology which was like a look back at the last ten skate videos Transworld made. That inspired me to skate and get into the culture. I wanted to see all of it. From the new shit to the old shit, I wanted every little bit of it. I was just so hyped on skating in general. Any skater I’d see in a video or magazine was a legend in my book. I had no idea about the skating, the style, the spots, the lifestyle, etc. I just wanted to see any and every form of skating.
Is it weird to think someone’s first video might be one you’re in then? How do you feel about the idea of inspiring others?
[Laughs] I’ve never thought about that. I don’t think I’ve been in the game long enough. It’s really weird because I’ve never seen myself as that person and still don’t. I’m sure most skaters out there feel the same way. I still feel like that little skate rat I started out as. I hope I’m in some way hyping kids out there to go skate or at least to go out with the crew and have a good sesh. Just go out and skate, we kill trees and party.
How has it been since turning pro? Has there been a change of responsibility?
It’s been pretty mellow since the whole “pro” thing went down. It hasn’t really set in yet, I’m still trippin’ on seeing some product here and there with my name on it. It’s pretty crazy. Responsibility-wise…I guess just keep your priorities straight and stay as physically and mentally healthy as you can.
Any crazy Reynolds ice baths or strict diets yet?
No, nothing other than a couple stretches. I should get on that though, it seems to be working for him. He was the dude when I first learned about the skate industry and he’s still the dude nowadays, hasn’t skipped a beat. My first real skate video I remember seeing was The End.
Do you skate your own boards and how do you promote yourself and your sponsors?
I haven’t set up one of my own boards yet. I guess I promote myself and sponsors by skating with the gear they’ve hooked me up with.
Will you set up one of your boards you think? Do you like the graphics?
Eventually I’ll set up one of my boards and the Mafia graphics are tight. Right now. Everytime I come across an extra board of mine, I give it a homie to either set-up or throw up on the wall. I got a heavy board debt right now.
What about DC?
My favorite thing about DC is that they have given me this insane opportunity to travel the world through skateboarding. In the last five years, they have included me on tours, filming trips, helped me out with travel budget for some of my own trips. If it wasn’t for them, I’d be sitting in a classroom or sleeping on my nine to five shift instead of being out there seeing the world with a skateboard. They have definitely helped me grow so much as a person. I’m blessed and grateful to have DC backing me, especially with the new heads they just threw on there. I was convinced I was out of a job. I’m surprised to be apart of such a solid crew, and somehow, they’re giving me a shoe.
What’s the shoe going to be like?
The shoe is going to be like losing your virginity to the girl of your dreams with no rubber, good times. They resemble the Osiris D3, except more technologically advanced. You can definitely skate them on the moon, Armstrong approved.
[Laughs]. When should we expect a DC video then?
The video comes out when we get the permits go through for a mega ramp on the moon. Danny’s got some big plans.
Favorite tour you’ve been on?
The whole trip is a good story, just being able to survive the tour and tell the tale. I was fourteen years old in the summer going into high school and beginning to realize the true fruits of nature. That trip exposed me to the truly wonderful world of skateboarding. That was my first real trip and shit got real. No one had any money for the tour, we all spent it the first day either at the first stop of the trip, Bevmo, or lost it all to Gilbert playing C-lo on the first drive of a month-long road trip. Our schedule had us doing a demo or signing a day, and each shop or park was at least a six-hour drive to a state away so we were always on the move. We had to do a demo a day to survive. If we made it and skate it for the day, we’d get enough money for gas, one motel room, maybe some snacks, and the rest on beer. Heaviest and best trip of my life so far. I don’t think any other trip will top it. Everyday was a new story. We’re doing a ten-year reunion tour 2014, I might not make it off that one. Some of the heads that went on the Pillage tour never left. I’m definitely still on it…
[Laughs]. So we know you love music, can you recommend us a good track?
I’ve been bumping Juicy J for a hot second now, I highly recommend the reader to start getting trippy mane. Recently I’ve been bumpin’ 30 inches by Juicy J ft. Gucci Mane and Project Pat, also been bumpin’ Fish Ain’t Bitin’ which was Herman’s song in the new Baker Video, that part was legendary, Herman is such a G. Keepin’ it code daily. Speaking of code, Geto Boys for life, any track will do. ‘Live life and that’s the truth’ – Juicy J.
Also something no one knows about you to finish up on?
I’ve never done a straight up, OG pressure flip. Never understood them.
Thanks for all this Wes, chat soon.
Special thanks to Dan Connelly and Mike Blabac
Follow Stephen Cox on Twitter: @stephen_coxy
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