THE ALEX CAMPBELL INTERVIEW
08 February 2012 • 3253 Views
I get asked whether I am Alex’s brother more often than I get asked for spare change down on Smith Street. Sure we have the same surname. And yes we have the same shop, truck, bearing, board, clothing and shoe sponsors. We even went to the same High School (Melville). I wish it was true. I wish I had similar gene make up to Alex Campbell. You know what that would mean right? I would be able to ollie anything. I would have the most boned kickflip in the country. I would be able to 50/50 small buildings. I would also calmly pull off having a family, would build the best retainer walls in Western Australia and I would be able to film a full video part in four months. That’s how Alex rolls isn’t it? I caught up with the humble cult superhero on his birthday last weekend and simply checked in to see what condition his condition was in. Ladies and gentleman I am proud to present this interview with my brother from a different mother: Alex Campbell
Interview: Morgan Campbell
Photos (except where noted otherwise): Aidan White
MC: Sorry I just worked out it is your birthday. Happy birthday Alex Campbell.
AC: Thank you very much Morgan.
So what did you do, did you just hang with the family today?
Yeah I pretty much was just at home all day today and then I just went to my sisters for a little bit.
And how old are you today?
Twenty-three: that was my favourite one.
Twenty-three is when the magic happens is it?
Yeah just look at Michael Jordan bro.
So this day twenty-three years ago. Where were you born?
I was born in Fremantle at home. I can’t remember the name of the street but it was in Fremantle.
Did you grow up in Fremantle?
Yeah I have been in Fremantle my whole life otherwise just five minutes away.
And how would you explain Freo to someone who hasn’t been there?
It is pretty basic. It is pretty chilled and relaxed I guess. It is not a big place. It is a nice place to grow up in.
Definitely I would agree. It is a port and it is obviously on the coast. Do you think that is something that is important to you to be near the ocean?
Yeah definitely, my dad was a surfer so we were always at the beach.
So you are a second-generation sideways sportsman! Did your dad skate too?
Yeah, yeah he skated. That’s how he would get to go surfing, he would just skate down there.
Did he used to surf around Freo or further up north?
Well he was originally from up Sydney, not too sure where exactly, but when he came to Perth he lived in Scarborough, so he surfed all around Scarborough and spent most of the time down in Margaret River.
There are lots of crazy hills in Scarborough.
Yeah, he showed me the one where he used to hold onto his mate’s car and just glide along the side of them going down the hill.
Hectic! Does he spin out at what you get up to on your skateboard these days? Can he understand that people can ollie sixteen to eighteen foot flat gaps and things like that?
(Laughs) Yeah he has always been amazed with skateboarding. You know: how far it has come. You know it wasn’t really a big thing back then. It was just a piece of wood. But you know now people are making careers out of it.
Was it through your dad that you first discovered skateboarding?
Yeah he always had this same board that he had when he was younger and I was just riding on that thing, it was a little fibreglass one I think. You know like the full old school boards? He had that for god-knows how long. It would have been ages cause we gave it away when I was like five or something.
So wait were you two or something when you started using it?
Yeah he used to take me down the back year and take me down hills just holding me when I was younger. I always used to play around on a skateboard he reckons.
That is so awesome.
So you grew up around Freo, but where did you go to school?
I first went to Perth Waldorf School, which is like a Steiner School. And that was in Bibra Lake I’m pretty sure. And then I needed up going to Melville Primary and then Melville High. The same school you went too.
Did you look at the rails when you were in class? Did you realize that was a famous spot there? (Melville High is home to the kinker that JB backtailed in Fully Flared).
Yeah, definitely. I used to go skate it after school.
Did you skate the rail before you attended that school? Or did you see it in year eight and then go: I’m coming back for that.
I saw it in a few videos and I think it was you wasn’t it? Grinding it. I don’t know maybe? (laughs)I remember I saw footage of people grinding it and then I realized it was possible.
Alex’s eldest son Oliver Campbell interjects: “Hey daddy where is my skateboard?”
I have got my other skateboard in the car buddy.
Is that Ollie?
Yeah he is asking me to ride a skateboard right now. You can grab the skateboard out of the b… oh Oliver actually it is in the garage. Go to the garage and it is in there.
(Muffled inaudible Ollie words continue.)
Yeah, yeah it is in the front. Sorry.
No no worries. That was awesome.
That was Ollie looking for a skateboard.
I noticed that when your last clip came out which was the “In Good Company” clip that Josh Roberts filmed and edited. There was a lot of hype overseas; people saw it and the message board went nuts. Did you notice all that or do you not really pay attention to all that internet shenanigans?
N-n-not really. I got people messaging me and telling me that it was received really well. But yeah I don’t really have the time to sit on a computer.
Fair enough bro. That is the best way to be.
Yeah… I think so.
Recently you have been filming some clips with Middsy for his Transworld part right? Where did you film with him for that? Did you just film in Perth or did you come over East?
We filmed a bit of stuff in Perth. He came over I think twice. I filmed some stuff in Melbourne earlier and then more recently I flew back over to Sydney and then we drove down to Melbourne and got a bunch of stuff there as well. That was just me and Jake (Duncombe). It was pretty awesome.
Did you skate Canberra when you were on your way down?
Yeah I went to Canberra.
Did you skate that Belconnen park?
No. Oh wait do you mean Belco?
Oh yeah sorry I did skate that thing it is amazing. That was definitely the best skatepark I have ever been to…. Apart from Freo Skatepark.
Yahhhhh Freo!!!! (laughs)
That was amazing that skatepark. You get lost there!
Last year you entered a couple of the SbA Pro/Am Comps (Shocklands and The Island) and did really well in both of them. It is not often that you get someone who is a talented raw street skater who also does well in comps. Did you enjoy the whole experience or did you find it a lot different from regular (street) skating? How was it for you?
Yeah, I enjoyed it. I thought they were a lot better than any other comps I have been too, just ‘cause they were something different. Especially the Shocklands one. It didn’t feel like a skate comp, I didn’t feel as much pressure I would normally. I don’t go in too many comps anymore anyways, but definitely these ones I enjoy going to.
Shocklands was designed around actual street skating and you had to push for obstacles and you needed to have some snaps to skate half the obstacles there.
It was cool. I liked that one.
And out of all the guys that you have seen in the videos and mags that you might have met here and there, which were the guys that you were particularly stoked to see and skate with? Which guys really spun you out?
Um… Jack Kirk was one of them. I really like his skating and… I have just had a mental blank.
Jack Kirk is phenomenal…
…Jake Duncombe for sure…
At ‘The Island’?
Yeah at ‘The Island’ he was amazing for sure and you know Chima Ferguson?
Yeah Chima spun me out. I wasn’t expecting that. I mean I knew he was good but… he was wild and so consistent.
And Jack Fardell was another one at the comp who I thought was amazing. I love his skating.
Just going back to the filming thing, do you think it has changed a lot? Say filming for this last piece with Middsy? Do you think the vibe has changed a lot since say filming with Geldi (Josh Roberts), Glokky (Ben McLachlan) or Chris Yow back in the day in Perth? I’m not sure who you originally filmed with.
Yow was pretty much the first person I ever filmed with.
So, since then has it changed in your head or has it stayed the same?
I find it exactly the same, I don’t think that anything has changed with filming just because I have become such good friends with everyone that films it doesn’t feel any different you know? Apart from a bigger lens being pointed at you and worrying that you might hit it. That would be the only thing that has changed.
You have to feel comfortable with your filmer right?
Yeah you don’t want to be thinking of anything else. You just want to be thinking about skating. Not “I wonder if this person wants to be filming or not”.
I think this person might be hungry and wants to get a sandwich…. “Hurry up and land it Alex!!!”
(laughs) But you hardly ever find anyone like that.
And if there is anyone like that they tend not to stick around for too long. Aside from you skateboarding you are obviously juggling family and work and no doubt you are completely flat out. I can’t even imagine: just surviving in this world without even having to support a family is hard enough. Are you still working as a landscaper?
Yeah, yeah, I am doing a bit of landscaping and a bit of concreting as well.
No way, how long have you been concreting?
On and off for a bout a year I think, you know one day every month or something like that.
What will you be going back to tomorrow?
Tomorrow I am actually going back to landscaping and doing a job in Cottesloe and other rest of the week I think I am going to be doing concreting. Driveways and steps and things like that.
Have you made any spots yet?
No. I was talking to a concreter about that the other day. I really want to find someone with a big back yard and build a mini ramp out of concrete.
Well that would be my plan. To do that in the back of my house. For sure. I saw Brophy’s one.
That thing looks so epic. You should get involved in fixing up spots, I mean now you would probably know what to do.
I am getting better.
You could combine forces with Geldi and make some spots.
That could be a plan actually I just have to find the time to do it.
Maybe you could make a spot you know right next to where you are working. You know you could niggle away at it.
Yeah get the concrete truck to just drop it up the street and make a little ramp onto something.
With all the juggling of your various responsibilities I am under the understanding that you pretty much just get to skate on Sundays: your ritualistic skate day. Do you do anything else to stay on point during the week? Do you skate your carpet or flatground, or go to a local park or anything or are you pretty much just pick up your board one day still?
Yeah pretty much just that one day. I don’t skate out the front of my house anymore. I don’t know I probably should be practising more.
Oh I don’t think you need it mate.
I would love to but. Sometimes me and Oliver go to a park or something. He was into it for a little while. But now he says it is boring. Probably because I just go off and start skating. “Daddy come back” I want to skate more, but you know you can’t always get what you want.
Well it seems to be working out fine anyway.
I am enjoying it.
2012 is a pretty young year, have you got any plans for the rest of the year or are you just going to take it as it comes.
I am pretty much just aiming to film another video part. That is kind of my goal. I just want to work as hard as possible at getting another video part out this year.
And what is it that you love about filming? I enjoy filming as well and it is definitely not that I love watching myself skate after I have filmed a line or a trick or whatever. What is it that you like about the whole process? Is it the challenge or seeing the finished product… what is it?
I don’t know, I haven’t really thought about it. I think it is just that you get to see what you have done; it brings back memories from when you were trying the trick and what not. I don’t know it is pretty cool to film a whole video part and get people to watch it and see what happens. Whether they are into it or not. When you do watch it back you remember everything that came with that day.
For instance you remember how you tripped over a dog, when you were trying to get your run up for that trick.
I just think of it as like memories. You got that trick that day but they don’t know what else happened. You know but they don’t. It is cool. I like it.
I think we have got enough now bro I am going to turn off this recorder. Rule on tiger.