Jamie Anderson on DJing Vs Skateboarding- You Can’t Fake Skateboarding (interview)
“Skateboarding is like an extreme version of DJing with some very similar issues to deal with: How long can you live the fantasy and stay true to yourself and remain sane? But skateboarding is very honest, what you see is what you get. You can’t fake it as a skateboarder.”
Nowadays Berlin-based underground house/ techno pioneer Jamie Anderson started his career in the early 90s in Bristol, pressing up scores of vinyl releases which went on to soundtrack many of the best raves and clubs of the acid house era, both in the UK and beyond.
Coming up alongside the likes of Massive Attack, Tricky and future drum & bass stars such as DJ Krust and Roni Size’s Full Cycle crew, he also shared a teenage passion for skate-boarding, one that developed simultaneously with the underground free party scene as rave first exploded throughout the UK.
“I first got properly into skateboarding in around 1985 when I moved from London to Bristol,” Jamie recalls.
“The culture of skateboarding was very inter-linked there – half-pipes would be set-up at festivals and punk gigs were often held at our local skate-park. I guess it all came hand in hand, skating, graffiti, sound-systems, raves and acid house. It wasn’t uncommon to see a mini-ramp at an illegal rave back then.
“Quite a few skateboarders were also making music and eventually ended up DJing in clubs. DJ Krust, DJ Die and the Full Cycle guys were skaters as were many others from my generation in Bristol at the time.
Even in conversations I’ve had with more than a few techno DJs since, people like Dave Angel, it turns out we were skating at the same spots and ramps in London.”
But while acid house mutated and morphed into today’s global behemoth, skateboarding’s bubble simultaneously burst plunging many of its heroes into poverty, obscurity and chaos (notably skateboarding champion Gator – currently serving life in prison for rape and murder).
Gator’s dreadful tale has recently been immortalized in gripping documentary Stoked- the Rise and Fall of Gator, alongside Christian Hosoi (The Legend Of Skateboarder Christian Hosoi) and many more.
“The story generally portrayed in the recent documentaries is about what happened after the good-times,” Jamie muses, “When people who have had a taste of fame and money had to face their demons.”
“That’s a story with echoes within club culture,” he continues, “I think we have lost a lot more people in the music industry than we are prepared to admit.”
Skrufff: How seriously did you take skateboarding?
Jamie Anderson: “At one point skating was all I thought about, I would hunt down skate-spots ramps and travel with my friends to ride them. Our local park at Dean Lane in Bristol would be so packed on the weekend you had to wait in a queue to have your turn so we would go to London or build our own ramps.
At one point a few of us found an old warehouse full of sheets of plywood and built a private skate-park in there with quarter pipes and snake runs. We would then push each other to go harder and out-do each other – both in style and tricks.”
Skrufff: What’s the best move you’ve ever done?
Your skate style had as much importance as did the moves you pulled. If you looked lame but could pull off a move it didn’t matter so much as when you did something simple that looked really good. My favourite move was called ‘Method Air’, it was relatively easy to pull off but if you get as much air from bowl or ramp as possible then it felt great to do, like flying.”
Skrufff: Did you ever break any bones or have any bad accidents?
Jamie Anderson: “I knocked myself out a couple of times, had constantly purple ripped up shins along with grazes and bruises all over. I used to wear knee-pads if I was intending to do anything really challenging, and learnt how to fall on them. Once you learn to fall you save yourself from breaking bones, I was also very lucky! “
Skrufff: When did you stop?
Jamie Anderson: “I think I eventually stopped because I was becoming so busy with music, it effectively took over and I had to make a choice. Also skating hurt a lot, when you get older and taller it really gets hard to pick yourself back up and give it another go. It’s not like I ever decided to stop but it faded.”
Skrufff: Do you still skate now at all?
Jamie Anderson: “I actually brought a board to Berlin and skated once last year for the first time in years, but I gave it to my step-son to get around the city and someone ran off with it at a U-Bahn.”
Skrufff: What’s coming out next with your music?
Jamie Anderson: “I have a new EP with Owain K coming out on Dessous on 27th September, plus several more releases that I’m currently working on finishing. Out now is a collaboration with my studio partner Florian Meindl plus my remix of Dave Nash on Tulipa Recordings and a record I made with Roberto that came out recently which has been doing well.”