With his new DC shoe on the billboards left and right, we thought it would be cool to sit down Evan Smith to talk toe caps, artistry, cosmic synergies and pranks on the world's best skateboarder.
Words: Broadley, Kliewer | Pics: Blabac, Darwen
Evan, how did your shoe come about?
There was a point at DC where things were moving forward. People were moving in, others moving out… DC was down to make it happen. We started throwing around ideas… next thing you know, the shoe popped up out of thin air!
How heavily were you involved in the design process?
Well, we designed the shoe in two meetings. After that it went into sampling and actual manufacturing. So, it actually went pretty quick. Think about it: Only a five hour period of time in total to come up with the idea and put it all together – kind of impressive. I'm really stoked on the team that we have. It was really easy to work: we all brought cool ideas, new ways to use the technology that DC has been working on and concepts to keep a cool skating shoe in the mix. I feel like we got everything that we were looking for.
»Music makes you move, vibrations are everything«
We're seeing a few rubber toe shoes out there. Why should people buy yours?
The difference with other toe cap shoes is, mine is a lot more low brow. The toe cap is there, but it is not as relevant and predominant as in some of the other models. Take the Converse Chuck Taylor for instance – not talking anything bad about it – however, it's just a lot harder to flick a kickflip with a big rubber toe cap. I do like the toe cap trend though, I think they're awesome, they look really, really cool. I'm stoked with what we came up with, I think it's easier to skate than some of the other models. It lasts a long time; and to me that's one of the main goals of toe cap shoes: they last almost twice as long. And that's great when you're a little kid and don't have that much money; also a way of saving resources. I think it's a good shoe.
»Free natured skateboarding – the most expressive thing in the world!«
You've skated to your own music, The Drowning Clowns, a fair bit. Do you see a connection between skating and music making as two art forms?
Definitely. I feel that music has a huge influence on me. When I'm in the van about to go to a spot, if I listen to a good song it gets me really excited. I go out of the van with a different mentality, more juiced. Music makes you move, vibrations are everything.
You've spent a lot of time in Europe, what are some of your favourite places to skate here?
Barcelona probably is the best place to skate. It's just incredible, so many spots, so much good marble, so many cool people and places to hang out. I really liked France as well. I like how it has this mystique to it; the nice boutique style cities – really top notch, chic and cool looking. When you get clips there, it feels special.
What about places to travel outside of skating, just to go kick it?
Secret beaches in Australia. The Cayman Islands. Costa Rica. Those are three awesome locations in the world that have spectacular things that you need to find. If you travel, you should go there.
Is European skateboarding on your radar? Who are some of your favourite skaters from this side of the pond?
My favourite skater from Europe has got to be Madars Apse. Madars is next level. Josef Scott Jatta, he's on the radar; we call him speed demon! He's on some next level skating. And there are tons and tons of other skaters, but I'll leave it at two of the close homies. Mad respect, you'll see them shining!
»Madars and Josef: Mad respect, you'll see them shining!«
You recently started skating in Street League. How have you found the experience? I can't imagine it changing the way you skate much, does it?
Street League was a huge thing for me. I was really reluctant to be involved with it in the first place. But once I found how cool it is to push yourself in a contest environment and be around 2000 people in a stadium as well as a huge film crew and Fox sports and all these cool things… it's really next level to be involved with something of that magnitude. What they've created is huge, it's massive. And to be there, representing skateboarding, means a lot to me. There is a lot of crazy jocky sports mentality out there, but as well there is a huge artistic point of view when it comes to skateboarding; how it looks. And you can really do that in a contest format, live, just like you would at a street spot filming for a video. That's special!
On the other hand fun contests like the recent Dime x Vans comp are on the rise. Do you think they are important?
I definitely think fun contests are important because there is synergy when you get anyone together, for a best trick, for a keg party, for anything; it's making the people attending stoked to be involved with skateboarding. And I love the sporadic nature these events bring out. At mainstream contests everyone is trying to get their trick at that exact moment, but when it comes to having fun with the homies in a contest format, it's free natured skateboarding, the most expressive thing in the world!
»I haven't been messing with Nyjah very much. Gonna see him at Street League again this year. Maybe I'll pull some pranks on him«
What is the last thing you did to mess with Nyjah?
Actually I haven't been messing with him very much. I've just seen him at Street League last year, gonna see him there again this year, which will be exciting. Maybe I'll pull some pranks on him.
You don't travel much with Nyjah? Does he roll with the Element crew?
He rolls on different trips. When it's a main thing, he'll definitely be on. But for the most part we've been doing filming missions, and he films on his own. The funnest experience I've had with Nyjah was at King Of The Road; just doing pranks on him all day, just for fun, aside from the bug. It was next level to have the world's best skateboarder to play with at your fingertips!
»Next level to have the world's best skateboarder to play with at your fingertips!«
What's the latest on the Element video? Given the amount of people on the team it could be the longest skateboard video ever!
Well, how we're setting up and promoting the video will be edits with all the world riders in skating along with us leading up to an eventual video with parts. That will be the full-length pro video and it's gonna come out at the end of the year. And yes, we are a big team. But we're not all gonna have crazy long parts. It's gonna be us skateboarding, which I think is exactly what skateboarding needs. I'm actually really looking forward to what it's going to bring, and it's going to be really artistic as well. It'll be interesting to see it unfold.
Can you tell us about the Save Our Skins project you're involved in?
Yes! My girlfriend Liana Cornell started this company to help with environmental awareness. She works with National Geographics and Green Peace and helps to bring awareness to what they're involved in. She's spreading knowledge of which forrest is being cut down, which animals are endangered and so forth and writing for different magazines in Australia. I'm helping her with posting stuff on instagram and I'm stoked to be involved in that.
Final question: What has been your most cosmic experience?
My most cosmic experience actually had to do with designing this shoe: It was feeling the synergy of all my best friends coming together in one place, I felt life, my girlfriend Liana coming into the picture, feeling I'm maturing and growing up, all coming to me at one point; feeling one, growing into myself. It's a really in-depth thing when you think about it. Life is extremely cosmic.
»Life is extremely cosmic!«