Supra invited us out to Paris to join their WE ARE SUPRA European tour. We managed to grab some time with Spencer Hamilton to discuss yoga, conspiracy theories, Canadian skateboarding and more.
How’s the tour going so far? Having a good time?
Yeah it’s super fun.
Where have you been so far?
We went to Lisbon first, then we drove to Porto, from there we flew to Brussels and took the train to Paris. It’s been a nice mix of traveling.
Europe’s good for that. How are the new guys, Windsor James & Clint Walker, settling in?
It’s awesome. I’ve known Windsor from before so it was a pleasant surprise to have him. Clint I’d never met, but I heard he was getting on, we just went on a Pacific Northwest trip with him, he’s fucking awesome.
Seems like a lot of people on the internet have decided that they don’t like him…
Which is funny because I don’t really submerge myself into all that kind of stuff but I do remember hearing something like that. Since meeting him, and I guess it’s similar with Lizard too, some people just can’t stand him, but being around them both is awesome. They’re never bummed out, they don’t do anything wack, they’re fun loving, always down for shit and rip at skating - they fit all my requirements!
How does yoga help with skateboarding? Is it something you do with skateboarding in mind?
I do it for life in general, but also for skating yeah. I think at this point anything I can do that will help me skate a little better, more consistently and on a regular basis, I’ll do it. It seems to be helping! Being a skater there’s always the guys that say ‘you should try yoga’, ‘have you tried yoga?’, ‘you got to try yoga!’ - for ten fucking years I heard that and never tried it. A friend of mine has a studio in Vancouver and once I broke the ice I realised it was something I should be doing a whole lot more. I had this mental block of not wanting to go into some room and stretch with a bunch of people when I could just be at home stretching, but you never really do an hour and halves worth of stretching when you’re at home because you’ve got a million and one things to distract you. I fell in love with it after the first class, I was like ‘this is the shit’. I don’t like going to the gym by myself because it’s boring as shit, but at least in a class you’re with people and everybody is feeding off each other’s energy or you’re just submerged in stretching and breathing.
"there is definitely a lot of shit on the internet that is more beneficial for you to ignore."
How did you first get into conspiracy theories?
I think 9/11. At this point in my life, not to say I have abandoned that train of thought, but to a certain extent you grow up and start reading a little bit more. With a lot of that stuff there’s a confirmation bias where you begin to pick evidence to support a point of view you’ve decided on in advance, as opposed to looking at all the evidence. Without getting into specifics of certain theories or events, I think as you get older you grow up and start to realise there is definitely a lot of shit on the internet that is more beneficial for you to ignore.
Did you listen to the Bobby Puleo Tim O’Connor show, talking about all his conspiracy theories?
No, I’d love to know though!
I’d recommend it, it’s pretty interesting
I think people should be looking for the truth regardless of where that takes you, it should be paramount to finding what is actually going on. Sometimes you just can’t know, there’s two sides to every story and they can both be controversial or untrustworthy, what are you going to do? It’s cool when you’re young because you’re expanding your horizons and reaching out to ideas that maybe weren’t accessible before, so it’s very enticing.
Is there a fun conspiracy theory you still like to believe? For example in the U.K there’s a theory that MI5 funded a lot of 90’s British pop culture, people like Damien Hirst etc.
See those types of things are interesting, is the government known for doing things like that? I don’t know if you’ve seen Hypernormalisation?
I have yeah.
Stuff like that where governments are funding both sides of a debate and nobody can trust anything coming out of a government anymore because they’re funding all these various different things. Would it be that crazy? Is it possible, 100%. It is pretty nefarious when you think about it like that. I don’t know if there’s one funny one, honestly I haven’t given conspiracy theories much thought in a long time.
I based this interview somewhat off a blurb I was sent which mentioned you were into them (laughs).
It’s fucking terrible that I’ve become some conspiracy guy. It’s one of those things where you talk to someone in an interview, they ask one question and then you’re the conspiracy theory guy!
We’ll debunk that conspiracy theory with this interview then…
I’d definitely appreciate that.
We’ll move on now then. Canada has always had big names in skateboarding, it seems more recently that companies such as Dime and Alltimers have given Canadian skateboarding more of a platform. Is that something that’s helped you?
I was fortunate to get on companies in the States and travel to the States at a young age. Which doesn’t quite get to your point, but Canada has always had this thing where the whole point of Canada was to make it in the States. If you go to the States when you’re younger and get on American brands, you’ll do well. On that note, Alltimers is kind of half from Canada and half from New York. One of the owners being from Canada and the other from New York, they’re based in New York, so you have a Toronto and Montreal connection. The skaters can to go to New York all the time and skate that kind of breaks the barrier, or blurs it anyway, which is cool because it transcends all that bullshit.
With Dime these are all kids I skated with - I’m from Ottawa two hours from Montreal, so I grew up skating with them through visiting Montreal for contests and to skate street. They always had their own thing with their magazine, Expose, they’d be in the other Canadian mags too but they had their own thing. It was almost like they were on the back burner of the industry within Canada as they had their own place and whatnot. I feel like now they’ve blossomed into the coolest thing and something that everyone wants to be a part of.
"As far as skaters coming up, Etienne Gagne is the sickest, he’s the new truth."
It’s funny how their in-jokes have become the trends.
They’re the most passionate people - kick it, drink, skate all the fucking time. And bowl. I wish I went to Montreal more often because they’re so fun to hang out with. Montreal is a fun place to be; the spots are sick, the nightlife is sick, people are friendly, it kinda feels like Europe.
Outside of the Alltimers and Dime crews, are there any guys who deserve a bit more shine?
My homie Johnny Purcell is staying here in Paris right now for school, he’s from Halifax but lived in Montreal for a bit - he’s fucking sick, super good at skating. Studio is a company that J Ball from Montreal started - they got Brian Wherry, Wade Fyfe, Andrew McGraw - that whole circle is cool. When you’re younger you intermingle a bit, but now we’re older it’s a mash up of all the homies in Canada. Every once in a while, like for the Dime contest, everyone gets together and everywhere you look its people you’ve known for so long, it’s great. As far as skaters coming up, ET (Etienne Gagne) is the sickest, he’s the new truth.
What are your plans now? What are you working on?
I’m working on a shoe for Supra, that comes out in Fall 2018.
Is that a colourway or your own shoe?
I’m getting my own shoe. It’s a different shoe than I’d normally skate as it has a cup sole and laces. It looks clean as fuck - I’m excited, it skates really good. I’ll definitely be putting out a part for that. Also there’s this Grand Collection company I’m a part of. I am going to try and do a VX thing for that too, it’s good to have two projects going on at the same time. I was hurt for a couple of years with back problems, now I can skate consistently I just love it, I’m falling in love all over again. All I want to do is skate so I am looking forward to a nice year of just skating all the time.
Fingers crossed injury free…
I figured out my back problem was because of some arthritis shit. I thought it was a structural problem with my back, or from jumping and falling too many times, but it turned out from a blood test that it was some rheumatoid problem, a degenerative back disease. I have to take medication now which sucks.
If it helps it helps…
I tried a million and one different natural things with no positive results. It’s Celebrex if you’re looking for it! (laughs)
This back shit was crazy, I’d feel like I was being attacked by a virus. My whole body was constantly inflamed, when I stretched my body would spasm, it would switch sides in my hips and legs, weird patterns. It was a tough two and half years of not knowing what the hell was wrong, and then a blood test discovered it. So now I take these pills, the problem’s there but it’s manageable.
Good to hear it, cheers Spencer. All the best.