Oh sweet nothing…
School is out for summer and your parents are gone on vacation – Life couldn't be any better, can it? Maybe it could? How about you're not even going to school and living in your buddies' basement and just finished a skate-video-project that you've been working hard on for more than two years? Even better!? Despite all the freedom, we managed to track him down and ask him a few questions on life after a deadline and future plans. Lem Villemin, the boy with the magic feet.
The adidas video “Diagonal is finished. All the pressure is taken off you. Are you enjoying your regained free time? After the video was finished I didn't do anything for a month now. No Contests, no filming missions. But after that month things are going to pick up again. There will be the premier here in Stuttgart, then five days in Barcelona and a premiere there, then the Adidas Clash in Berlin. I'll stay there for a bit too, because Dennis (Busenitz) is coming as well to shoot an interview or so. My toe is a bit fucked still, too.
What happened? I think I tore my subcapsular, I didn't see a doctor, though.
And now you are spending your time chilling and playing Playstation? Torsten (Frank, Adidas filmer) told me you are heavily into guitar hero. Yeah, true. I just bought that a few days ago. That's the shit. My friends and me made a band and now we're playing all day. But I also spend a lot of time with my girlfriend. We went to the zoo on Sunday, the first normal thing I've done in a long time!
…after all the skate-stress. But I guess you served up a sick part for “Diagonal". How pleased are you with your section? It could always be better I guess, but I hope what I have is okay. I can't really say, but I have a good feeling. I want to wait though to see other people's opinions on it. For now, maybe two people have seen the whole video…
You haven't watched it yet? No I haven't – Torsten would have never showed it to me. But I wouldn't have wanted to watch it anyway I think. I've just watched my part…
So how is it with all the pressure off you're back? Or is it gone at all? Well, it is a relief for sure. We have been working on this (video) for more than two years, so it is nice to finally wrap it up and close this chapter. But then the next thing is gonna come and I have to look ahead…
Pro-answer! What are your next plans then? Maybe a Chocolate video? I don't really know. First I have to go to the States. Looks like that's the priority – my next mission.
With the chocolate guys? I just have to be in L.A., be with the guys. Go around with them like on a skate trip and try to get things done there.
Without having any special project to work for? Yeah. I just want to try to be a bit down with those guys. I already know a few of those guys. But it is all a bit difficult there. You need a car for everything you want to do – I don't have a driver's license and thus I always have to rely on other people. I hope I'll have one soon…
Maybe you can get it while you're over there. How long do you plan on stying? Do you know yet? Well, I'm not really sure. I thought I'd stay for two months, but people tell me… well, Jascha (Muller, Adidas TM) tells me I should stay for three months. I can't make it that long , though, three months in L.A.!
Do you have a Visa at all? Or maybe you don't want to have one. I just read somewhere that you always had trouble with Visa issues. Without a Visa you cannot stay longer whatsoever. Indeed I have had one for like two years. It is good for ten years, so I won't have trouble for now. That means theoretically I could stay for three months.
But you don't really want to do that. The States aren't really your thing? I don't know.
How many times have you been there? Three or four times.
Always for short visits or did you stay for a while? Always more than a month. And somehow it was fucked every time I went – Sorry to say that.
Really?!? There were always moments when things were super fun and everything went well, but towards the end of the trip it always sucked really hard in L.A. I've never really got used to L.A. – you're in the car all day, you can't really skate anywhere, the only thing that you can in fact skate is “the Berrics" which is the bomb, but even there you go insane after a while. On the other hand you want to go home, you don't have anymore clean clothes, your body is hurting…
Have you been to San Francisco? Yes.
Well, I don't know how it is today, but back when I was there I really liked it. I even felt reminded of how the Stuttgart-scene used to be like back in the day. Did you like it better there? Yes, in San Francisco I felt much better because I knew some people there and more importantly, I know them better. I know Dennis (Busenitz), Matt Irvine and all the guys from Juice who are doing the designs for adidas. Jascha is always in communication with them so I get to know those guys too a bit. That's why I have some kind of skate-family there – a familiar environment. In L.A. I don't have anyone…
How did things go about with Chocolate at all? You were even riding for Plan B before that for a bit right? I think that came through Bryce Kanights, but I don't want to say anything wrong here, you would have to ask Jascha. He asked me “Lem, do you want to ride for Chocolate?" and I replied “Yeah cool, why not…"(laughs)
Haha, oh man… boy, oh boy… Hey sorry, I just woke up… I don't really know what to tell you – I've been trying to shirk doing this interview for the last few days…
Haha, I could tell… Did you turn your phone off or was it really broke? Nah, I think my antenna is broke or something.
…so that means it was something in between? Shit, I bought an iphone recently and the thing isn't even working properly.
An iphone that's not working properly? Well it is working… at least it did, but now it doesn't anymore…
Awesome! But where were we? Chocolate and Jascha who had sealed all the deals? Yep. No, it wasn't all Jascha pulling the strings. In fact I know those dudes and I talk to Sam Smyth (Girl/Chocolate TM) on the phone to order my boxes and so on. I'm in contact with those guys.
From the outside those dudes always seem really cool, but I'm sure it is a rather tight family where you can't just walk in and say “Here I am". I guess you have to earn your status. For sure. What kids today don't understand is that you can't just ride for some company. The companies want to see a certain loyalty first and want to make sure you fit. You cannot just buy a team, it should really all be homies (…) because with guys like that, you know they are going to do a good job (and are not only in for the money). They are not going to allow you into their family just because you skate well. Just skating good just isn't enough anymore these days.
And I guess it is cool that way. At least there is a bit of personality left in it. Yeah I think so too. It would be terrible if all of life would just be about business.
Back to “the Berrics". You delivered a really sick “bangin'" section there recently in a really short time. How come you weren't in their game of S.K.A.T.E.? Were they too afraid to let you in? I don't really know. Probably because I wasn't in L.A.
And will you be there for the next one? If I asked Steve (Berra, maker of the Berrics), he would probably say it isn't a problem. But then again, I don't know if I'll be in town then and don't want to count myself in on that. In the end I might be really over being in L.A. On top of all that I would be much too nervous.
How is it skating with those guys at “the Berrics"? Weren't they all some kind of heroes for you at some point? Yeah, for sure they were all some kind of heroes. Those are the dudes whose skating I really enjoy watching. It is an awkward feeling skating alongside with them at “the Berrics" all of a sudden. I wouldn't say you get used to it, but you have to make it work somehow and keep your cool, because it is just outrageous if you think about the fact that you're skating together with these guys in their private skate-park.
…after all they are just human, though. Yes, normal human beings that try to do their job… (…) They just go there day in day out.
And what is your daily routine like? At the moment I'm a bit caught in laziness. To be honest, I don't do much except skating. I may clean the house, but that's about it. Anything else I don't give a shit about. Well, maybe not so drastic, but I keep thinking: “fuck, why should I be doing this?!" Honestly, I don't know what to do with myself (except skating). I never did a thing for school, never did my homework, just went skating.
Skateboard-University… Take today – the weather is damn nice outside and I'm sleeping all day and then I wonder “What could I do with this day?" – “Well, I go for a skate!"
Doesn't skating lose a bit of it's fascination that way? No, not at all. I still love skating like on the first day. Skating is the shit, I couldn't live without it. Even on days where I'm not in the mood for it at all, I still go and then it is cool.
How long are you already on this kind of lifestyle of skating and laziness? Since about one and a half years?!
I'm sure at some point, your going to get bored of chilling and will start wanting to do things again. Well, I have to say for now it is pretty exciting and pretty cool.
Yeah?! Even if it is bugging me at times being away so much, it is a really fun way of life.
…yeah, because you get everything carried for you (haha)! Yeah, without Jascha this whole interview would have never happened. But I'm getting better a bit. Jascha is moving out too, he's going to Barcelona. Then I won't have a Jascha by my side, who helps me out with things.
Oh my god, what then?!? Then I'll have to take care of things myself.
Do you think it is going to work (haha)? Hmm, naw! (haha) No, seriously, it will be alright. Even through rougher times, I've always managed to make my way through.
Well, with Jascha and Torsten you've always had a couple of good lads looking after you. A mix of older brother and dad. Yes, but the fact that I'm still working on projects with them was never planed, it all just fell into place and that is the bomb. Torsten is my favourite filmer. On tours I never hesitate to share a room with him because I know he is always down for some trouble making as well as some deep discussion or stories of old (Münster-Monster-) Masterships and Nu Heinzel.
Are you then also talking about how it is to be called arrogant a lot? Because I guess that is something you get to hear quite a bit. How do you deal with that? Yes, especially back when I was riding for Titus, I got to hear that heaps and it gave me a hard time and I asked myself “What's up with these people?!" Realistically I didn't do anything. Today it doesn't phase me much anymore. I know people talk more good about me than bad and as long as I'm sure I didn't fuck with anyone and didn't act arrogant towards anyone, why should I listen?! For sure there must have been days where I wasn't in a good mood or didn't act right and it might have seemed arrogant but I know I'm not an arrogant guy.
You mean the balance has to be correct…? Yes.
Well, I think the balance for this interview is about right too. Thanks a lot, Lem. Thank you. I think I'm gonna go get a coffee now.
Good, I'll go finfish my pizza…