Ben Broyd – Issue 25 Interview


Chris Emery released ‘Just Drifting‘, a video featuring brilliant parts from James Woodley, Henry Fox and Ben Broyd, through our friends at The Skateboarder’s Companion last week. The Broyd section featured plenty of his photos from his Vague, Issue 25 interview by Jono Coote, it’s his birthday too so we thought we’d upload it to the web for you to read. Happy Birthday Ben! Appreciate Broyd’s outrageous shapes below then rewatch ‘Just Drifting’ here. Get back issues of Vague and subscriptions here!,

Ben Broyd ~ Photo: Reece Leung

Introduction & Interview by: Jono Coote

Photography by: Reece Leung


I’m sitting here writing this intro to an interview with Ben Broyd, before I’ve done the interview or even put a question to paper (or, more technically, pixels), whilst in the middle of an isolation induced torpor only slightly enlivened by an attempt to listen to Pentangle’s entire back catalogue (plus Bert Jansch’s solo output) in a 48 hour period. These are the kind of mental back alleys your mind can find yourself in without the necessary stimulation afforded by the outdoors and, only five Berts and two Pentangles in, I’m almost finger-picked and folk baroque’d out. I’m three books deep, I’ve taken to wistfully staring out the window at sunsets and V’s of geese flying south for winter like some kind of melancholy art botherer, and I’m actually starting to get bored at the sound of a cracking beer can. 


Ben, however, is one of those people I never imagine getting bored. Just look at his skateboarding – whether he’s doing hand turns in the gnarliest bowls in Europe or riding up walls like the world’s politest Spiderman, the whiff of enjoyment is always there for the snorting, like Linda Hamilton inhaling Brosnan’s bonce like it was going out of style in Dante’s Peak. Him and his Bad Boi Cru labelmates have an innate ability to remind us that skateboarding is essentially pissing about on a plank of wood and their irregular edits are all the more enjoyable for it. 


This extends beyond riding the four wheeled plank, with Bad Boi Cru radio similarly lauding the back alleys of hardcore punk whilst gently poking fun at the same time. I can even picture him during his classical music studies, that most stereotypically po faced of subjects, tooting away on his clarinet with a smile on his face and wondering whether Group Sex by the Circle Jerks could be given a classical arrangement while his tutors delve into the more convoluted depths of music theory.


Anyway, read on for what by the time you have this magazine in your hand will most likely be an interview about stuff me and Ben have talked about via the medium of the internet. In a bit, I’m off to lurk eBay for obscure string instruments. 


PS. Peep the leg contortion at work in these photos. As a naturally stiff skateboarder, I’ve always envied those with loose styles. Ask yourself, do Ben, Dead Dave and Sox all have strong exercise regimes, or have they all entered into some kind of Robert Johnson-esque pact with the devil to stay so fucking tuck kneed?


PPS. Avocet, Moonshine and The Pentangle are still great albums. You might just want to stop at that point. 

Ben Broyd – Ollie One Foot Transfer ~ Photo: Reece Leung

Hi Ben… to start things off, how are you handling the winter blues? It’s been a damp one and until the last couple of dry days skating nothing but wooden parks was starting to get to me.

This winter has definitely been a bit of a tease, it’s been relatively nice and sunny my way but the ground rarely dries enough to skate outside. I’ve never had an issue with indoor parks over the winter really, I’m down for indoor skids most of the year haha. I’m on the train to and from Creation tonight actually. I did set up a designated wet board this year though, with soft wheels for those desperate times in need of some outdoor fun regardless of dryness. I highly recommend it.

Ben Broyd – Bollard Jam Indy ~ Photo: Reece Leung

I was going to ask about Creation later in the interview actually, but that’s probably a fairly good introduction to it – there’s been a few odd clips of you skating the vert there over the last couple of years, how do you find skating vert in comparison to the bowls and miniramps most of us in the UK are more used to? Do you ever visit any other vert ramps, or get in regular sessions on one?

It’s a rush man! I got the vert bug from getting in on a session at the vert at the Freestyle Academy in LAAX, watching Sam Beckett blast and needing to feed off of his energy. I started going semi regularly to the vert nights at Creation and thought last winter was my time to fully upgrade all my moves to the big ramp, but alas Covid had other ideas and indoor skateparks were closed. It’s definitely a lot different to smaller transition, it’s scarier and the slams are worse. Pads allow you to chuck things until you know you’ve got them, but it’s a challenge and the rush of even just a backside air is addictive. I always have the intention of checking out other vert ramps, I’ve been to St Neots once and have been meaning to go down to Spit and Sawdust but it hasn’t happened yet. I often get distracted by skating other things. Probably half the time I go to Creation ready with my pads, I’ll just end up having too much fun in the bowl or mini and the vert gets forgotten about unfortunately, so I’m still yet to get comfortable on it. (Interviewer’s note: His Skateboarder’s Companion cover which he was surprised with in the middle of this interview would beg to differ).

Ben Broyd – Slob Plant ~ Photo: Reece Leung

That was mad timing on that question considering I must have sent it about an hour before you were surprised with the Skateboarder’s Companion cover, congratulations dude! 

Anyway…South London, Sheffield, and now Shrewsbury, via various travels through both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres – how have you found yourself where you are now? Have you got a strange fetish around the letter S?

Yeah, I think you sent the question just after it arrived haha. Cheers, I was very stoked on it.

It’s funny how the letter S follows me about, I grew up in Southfields and also lived in Sofia for three years. It would be nice if St Agnes or St Ives were next. Shelby and I went travelling for a bit after living in Sheffield and ended up staying between our parent’s places after returning to the UK. We were on the verge of moving to Nottingham in early 2020, but then got cold feet and Covid hit so we stayed put at Shelby’s parents’ in Wombourne – which is in South Staffordshire, double S!! We decided on Shrewsbury on a whim really, but Bromley moving there within the same month made the decision much easier. We’re loving it here and are pretty settled into our new Shropshire life.

Ben Broyd – Front Blunt ~ Photo: Reece Leung

Plus you’ve got that sick looking miniramp there. You mentioned returning to the UK, you were away for a couple of years, right? Where exactly did you visit, and how well did skateboarding act as a tool to connect with people out there? I lost track a bit of the places you visited, but was there anywhere where skateboarding felt like a bit of a novelty?

Nah, we only really lasted about six months in total. We spent five months travelling through India, Sri Lanka and Thailand and then came back to go on a month long cycling and camping mission across Belgium and the Netherlands but then I broke my leg skating a shitty metal park in Leerdam. We begrudgingly made our way back to the Hook of Holland to get the ferry back home. I knew I’d done something bad to my leg but didn’t realise it was broken until we got back to the UK and had Kingston A&E confirm the damage.

Ben Broyd -Frontside 180 Fakie Nosegrind Revert To Forwards ~ Photo: Reece Leung

Ben Broyd – Ollie To Frontside Truck Bash ~ Photo: Reece Leung

I haven’t been, but would be stoked to one day! So is there anywhere you haven’t been that you’ve always been tempted by? You’ve been on a couple of Euro missions with Vans, right? How did that hook up originally come about, and are there any trips with them coming up this year? I’ve really liked all Sirus’ edits with the team.

Indonesia looks like paradise to me; so many crazy bowls, surf and amazing food. I’d love to hear gamelan live too! Japan and the Pacific Northwest are also up there on the list. I’m actually not sure how I first got on Vans, I think Kennelly managed to blag some off Manhead for me, but regardless of the beginning they’ve taken good care of me ever since. The Euro missions were a treat, and all of the HOV events too. I got to meet Tony Trujillo and Tony Hawk on the same day at the TNT advance shoe launch, my brain couldn’t handle it. I’ve heard whispers of potential trips this year, but nothing set in stone yet. Hopefully come spring time there might be something in the works. And yes of course, Sirus is a masterful lensman, he’s not afraid to get in there! I really hope we can hang out again sometime soon.

Ben Broyd – Frontside Stalefish ~ Photo: Reece Leung

Mate Indonesia is incredible, it’s hectic skating in Bali at the wrong time of year though – I was skating for 20 minutes before 8am when I was there, then standing under a cold shower for another 20 and still getting out sweating.

Talking of HOV, you’ve always been pretty good at making it to skate jams, comps and events, do you feel like these are almost becoming a lost part of our culture? At least in the UK… Not that they aren’t still there, it just doesn’t quite seem like the countrywide meet up/piss up it used to.

Ah man, Thailand was similar, fully drenched cardiac arrest sessions. It’s mental, the torture you’re willing to put your body through just to scratch the skate itch. It’s probably really good for your skin though haha.

Yeah it feels like the scale of jams and events have faded away a little. I guess Instagram means you don’t need to leave your town to see good skating, as we’re bombarded with content every other minute. I know Covid has shifted people’s headspace and motivation to travel can feel a little daunting, but hopefully this year will bring a change to that. I grew up going to all the events at Baysixty6 – the Christmas Crossfire jams always went off, there were the Nando’s jams and there were always UK and worldwide teams coming through for demos which used to get me and my friends so stoked! I always love a product toss haha. But I guess companies don’t really prioritise tours and demos as much anymore, social media has killed it.

So going back to living near Bromley now, how did you first meet him, and how did you end up joining the crew?

I can’t remember exactly when we first met properly, but it was at Stockwell (obviously). I’m sure we’d been there at the same time without really speaking to each other, I was a pretty quiet kid. My first recollection of us actually speaking and skating together was I think sometime in 2015 (an Instagram post helped me jog my memory), he ended up teaching me backside fastplants on the noping quarter – one of the best quarters in the world!

I went to stay with Rich West a few times to shoot some bits for a Grey piece and he was living with Bromley and his partner Ellie. We got to hang out and get to know each other and ended up really timidly and awkwardly confessing our mutual appreciation for each other’s respective creative output, but were somewhat stumped as I was skating for Death Skateboards at the time. That was a dream in itself, as I’d grown up watching Better than Life and Escape from Boredom religiously. The rest is all a blur… It was a difficult conversation with Zorlac but I have nothing but respect and gratitude for all the years of support and for everything he did for me and does for UK skateboarding! It all worked out in the end, and I couldn’t feel more at home at Blast. The whole team all have their own flavour of creativity and expression but we all share the desire to blast and have fun! 2022 marks ten years of Blast as well, so watch out for all sorts of goodness within the coming months. Bromley’s always got so many projects and ideas in the works, he never stops.

Ben Broyd – Indy Tailbone ~ Photo: Reece Leung

I always feel like Death/Blast/Heroin are pretty intertwined anyway, and it would be sick to have a section from one team in another team’s video, or just the Power Distribution equivalent of 20 Shot Sequence. Blast also released your pro board last year, how was Jack Sach’s artwork chosen for the cover? On top of that you recorded the music for the tape which came alongside the board, and with the bassline which accompanies the clip I’m definitely hearing the influence of SST juggernauts Bl’ast. Was that a conscious decision to make the connection between the two, or am I over analysing?

That’s the sickest idea – or even a Strange Notes equivalent video series. They could be called ‘Power Ballads’ and would need to be accompanied with incredibly powerful tunes. I guess it’s got to be done now! I first came across Jack when he contributed his 3D squiggly interpretation of the Blast mascot to go alongside the launch of the Blast x Playdude mascot toy. When it came to choosing an artist I wanted to work with for the signature series I ended up scouring Instagram for all the illustrators and artists that are about and, after stumbling across his account, knowing he was already a fan of Blast made the decision a lot easier. He’s an incredible 3D illustrator and animator but it was his hand drawn sketchbook works that I was really drawn to. I’m not the greatest at making decisions and honing in on a clear brief for him was a bit of a struggle my end, so we gave him a load of cues of things that I’m into and let him do his thing. We ended up with loads of amazing pieces to choose from. It was such a rad opportunity to be able to be so involved with the whole collection, with Jack getting all twisted with the graphic, Gnosis tweaking the shape and hand spraying my dream wood stain, and Zach coming to film the clip last minute and appeasing my specific trick demand for the edit. And Bromley, of course, working up the whole thing and giving me more options than my brain could handle haha. I couldn’t be more stoked on how the whole thing turned out.


Yes, there was definitely a Bl’ast influence there. On the B-side I did a little Bad Boi Cru radio mix and it opens with a snippet of Bl’ast’s Out of Control, which is also the intro track to one of my favourite skate videos, Santa Cruz’s A Reason for Living. The bassline on my track is referencing that. I wish I’d spent more time on the music as they ended up being more like musical doodles rather than actual structured, thought out pieces, but regardless it was fun to do and it’s pretty cool to have a physical copy to accompany the board. I also forgot to mention that Shelby recorded the music to each individual tape. Our living room was a proper production line for a good few days, cheers Shelb!

Ben Broyd – Fastplant Transfer ~ Photo: Reece Leung

A Reason for Living is great, I think Troops of Tomorrow slightly has the edge for me but both brilliant. Talking of filming clips, you have footage in the latest Wolftown video and you’re currently filming for an independent video with Chris Emery, how did you fall in with him? On top of that, and once your foot recovers, have you got more coming up with Chris, Zach McAdam or others?

Troops of Tomorrow is rad for sure, Eric Dressen’s all terrain destruction in there is so good.

Living near Wolverhampton I got to meet all the Wolftown dudes out skating the local parks and the most excellent Civic Centre. I ended up joining a filming mission that Chris was getting in on with good pals Josh Knott and Nick Binnington in Stafford, as I knew they were planning on hitting some crust. We had a good time, I ended up going on a weekend mission to South Wales with all the mukkas later that year and roomed with Chris – classic skate pal love story really. He’s just wrapping up the next Wolftown full length, so keep an eye out for that, and has got his separate project with Woodley, Gully and me which will be fun to work on! Zach and I are sitting on some sort of part which we’ve been filming on and off since Covid restrictions lifted a bit in summer 2020, I’m hoping it goes to another Panasonic Youth vid but we’ll see. And in the other category, hopefully there’ll be a Blast video this year. The whole team is getting together in the coming weeks to discuss how to create the most Blast-tacular visual experience and I’m pretty sure Ryan Gray is going to be behind the lens for that, which is all very exciting!

Ben Broyd – Frontside Nosebluntslide ~ Photo: Reece Leung

That is! 

So to finish on a musical note (and as I thought it might be cool to have some kind of Bad Boi Spotify playlist to accompany this interview, if you were down and if me, Reece and Guy get our shit together to actually set it up), what artists or genres have been getting you hyped enough recently to recommend to our readers?

I’ve been listening to a load of jazz fusion stuff and prog rock recently. Super cheese, but so powerful and it gets me pretty fired up hearing super talented musicians get hectic regardless of genre. I’ve had Weather Report’s ‘Black Market’ album on repeat while cycling about as well as Lounge Lizards’ ‘Voice of Chunk’, and early 80s King Crimson gets pretty emotionally hectic too. I don’t know if they’re skate hype tunes, but they definitely get me all fidgety and needing to move.

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