We’re very hyped to share with you Maybe Hardware’s latest video offering ‘Daisy’ named after Joe Gavin’s firstborn. Joe put this video together whilst juggling dad life, filming various video parts, shooting skate photos, producing artwork, working for NOTE and running his own bolt company. Joe’s ever productive nature never ceases to amaze us. Appreciate an interview with the man himself conducted by Jono Coote and watch this new visual treat from Maybe Hardware below.
The video features the likes of Jay Stone, Ricky Davidson, James Bush, Harry Lintell, Shaun Currie, Seb Batty, Jiri Bulin, Sam Bottenberg, Dom Henry, Jak Pietryga, Charlie O’Donnell, Ben Grove, Phoenix Luke, Chris Maddox, Ian Williams, Ben Peel, Reuben Horvath, Jeremy Jones, Neil Worthington, Keanu Robson, Damo, Lewis Threadgold, Nev, Kizzy Yuill, Marcus Craven, John Bell, Sue, Shinpad, Nick Stansfield and many more. Original music and sound design by Lone Apostrophe. Filmed by Joe Gavin, Sean Lomax and edited by Joe Gavin. Enjoy!
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Where ideas of ‘brand’ and ‘creative outlet’ meet, the lines between capitalism and culture become blurred. Are skateboarders constantly wrestling with a cultural paranoia that everything they create is, to a greater or lesser extent, an advertisement? Or is it closer to the truth to say that the better projects transcend the squalid confines of late capitalism to become artistic outlets in their own right? Using Maybe Hardware as a case study definitely has me leaning towards the latter; the sale of hardware being merely a vehicle for the showcasing of Joe Gavin’s creative vision. A nuts and bolts company that also puts out zines, videos and clothing, as well as such tools for navigating the urban environment as drain cover openers and hi-vis vests, is something which I heavily back (a little Wu-worship doesn’t hurt either). To coincide with the release of their new video Daisy, I caught up with Joe to talk plazas, Damo, navigating the borders of Berra Town, Ol’ Dirty Bastard and, of course, all things next level bolts…
What was the impetus to start Maybe, and how did the squad come together?
I guess I wanted to start something that was kind of a combination of my artwork, photography and video output. Kind of a platform for my brain that’s not owned by someone else, something I had complete control of but kind of small so I could just build it up as and when I have time. Also, I was seeing literally hundreds of board companies come out and felt like that is just way harder to make work and keep consistent. Hardware is something literally every skateboard needs and at the time there weren’t really any UK hardware brands, so I wanted to make something skate shops actually need and sell everyday.
As for the squad, that was pretty easy to be honest, As we just sell hardware and a few bits of clothing I could ask anyone to ride for it and it wouldn’t be like I was poaching anyone. So yeah, I’ve just got all my mates on it really. It’s more like a crew I suppose.
Yeah, because ‘Maybe Hardware’ is sort of a misnomer, right? Zines, clothing, videos, it covers a lot more… ‘Maybe Multimedia Empire’ might be a more accurate description. Focusing on the zines firstly, what made you want to release regular zines under the Maybe umbrella? Do they coincide with the edits you release, or have their own schedule? Most importantly, who is Sue?
Haha yeah I suppose, but like I said it’s just a place for all my stuff to kinda be under one roof, while also actually providing a product that people need. As for the zine, that just started because I wanted something for people to hold and keep when they ordered bits. The first few were more like mini catalogues that dropped with the clothing, now it’s grown into an actual little zine. I’ve been shooting a lot more photos as well, so it’s just a little mag for the scene really. Sue is a lady that gets about in Manchester with her dog Titi, telling people off, but once we started engaging with her and asking how she’s doing and stuff she loved us. She’s definitely part of the squad for sure. Big up Sue.
This interview coincides with the release of your new video Daisy, which is named after your daughter. How are you finding balancing dad life with filming Maybe edits, working in NOTE and going out filming stuff for The National? Was the title a roundabout way of doing an ODB at the Source Awards and making sure we know that Maybe is for the children?
Haha yeah, full on ODB move. Buy stuff so I can feed my child haha. I guess I was trying to think of names for it and Daisy just made sense, plus one day she might see it and be stoked. She completely changed my life and sort of changed my outlook on skating a bit. I was pretty intense for years, just trying to do as much as possible. I think that was just pressure I put on myself, but she’s made me realise that all I need is to just skate a ledge for a bit and be stoked that I can actually skate at all.
Becoming a dad has been amazing, I thought I knew what being tired was before but I had no idea. I’m generally knackered so fitting everything in has been hard, but my girlfriend is amazing and she knows when I need to just go skate. Also when I’m out skating then I’m skating way more in a way, so it’s been really productive in that sense. Gone are the days of sitting about after the sesh chatting shit drinking beers all night. My friend Mike who films on a VX just had a kid around the same time, so we’ve been working on a little side project – “I’ve got two hours,” okay let’s get it in. Filming for The National is a bit harder as it’s tough to travel anymore, but I’ve been slowly working on that too. As for Maybe, I just try and fit it in when I can but it’s pretty low key so there’s not loads to do. Like I said, it’s my company so I don’t have any pressure to do stuff. If it takes me a year to make another video and a zine that’s fine.
I guess parenthood adds a whole different perspective to the idea of creativity, in a way? Your time is so taken up by looking after another human in general that you really have to maximise the free time you get… or maybe I’m chatting shite, I can fully imagine I’d want to just sit quietly in a corner with a pint. Anyway, I definitely sense a US East Coast influence in the camo and graffiti which reappear in your output – enough that it almost goes without saying – is that accurate? What else inspires you when you’re doing all this?
Yeah for sure – I’ve always been pretty obsessed with classic era skating, hip hop and graffiti and I suppose that kind of comes across within our aesthetic. One thing I said from the start though, I’m trying my hardest to not do rip off graphics and stuff, like just redoing old graphics from the 90’s or whatever.
As far as inspiration I’m a fan of detail, I find it hard keeping things simple and clean. I loved old ads like the ones Zoo York and Alien Workshop did, where there was loads to look at visually. Some people say less is more and I agree in some ways, but as a kid I loved staring at an ad or a video and taking in all the bits in between the clips, or reading all the mad shit around a Toy Machine ad or whatever. I think especially in this age where everyone’s attention span is fucked, maybe less isn’t more, it’s less haha. I guess I’ve been inspired by people like Dan Magee or Joe Castrucci for just adding those little bits that fly by. Big up Vague too, I think what you guys do is rad. I always pick up the mag again and find things I didn’t see the first time. That’s kind of the goal. I think that’s sort of old in a way though. A lot of edits these days are really simple, just a small title and then super simple edit – which is rad, but I generally don’t go back and watch again in most cases.
On the subject of putting together edits, how did the soundtrack by Lone Apostrophe come about? He’s a skater, right?
Yeah, I’ve known him for years and over lockdown he was making so many beats everyday. I just thought it would be rad to get him involved, so I asked him to do me a ten minute mix with little sound bites in. He literally sent it to me about two days later! He also saved a child from drowning around the same time, total legend.
No way, what a beast. So with regards to Maybe’s aesthetic and where it fits with previous work you’ve done, what common thread would you say connects Maybe to your independent videos and to work you’ve done for NOTE?
I suppose Damo is the link, he’s the glue that fits it all together. He makes it all make sense, if you know what I mean…
We’ve got through this interview so far without mentioning hardware itself. A little while ago you did the ‘keys to the city’ tool, which was definitely for setting up skateboards and nothing else. Have you ever thought about other spot fixing tools, something like Max Couling and Neihana Tonkin’s polyfilla company for fixing cracks, or crowbars for skatestoppers?
Wow they did a crack fixing company? That’s sick. I’m pretty sure Max Couling ordered one of the keys to the city tools actually. I definitely sent one to Australia, I’m pretty sure it was him. That one went well, people seemed to like it and I’d love to do more stuff like that. I get a lot of use out of the hi vis too, we just built a ledge the other day in them and looked well legit. I’m down for things like that for sure. I’m not sure about making a crow bar though, that’s basically a gnarly weapon. Maybe an extendable angle iron that has a kind of temporary way of attaching to things, but I suppose that could be verging on Berra tactics.
One of the philosophical questions at skateboarding’s core; at what point does spot fixing go too far into Berra territory? I reckon within ten years that’ll be someone’s PhD thesis.
Haha yeah, people can get pretty deep on that. I reckon it’s pretty simple – if you’re making spots that’s sick and for everyone to enjoy, but when you try and hide it with fake bricks and street signs and shit? That’s a bit mad to put in your video part if you’re a pro for a big US company to the point where you’re making loads of cash just to skate. Instead of paying to make the spot look legit, pay for a ticket to Barca or somewhere banging. But I don’t really give a shit to be honest, it’s well fun making stuff.
What state is Urbis in now – entirely done for? It’s probably the first spot to come to people’s mind (at least in the post-Gasworks era) when Manchester gets mentioned but, as this is a Maybe and not a Manchester interview and bolts know no borders, what are some of your favourite plaza spots across the country, or even worldwide?
Urbis is just completely skate stopped so there’s not much going on there these days. I’ve seen a few of the younger guys skating it still recently which is sick. There’s still a few options there but it’s kind of hard skating a place that’s half of what it was, especially as I spent so much time there when it was in its prime – it’s pretty devastating really.
I reckon in all honesty Stockport ledges is probably one of the best ledge spots in the UK. They’re quite high so you really have to try, but it’s just perfect. It’s nice, there’s trees and grass so it’s pretty mellow. I suppose if you’re saying worldwide, I really enjoy Sants but it would probably be MACBA just because of the floor. I think open springy flat ground is the best thing to skate, it’s hard to find in the UK.
If you could do a collab with any one of the Wu Tang, who would it be?
Hmm maybe we could do a U-God pro kingpin? I’m a big fan of Czarface, I love that whole comic strip villain thing they’ve got going so an Inspecta Deck / Czarface T with a video would be dope! But yeah, I’m not sure if that will happen haha.
What’s next on the cards for Maybe Hardware if that doesn’t materialise?
I guess just keep it going and make more zines and videos, obviously it would be sick to get it into more shops and build it up but as anyone who’s ever started anything knows it’s just about staying relevant and contributing to the scene – so just more fun stuff basically. If anyone is down to support that would be rad, hit me up – email@example.com, or send us a DM @maybehardware.
Also massive thanks to all the shops that have reached out or anyone that supports, it means a lot. Maybe Hardware is for the children!
Maybe Hardware – Daisy
CHRIS BARRETT FOREVER