Ben Gore / Conversation

Autoportrait: Ben Gore

Interview: Charles Paratte

"At this point in my life I want to be hyped on what I’m doing, and being with your friends is a big part of that, for me."

 Ben Gore

Lately, when discussing about various new edits, one thing keeps popping up in the conversation: “I’ve seen a really nice clip yesterday, don’t remember anything about it but Ben Gore had good stuffs in there…”
Ben never goes unnoticed, even in the over flooded world of digital skateboarding… And that would be a good reason to want him on your team, but it seems his recent switch to a France based brand goes a little deeper than that, on both sides. Magenta announcing –not so surprisingly– Ben Gore as a member of the movement seems like a great time to poke mister Gore’s brain a little…

What your best memories of being a local young skater in Pompano Beach, Florida?
Taking the train to Miami with all my friends on the weekend, to skate Downtown Miami.

How did you actually start skateboarding?
One my friends had a board and whenever we would have a hurricane or strong winds come through Florida, we used to take our bed sheets into the street and use them as a sail while standing on the board, and just cruise down the street.

You have filmed a lot with Josh Stewart, what is particular working with him?
It’s good, man. He knows how to put videos together really well. During the filming for the MIA video, we were pretty much both on the same page. Trying to find new interesting spots, looking for the right music that fit the video and just having a good flat ground session here and there. Working on projects with your friends is the only way make things come together properly.

Do you think he had a major role for the Florida scene, as well as the East Coast one, in general?
Of course. He was definitely one of the original guys filming in Florida. He was filming all the people that I grew up watching: Joel Meinholz, Ed Selego, Chris Williams, and so many more. Josh has done a lot for Florida and the whole East Coast skate community. I remember going to check this spot out years ago when I was just a little guy and I saw Josh filming Jimmy Lannon nollie flip the famous white four block in Miami. A few months later, that nollie flip was a 411 opener. Nobody knew who Jimmy Lannon was at the time and now, look at him, he’s one of the most gangsta mutha fuckas out there!

Joel Meinholz seems to be a major inspiration for many skaters coming from Florida, and others too. Can you tell a few words about him?
I think Joel is an inspiration to anybody that has seen him skate in person, not just Floridians. He gives it 110% every time he’s out skating. He gets you super motivated to make shit happen but scares you half to death, at the same time.

What was your feeling when you met Jason Lee for the first time, during your Stereo days?
It’s always cool to meet someone that influenced you as a skateboarder, but I didn’t shit my pants or anything. It’s just different now, I felt like I was meeting an actor, not a skateboarder. I don’t mean it in a bad way; I just think if I met him in the 90’s, I probably would of felt more star struck. I don’t really feel like I’ve met somebody properly until I’ve actually skated with him or her. Being on your board brings out your true personality.

How did you start getting interested in photography?
I first started shooting with a Polaroid camera and, after a year, I remember looking at all the photos I had shot and, then, all those memories came back to me. The places I’ve been and the people I have become friends with is something I want to be able to look back on.

What kind of camera do you use?
I have a few different cameras that I use regularly, but I probably use my Leica M6 the most.

What inspires you?
All my friends, pushing down the street, San Francisco, GX1000, all forms of photography, traveling, music, KK café, oh yeah, and all my friends.

Are you militant about film photography? What would you say to a kid, getting in photography with a digital camera, to explain a particular feeling with film photography?
It’s just what I’m into. Everything you do should give you some type of emotion and using film does that for me. The feeling of developing your own film, taking them to the darkroom and bringing them back to life is something that words can’t express. So, I guess that’s what I would try and explain to the kid. Some would understand and a majority probably would not…

You actually had some photos in an exhibition in San Francisco, showing your ties with the Magenta heads long before joining the team. How did you meet the guys?
I actually met Soy years ago in Miami, while he was filming for Static 3, but this was before Magenta was around. I think I really became close with all those guys when Leo Valls started spending a lot of time in San Francisco.

Leo stated in an interview that the best way to stop down a SF hill, in case of danger, was: "backside powerslide with your legs jointed". Can you confirm that this is totally not recommended, and could you give us a proper tip?
I don’t completely disagree. I just think everybody goes about this situation differently… One thing to just keep in mind: it’s better to slip back then to fly forward.

What do you think about the skateboard industry in 2013?
At the moment, the skate industry as a whole is pretty terrible but there’s always going to be a select few companies and skaters that are doing cool things so, with that being said, I just try and pay attention to those people. I just stay focused on what I believe skateboarding really is.

Is there a dark side of skateboarding?
Close-minded people. People that are not willing to accept that everybody is different and feel they have to follow the mainstream formula.

What is the bright side of skateboarding, then?
Not giving a fuck. When you’re skating, you’re skating. That’s it.

Even if it seems like an obvious choice, now, what made you decide to join Magenta?
Friendship. At this point in my life I want to be hyped on what I’m doing, and being with your friends is a big part of that, for me.

How do you think the brand is perceived in the United States?
I think there’s definitely a good following out here. There’s always room for growth, but you can say that about anything. It doesn’t matter where you’re at; everybody is entitled to their own opinion. There’s always going to be haters out there, but to live your life worrying about them is a path we choose not to take.

What is it, apart from friendship, which makes you like their project?
Magenta is doing something different from everybody else but, at the same time, it’s something everybody can relate to. Showing people that there is something else out there, opening peoples minds and letting them know it’s OK to be creative and do something different.

Describe each team member in one sentence…
Jimmy Lannon: boogie jiving rap is life where I’m from.
Soy Panday: food for thoughts, so get a buffet plate.
Leo Valls: brewing funk inside my soul kitchen.
Vivien Feil: we twist, exist, to spin maddest hits.
Zach Lyons: I’m interplanetary, my insect movements vary.
Koichiro Uehara: It’s that hip-hop rockers jazz when I max.

How long have you been living in San Francisco now?
I kinda lost track after three years, but I think it’s been about six years.

You’re regularly having a bunch of good footage in different SF clips. Despite that, you managed to keep footage for a full solo part?
Yeah, I had been slowly saving footage. It’s just important to me to be a part of something with all the friends that I hang out with.

About all those brilliant apparitions in web clips that, unfortunately, are forgotten in the following few days, isn’t it frustrating to you?
Of course, I get bummed a little bit about it but I’ve been trying to think about it differently lately… It’s just another reason to be out skating more. Having a fresh start isn’t always that bad. There’s also another way to think about it… The majority of shit that comes out each day is instantly forgotten but there are things that instantly become tattooed in your brain… That ill shit. So going out and striving for that also gets me motivated and makes me realize that not everything is forgotten.

Many skaters have been asked how is SF, what would you say about the city that we don’t know yet?
It’s the city of dreams. A place you come to be happy. When I die I want to go to San Francisco.

Even if your career is far for being over, do you think about a job you could get in the future?
For now, I’m just trying to live in the moment. Thinking about the future kinda scares me. No matter what ends up happening, I’m still going to have a skateboard under my feet.

As you can tell here, Ben is far from having to worry about a 9 to 5:


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