Manual Magazine

Stickers Collection: Luke Browne Interview

Posted by manualmagazine on Tuesday February 14 2017

Interview: Luke Browne

LB, Mic, Mike, Stick, Stickers, Ickers, Mike and Ike, Luke Browne. Whatever you want to call him, Luke is some sort of modern day renaissance man; shooting photos better than most other skate photographers, filming better than other filmers, skating better than the dudes he films and photographs, running businesses, designing shit. He does it all while looking like he’s up to fuck all. His skating reflects his lifestyle: effortless and unpredictable. He’s got all the tech ledge moves, weird Leo Valls-esque flatground game and skates ramps like a madman. He’s been making things happen in the background in New Zealand for years, and it’s about time he got some recognition.

What’s your current situation?
Chilling in the breeziest bays, hanging with the kitten Chewy.

You only have $5; you can use it to get to work in the morning, get orange juice or get chocolate. Are you gonna get the orange juice or the chocolate?
Chocolate would be great but I’d probably go with the orange juice. I get thirsty in the morning.

Who and what is Stickers?
A sticker can be anybody, any age, any race. It comes from the movie Deck Dogz, which is like the Australian version of Street Dreams I guess, just a shitty skateboarding movie. One of the characters in the movie, called Stickers, is like a grommet who collects stickers and wants to join the Deck Dogz but they won’t let him until he learns how to ollie. There’s an ongoing joke of him being called Stickers throughout the film. Chad [Hoskin] and Knuckey [Michael Knuckey] said it heaps and kept it rolling, calling absolutely everybody stickers, even if they weren’t stickers. It’s a pretty broad term. It can be used in many ways and I find myself using it all the time for too many things, too many stickers. The best example was when we were in New Plymouth and Diego [Casal] was skating the bowl and there was a kid on a scooter standing right in the way, and Diego was yelling “yo, get out of the way”, over and over again so then he just yelled “Stickers”, and the kid turned around straight away. Stickers know they’re stickers. I guess everyone needs a dig or two and it’s even better once you can acknowledge that damn, maybe I am a sticker.

Interview: Luke Browne

Boardslide, Whanganui.

How did you get the nickname Stickers then?
I just said it too much I guess.

How do you manage to produce so much stuff, put shit out on Instagram almost every day and still look like you’re doing absolutely nothing and moving at snail speed?
I feel like I’m moving at snail speed. With the amount of stuff happening constantly day to day it’s easy to feel behind. I just have a backlog of shit I’ve slowly accumulated over the years kind of out of frustration to find some kind of fix outside of skating. I’m not always doing things physically but things are always spinning around in my tiny mind.

Interview: Luke Browne

But surely to get a backlog of work you’ve been doing stuff, because I know for a fact it’s not all old?
I think that doing nothing kinda makes me do shit, out of fear of not doing anything, as crazy as that sounds. I feel most creatives and skateboarders have the same problem, even from learning a new trick one day then the next wanting to learn another otherwise you feel unsatisfied. It’s the same thing and over time it’s actually accumulated. It surprises me. I’m not doing work for any gain other than creativity, it’s just an outlet. I get agitated sitting around for too long. It’s the only other activity I can do besides skating without having to think too much. Hopefully that doesn’t sound too clichéd.

Interview: Luke Browne

You’re actually from Hastings, England, but you’ve really adopted New Zealand culture and have a deeper interest in Kiwiana and Māori culture that’s always present in your work as a filmer, designer and photographer. How did this come about and what does it mean to you?
When I first moved over here I was pretty stubborn and thought it was like the worst idea ever moving to the other side of the world because I had to start high school. But growing up, leaving school, travelling and getting to see the country helped me admire the place and realise how lucky we are to be here. It’s not that common in Kiwis; they tend to take it for granted. There’s a lot of space to do whatever you want here and it’s really inspiring to see what Kiwis can achieve from such a small place on the corner of the world.

Interview: Luke Browne

Design and designers are becoming more prominent in skating and we see a lot of recurring themes. Do you consciously try to stand out or do you just do you?
I just took Ed [Bats]’s advice and tried to look at the least amount of shit possible. Even when I’m scrolling through Instagram I block some stuff out and try not to get inspired by new stuff. Getting a bit of creative isolation. You see it in every industry; everybody copies each other. I don’t think what I do is much different, I’m just extra conscious about it.

How’s the Hawke’s Bay skate scene? It produces a lot of really good skateboarders really young. Why?
Damn… being around a lot of really good skaters, I guess. A lot of them leave though. Also a new million-dollar skate park, which is pretty fucking good, and there’s not a lot else going on in Hastings. The kids who get into it really get into it and get inspired because there’s nothing else to do.

Interview: Luke Browne

Wallride nollie, Wellington.

How did those really good skaters get good initially?
Sk8 Zone, haha! Indoor skate parks, Atomics. Kids just go nuts there. There isn’t much to skate so whatever they find they deal to, jumping down handrails and hucking drops. They’re keen. Some of the best spots with the worst roll-ups and roll-aways you’ll ever see. Unfortunately some go another direction and get into gang shit, but there are some sticker rippers out there.

What’s the story behind Daylight Skateboards. It’s probably been around for almost a decade, right?
I probably started when I was about 11 or 12. I used to make graphics on Microsoft Paint then spray-paint boards with my dad. We got 25 boards made by this place A Third Foot just before we moved to New Zealand in 2007. Had some boards left over here in New Zealand and just did the same shit, kept on sticking, got a camera and started to use it to film locals, stuff like that. Just kept it going.

Interview: Luke Browne

But Daylight went away for a bit and came back sort of recently?
When I left school and went to go study I had a realisation that I didn’t want to be a young sticker with a skateboard company. I had weird views around myself being young and being in front of something that could be better.

Thanks to Sam Crabtree and other people around me I was convinced to get it started again. I was lucky enough to be living with Toby Jenkins and Ed Bats at the time to really help out.

Interview: Luke Browne

For people who don’t know, who are they? Because they’re pretty important to the whole story.
Yeah hard, they are ex-Island Blaze flatmates. Toby Jenkins is an illustrator, tattooist, skateboarder, mini-mega-human and a genius that has taught me many a thing. Ed Bats is an arsehole, artist, and arsehole, but he’s given me some of the best advice and is one of the most loveable human beings once you break through his scary mega-human demeanor. He’s a pretty nice guy. Eh.

Why did Crabtree want Daylight to come back?
He’s in it for the money, hahaha! Nah, Sam was running Collab Distribution and I was helping him with that, and it made us realise there was an opportunity to get some other stuff out there that wasn’t really happening, and there weren’t many people doing it in New Zealand. So there was a massive opportunity, especially with his contacts and my contacts combined. It was definitely something that was meant to happen.

When’s the bandana coming back?
Shit, um… when you find me some new red skinnies to wear.

Interview: Luke Browne

Heelflip, Wellington.

Seeing as skateboarding was added into the Olympics two days ago it seems like a good time to ask: who are your picks for the New Zealand team? Assuming they don’t do drug tests…
Dallas Marshall, Matt Scarrott makes a comeback, I want to say Sean Cupples, he’s the best dude and he rips. And obviously James Huntly, does 9 Club runs at Chafers Park every day, he’s insane.

What was the process behind filming Greenbelt 1, 2 and 3 and Monachopsis? Do you have a certain style of video you want to make from the get go or does it change drastically as the video comes along?
It definitely changes; you start with an idea and realise that it isn’t so possible to organise all the little heads on the way that you thought you could, but I guess just going out skating and not really having a plan gives you a better result after doing it for a while. You’ve obviously gotta plan some shit out though. Editing and music is left to the last minute. I’d love to have some more music knowledge, I try to get as much advice from other people as I can and play with shit and see if it works, just run with it.

Interview: Luke Browne

What’s next? Do you have anything on the horizon?
New boards coming from overseas, the dude who made them for us in New Zealand makes skate parks now. Just keep filming till this VX dies, do the same shit as always, keep shooting and try to work on other projects with other people.

Want to thank anyone?
You, Andy Béïv, and the whole DS2K fam, Mum and Dad for always supporting everything I do, shoutouts to them. Current Island Bay residents Mosey, Takuma, Ben and my girlfriend Tulsi. Ex-Bayzers Toby Jenkins, Gunter Muller, Calder Marshall, Sam Crabtree for keeping my feet warm for the past couple of years and all moral support from everyone I’ve met along the way. Thank you!

Published in Issue #63
Text by Andrew Bevin
Photography by Jake Mein