These days, it seems like the Scandinavian countries produce gnarly skateboarders on an assembly line. One of those guys is Filip Almqvist. The 26-year-old from Malmö, Sweden. We hit him up on Skype for a chat about his work, video gaming, Insta, and the future – oh, and about skateboarding for sure.
Just came home from work. I did some overtime today so a longer day!
Nah, not anymore. Currently, I work for a company which sells gear to construction sites, to builders and stuff. And I am the driver. Like DHL – but for construction sites.
I guess I got a little bit tired of it. Plus, I had the opportunity to do this other job which gets paid much better. Unfortunately, you can’t earn much money by working with kids. In my opinion, it should be the other way around. Social jobs should be paid much more. But I liked to work with all those screaming kids, it was funny.
It’s full time from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. But they’re super kind to me. I told them about this skateboarding thing, that I sometimes have to go on trips and stuff like that. They were super cool with that. Plus, because I am the driver, they can just replace me with another one.
I look outside the window and it’s so… depressing… it’s just raining. When I was younger, there was much more snow in winter. That was way more fun. They really fucked shit up with that global warming thing. [laughs] And it’s just darkness: when I drive to my job in the morning, it’s still dark – and when I finish work, it’s already dark again. That’s so depressing!
The money. I saved some money when I was younger, so I had the opportunity to stay some time. And it was so good. Gustav [Tønnesen], Nisse [Ingemarsson], and all these guys got an apartment down in Barcy and I was like, “Can I join?” There was a little space in the living room, so I just lived behind the couch for like half a year before I ran out of money. It was the classic Barcy trip: not skating that much, a lot of chilling.
Yeah, that would be so dope. I am always thinking about moving somewhere where it’s a little bit warmer. At least in wintertime. I mean, I like Sweden in summer – but summer is two months. So…
I should do it more often because by train it’s just like 20 minutes away from my house. It’s really weird: Malmö is a super dope city, but as soon as you get over that bridge, it’s much more European, like Berlin or Barcelona. Copenhagen is really the coolest city in Scandinavia in my opinion. There’s a train every ten minutes. It’s so easy to get there – but somehow we don’t go that often at all. Don’t know why…
"Fuck – sometimes it’s like eight hours a day just Instagram"
A lot of meat balls. Nah – I don’t know, but they’re building so many parks nowadays. There’s also a skate school here in Malmö. They motivate you to skate. Everyone is really good nowadays. And it seems like Instagram helps everyone so much…
I guess it’s some secret formula to get mad followers. I didn’t crack it yet. Ville Wester and those dudes uploaded pretty weird shit and it worked pretty well for them. I don’t know – right timing maybe? But I think some kids nowadays have overdone it a little bit. They put out too much sick footage. Sometimes it seems like they don’t care about video parts anymore. But anyways – I enjoy it a lot. It’s so easy to see skate footage whenever you want. And it’s cool for kids that want to be seen. They have their own platform, they don’t have to send tapes that will probably never arrive.
Yeah. I found out a fucking creepy thing on my phone: you can see how long you use certain apps for. Fuck – sometimes it’s like eight hours a day just on Instagram. Just eight hours staring at the screen!
Yeah, I just bought a computer, but I usually play on the Playstation.
"There’s nothing comparable to skating. It’s like a drug"
Mostly shooters like “Battlefield” and stuff. And there’s a game called “Fortnite” that’s really sick. You get dropped out of an air balloon and then the first thing you have to do is search for weapons. And then you just have to survive. Everybody against everybody. It’s a little bit like the Hunger Game movies. There can only be one winner. Super fun…
Aaah, in the winter time it is. Sometimes we are in a game and we’re like, “Let’s skate today!” and everybody’s like, “Yeah, after this last game!” And then, “Ah, it’s so cold and dark outside – let’s play one last game.” But in warmer times, it’s easy to skate. There’s nothing comparable to skating. It’s like a drug.
Couldn’t it be: go on tour with your local friends? Change the question. [laughs] No – I guess it’s like 50:50.
It would be fun to be an actor actually. I love to play around with different roles and accents and stuff like that. Maybe like Jason Lee, but with a little bit more action. Ever since I was a kid, I wanted to play in a war movie. I was always acting like I was in war, running through the apartment screaming everywhere!
The local skateshop [Streetlab] actually had a meeting today with all the riders talking about making a video. We got a filmer here from Detroit called Anthony. He made some Malmö edits recently and he’s the one who motivates us.
Lewis Marnell. He was half-Swedish and he was so cool and so good.
Freedom. It’s so loose. You can do anything, there are no strict rules. And it never ends.
When I arrived at the adidas Airbnb in Barcelona, I hadn’t met most of the guys before. I did some trips with them later in that year, but this was my first trip with the whole crew. It was Filip Almqvist, Herman Stene, Daniel Ledermann, Kaio Hillebrand, Pekka, and Patrick Zentgraf and the vibe was super good and everybody was getting along really well.
For instance Paddy was down to cook and always prepared delicious meals for all of us. Everybody was already staying there for a while and you could feel that they already had become friends. It could’ve been an arkward mix – some Spanish guys, some Swedish guys, some German guys – but it felt pretty natural.
"For me as a photographer Barcelona is a double-edged sword, cause you know that you’ll get some good photos but on the other hand you’ve seen a lot of stuff from there over and over again."
I was only there for a week but they had the apartment for two months and some pretty much spent the whole time there and so they brought their comfort zones with them, which means a few of them had brought their Playstations in their luggage! Although it was Barcelona, there were some rainy days whilst I was there and it’s the classic Barca thing: if it rains you get anxiety, cause you don’t know what to do. So some of the guys just played videogames or watched movies, some went to museums. While I was there things were pretty mellow, we didn’t party too hard but I heard some stories of stolen wallets and stuff. Classic Barcelona things!
For me as a photographer Barcelona is a double-edged sword, cause you know that you’ll get some good photos but on the other hand you’ve seen a lot of stuff from there over the years. So you can’t be sure that magazines are going use the photos. It’s the same with living there, it’s good, but sometimes it can be a trap. But in the end I like the city, a lot of young people live there and they keep on building new stuff. It’s just a bit burned, like everything in life, if you get too much of it.
In the US for instance Barcelona is still a big thing. For us, we’re pretty used to the city. Everybody has been there, but people outside of Europe always ask about Barcelona. It’s still new to them cause a lot of them haven’t visited yet. They saw all the spots in the videos and want to skate them. So it’s still attractive to a lot of people and I think that will carry on in the future, cause it has been attractive for so long for a reason.
If you compare it to Paris, where I live, it feels like the main differences are the sidewalks. Barcelona has a lot of sick plaza spots, but you can’t get around that easy. Paris only has a bunch of spots but you can push everywhere and on the way you’ll find new stuff. It could be that Paris ends up the same as Barcelona, cause you see a lot of footage from there lately, but maybe the cost of living will help in a weird way to protect the city from getting overrun by skaters from all over the world!
It always gets boring if people come to a city and don’t look for spots but just want to go to the ones they know from videos or just try and one-up the tricks that already went down there. The cities are big, you can always find something new if you are down to lurk. I know that it can maybe help your "career" to do a trick on a well-known spot cause people can compare it with other stuff that went down there. Then your name is in the books, but I don’t think that should be all that matters. I guess it all comes down to how you view skating? I mean, if it’s your type of skating, go for it. I have to admit it’s really impressive to see that kind of stuff every once in a while.
"Especially in Barcelona it’s easy to stay at the same spot the whole day, but it’s way more interesting to find new stuff."
There was this one crazy day in Barcelona where we went to that big ass double set, Daniel Ledermann did a backside bigspin and Herman Stene did a backside 360 back to back. Then Herman tried something even gnarlier untill he couldn’t walk anymore! So we left to another spot on the other side of the city where Herman did this gnarly gap to backside 50-50 on a rail. I don’t know if I’ve ever really have seen stuff like this happening all in one day cause it’s pretty rare to shoot with people that are on this level and do this type of skating. For those guys it was just a normal day!
There also days when we tried to find new stuff. When I arrived, the guys already knew which spots they wanted to go and sometimes Gustav Tonnesen showed us some of his newest findings. Choosing an area where you’ve never been to and then just lurking around. Especially in Barcelona it’s easy to stay at the same spot the whole day, but it’s way more interesting to find new stuff. There are people like Max Geronzi or Gustav and the Sour boys who are constantly looking for things, which I think is sick and will keep Barcelona interesting for the next years to come.
As you know there’re a lot of young guns killing it on the skateboard in the Barcelona area. Recently one dude is standing out from the crowd. While talking to him you could easily forget about that fact, because Pol Catena is just like this guy next door, kind and down to earth. Consequently, we had a super fun conversation about water polo, big future plans, and Olympic ambitions.
Yes, it was pretty nice. I got their with some friends. We had good weather, skated good spots. It was a perfect trip.
Nah, luckily I don’t have to work. Actually I’m just skating right now. About two years back I was studying some international marketing stuff down in Barcelona. It was very interesting and I enjoyed it very much – but there was one big problem: I couldn’t miss classes, so it was not possible for me to go on skate trips. That’s why I left. But I’m thinking about starting something new all the time. This time via the internet I guess. Maybe next year…
My brother now works as a lawyer, that’s why I was actually thinking about studying some law stuff. Something like this would be very interesting. To know all about the rights and everything would be dope. And in general I think it’s important to study, just to stay awake.
Sometimes. But I don’t talk that much about that stuff with my parents. It’s kinda weird. For sure they would like it if I would do something more reliable. But they want me to be happy. And I’m very happy right now. I can go on trips and give some money to my parents for staying at home. So they’re kinda cool with my current situation. But like I said: I want to study some stuff anyway.
Nah, unfortunately not yet. I was trying to find a place to stay and all that stuff. But then there were some plans to travel around, so I didn’t have the time to do it yet. But yeah – I guess I will check this out very soon. I go there almost every day anyway. So it would just be perfect.
Aaah, I don’t know. Sometimes I think Barcelona is a little big too big for me. And I have a bunch of my best friends in Badalona – plus it’s not far away from my parent’s house. Anyway you can just get to Barcelona by train or metro in no time. For me it’s just better in Badalona. But for sure I go to Barcy from time to time.
Nah, not really. Two years back I used to go there more often because I was studying in Barcelona. So I knew most of the people at Macba. I loved to skate there. But nowadays I don’t like it to skate that much crowded spots. But for sure: It’s still fun to go there, see all the homies and have some beers. Or just being on the mission.
I would say the French like Max Geronzi and Titi Gormit and those guys. They’re super good. And what I like the most about them is that they don’t skate these famous Barcy spots. They’re like exploring the city and find some new stuff. And for sure the Sour crew with Gustav [Tonnesen] and all this crazy dudes. There are so much people killing it right now in Barcelona.
I started doing some workout recently and just signed up at a gym. And I love to go swimming, that’s why I used to play a lot of water polo back in the days. In general I just like to do different stuff beside skating. I need some variety in my life.
I love it! I have been there already two times before but back then I was just skating indoor because of the bad weather. This time we were exploring the whole city, like driving around from spot to spot. Skating the Kulturforum and stuff like that was so much fun. It’s just such an amazing city. I also heard about some crazy party stories – but I didn’t try it out yet. Maybe I’ll give a chance one time in the future.
I guess it’s a little bit weird. I like it because it’s a good tool to promote yourself and get in contact with friends and sponsors and all that. But many people take too much importance of that and change their characters for the Insta life. Getting an Instagram personality and stuff. That’s why I just want to stay a little bit away from it. I mean: it’s a great tool. But many people use it the wrong way in my opinion. Too much self-promotion. But I enjoy it.
It depends on the spot. But yes, I’m really into jumping down things. I love to fly. That’s the best feeling. I enjoy it so much. For sure I also have a super nice feeling when I’m skating on a ledge, but it’s even not comparable to jumping.
Yeah. It was a little bit weird. I didn’t even know how to Ollie but I really wanted to drop some big shit. And I did. That was crazy.
I heard some stuff about that, too. But I’m not sure. I don’t know yet what’s gonna happen. Some guys asked me if I would be down. And I would, but there’s nothing final yet.
Not really I guess! People who are not skating could think Skateboarding is like soccer or something like that. Just a sport competition. But that’s not what skateboarding is about. I mean, it’s gonna be cool, people will change their minds about skateboarding, it will be more accepted in the society. I think for the skaters it will be just another contest, like Street League or something like this.
I mean, it’s kinda cool, but I don’t like the competition thing that much. I’ve been to some contests when I was younger and I was scared because I wanted to make it so hard. Nowadays I think the best about contests is that you can skate a sick park with good people. Everybody’s just having fun. That’s why everybody should be hyped – not because of the fact you can win.
Paris is a wonderful city they say. I think that is the feeling all foreigners get out of the city.
This trip was no exception to this rule. The apartment was here for twenty days, and a bunch of guys got to stay there. Some Scandinavians: Hermann Stene, Filip Almquvist, Marcus Shaw, Günes Özdogan, Heitor Da Silva and Gustav Tonnesen. Bryan Albarenga, Ales Amor and Spanish legend Raul Navaro came from Barcelona for a week as well. Patrick Zentgraf from Germany and Ruben Spelta from Milan completed the mix. Everyone was also really happy to spend some time with the French guys, with Titi Gormit as the main man on this trip.
"It was very refreshing to see people discover places that I’ve been to thousands of times, and being stoked on it."
The crew was always changing. People were here for a couple days and then their rooms were taken by other guys. This twenty day period was the opportunity for me to meet most of the guys. Being new in this adventure, I got to manage these guys for twenty days and show them around my favourite city in the world: Paris. Being originally from here, it was, for me, very refreshing to see people discover places that I’ve been to thousands of times, and being stoked on it. Most of them had already been here, but none of them saw this city from an insider’s point of view. Skating here always happens in the same places, unless you know all the little spots that make this city so good to skate in, and I tried going to these as much as possible.
République was the main place everyone wanted to skate, of course. It was the place to film footage, to meet up in the morning for a croissant breakfast and to chill at night after a long day of cruising through the city looking for spots. This plaza makes for a great skate scene in the city. The main reason: no kickouts! This place is considered by a lot of Parisians like the best spot out here and you can skate it all day and all night, even better, they actually built a little skatepark there.
It was Ruben’s first trip with us as well, and he got to meet a big part of the crew while he was out here. New additions to the team are always a bit of a gamble, you never know if everyone is going to get along. Ruben turned out to be exactly what the crew needed, a mellow guy, always down to go out and check some spots.
"I was never used to seeing guys jump down huge stuff, or skate some gnarly rails, so it was kind of a first for me."
With this crew, we managed to find stuff that was never touched, and get some good stuff from it. Coming from Paris, I always skated this way, cruising around and trying to skate a new spot rather than get a good trick on a well-known one. I was never used to seeing guys jump down huge stuff, or skate some gnarly rails, so it was kind of a first for me. Hermann was jumping off stuff on the corner of the spot like it was nothing, almost hiding out, Filip, on his side was going for super tech ledge tricks like they were basics, and the other guys were all ripping as well.
This trip showed me how much a good crew is important to get the vibe up. Everyone was psyched to be here and that is why this trip was a success. Think about it, all theses guys have lives on the side, work full or part time, try to skate as much as possible in the summer and then work as much as possible during the winter. They all have different ways of living as well, have really different routines, but enjoy the same vacation type: skating around in an unknown city. The fact that these guys get along so good is what makes the footage and vibe of everything happening so great: you can feel it. This is not just some random super talented skater filming a line or single trick for his next video part, this is great skater, pushed by a super good crew, to make something even bigger and better!
To sum it up, I think the Paris trip was very refreshing for all the guys and especially me! Showing new guys around is always fun, but living in the city like we did and with all the guys that have never been here before, it’s the best!
Italy is far better known for great food, wine and fashion than for exporting gnarly skateboarders – given there’s only been a big handful known abroad over the past years (and one of them even did a 900). But the Italian scene has grown and developed a lot in the past years with new breed of creative kids taking over. Ruben Spelta is one of those skaters, he’s out there doing his thing, inputting some fresh colours to his dress and repping Milano Centrale heavily. Even his Dad rocked Supreme back in the days!
Unfortunately not. I rolled my ankle three days ago jumping down some stairs. I will be out for about four or five more days, which means just stay at home chilling.
Not so much really. From time to time I do some model stuff and besides that I’m selling some artworks. I do some paintings.
Nearly. [laughs] Nah, I paint on shoes and clothes. Mainly lines, faces and other parts of the body. I like the fact that clothes represent myself – so I thought it would be cool to give them a little bit of extra characteristics. So one day I just took some acrylic paint and some clothes and got it started. It’s so much fun.
I always got, and still do, get inspired by my Dad. He has always been doing a lot of creative stuff and so I got into art already when I was a kid. I loved painting from the first day. My dad also inspired me to start skating. And in the way how to dress…
Not really, he just has a smooth style, he knows what’s cool. But he’s not into brands and stuff. He always had some nice clothes when I was younger – and I loved to wear them so hard. So I kinda grew into all that. Nowadays I always go to the markets in the streets where they sell these cheap clothes. They have some good shit sometimes. And in normal case you probably won’t see much other skaters wearing the same stuff. That’s pretty much it.
It’s more like a friendship thing. Once they offered me that when I’m in cities like Paris, London or New York I could go to the stores and take a few pieces. That’s really dope. The funny thing about that is that my dad has already been wearing Supreme a long time ago – way before the big hype!
It’s a little bit like Macba. It’s just the best spot in the whole area! Maybe the best in whole Italy – even though nowadays the ledges and stuff are a little bit fucked and rough. But that doesn’t matter, skaters from all over Italy and all over the world come here every day. Because of that there’s always such a good vibe and you can skate without getting kicked out, drink some beers and just have the best time ever.
It’s just growing up at the moment and the people are really cool – but there’s one big problem: it’s so hard to get hooked up by brands to get some shoes and stuff. The main reason for that is that some influential people here in Italy take most of the money, so it’s super hard for the kids to get some support or even skateable skateparks – even though there are so many kids killing it out here. There’s just too less money left. That’s sad…
Yeah, I guess that’s the main reason. The scene here in Italy develops slowly – you can imagine it like this: it’s now like the American scene about 10 – 15 years back. No brand has ever seriously supported me in Italy. But I’m confident that it will get much better within the upcoming few years.
Yeah, thanks man. I’m super hyped!
I met some of the guys in Bordeaux on a Villians tour a while back. We had a really nice time, all the guys were super cool. A few weeks later Vivien [Feil] asked me if I would like to join their team. And I straight up said “Yes“ – I always loved Magenta! The videos, the graphics, the style of the skaters. It’s so much like art.
It was so crazy. We went out and got so much free things: food, drinks, stuff – just everything. When it came to skating I was a little bit nervous at first. Filip [Almqvist], Herman [Stene], Pol [Catena] and all these guys skated so fucking good. I was almost a bit intimidated. But they were so kind and told me I should just chill and start filming some easy clips. And from that, it was just amazing.
I don’t really like Instagram – but it offers me a lot of opportunities. Above all the DMs, like getting in contact with some sponsors and friends, doing some modeling, getting inspirations and stuff like that. But I guess it’s a little bit strange because you have to promote yourself, so much more superficially.
Alltimers and Quartersnacks are super sick. And I like these clips with all this dumb drunk people doing the funniest stuff. [laughs]
I want to do a clothing brand with my dad. At the moment were getting together our ideas, creating some business plan and stuff like this.
You know: fish, chips, cup 'o tea, bad food, worse weather, Mary fucking Poppins… London. If you saw „Snatch“ you know what the capital of the UK is all about. From a skateboarders perspective you can add good looking but hard to skate spots to this list. The THREEE guys were fine with the roughness of the streets and had good times within sight of the Big Ben. They teamed up with local rippers like Darius who had more spots to share, then they could hit in a week.
THREEE is a trilogy produced by SOLO together with ADIDAS SKATEBOARDING featuring the new talent of adidas skateboarding hitting the European capitals. The episodes are filmed by Pekka, Hadrien Buhannic and Torsten Frank, edited by Torsten Frank. Still photography by Alex Pires, Henry Kingsford & Gerard Riera.