Kickflip Backside Noseblunt - Photo: Trevor Denman
Dillon Buss is a skateboarder living in Cambridge, MA. His hobbies include art, filmmaking and eating snacks.
DL: You ready for the first small talk interview?
DB: Sure! I’m driving so I might be a little bit spacey.
“…but skating the horse was the coolest thing I saw in the video.”
Let’s skip the basic questions and get right to it, the Orchard video (Stone Soup) just came out, who's part are you most hyped on? My favorite part was Fritz’s part because he skates on a horse. He skates a horse. He does a foot plant off of a horse and it’s funny cause you can see the whole carriage move and you can kind of see the horse in that first shot. Then the horse moves and you’re like “dude he just foot planted off of a horse!” Then in the next clip BA BAM front board from out of a bowl, off the carriage onto a little nugget piece of concrete and drop down. Fritz’s part is incredible because I know him as an artist, and just knowing that he built his own house out of found wood, almost like a little hobbit hole, in Brooklyn underneath a bowl. He paints really brilliant surrealist oil paintings as well. So knowing that and then to see that he is also blasting down an 8 stair rail that kinks and gaps off of another four stair, that was just mind blowing to me. He skates the way that he wants to skate, and it just happens to be super gnarly…but skating the horse was the coolest thing I saw in the video.
“There was, like, a slant, which wasn’t even really a quarterpipe, and Lurker Lou was just like ‘drop in, ya bitch!’”
So to kind of backtrack a bit, I know that you are originally from the cape, same as Bro, Delaney, Nickerson, Reid, etc. who were some of your early influences growing up? DB: Ok, so the crew was mostly Jack Kelly, Brian Delaney, Buck Squibb… James Nickerson was there but he was lurkin at the time, conjuring his bag of tricks, and Brian Reid was rollerblading then but we got him to stop and now he skates with style like Stevie Williams so it’s rad. Then there was Tim Burlingame, Billy Campbell, Burt Morris, Wiley, this other dude Ryan Buckley, who all kicked all of our asses. These were the older dudes. They were the hellraisers, oh! and Nick Sherman. I looked up to Tim and Billy, I looked up to Tim as the older dude who was always killing it and had a really good bag of tricks. And Billy too cause he was super technical… So they would always give us mad wedgies, and throw us in trash cans and stuff, but it was at the time when that was kinda the thing. We were hazed, ya know. Timmy took me under his wing and took me on skate trips to Providence or Boston when I was like…15, or 16? And that dude was such an influence, to this day one of my best friends, and I really looked up to him. Oh yeah and Lurker Lou and Zered would come to the park and skate sometimes but they were like gods to me, especially after Vicious Cycle. Lurker Lou, and I don’t know if he’ll remember this, he was probably 15 and I was 7 or something, but he was actually the first person to like, not teach me, but TELL me to drop in (laughs) at Chatham skatepark forever ago. There was a mini ramp, and then a mini-mini ramp, and then there was, like, a slant in between, which wasn’t even really a quarterpipe, and Lurker Lou was just like “drop in, ya bitch!” (laughs). So it’s really cool that these people were all on the periphery, but now are just homies, ya know, we’ve all grown up.
I was talking with Rojo, and we were thinking about how your style has changed a bit. From more tech ledge and manual tricks to, I guess I would say, a more refined, selective style. Is this something intentional? DB: I think like everyone, their style has changed, and this is maybe a 10 year span we’re talking about, and to simply put it, I think I just kind of grew up. I mean, in the Providence skate video days, Never Heard of It, and Tin’s video The Better Life, I was still coming into my own and really just figuring out what I liked. I was trying to figure out what worked for me. At that time, I liked to try really technical and difficult tricks. As I grew older I found that skating fast, skating with a lot of energy, and maybe not doing things technical, but really nicely, it was more satisfying to me. And I began to find that the act of skating is about movement, and I became more aware of how it looked, and how it felt. When I was young I was just trying to learn as many things as possible. I didn’t really have an identity so I dressed different, and then after time I kind of came into my own and just evolved, like everyone does.
How long have you been living in Boston?
DB: I graduated in 2007 from high school, so I guess from fall 2007 until now, so how long is that? 7 years almost?
So do you want to talk about how the skate scene has changed over that time?
DB: Wowww, I mean it’s gotten so much better, I feel. The skate scene is so much more of a community. It’s become a little tighter. The city has gotten a little smaller in terms of skate cliques. People know each other a lot better but there’s all these different crews that have really come into their own. More kids have moved here, more kids have established themselves, and yes, a lot of people have left, but a lot of people have stayed, so you have all these groups that are…keeping…this city… alive (honks horn, yells at traffic). Yeah! I think Orchard Skateshop has really been a catalyst for that. They have been really proactive about that especially with the art shows that they set up. I think that has fostered a really nice skate community here.
“Skating with him in person is like watching somebody float, and glide over the ground.”
I’m gonna make it hard but if you were to pick three skaters here in the city that are your favorite to watch, who would they be?
DB: Like people that are known in the city? DL: Yeah, that’s fair. DB: Ok…number one, I would say Brian Delaney. ‘Cause I love that dude, and I’ve watched him grow up, and I’ve watched him skate, and watching him skate is such a joy to this day because he has gotten so good, so quickly. I really love his style, and his attitude. Number two, total wildcard – Brian Leff. I have skated with him a lot recently. Skating with him in person is like watching somebody float, and glide over the ground. It’s crazy because, yeah, Delaney, technical, and super styled out. Brian [Leff] super styled out, but wild! He skitches cars, he skates backwards, he does double board skating, he skates any size or shape board. He has the most energy, creativity and positivity out of anybody I know in skating. The third person that I would choose who I back to this day and am totally inspired by is Tommy Wisdom. On top of his positive energy when I’m out skating with him, he is extremely motivating. The few times I’ve gone out skating with him I have done some of the most athletically challenging tricks I have ever done, because he’s really motivating! He is kind of like Guy Mariano in that he kind of disappeared for a bit and came back, and is almost way better. His trick style, and trick selection is on point. He is inspired. It’s cool to see somebody drop off for a bit then just come back and be able to switch heel over my head.
Now as an artist exploring different media, what are you into, and how you manage working on different projects at the same time?
Well my interests are film-making, music, illustration, and skateboarding. I feel like things generally happen in rhythms, they happen in waves. So if I do a lot of skating I might go home and want to write a song. Or if I am hurt from skating I would want to do a bunch of illustrations. I would say that it weighs mostly on my skating because that is the real physical outlet, and where I am able to get most of my exercise, but then with art it is my mental exercise. Not to say that skating isn’t mental, I mean of course you have to work out patience, consistency…what is the word…well. Anyway. In terms of film making I have a video I am working on for the Connect the Dots creative skateboard video contest through King Shit Magazine and Converse. I am working on directing and producing it. In the past I haven’t really had the opportunity to connect my fine art film making with skateboarding, so I think this is a great opportunity. And Every Monday I have a doodle or drawing that I post on instagram, and I am working on framing some of those. Another huge project that I have coming up, in the fall, is called Collective Creature. It is a series of video portraits that I am going to be doing of interesting people that I know and will meet across the country. That’ll be in the winter when it’s cold. (California Dreamin’ plays from a duck boat next to the car). (laughs) That’s sick, duck boat…all the leaves are brown. Wait. (song changes to Whisper Song by the Ying Yang Twins) Switch it up!!
Dillon's part in Orchard's Stone Soup, as seen on Thrasher
Shout out to Orchard Skateshop, they just got the video done so that’s awesome and exciting. Converse for hooking it up with shoes, which has been incredible. Hope to do projects with them in the future!
Check his work here www.dillonbuss.com, and on the ‘gram @chomponsnacks.