Alex Lawton Interview

Imagine jet setting between endless summers on both hemispheres, meeting your childhood heroes before getting in the van and calling them teammates, and skating all the best spots on the planet for a paycheck. That’s more or less what Alex Lawton’s life looks like on paper. After winning his first skateboard in a raffle, he now divides his time between Brisbane and Melbourne, Australia, with six-month trips out to California and/or Europe, and is currently in the process of filming for the upcoming full-length Element video with his crew of Nyjah, Evan, Westgate, Madars, Greyson, Tim Tim, Julian, Appleyard, Nick, Levi, Ray, Durrant and the rest. Back home in Brisbane for a quick pit stop, I managed to wrangle Alex via telephone to find out what the catch must be. Instead, I came away with something far more valuable—the recipe for Alex and Evan Smith’s proprietary magic juice—aka The Hand of God. Please read responsibly.
Photos By Jake Darwen
Words by Mackenzie Eisenhour

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Nollie backside noseblunt. Los Angles, CA. (click to enlarge)

How long are you back in Oz for?
I got back on the 20th (of October), a couple of weeks ago. Right now I’m back where I’m originally from which, is Brisbane. Just to see the fam and the homies, then I’ll base myself back in Melbourne.

How is the Melbourne scene doing? Didn’t they just lose Lincoln Plaza?
Yeah. It was mainly because of everyone drinking there. People felt like they couldn’t walk through. But it all worked. There was never any drama. It was just this one person in the council that kept pushing for it. It’s pretty funny actually because all the locals now still go back there, hang out, drink, and still do all the same things there. They still try to skate it even though it’s not even really skateable anymore.

So it was all a waste basically.
Yeah, they completely took the whole ground out. It has these big squares with grass in them now. Then they chopped all the ledges out. They did a number on it for sure. We did get to skate it as they were knocking it all down though. That was pretty funny because the workers were trying to tear it down and we popped out one of the fences right where the famous out ledge was. We were all trying to skate it, get our last minute things on it and the workers are running around screaming at us. They were worried about a safety hazard or whatever. We’re just like, “Don’t worry, we do this every day man.”

So you’re mostly back-and-forth between Oz and California? How does that work out?
It’s awesome. Especially since we come over when it’s your summer holidays and then come back for the summer holidays here. I’ve got the B1/B2 Visa so I can stay for up to six months now. The first couple of years coming out I only had the 90-day one and you really had to make the weeks count. But now, I can just stay an extra month if need be. It gives you a little more freedom. I love that.

So many skaters got banned back in the day after overstaying the 90-day one. Boulala, JB Gillet, etc…
Yeah, we were talking about this last night actually because people get the 90-day one and think it’s good for three months. But of course, three months is like a few days over 90 days, so you can easily blow it. Then you don’t find out until the next time you try to come back. It happened to one of my friends. I’m praying that it never happens to me.

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Switch hardflip. Sacramento, CA. (click to enlarge)

Is it true that you won your first skateboard in a raffle? You were chosen by fate.
Well what happened was my mom bought me a bike and I got a little raffle ticket with that. I put it in the raffle and ended up winning this skateboard. It was really funny though because it was like the bike brand skateboard, like Mongoose or something. It was a good bike brand, but not a very good skateboard brand. I ended up not even touching the bike though. I tried that skateboard and then ended up begging the folks for a half-decent one.

You were feeling it off the bat?
Yeah. I always played soccer so it was all about my feet. I really enjoyed it. Then as you get older, your love for the skateboard grows a little stronger. As it’s an individual sport, you’re not letting anybody else down if you mess up. It’s all on you and I prefer that.

You were also apparently a big In Bloom (’02) fan. Who was your favorite little blossom?
Definitely Paul Rodriguez. I was a big fan of P-Rod. I certainly watched that part a few times. I think just because he was the youngest in there, too. As a kid you just relate to that.

What’s it like in your hometown? Is there a big crew in Brisbane that skate together?
It’s funny, because in Brisbane there’re separate crews from different areas but we’re still all one big crew at the end of the day. But when you get to Melbourne, you notice there are a little more tight-knit crews all over the place that don’t necessarily all mix together. But we did have a big reign of all the Kiwis (New Zealanders) coming over. They’re all legends so I think they actually brought everyone together.

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Nollie frontside heelflip. Sacramento, CA. (click to enlarge)

What’s it like traveling with Evan [Smith] on DC and Element trips? Any funny stories from your adventures?
Oh man. Probably thousands, even if I can only half remember them sometimes. He’s a legend. He’s one of my favorite people to travel with. He’s always got something exciting on the plate. I first met him on the random camping trips that we did over in the US. But I never really got to bro down with him that much. Then when they came out here on the Australian “Rumble Down Under” tour, that was when we hit it off really well. I haven’t looked back since. I will say his favorite thing is “The Hand of God.” The Hand of God is basically Champagne, Vodka, and Orange Juice. You have to make it real stiff though. That’s how he likes to make it. But we went through phases where he would mix it up in his hand and you would take the drink as “The Hand of God.” Then we did it through his shoe, “The Shoe of God”. Anyways, that was the little pop off that got us through the trip.

You were on Plan B for a minute right? Did you switch over to Element under the same dist? How was that decision made?
I rode for Plan B for maybe two or three years. But being over here, I was the only rider for Plan B in Australia. So there was no team or no trips or anything. Then when Plan B first started making their new video it was all about “the best of the best” this and all that so there was a lot of pressure really. Like you needed to be really tech or go really big. I was just having fun. Then when I came over to the States it was a little bit harder to skate with them too. At that time, it was like Nick Tucker, Micky Papa, Carlos Ribeiro and those guys. So I was just watching them skate, going, “Holy shit. These guys are unreal.” Then I ended up spending a lot of time with Cole [Mathews] and Nick Garcia, and Julian [Davidson] and them and it just seemed like a better home for me. When I came back I just explained it to them and they didn’t even hesitate and were just like, “Sure, let’s do it.” It’s been lovely since then. Element really is like a big family.

Are you working on any video projects at the moment?
Right now I’m just working on a solo collab project with DC and Element. Then once I finish this—I have about a month left—then I start all over again for the new Element video. I’ve got about six more months to film for that though. They just dropped the little promo with Evan’s part, Zygote. It’s got to be the best stuff you can do, so a little stressful, but intriguing at the same time. It keeps you busy. But to be a part of a video with Tim Tim, Levi [Brown], [Mark] Appleyard and that whole family—I’ll be over the moon.

It beats working. All-time best Australian video parts?
I’ll say two. Dennis Durant, Part & Parcel (’09) part and Lewis Marnell, Chronicles Vol.1 (’11).

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