Wouter de Jong Interview
— Red Lightning over Rotterdam
“Energetic like a Jack Russel, loyal like a Labrador and gnarly like Pit Bull”. That’s how we tried to put Wouter and his skating in a nutshell for the online release of his part in “Killah Tapes: Volume 2”. After a few more recent sessions with him and Marc Bolhuis, filmer and mastermind behind the “Killah Tapes”, we stick to these words and couldn’t be more stoked to present this interview with the stuntman himself – “the Red Lightning” – and the man capturing most of them stunts; shot in just a couple of days in Rotterdam, Luxembourg and Brussels.
Photography by Fabian Reichenbach, Marc Bolhuis, Robert Christ
Interview by Nico Uhler & Marc Bolhuis
Nico: Yo Wouter, it’s hammer time! Interview time, actually… Wouter: Well… what do you wanna know?
Nico: Haha, just tell us a little something about yourself first. How old are you? What do you do for a living? Are you a professional stuntman or do you make millions in Street League? Wouter: I wish I made millions, but no. I am 26 years old, I’m from Rotterdam, I work as a mechanic at a refinery and in my spare time I like to skate.
Nico: What do you do as a mechanic in a refinery? I mean, how to explain this job to someone who has no clue, like myself? Wouter: I repair parts of rotating equipment, motors, compressors, etc. Mostly big stuff. I actually like that job. I like to make things work again and I don’t mind some time constraint – cause then it’s hammer time.
Marc: Hey Wout, you should also mention the Olympics you held at the refinery last week!
Wouter: Oh, yeah (laughs). We had quite a boring day last week, so we decided to kill some time with the “Beun Olympics”. I actually won two disciplines: high jumping and longest time hanging onto a crane.
Nico: That’s sick (laughs)! But even outside of the “Beun Olympics” it must be quite a physical job, right? How do you do with skating? I imagine after a day of work you must be quite sore… Wouter: Yeah, sometimes I am a little bit tired from work, but somehow, I always find some energy to skate. I always try to skate on Wednesdays and on the weekends.
Nico: Sounds like a good routine. Marc, since we’ve got you with us as well, could you guys take us back to the beginning, like how did the two of you start skating and filming together? Wouter: Marc and I met when I got sponsored by Left Skateshop. I was just 15 and Marc was already skating for them. We went on a first tour together and got to know each other a bit better. I guess Marc thought I was sick (laughs) and told me that we needed to film some stuff in the streets together.
Ollie / by Fabian Reichenbach
Marc: Actually, I hadn’t been on Left for that long before Wouter got on. It was around the same time: 2011. But I had had Wouter on my radar way before that, cause I would always see him at Skateland, the indoor park. When we went on that first trip together, Wouter was still very small and very quiet… a lot different from now, (laughs). He’s always had something about him though. His skating was speaking for itself back then already, so I thought I’d better be pointing my camera on him, you know. That’s how our friendship kicked off and the ball started rolling.
Nico: And so how did the full “Boombap” thing come about? Did Boombap kind of grow out of the Bombaklats? Marc: Yes, sort of. I filmed pretty much all of Dirk’s (Middelkoop) and Robert’s (Joosten) parts for the first Bombaklats video. I was actually working on a video myself. (Jan Maarten) Sneep had asked me to join him on working on the Bombaklats video. But I said no because I wanted to work on my own thing. Eventually, it didn’t go anywhere, though. So I said: “Hey Sneep, here’s my hard drive. Just use anything you want.” Well, and once Bombaklats was done, I think some of those guys wanted to go into the next project a bit more seriously. They started filming HD and I don’t know, I just stuck to my VX, kept skating and it all went pretty naturally towards “Boombap”. I mean we had a massive crew back then, bigger than it is now.
I like to make things work again and I don’t mind some time constraint – cause then it’s hammer time.
Wouter: That’s when you actually started doing your own thing!
Nico: And it turned out so well! What was your inspiration for the “Boombap” video and later on the “Killah Tapes”? Marc: So “Boombap” was my first big video and just like the “Killah Tapes” now, it was influenced by 90s hip hop and radio shows from that time. I wanted “Boombap” to feel like an album: with an intro and an outro, with full parts and montages sprinkled in between, like interludes between songs on an album. With “Killah Tapes: Volume 1”, I wanted to create more of a mixtape, and with “Volume 2”, I had originally thought to do the same. But then the pandemic hit. We couldn’t go out with more than five people. So we skated with less people. We traveled less. We just went out with our own little crew and everybody got more footage. Less people, but more footage from each individual. That’s how it came about. Tim has a full part, Wouter has a full part, and in between I still did the shared parts – mixtape style. Eventually, it turned out a little different than planned and it took longer than planned. Originally, I only wanted to film for a year, but that turned into two.
Ollie & Nosegrind / by Marc Bolhuis
Nico: It’s been worth it, though. Marc: I am definitely hyped about how it turned out. It feels like a mix between “Boombap” and “Killah Tapes: Volume 1”.
Wouter: Same here. So hyped about that video. Thanks Markie!
Nico: Before diving a bit deeper into the “Killah Tapes”, let’s go behind the scenes of Wouter’s monster of a boardslide that ended the “Boombap” video. Could you guys take us behind the scenes of that one? Wouter: For sure. I found the spot when I was doing an internship at a location nearby. I took a picture of it, showed it to Marc and told him that we’d have to go there. I was about to have my first part ever, the video was pretty much done already, but I still needed to film an ender that I would be happy with. It was winter time already and so the first time we went there, it was snowing or maybe just raining. We got kicked out anyways, though. So for a couple of weekends, we kept coming back, no matter how freezing it was outside, no matter if it was raining or snowing. The third time we went, there was actually snow on the rail. I tried it anyways, but it was too slippery (laughs). I think it was on our fifth session at the spot, that I finally got to roll away, right? Last chance to get it for the video before the premiere…
Most of the time it’s just bruises or sometimes I can’t walk for a week after trying a trick – but I still do and I’m always too lazy to go to the doctor.
Marc: Yeah. By that time the whole video was done, we had the premiere set up and still needed to produce a few DVDs for the release. So three weeks before the premiere, Wouter wanted to give it a last shot, but we got kicked out after a couple of minutes. A guy had called the cops and we would only have a few minutes before they’d arrive. Wouter still had a few tries in him and then, at some point, he just said: “Alright, that’s gonna be the last one. No matter what happens, this is gonna be the last one.” I was so stressed, almost shaking while filming, but that’s when he did it. On that last try. It was incredible.
Wouter: I was so relieved when I rolled away and I finally had the ender for my part.
Nico: Wasn’t there a big photo of that boardslide in Skatestore? Wouter: Yeah, they had a really big banner in the store window.
Marc: I have it now. Even had it on my wall for a while and I got the board that Wouter did the boardslide with. I snapped it a week after, but I’m still preserving that thing. It’s a piece of history.
Wallie Nosebone / by Fabian Reichenbach
Nico: So you’re both riding for Skatestore these days. What happened with Left Skateshop? Marc: Left was bought, including us, and turned into Skatestore. But apart from the name, everything stayed the same – just like we did. We’re part of the inventory. Wouter: Like that we’ll stay sponsored forever (laughs).
Nico: Would be well deserved, though! And so after the “Boombap” video was done, you guys went straight into filming for the “Killah Tapes”. How did you come up with the name? Marc: It’s actually a reference to Wu Tang’s “7th Chamber”, in which Raekwon asks Method Man: “Yo Meth, where my killah tape at?” It’s also a reference to me actually killing tapes, you know? I made all these glitch recordings by pulling tapes out of VHS cassettes and twisting them back in (laughs).
Nico: Gotcha. With “Volume 1”, Tim (Zom), the absolute Rotterdam legend, got more and more into the mix with you guys. Wouter, you and him seem to be skating a lot of the same spots these days. There’s also this little half pipe section in “Volume 2”, where Tim tells you: “You’re from the South, you don’t have to do anything…” Then, right before he snakes you: “… the only thing you have to do is wait”. How’s the dynamic skating with Tim? Wouter: I’ve always looked up to him. He’s from the same neighborhood as I am and we do like to skate the same type of stuff. When we started skating together, he’d always push me and tell me just to do my stuff, you know?! He just gave me that “fuck it” mentality. I’ve grown up quite a bit since then, and now, when we’re skating together, he’s mostly talking shit to me and I’ll be talking shit back. That’s how we hype each other up these days. Sometimes when we’re at a spot and I think it’s scary, he’ll just jump on it and I’ll be like “fuck, now I need to jump on it, too”. But I guess this is going both ways these days.
People who come from the South and who are like 60 or something, they speak even worse than me.
Nico: When we went to Skateland together last time, I got to watch Tim and you skate the big section and I actually preferred watching the show instead of skating myself (laughs). Marc: Haha, I do think that the way Tim and Wouter skate or maybe rather their mentality when it comes to skating is linked to where they come from: the South side of Rotterdam.
Nico: For someone who’s not from Rotterdam, what does it mean to come from the South side? Wouter: I mean the South is everything across that bridge, it’s pretty big and almost like a city of its own. It’s the rougher side of Rotterdam and people tend to talk down on it. It’s considered kind of ghetto… or it rather used to be, but people still think it’s fucked up. Some people don’t even wanna go there. They don’t cross the bridge cause they think they get robbed or something. Still, in the South, that’s where the true Rotterdam people live. You know my accent, Nico?! People who come from the South and who are like 60 or something, they speak even worse than me (laughs). You know what I mean?
Nico: Haha, yeah. Do you agree with Marc, that growing up in the South might have shaped your approach to skating in a way? Wouter: Fuck, I don’t know. Maybe. My mother already told me not to take shit from anyone and that translates into my skating, I guess.
Nico: Well, guess you’ve listened to your mom’s advice. Can you take us behind the scenes of your ride on grind ender from “Killah Tapes: Volume 2”? Wouter: I mean, we came to Luxembourg for a week and it basically rained every single day. So we just spent our days hiking and day drinking. This one day we went to a bar in the afternoon and I think Donny (Janssen) made me knock over a table and we had to leave or something like that. I don’t really remember (laughs). We left the bar and you showed us that ride on rail around the corner. I was hyped and knew it could be done. So for the next few days we were just waiting for the rain to stop and I even dreamed about the spot. Then, on the very last day, we actually got like two hours of dry weather and then I grinded that rail, all the way (laughs).
Marc: With a wet run-up! Oh, and you almost got into a fight with some people…
Wouter: Yeah… I mean, I was standing up there on this skinny wall with I don’t know how deep of a drop on my left, trying to focus, swearing and just shit talking to myself and everyone around. I didn’t know that this one group of guys was Dutch (laughs).
Boneless / by Robert Christ
Nico: You made it out alive, though. Actually, you always do… Ever since I’ve known you, you’ve never had a serious injury, right? Wouter: Nope. Knock on wood. I mean, I broke my foot when I was 16 or 17 and I broke my other foot a little later. But apart from those two times, I haven’t had anything really bad. Most of the time it’s just bruises or sometimes I can’t walk for a week after trying a trick – but I still do and I’m always too lazy to go to the doctor. In any way, they’ll only be like “take some rest, put some ice on it”, but that’s something I already know. Maybe I’ve had some more bad injuries, but I didn’t hear it from the doctor (laughs)…
Nico: Since you mentioned Donny earlier, he told me to ask you about a story involving chicken wings and bicycles… Wouter: Oh shit (laughs). The New Year’s Eve story, right?
Nico: I guess so. Wouter: Yeah, it must be that one. Donny and I used to have this ritual that we would always eat chicken wings for New Year’s Eve. That one time, we stole five or six bikes on the way from KFC to a house party (laughs). I mean, stealing a bike is quite a normal thing to do in the Netherlands. I had quite a hustle, but once my bag with all the stealing tools was thrown away, I’ve been done with it. It was a nice ride though (laughs).
Nico: If you had to choose one: slappy or manny spot? Wouter: Oh shit (laughs). I guess I’d go for the manny spot, cause I’m learning them at the moment… or well, I’m trying to (laughs).
Andrecht / by Robert Christ
My mother already told me not to take shit from anyone and that translates into my skating, I guess.
Nico: I’ve seen your newest part. You’ve got some manuals in there… but they are all still pretty gnarly. Wouter: I’m really hyped about those.
Marc: On this one filming mission he even got two manny clips in a single day (laughs): the drop down manual to ollie out over the stairs and that manual down a drop.
Wouter: I might actually get into the manual game. I mean, I’m getting older (laughs).
Marc: You gonna be like Rodney Mullen.
Nico: Haha, I’m not buying that. Let’s switch it up from manuals to transition skating. Where do your transition skills come from? I mean, in issue 45 we had a photo of you doing a frontside air over Jan (Hoffmann)… Did you grow up next to a good skatepark? Wouter: No, but I actually started skating on some quarter pipes. My first “trick” was a drop in. Learned it from early on. I was staying at a campsite with my parents for vacation and there was a shitty little skatepark with two quarter pipes and a spine in the middle. My mom had some friends at the campsite. Their son was 18 or something. I was 12 and always looked up to him. He was pretty cool and he skated. So I always wanted to skate his board and I did. That’s where I basically learned skating – with his board at this shitty little park. A couple of weeks later, I got my first board for my birthday, started going to Blaak and after a while – actually, once I had seen “Baker 3” and “Baker has a Deathwish” – I got more and more into street skating.
Boardslide & Roll In / by Fabian Reichenbach
Nico: Oh wow, and these days you skate for the brand whose videos got you hyped to hit the streets. Marc mentioned his musical influence for making videos sometime earlier. Is there any music that gets you inspired or hyped to do the stunts you do, like while you’re driving to a spot, for example? Wouter: When it’s hammer time, I really like to listen to trap. But in general, I really listen to all kinds of stuff: old school rap, a bit of punk, a bit of soul, some reggae, some RnB, …
Nico: You’re quite a dog guy, Wouter. You’re one of my dog’s favorite people, for example, and you’re taking quite some care of your mom’s dog, right? Wouter: When we got the dog, I was still living at my mom’s place. So it feels like he’s my dog too. He’s called Ollie and he’s a boomer, mixed with a terrier and something else. I don’t know what it is, but he’s a funny guy. My mom told me that whenever he’s off the leash and hears a skateboard, he runs there, cause he thinks it’s me. When I skate with him, he always runs super-fast in front of me, same old thing, over and over again.
Nico: Nice! Any other hobbies outside of skating, apart from taking care of Ollie? Wouter: Not really, man. I mean, I like to fix stuff at home, do reparations, work on my car and drive it. But those ain’t no hobbies.
Marc: But maybe washing your car? You like doing that…
Wouter: Nah (laughs). That’s no hobby. Maybe in a couple of years I’ll be doing some art, who knows?!
Marc: I mean, you draw very well.
Kickflip / by Fabian Reichenbach
Nico: Oh really? Wouter: Nah…
Marc: Yes, he does! He’s got some talent. Remember that drawing you offered me for my birthday, Wout? It’s super sick! At first, I thought he just got it from Google and printed it, but it turned out that he had drawn it by himself.
Wouter: Haha, when I drew it, I didn’t even know if I could draw. I just gave it a try. Maybe for your next birthday you’ll get another one. But till then, just skating and trying to make some money.
Nico: Sounds good. Before we wrap this one up, tell us about that job you just had for Dior. They paid you to skate, right? Wouter: Haha, they put up a mini bowl in one of their stores and paid me and some homies to skate there for a few days. It was paid well. But I really did feel like an animal in a cage sometimes. Everybody staring at you from behind a fence, phones out, while you put on a show in the ramp and when you wanna have a drink afterwards, you’re not even allowed to stand next to all the influencers at the store. So we would sip champagne in the stockroom with one of the Dior employees who was down with us, because he didn’t like them fake influencers and the whole show around it. But it’s not been all that bad! I mean, we got paid to skate and we got to talk to a lot of random people just chillin over there.
Nico: Did you get hooked up with some Dior stuff as well? Wouter: Yeah, I got a pair of shoes and a shirt that I had to wear when it was show time. The shoes are like €1200, and at first, they thought I could give them back once the skating would be done. They were kinda surprised how the shoes looked after skating them two times (laughs).
Nico: Any shout outs? Wouter: Shout out to you, shout out to Emerica, Baker, Shake Junt, Spitfire, shout out to Milan (Schets), shout out to Skatestore, shout out to Markie, shout out to Killah Tapes!
Marc: Word! Shout out to Killah Tapes crew
(Marc Bolhuis) bs Tailslide / by Robert Christ