With no official team and an emphasis on artist collaborations, Mood Skateboards seems more like a design studio than a skateboard company. That may be the case, but perhaps Mood is just what happens when interesting skaters make interesting things. We let Calvin Waterman and Grandison Taber, the skaters behind Mood explain:
Village Psychic: How long have you guys been doing Mood?
Grandison Taber: 2 1⁄2 years, almost 3. We started in early 2012.
Calvin Waterman: Our legal start date is April 20th, which is kinda cool. (laughs)
VP: Most skate brands try hard to make something that reflects skate culture, but we see something a little different from you guys, something more related to art and design. Where does that come from?
GT: Calvin and I are both graphic / branding designers, so we are taking our ideas and pushing them toward what we feel is appropriate in the ways we know how. It's influenced by our, for lack of a better phrase, 'roots in skateboarding', and with that hopefully reaching an audience in, but also outside of, skateboarding.
CW: For me it’s taking a lot of my interests and putting them under one umbrella. When we first thought about the brand we had multiple avenues that we wanted to go down, more than just making a skate brand.
GT: It’s been good a platform for us to talk to people and do shit that we couldn’t normally do.
VP: Another thing which makes Mood unique is the lack of a skate team. Tell us about that.
GT: Sponsorship in skateboarding can be very transient. The people we want to work with are important to us in what they do when they aren’t or are no longer skateboarding. We are interested in people who have more to themselves than their actions on the skateboard. In the 80's and 90's pro skaters were the best at skating, but now everyone is the best. The “need” for professionals isn’t the same.
CW: We hook up a lot of dudes who we think really need it, they don’t have another way of getting a skateboard. We like the 'skate rat' mentality, and it's an interesting balance with this sort of heavy design thing. We have friends doing cool things and we want to support them.
VP: So you guys do have skaters you support, but the brand seems to be more focused on collaborations with artists. What does that do for the brand?
CW: Everyone has their own spin on skating, and the artist collaborations are our spin on it.
GT: I grew up skating in the late 80's and early 90's, when creativity pushed the industry of skateboarding. Doing Mood is bringing the creativity aspect back into it for me, personally. We are getting back to some sort of visual that we find creative.
VP: How do those artist collaborations come about?
CW: It’s a matter of finding people whose work we like to the point that we want to find out more about them. Grandison and I come at them in different ways.
GT: I found So Yoon Lym digging through the internet. We’d done an interview with a website called Fuckn Filthy, and we had mentioned her name as a potential collaborator. Luckily she saw the interview when it was published and contacted us saying that she would love to do some work with us. That’s 100% organic.
CW: The project with Michael Willis was similar to that. I just contacted him like, ‘Hey you have a really fucking cool blog, would you be down to post a few of our things of ours?’ and he was like ‘Yeah, would you ever want to work together?”. I just fanned out and it happened.
VP: Within skateboarding, what do you guys gravitate towards?
CW: I like to see people having fun. Jenkem recently posted the Fancy Lad video. To me, that’s “skating”. It was fucking fun you know? Their style was crazy, what they wore was crazy, and they didn’t really give a fuck, it transcended “trend” in a lot of ways. So much of skating right now is what's trendy, what's cool, maybe that (Fancy Lad) is going to be trendy, I don’t know, but that was fucking cool to me. I thought that was awesome.
GT: I’m still stuck on the two Mar(c)ks: Marc Johnson, Mark Gonzales. If it looks good its going to feel good. When I watch skateboarding, that’s what I am looking for, if I can appreciate the feeling of it by watching it, I’m going to be influenced by it.
VP: Looking forward to the rest of 2015, what will we see from Mood this year?
CW: We have been trying to support this and so many other things in our life. Mood pays itself and its own office space. It also pays our artists, something that we’re adamant about both being designers. It’s great to have grown it to that level, but our goal for 2015 would just be to grow the brand to a bigger place.
GT: Right now we are working on music mixes for 2015. One of them that is the most exciting for me is with one of our good friends, Manny Chester. He is is taking the Welcome to Hell soundtrack and scoring it for jazz piano. That’s important to me in life, not just in terms of skateboard culture.
VP: What is a dream project for you guys?
GT: To be honest with you, every project that comes up is a dream project.
CW: People always have their ‘dream’ thing, and there have been a lot of new aspects of Mood that come along every year where in the year before that, I was like "wow that would be my fucking dream." A good example of that is our collaboration with Tom Darracott, we never thought we’d be able to work with him.
What I like about Mood is that the limitations are one of the best parts of it. We started with this very small amount of resources and a pretty limited amount of connections, we just kept making it do its own thing, and to me, that’s really powerful.