I think I first heard about Backwards Wheels around the end of last year. All I was told was that it’s a project by Josh Cox and Rob Shaw, so my expectations were set pretty high by that fact alone. Yet, I definitely wasn’t disappointed when the Backwards promo was uploaded last month. A blend of quick-footed street skating and hair-raising spots, this video ticks all the right boxes and seriously makes you want to skate. So, knowing Josh and team-rider Ben Rowles quite well, I thought it would be good to ask a few questions and shed some light on the new company.
Alright well first things first Josh, how did the idea for Backwards Wheels come about?
Josh: Rob has always wanted to start something in skateboarding with the name ‘Backwards’, he had a few ideas but in the end he became quite set on the idea of a wheel company. He kept mentioning it and I said I was down to do it with him, but it took a little while before I realised that we were definitely going to do it. In the end it was actually perfect timing, I’ve always wanted to do something within skating too, I had some money saved up and decided that this would be a fun endeavour.
And so at around what time did you start getting involved Ben?
Ben: Yeah, I think I was just skating Mile End one day and Josh mentioned about this new wheel company he was starting. Pretty sure that was then when he said it would be sick if I rode for them. Josh and Rob have a great outlook on skating, so I was well hyped to be a part of whatever they had planned. Then we just started filming as soon as really.
That sounds like a pretty cool approach to building a team. Josh, was that the way that you and Rob went about choosing everyone?
Josh: Well, we knew from day one that we wanted Kyron (McGrath-Davis) to ride for us and he was down straight away. I’m always hyped on Ben’s style and power so I was on having him, I wasn’t sure if anyone else was giving him wheels at the time. Rob was saying I needed to be on the team and I was reluctant at first, but I come round to it eventually and started getting on filming some stinkers. Caradog (Emanuel) came along a little later, after I went on a trip to France over the summer. I was just really stoked on how consistent his skating is and the way he approached things and I knew right then and there that I had to have him.
Yeah, it’s a rad mix of styles and I think that reflected well in the video. Speaking of the video, is there any story behind the little art interludes? I also liked the song choice, who decided on that?
Josh: Not too sure about the art interludes, we probably could’ve filmed more skating instead! But Rob and Norm (Luzinsky) put a lot of time in to getting the artsy stuff just right and I do like all the blueprints/diagrams that flash up. As for the music, me and Rob were sending each other songs trying to find the one that fit best for a while. I actually wasn’t keen on that song (The Screamers, 122 Hours of Fear) at first, Rob was pretty adamant about using it and it grew on me once we started editing it. It’s pretty catchy after a couple of listens.
And what about that firecracker (1:50)? That’s fucking insane! How did you go about trying that?
Josh: Haha, cheers man! Yeah it kind of came around when Manny was checking out the hubba. My friend Tom was persuading me to try and firecracker the stairs and we actually ended up filming it and getting a sequence. Then everyone was saying I should film it for the wheels promo, which had to be in HD, so then I ended up having to do it again. Think I did it about five times before I was happy with it though, kept sketching out at the end.
What about you Ben, what was filming like? All your footage was from London right?
Ben: Yeah and it was sick, Josh and Rob said they wanted like 3-4 HD clips of each person. I spoke to Xavien (Francis) who is always out and always down to film. We just went skating as per usual, and then kept all the good stuff for Backwards. Everyone was hyped to get on it, and then I’d be seeing clips that Josh and Kyron had filmed which got me even more motivated. Josh also said Dog was getting involved too which was sick. There were even a couple of occasions where we went out to find some interesting places for some B-roll. So props to Rob and Norman for putting in the hours editing, they smashed it.
So what’s next, what’s planned for the near future?
Josh: Were working on an edit for our next rider which should be appearing in the next couple of weeks. As for products, we only had enough money to start with the basics but we’ll soon be making all the other essentials and hopefully a few more graphics etc.
And to finish then, where can you purchase Backwards Wheels?
Josh: So far I only know that Parlour and Note have our wheels, but they’ve only just gone out so they should be all over the place soon enough. Ben: Yeah, Parlour and Note are defo selling them at the mo!