Sunday, February 3


The first time I met Russ Morland I couldn't help but think...."this guy is an asshole." That thought really didn't last long after a few minutes of conversation. Adapting quickly to his dry sardonic wit and dirty english tongue, I knew there was something more intriguing to this odd bloke than his terrifyingly insulting humor. In the early days of DNA Skateshop I knew that Russ was an amazing and unique artist. Did I think his gifts, passions, and intense dedication would lead him on an amazing journey to great accomplishments? To success? To fame? To respectability? To a GIANT list of sponsors? To having Britney Spears own a set of his hand painted Etnies?......ABSOLUTELY I did. I am honored to have Russ in my life, and say he is one of my favorite humans. Russ has alot to say, so curl up in a good pair of pj's, get a cup o' tea and feast your eyes on this..Here is PART 1. Enjoy - (note - interview in raw, no spell check....don't care.) - Jay Zemanek

 Where did you grow up, and why did you come to Canada?
        I grew up in the North of England in a little town called Spennymoor, It's pretty close to the border of Scotland in an area known as County Durham, I would be called a Geordie, were kinda like Newfies (spelling?). I moved around a bit to a few cities but I always stayed in the the North. I moved to Canada with my wife whom was Canadian, we split a few years ago and I decided to stay because we have a kid together. 

What was your first interaction with DNA Skateshop? 

        I had met Dave (Salem) when I was working at the District (OG Nanaimo skateshop), we only worked together briefly. Dave Blackman and I were talking about things to do, and thought opening a skate shop would be a good idea. We were both working for George Timmins at the time at his outdoor sports recycling store. It sucked, we wanted to do something that we were into so we went looking for locations. We had heard that the spot on Fitzwilliam ST (Nanaimo) was up for rent, so we went by and Dave (Salem) was (already) fucking in there with (Brendan) Moles opening DNA. I was stoked but bummed. After that I tried a couple of odd jobs but after a few months of being open Dave hired me to work at the store. He had a few people that were hanging around and kinda helping but weren't cut out for retail. I had a serious edge and love for the industry and for doing the right thing for local skateboarding so I was a good fit. The first year was hard but we made it through and the rest is history, I miss it every day.

Did you have experience in the skate industry back home?
     I had a lot of experience back home in England, My closest skate homie had been pro for Death box back in the eighties, Deathbox turned into Flip, He introduced me to other English pros, I did graphics for stores back then, The first graphics I did was for Hughys shop in Newcastle called Cold Turkey. I hung out at that store lots, this was back when we still had no skate store at all in out city, no park, no skate store, we had great street spots though, every time we needed skate gear we had to travel for about an hour. Sucked. I moved to Bransley to study Art in 98 and met Toby Batchelor, he was a filmographer for the industry and his stuff was getting out there more an more. He introduced me to more people in the industry. I finally ended up working at a skate/surf shop in York, It was good in so many ways and bad in others, the owners were only interested in money, not supporting, we had a small team that got very little discount, I was sponsored through the shop for Duffs, I was always just ok at skating but they hooked me up because of my attitude, I was getting better here and there but was never gonna be great I knew this, after many injuries I just lost whatever edge I had and just ended up scaling back my skating and stopped pushing myself. The Store in York was called Mayhem, I met some great people through this store, Nick Zorlac from Death Skateboards, Foz at Heroin, Arthur Tubb, lots of the Blueprint guys like Scott Palmer, all my homies from Darlo would roll through, Bingo and Snoz, Snoz built us an amazing ramp for my late friends Rich and Joe. The shop was cursed 4 guys from the shop died three being my best friends, I've had some rough things happen in my life, I feel like it made me bitter in some ways.

What was your perception of the Canadian skate industry when moving here?
    When I moved here I thought it was rad, When I worked at the District it gave me a bad impression, the people that worked there were really negative sometimes, My homie Doron (Inglis) was a super positive dude always down to skate and the PA boys would roll in and be the best, this is when I first met Brando (Wells) and Jamie (Collins). The distribution guys were rad, super friendly, Lots of people skated that worked at the distributions which is the way it should be. There seemed to be more money for events in Canada, more sponsorships but in a weird way less unity in the actual skate community, it was the first time I ever really experienced haters and bad attitudes, this trend has sadly kept going, sport versus lifestyle I guess. Lots of local brands were popping up, these guys were young and trying to do the right thing but lots of the time the teams had weird attitudes and the brands were having a hard time making it out of the city they were from. I respect them for what they tried to do though, it was never easy.

How did the idea of Kitsch come about?
    Geoff (Dermer) called me wanting to talk graphics and ideas for a company, we based it out for a week or so, I think at the time I had suggested calling it LURK skateboards, I wanted to do the art and have him do the team stuff, He was into that idea at the time, He wanted to have his own thing and have me just help with graphics, I think his girlfriend came up with the name and we both loved it, I got on that right away. I'm so down for making something cool for others though eventually I would love to have LURK skates still. I think we need more Canadian brands, if kids supported local and Canadian brands more the brands would be able to help the scene out easier it would take a little pressure of the distributors. 

What inspired you to pursue your artwork?
  I was born to do what I do, I know it sounds cliche but I really feel that art is my calling, not because of my skill because there are millions of skilled artists out there but more because of my attitude, I'm an artist, I have all the stereotypical behaviours of an artist. I think wanting to do things for people to enjoy drives me, its a great rush to do an art show and get a great response kinda like landing a trick, skateboarding is like art in this way, you do it mainly for yourself but when a homie sees you land a trick then its for them, and they get stoked, thats all it should be, simple. I can remember the feeling if landing tricks that were sick and I can remember the feeling of a great response to my art. Its all connected. As of late my sponsors (Instrumental Skateboards, Etnies Footwear, Altamont Clothing, Nixon Watches, Electric Sunglasses) have been great at motivating me and finding cool things for me to do and fun venues to show in.

Tuesday, January 29

Russ Morland...too many parts - part 1

Comin' at ya this Sunday February 3rd, the first part of my interview with Russ Morland. We will take you on a journey through time and space. Tales of skateboarding adventures, tidbits of personal struggles. Snipets of artwork. And the ramblings of a true madman that I am proud to call one of my favorite humans - Jay Zed.

Friday, January 4

Our man forever and always, Jamie Collins.

As you all know, Jamie Collins left us this past summer.  He was an inspiration to myself and all beyond words, his presence is still felt daily. Color Magazine just released his memorial video today about the secret spot he built in the Tofino rain forest over the span of the last 3 years. So much love to Brandon Wells, Russ Morland, Jason Picton, Matt Macleod....and honestly this list can go on forever. DNA thanks you all.

Monday, July 16


The first time I met Brandon Wells was back in 2007 when he wandered into DNA with a resume in hand. I didn't know what to make of this stranger wearing a rasta themed Adidas jacket and matching Nikes. But after talking for a bit sharing life stories and ideas, I decided me and this guy were gonna be good pals. That brief encounter has transformed into years worth of life experiences I will cherish. We've lived. We've lost. We've created. We've destroyed. All I know is no matter where my life has taken me or where it's going, I can call up Brandon and hear the words "it's all good fam, we're in this together." Here I present you a short interview with Brandon Wells. - all photos (minus Instrumental Ad photo) and Instrumental Ad design by me (Jay Zed) - video by Brenton Paupst with additional footage by Luke Connor.

JayHad you heard of DNA Skateshop before you relocated to Nanaimo?
BrandoThe first time I had heard about DNA was when their skate team showed up in P.A. at our local park on an Island tour which you told me was around 2005. I was at work the day you all showed up. I went to the park after to see the crew and have some CHIPS AND POP, and what I heard was all sorts of fucked up things. Haha you see, the P.A. (Port Alberni) squad rolled deep. The majority of all the originals had been skating together since 1993 / 94.  Over the years we had raised all the little homies who were down with skating 100%, and got rid of all the lames who couldn't hang. So on this day I heard from the squad that one of the DNA riders told Lil' Sean Hanebury to get to get the fuck out of his way or get off the park, or some shit like that.
Jay - Yeah, we did have some trouble makers on the trip. It's bound to happen when you have four mini vans filled with 20 skateboarders and a hip hop band. Needless to say we were never allowed back to camp grounds, rental companies...and various towns. Haha.
Brando - So from that point on there was a little friction with Nanaimo! Haha, which was kinda ironic because in the early years the Island scene was so connected. We had us in P.A, the Rudy Crew in quailicum, Jessie Booi and the Parksville crew, the District (which evolved into DNA Skateshop) crew in Nanaimo, the Plastic Soldier squad in Courtenay / Campbell River, and then the Coastline crew in Victoria. Somewhere along the line it all seemed to grow apart. People were still cool with each other of course, it just wasn't like it used to be. Around this time myself and Jamie Collins began talking about ideas and what we could do to help expand and support the skateboard scene on our own terms. So in 2006 Instrumental Skateboards was born as an operation of spray painting blank boards out of my basement for all the homies. In early 2007 I had decided to leave my beloved home town of Port Alberni and move to Nanaimo to make moves!
JayWhat was your relationship with DNA when you settled into Nanaimo?
BrandoWhen I got to Nam (Nanaimo) and got settled, one of my very first stops was at DNA to hand in a resume to you (Jay Z) who probably threw it it the garbage right away haha!!!  The vibe of the shop brought me back to memories of the District. Homies hanging around shooting the shit and watching skate vids. Dirty ass couch in front of the shoe wall, a slow ass computer that a skate rat would be lurking on, a back room full of jolt cola, (Jay - mine), art pieces and shoes! Over the next few months DNA would become my 2nd home. I started to tell you (Jay) that we had a company starting, but at this point we had only got our first board samples and were a few months away from production, so I did not want to go into much detail of what we had in the works. Mainly because me and Jamie are more about the "don't talk about it, be about it" type of people.
JayDid you expect anything to evolve out of your new relationship with DNA?
BrandoI did not expect anything out of DNA. I asked you if it would be cool, if maybe Dave Salem (owner) would pick up some boards from us when they dropped. DNA Skateshop was one of the last core shops left of the Island, and we would be honored to be able to have boards on your wall!
JayThat was around the time I told Colby Spence and Aden Ellis (Concyse Clothing owners) about you starting Instrumental, and for you to think about some of our team guys for the Instrumental squad. Shortly after that I called Jamie Collins and asked him to be part of the Concyse crew....the rest was a story that would make baby Jesus himself cry. I still remember releasing your boards at the shop, and doing your first official ad using Microsoft paint on the shop computer. Hahaha.
click to enlarge
Brando - Haha ya man, I remember Colby and Aden and the Concyse guys from back in the early days. The funny thing was when me and Jamie started Instrumental a big thing for us was not stepping on Concyse's toes, because they had their own thing going and we respected their hustle. Just so there was no conflict we had our first run of t-shirts printed in a terrible shop in Nanaimo! Haha, that shit is jokes!  While you were telling Colbs and Aden about us, our good friend and Instrumental OG Donnie Elliot, was telling me and Odes (Jamie Collins) about them and how he knew if we got the crews together, we would click instantly!!! I still remember the day you called Odes (Jamie Collins) to put him on the Concyse team. That was super rad because from that point on it became family biz for real! Our teams were pretty much one in the same after that, and soon enough we considered y'all homies brothas' from different mothas'! In 2008 we did our first Instrumental trip to Victoria as a whole unit and Colby let us crash at his place. That was crazy because we were rolling like 10 or 11 dirtbags deep, and everybody knows the P.A. boys love drinking ROOT BEER and talking shit! Haha, we BLEEP, BLEEP, BLEEP, and skated all weekend!!! You could just feel something change! Man, as corny as this shit will sound, I knew Instrumental could reunite the Island skateboard scene and the Concyse crew were going to be the dudes who helped us make it happen!!! FAMILY BIZ MUTHAFUCKA!!!
Jay - What was the feeling the day you got to open a box with your first run of Instrumental decks?
Brando - The day our boards arrived, they got dropped off in Nanaimo, and I didn't even look in the boxes. I called Jamie and told him to meet me in P.A. I drove home with a gang of boxes filled with fresh boards. We each grabbed CHIPS AND POP to celebrate this amazing day. When we cut them boxes open, we were like little kids on Christmas Day! That day was AUG 27 2007...dude, we couldn't believe it! Instrumental Skateboards was official!! I still get so hyped thinking about that day. We kicked it all night drinking ROOT BEER , and enjoying the feeling of being sooooo stoked on the birth of this company! The next day I dropped the first series of our OG Island graphic off at my 2nd home, DNA. This day will always be with me, because you and DNA Skateshop was the first core shop to believe in us. And that first little ad thing you made for us was so sick! 
JayDid you expect Instrumental to basically powerslam the West Coast Industry so quick with an amazing team roster? You basically came out of nowhere with a team that left people going, hooolllly shit....what is Instrumental? You instantly had two very well known Canadian skateboarders Jamie Collins (formerly Globe Shoes, Plastic Soldier, District Skateshop), and Aaron Sheare (formerly Natural Koncept), and a list of amazing up and coming skateboarders.
Brando - When we first started to put together the team, we just wanted homies that would be down to represent where we were from, and represented what we were about. You take care of home, and home will take care of you. Over the years we have added some new blood and some guys that have moved on, but everybody stays family regardless.
Jay With the recent addition of Russ Morland as the art director, what's in store for Instrumental in the next year? I think Russ was the last piece you needed to solidify Instrumental Skateboards as a company to take notice of in the Canadian industry.
Brando - Man! Me, Jamie and Russ are all super excited to just keep working, hustling, and skating to keep moving this company forward!!! We want to keep building with the accounts who have supported us over the years, and definately hook up some new ones as well! We are looking to expand our clothing line into something more than just basic t-shirts and hoodies. Soon we will have some nice cut n' sew type garments and hats to go along side of tees and hoodies . We are dropping our new logo series decks next, and throwing around ideas for the next art series so stay tuned!! We got the 9th annual ramp camp coming up Aug 24,25,26.  which also marks the 5th anniversary of Instrumental so hopefully all the island heads and some van city boys can make the trip to come skate and celebrate with us! (here's the video from last summer!!!)
Brando - Having Russ Morland join the company as  art director was definitely the missing link for us. His skills and creativity as an artist are next level amazing. Everybody is familiar with his artwork.  He's an OG skateboarder from the District days that we've all known since he moved to Canada, so it really means a lot to myself and Jamie to have him part of the family! If you need a tattoo or a spot to have a sick art show, make sure you hit him up at The Electric Umbrella in Nanaimo.
Jay - Thanks? Thank yous? Shout outs? Love? Peace? Smiles? Inspiration.
BrandoMuch Love to all the homies that have helped us, supported us, and represented us over the years! We couldn't have made it this far with out y'all!!! Thank You to all the shops and people who continue to support Instrumental, it means the world to us. Much respect .


Thanks Jay Zee for doing this!!!! Love is love fam.

...always the last one to leave the party.

Tuesday, July 10

The Brandon Wells interview is delayed for a few days....I know you're all antsy pantsy...."but chill baby, chill." That's what Brando would say.

Monday, July 2

Wonder what Brando has been up to since DNA shut it's doors? Wonder what makes this amazing mans brain function? Well, I doubt we'll find that out...but it will be a fun interview into the relationship that existed between Brandon Wells and DNA, and find out what he's been up to in the last 4 years!!! May be a multi-part series!!! First part dropping this Friday

Team updates.

lengthy backside smith [pic] Jay Zee

(Click on pic to view in lightbox mode!!) Mat Howell is still a skateboarding super power to be reckoned with on the Canadian coast. Since DNA closed it's doors Mat took up residence in Victoria, with most of the DNA crew following soon after or before. If he wasn't already on locals lists of favorite skateboarders, it didn't take much time to creep up to the top. Mat is also a master carpenter and fine woodworker. This week he launched a blog to show you his craftsmanship and promote his work. So check out the link below, and give Mat a high five next time you see him! LINK TO HOWELL WOODWORKING

Monday, June 15

Veedub 2009.

For those who weren't there for the Veedub 2009 comp, Brandan Soros took home 2nd place.....(although we know he should have got 1st). Brandan threw down tricks in his run that most would consider their best tricks they've ever done, one time. Brandan also threw down in the best trick comps and won himself some tasty cash. Congrats lil' Tom Cruise, keep rippin' Vic a new asshole.

Tuesday, June 9

Concyse all day.

The Concyse site is back in full force.....with daily updates. Check it out here!!!!!!!!

Thursday, May 21

Instrumental decks.

New Instrumental decks just arrived!!!! In 7.75 and 8. The artwork was done by our friend Stu Dobell. Get yours now!!! In Victoria at Coastline and Higher Ground, in Nanaimo at AG, in Port Alberni at Lace It Up.

Monday, May 18

Prove yourself sucker.

Time to proove your skills fools! Vic West annual comp. June 6th, be there.....or be a whinny bitch. Put your mouth where your pennies are!!!!

Wednesday, May 13

Fun son.

Dank and Alex Eddy had some fun in the sun. Eat it up yum.

Wednesday, April 29

FnF sucka!!

Matt Macleod and Clayton Groenendyk have teamed up to start a production company called FnF Media. Matt on the shutter bug, and Clayton on the film machine. Check out their blog site, and stay informed!!!

Monday, April 27


Jay Zee has officially joined the ranks of a skateboard veteran by turning 31 this past weekend.

Wednesday, April 22

Gettin' coverage!!!

Matt Macleod did up a nice web article for SBC, check it out!!!! Jamie Collins - blunt fakie on the ramp of death [o] Matt Macleod

Monday, April 20

Lil jason ain't so little anymore.

Jason Riach came to visit us last week for spring break, and we all got an early taste of summer!!!! Frontside ollie - [o] Jay Z

Monday, April 13

Trev is the fav.

So Trevor Ribeyre takes the favorite island skateboarder poll by a long shot!!! New poll, where will Koston end up now that he's off Lakai? I'm calling a very large contract with Nike SB. Here's Trev's Rudy 3 part, courtesy of Chris Gaetz.

Friday, April 10


Eric Timmins and Brandan Soros battle it out at pioneer park. Filmed By Clayton Groenendyk.

Eric Timmins and Brandon Soros Game Of Skate from Instrumental Skateboards on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 8

We are all instruments.

Back to back frontside blunt pics from the Instrumental boys. The new Instrumental website is up and running. Check it out, or you are clinically stupid. Go here dummy.

Monday, March 30

Gettin' down.

Benson gets down to business filming for the new Instrumental / Concyse video.

Saturday, March 21

The scorpion king.

Mike "gnarly" Farley has placed himself on the injured reserves list with a fractured foot. Let's wish him a super speedy recovery. Also, new bitches.

Wednesday, March 11

The whitest guy I know.

Go away cold. Another fine pic brought to you by Rigo and Johns chicken legs.

Monday, February 23

Balls to the wall.

Mat knows how to find and build spots. He's like Jesus meets Christopher Columbus.

Friday, February 20

Bustin' nips.

Spring is just around the corner people!!! So bust those shirts and blast those nips!! Dust off the ol' board and get dirt nasty!!

Sunday, February 15

Jesus money builds amazing indoor parks.

Here's some footage from the amazing indoor park in my old hometown of Medicine Hat Alberta. This comp went down last week. This indoor park is funded by a church......the only way indoor parks seem to stay for jesus.

Sunday, February 1

DNA VID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

The original DNA video is online and available for viewing. Thank you Dan Kelly!!!!! You can't hate on this chumps, these dudes were doing everything you've already done.....years, and years ago. So suck it up, and say thanks to Dan Kelly for providing the memories!!!!! Go to this link to view!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 8

100% family

Wednesday, January 7

Lazy dayz.

Here's a bit of throw away footage and antics from last summers adventures. Featuring lazy skating from Jaimie Collins, Aaron Sheare, Brad Ormiston, Brett Lawson Colby Spence, Mat Howell, Pat Hooney, Trevor Ribeyre, Sean Hanebury, Brandan Soros, Scott, Drew C., Dan L., Jay Zemanek, Ethan Milais, Andrew Martin, Don Elliot, and Mike Farley.

Vancouver Island Skateboarding 2008 from on Vimeo.

Saturday, January 3

Indoor tonight!!!!

Join Trevor Ribeyre and friends for an evening of skateboarding mayhem. Tonight (saturday jan 3rd) from 5pm-11pm. Entry by donation (Trev paid for it, so let's help him out). Feel free to invite everyone you know, and if anyone has obstacles, the more the merrier. See you tonight!!!!!! And give Trevor a high five for putting this on!! pic - Trevor Ribeyre - switch bs flip [o]Rigo Gonzalez

Tuesday, December 16


Join Nik Cowdrey for a free birthday skate part at the Centennial building this saturday!!!!! If anyone has any rails, boxes, ramps, anything....PLEASE BRING!!!!!