Supply On Demand: An Interview with Trey Hill

Virginia is a diverse state with so many niche cultures that anyone visiting might find it overwhelming. One such niche that has remained prevalent over the years is skate culture. Despite seeing its fair share of both disdain and criticism, the relatively new sport has been shown to bridge the gap between kids of different colors and backgrounds with grip tape—ultimately bringing an appreciation for the culture as a whole. Cam spoke with Skate Supply’s wearer of all hats, Trey Hill, to chat about the surprising effects of COVID-19, the evolution of skate culture, and the importance of community.

So, how have you been throughout the craziness that is 2020? How has COVID-19 affected the way your business operates?

Believe it or not man, we’re doing fantastic. Once exercise was deemed “okay,” and you could go outside in small groups or even by yourself, [we] [saw] a huge uptick in sales of skateboard products. A lot of people went back to skating again after not skating for a while or wanted to pick up a board for the first time.

The problem that I don’t think anybody predicted is that the supply chain was going to dry up, so right now, what we’re all facing is more and more manufacturers having their production times delayed. You’ve got the wood suppliers, the people that press boards, then the graphics that get screen printed, and eventually, it makes it to a shop. Now, all of that is taking much longer than anyone would have ever thought. This is happening just as the demand is also becoming huge. It’s not just the skateboard goods that suffered but manufacturers for apparel and sneaker brands too. March through May was rough, but some things are starting to get back to normal. Personally, ordering a product is like buying Supreme—if you see it, you need to buy it right now.

You mentioned that there are a lot of new people picking up boards these days.
Skate shops are becoming community staples in more neighborhoods like bike
shops and the post office. How have you seen skate culture change since you
first started skating?

It’s changed for sure, but that’s with everything, right? Everything’s going to change in the world as we progress as a society, and if you don’t adapt to change . . . you’re going to get left behind. When I started skating in 2003 after getting my first board for Christmas, it was really hard to find a skate shop that didn’t “cool guy” you and chastise you for being new. So when I got into the position to run Skate Supply, my entire idea was to change that culture. For the average Joe that doesn’t have a clue, it only takes one bad experience to just hang it up. You could go to the skate park all you want but are you going to fit in? If you don’t know how to treat people with respect, you’re not going to make it anymore. What’s to stop somebody from going to buy a skateboard on Amazon, so they don’t have to deal with your “cool guy” attitude? So it’s definitely changed, but I think it’s changing for the better for shops like my own and others who are adopting more of a service aspect.

I respect that; I might not be afraid to pick up skating now. So, tell me about the Skate Supply video that just dropped? It’s been a while since I watched a skate video like this, but they always give me And 1 mixtape vibes.

The skate video is such a pillar of the skateboarding culture. For a long time, even in the early 2000s, when I got started, you were waiting [for] years to find out where skateboarding had progressed. . . . [W]e didn’t even know [about tricks] unless you were reading a magazine and saw the photos that a trick had gone down. Even then, you still haven’t actually seen it done until the video came out. It [was] the biggest marketing vehicle to support your brand and showcase what your team offers, [along with] the image you [were] going for . . . it [was] kind of a snapshot of the era you [were] in.

I grew up waiting six years for the LaKai “Fully Flared” video to come up and watch it break skateboarding. I watched dudes go from tight pants and wristbands to corduroys after that video dropped. You were watching an era change, and now, . . . there is no “era” anymore. It’s kind of like the wild wild West. You got Instagram where these kids can post every new trick they land in real-time. You can go to the skate park and land your latest trick that no one has ever done and post it that minute—that’s really progressed skating to this new point.

As far as the Skate Supply video, when I got the opportunity to run the shop, and hand-select guys [I] sponsor and support, I thought, ‘What better way to show off the guys I’d selected than to showcase their abilities.’ Little did I know that filming, editing, [and] traveling was going to create this much work. It’s also hard to get ten friends to do anything together with jobs, girlfriends, etc. It [the video] still comes off with a family vibe, and that’s what I was going for because that best describes our group. For instance, our youngest team riders, brothers Tyler and Colby, joined the team when they were 8 and 11 (or 12), respectively, and now Colby just turned 18. I’m literally watching these guys grow up, and it’s pretty awesome to have a solid group of people that you can rely on and support as well.

How did you get started with Skate Supply, and to what would you attribute the success your team has had up until this point?

I think it’s funny because as a skater you kind of dream of working in a skate shop even if you’re just a lowly sales associate. I’d ended up getting a job at a local surf & skate chain, and I’d worked up to becoming a key holder at the location. While I was on vacation with some friends, the store was robbed, and when I returned, they terminated me on the spot. I thought that was the worst thing that could have happened, I was baffled that I’d just lost my job. . . . What I didn’t know was that they pressed charges against me, so my family and I ha[d] to lawyer up. I remember my mom saying, ‘People go to jail for things they didn’t do all the time.’ We beat the case, of course, because I didn’t do it, and they had no evidence nor proof, but we still had to get a lawyer, which cost thousands of dollars.

Around this time, a buddy of mine was working at Skate Supply, and he was on his way out, [so] I ended up taking his place. [I]t was rough. At times, for four days straight, no one would come through the door. The store was understocked for boards, and other products were dated, it looked like it was in shambles. After my first few months there, I asked the owners if they could give me a little bit of money to play with because I thought we could turn it around if I started buying the right product. At the time, I never stopped skating . . . I’m still in the skate scene . . . I know what the kids are into, but now I had this opportunity to be the buyer and manager of this store. I’ve always been into photography, and I’ve always been into product. I was a huge Nike fan back in the day, so product is a big thing to me, whether it’s just a Nike SB Dunk or even just a limited-edition skateboard. I’ve always been a collector of things, so I was excited when I got the opportunity to start shooting photos of the product that [was] in the store and whatever events we were doing.

Then a skate park opened down the street at the Chesapeake City Park, and that really helped because a lot of the kids in the area were coming to us for the product. I could immediately see them use it and ask them how it was. It was like research and development. I was selling you the product and seeing you at the skate park and asking how it was, not to gain your respect or friendship, but I genuinely wanted to know if it was a good product because I didn’t want to buy it again if they didn’t like it. Actually, one of my best friends told himself that he would never come back to the store because of how they treated him in years prior, but he gave it one last shop, and it happened to be me in the store. I saw him at the park later and asked him how the product was and from there built a friendship.

It’s really the community aspect; I can’t do this without the support of everyone. Anybody that I’ve ever hired, anybody that buys a bearing, even when they come in and don’t buy anything at all . . . it all goes hand in hand because this communal hub can’t operate without them. I can buy all the stuff for the shop that I like, but if the community doesn’t like it, what do they care?

I wouldn’t have it any other way. I wake up every morning stoked that I get to see kids walk out with a smile when they get their first board or even just getting a product that somebody wants, and they couldn’t find it online. All of that stuff keeps me wanting to skateboard until it’s not fun anymore.


The Sunnier Side of Eyedress

Ahead of their show at Charlie’s American Cafe, we asked artist Sunny Moonshine to send a few questions over to the Filipino dream pop musician and producer Idris Vicuña, known by his stage name as Eyedress – in the midst of his first tour of the United States, here’s what was discussed…

Have you been to America before?

I used to live in Phoenix, Arizona from the age of 6-13 then I lived in San Clemente, CA and moved to the Philippines when I was 15 and have been living there ever since.

Are the people here boring compared to other places?

Not at all. All my fans been showing mad love. They got me in almost every city. They hook me up with any party favours I might need. The love is too real! Fans always come up to me after a show to get me drinks or smoke me out. I don’t get that kind of love anywhere else but the States. Shout outs to the fans.

What has been your favorite meal on tour so far?

We hit a couple fire Mexican spots but honestly I only get hyped when we go to [a certain fast food chain, maybe ask him at the show] lol

Do you feel like there are duties attached to being an artist?

Yeah you gotta be responsible and not party every night. Gotta take care of your health and make sure you’re good to go for the next show cuz lately the shows have been constant and we barely get any days off to just rest. So yeah a good diet and the right dosage of vitamins helps.

What is your favorite instrument to start a song with?

I like starting songs off with chords most of the time. It sets the mood. Then I follow with the drums and just fill it all in after that.

Are you going to crowd surf at your show in Norfolk?

Haha i donno if the crowd wants to catch me maybe, I’m too paranoid for all that tho.

What shapes/colors would you use to describe your music?

My shit is like a rainbow, I got that variety. As for shapes idk a circle I guess cuz I can’t fuck w squares :p

What advice do you have for artists struggling to find a place for their voice?

Remember why ya started n don’t forget to revisit the classics.

Is there an issue on any topic that you feel very strongly about as of late?

There’s a couple things I feel strongly about but I’m in a good mood today so ima just say it’s all love on this end for now, peace!

Shedding Water & Poise with Heidi Peele

by Shannon Jay

Heidi Peelen’s work sheds the polite skin females usually portray, and unleashes every lady’s raunchy side. Whether large-scale mixed media pieces, goofy installations, or comedy routines, she creates characters (sometimes at her own expense) that might not be classy but are complex. What some may perceive as lower class at best or trailer trash at worst, she turns into stunning pieces that provoke beauty and respect. She’s nobly brought what she learned in the Big Apple at Pratt Institute back to humble beginnings in Hampton Roads.

She’s put herself out there for performances at Push Comedy and Watershed Art House, which she created and runs. Next, she’s shaking-shit-up at Chrysler Glass Studio this week for a Third Thursday performance. When I asked her to tell me a bit more about it via email, the question boded the shortest and vaguest response of all: “Me trying to be the perfect homemaker and me being the perfect homemaker.”

As for everything else, she’s pretty much an open book:

So, you do… a lot. Maybe start by listing out your extracurriculars?

As far as “extracurriculars,” I’m not sure if I can define them as such, I am genuinely bored by a lot of things and as result aim to find pleasure in other stuff. I really like other stuff. Most of the time the other stuff is anything and everything but the thing I SHOULD be concentrating on. If its a Sunday and I am alone, I like to play the autoharp and make up songs (only if my breakfast voice is still on) and sometimes I record them and sometimes I honestly just strum two chords over and over again until I never want to look at the autoharp for like a month. Also, I really am recently finding pleasure in housecleaning, redecorating and not leaving the parameters of my yard, unless its like someone’s birthday and even still I’ve flaked on like 3 this past year alone. Also I find sanctitude in making lists and never returning to them again. I have 8 to 10 spiral notebooks in rotation that I cant keep track of. 

What got you into comedy?  

I’ve made home movies dressed as really unfortunate characters since I was in ninth grade. When I found a place where other people were doing that and on stage, and then strangers were laughing and actually enjoyed it? And when I felt the adrenaline surge of hearing strangers laugh at me and I did it on purpose, I don’t know – that kind of turned me on, so I went for it.

Its fun, but I can’t fully submerge into anything. So I do it and try to incorporate it into my art and my day to day as naturally as I can, it makes sense. Especially for art, because art is a joke and I’ve been doing that since they told me you got to pick something to be good at and/or make money. I don’t make a lot of money. 

Money must come from somewhere. What’s your current “day job”?

Still teaching. I’m part-time waitressing too. I’ve worked in factory-produced metal stamping for the family business, I’ve worked as an assistant project manager in a basement in Brooklyn, I’ve been a Xerox printer salesman, I’ve made money doing what I had to do to make money.

I think there’s a beauty in employing yourself into fields that make you uncomfortable, because undoubtedly I learn something with every single job. Whatever we’re defining as a job these days. 

Tell me a bit about your sexy one-woman show.

One woman shows are a blast. I like to play with the role of performer for the audience and audience as the performers for the artist. Psychology is a favorite pass time read. But I am by no means experienced in the subject, especially anything written past 1970-something. I love any 60-70’s psychology. Its so much less forgiving than the contemporary, I think.

Anyhoo, the one woman shows are a way for me to low-key hate myself. Because just before I have to go out and perform, backstage, I freak all of the way out and want to call it immediately. Questions begged, “Why are they here?” and “OMG what do I contribute to society?” its all sort of just a cheeky guarantee that I get to develop my own existential crisis for actually no reason at all. The whole show, the whole production, is like one giant excuse for me to self destruct. Awesome. 

“Low-Key Starved” was all purely experimental (and I definitely want to do one again). It was really about toying with audience as performers vs the performer as the audience and how to make myself even uncomfortable. Like I had expectations of people reacting certain ways or walking out or getting fed up or laughing but then when they did I was like oh no what am I doing.

“This is How You Art” was more about the philosophy of watershed. I wanted to get the general art enthusiast up to speed with the tongue in cheek world of art academia and the contemporary and more conceptual pieces that have blurred the lines of art for even the experts. So I’d introduce a performance artist or sound piece or whatever through a live re-enactment (of course with some art licensing) and then allow the audience to experience it. After the re-enactment I would commentate on what they witnessed, and prompt them based off of Goethe’s 3 questions: what was the artist trying to do? Was it worth doing? And was she successful at doing it?

Speaking of Watershed Art House, What was the initial premise behind it and are there any upcoming events?

Watershed Art House is an attempt to yank the area out of the gallery and into the mindset of art as experience. Not a product, not an end result, no a sale, or potential sale or how much for this or whatever, but Watershed is supposed to stretch the mind. Omg that sounds zealous, BUT, I want it (and the people involved with me on this want it) to make art approachable and shifting and ever-changing and incredibly ephemeral. We live in a world of– never mind I’m not even going down the roads, but its a work in progress and we want art to be the experience and temporary and approachable by everyone. Amen. (and I think our next event is this fall- tba, tbd, y’all.)

What are all the visual mediums you work in? What’s your favorite?

I’ve been drawing since the magna-doodle and my mom made a really big deal over my drawing a deer – it looked like an animal of sorts I guess but whatever I was four and she thought it was the bee-knees and I think when your so easily influenced and you’re a little bb child and your mom makes you feel like Picasso, your 4 year old mind is like, “shit yea, I’m gonna be Picasso”. But recently (although I do draw alone and when I’m on the phone, or idk, whenever) I don’t see a point for visual art. I don’t see a lot of a point for anything, but especially visual art whose end product takes up space and time and money. I’ve spent a lot of those things in my life-long affair with this bit and I won’t stop, but the ebb and flow of our love demands that occasionally, I cut her off. Right now I like video and projections, and happenings and performances, and making myself really uncomfortable swimming in all those pools. And its working. Art should make you (as the artist) uncomfortable – if I feel good and cozy and comfy with doing the same thing I’ve been doing for a bajillion years, then really, what am I doing? 

What music/movies do you usually paint to or draw inspiration from?

I like anything with low to no dialogue. I like music with words I can’t understand but chords and repetition I do. I love repetitive qualities in sound. I love sound collage. One of the MAJOR films that truly dug out my insides and in ways revamped my brain was Terrence Malick’s Tree of Life. Still now. And if I weren’t a trite millennial I’d give you my musical artist faves, except that then everyone reading this would know about them and then they might get a little more popular and then they’d do something awful with their next album and I’m approaching 30 and really need some stability in my life rn. 

To see more work, check out her portfolio, and her 360 portrait project on Instagram

Popscure Presents: Blush Face

popscure presents takes local & touring artists, records intimate sessions with a few songs and chats about their process, inspirations, and non sequiturs in between

We at Popscure are really excited to share some content we’ve been brewing up since our inception. Much like bands I featured in my tiny college radio studio over at WODU, we’ve teamed up with some of the area’s top dudes to amp up the sounds and visuals. 

Our first installment of a semi-monthly series, POPSCURE PRESENTS, features Blush Face from Richmond, Va. They brought their “electric lullaby pop rocks” to Charlie’s American Cafe a few hours early last week to play songs off their debut LP, What Do You Want? We talk vulnerable songwriting, weird band names, and how the band came to be. 

Thanks to honorary Popscure team members James Robinson for video and Andrew Briggs for audio, and all their tireless editing. Special thanks to TBA Productions for linking us up with the space and band to get this done!

A Chat With Dreampop Darling Hazel English

by Shannon Jay

Behind bubbly melodies, sweet synths and upbeat guitars on her debut, “Never Going Home,” Hazel English talks trials and tribulations with life, love, and moving across the world.

Originally from Australia, she moved to California to study abroad. Now  based out of Oakland, according to the record’s title, she’s happy here. After a chance encounter with Day Wave, he produced the debut and aided the shaping of her breezy sound. Popscure caught up with English via email to dive a little deeper into leaving home, finding a new one, and what drove her here.

When did you move to the U.S. & What lead you to choose California to study abroad oppose to other countries?

I had visited San Francisco when I was 21 while doing some travelling and I felt a very strong connection unlike anything I’d felt before; I kind of had this intuitive feeling that I was going to live there one day. The opportunity came for me to study abroad about 4 years ago and I ended up getting into a school in the Bay Area. It was such a gut instinct thing—there was definitely a lot of doubt but something in me just knew I had to do it. It was very scary because I didn’t know anybody and I left behind a lot of comfortable things, but looking back, I can easily say it was the best decision I’ve ever made.

What have been some of the pros and cons of starting your career so far away from your hometown?

The obvious con is being away from my friends and family back home but I’ve been fortunate enough to make lots of new friends in the U.S. which has been really nice. One pro I’ve found is that being in a new environment often pushes you to be more open and try new things so I think that can definitely help in any artistic endeavour.

How is the Australian music scene compared to America?

Honestly, there isn’t a huge difference other than the fact that there is a much bigger music industry in the U.S. Over here, I feel like there are lots of different paths you can take with it whereas back home, there is much more of a direct and narrow route to success. That being said there are some amazing Australian bands doing really well right now and I feel like people are finally starting to notice that there are a lot of talented Aussie musicians.

When did you make the transition from playing tuba in the school band to writing your own dreampoppy music?

I stopped playing the euphonium when I reached grade 7 so there’s been quite a few years in between for me to experiment with my sound. Sometimes I think about picking it up again after all this time, I am not sure I’d even remember how to play.

You studied Creative Writing, what drove you towards that major? Any other writing you do besides songs?

I’ve always been very interested in writing and creating stories. I do write fiction too, but right now I’m pretty devoted to songwriting so that takes up most of my attention.

What are some songwriters you pull lyrical influences from?

I really love Morrissey’s lyrics because they are witty and make me laugh, although I don’t think that’s my style of writing at all. Honestly, I’m probably more influenced by confessional poets like Anne Sexton and Sylvia Plath than other songwriters but I can definitely appreciate good lyrics.

How has the shift from hometown to the unknown informed “Never Going Home”?

I wanted to capture all the emotions that I experienced when I first moved to California and the sense of wonder that I felt, moving to a completely new country and starting a new life.