Brainstorm

  • Yes g, thanks for meeting up with me on this glorious day. Before we get into the Brainstorm stuff, I’m keen to learn a little bit more about yourself, that sound cool to you?

Of course!

  • Let’s get straight into it with some easy ones, what’s your name and how old are you?

My name is Cole Flynn Quirke, and I am 25 years old

  • Born and bred in Brighton?

Yeah man! Bar about 4 years I have lived in Brighton my whole life

  • You’re up to a lot of cool stuff man, I’m not even sure what I want to start with ha! I guess one of the things that stands out to me about you the most is your photography, its really amazing. 

Ah thank you!

  • You’re studying it at the Royal College of Art Right? 

Yeah man, it’s all online right now though so not the best haha!

  • How’s that going for you? Must be pretty mad through all this lockdown shit, right?

Yeah, it’s just a little bit boring right now! It’s a master’s so at least I’ve had that experience of a BA, going to uni and meeting loads of new people, so it’s not the end of the world. Its still it’s kind of challenging to do a course like film photography at home without the access to things like darkrooms and other facilities. Luckily for me I do have access to one in Brighton so that’s kind of lucky I guess!

  • Where did your interest in photography?

I think it stems from my dad, he brought me up on so many films. One of the first  films that he showed me when I was really young was called ‘ My Life As A Dog’ by Lasse Hallström. I thought it was one of the most beautiful things that I had ever seen. It really inspired me to start making things that could possibly give someone else the same feeling, so ever since then I have always had a passion for all things visual. I do actually really enjoy making short films, but I think photography is so much more accessible. It’s something you can do on your own at any time, so I have always found it super enjoyable. I started taking photos of my friends day to day and just never stopped really! 

Self Portrait. Photo: Cole Flynn Quirke
  • What are some of the inspirations behind your photography?

My grandfather actually developed early onset dementia, so I have always thought of photography as a useful tool to kind of document my life and my memories. This is why all of my photography is autobiographical, it all depicts experiences throughout my life. One of the first big projects that I had worked on called Prodigal Whopperhead was about the fear of inheriting my grandfather’s condition. Its pretty much a visual diary documenting my life and my memories so I can hold of them forever. To memorialise them you could say! 

  • Any Particular photographers/works that inspire you?

My favourite photographer of all time is Robert Frank. He was a Swedish photographer who moved to America and was mates with people like Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac from the Beat generation. He did this project called The Americans where for years he just documented them and what they were up to. That is one of my favourite pieces of work. Another photographer named Joseph Szabo is another big inspiration to me, I actually had my work up at the same exhibition as him in Cornwall so that was a big deal for me ha!

  • You have put together some rad projects over the last few years, wanna briefly talk us through some stand out proud moments/projects?

Yeah man as I mentioned before, Prodigal Whopperhead was my first major project so that will always be a standout for me. After I published that one my grandmother sadly passed away, so I started a project called A Bird Flies Backwards which challenges the notions of things like mortality, memory loss, love, and also love lost. This was my first solo show and I exhibited at the Truman Brewery in Shoreditch. that’s a definite standout moment for me, because I wasn’t expecting it to have the big  turnout it did! Hopefully there will be another like that!  

  •  Anything you’re working on that we can look out for?

I’ve been working on a project for a few years now called Even A Maniac Can Learn To Drive which is a sort of follow on from A Bird Flies Backwards. It has the same autobiographical themes but its more on the subject of uncertainty and how the world can just flip on you so quickly. It’s a lot sadder than my other projects but I’m excited to put it out! 

  • Does your passion for cameras extend to video cameras?

To an extent for sure! I don’t know much when it comes to digital cameras, but I do tend to gather a lot of vhs and DV cameras which are all dyeing on me one by one haha!

Joe from Prodigal Whopperhead. Photo: Cole Flynn Quirke
  • You’re also in a band, right?

Yeah man, Truckstar! I do some solo stuff as well under the name C Turtle. That’s kind of my excuse to play the weirder stuff that the band might not want to play haha.

  • What instrument do you play?

I play guitar and also sing.

  • Big ups on the album, I think its rad that Will Van Hoorn did the artwork as well! Where can we find it?

Yeah man! He is a mad painter I love his style. I saw that particular painting on his Instagram and needed to use it for the album for sure. It’s always sick to bring your mates up! Its all on Spotify and Bandcamp man.

  • Jesus! Man of many talents haha, may need a part 2! Where does skateboarding fit into all of this?

So I was always a bit of a goth as a kid, carrying a skateboard around but never really knowing how to use it. I think it was more for show at that point, but when I was 16 I got way more into it and started hanging out with more skaters. Then eventually I met Dan (Turvil) at college and got super into it from there! I always loved the things that come with skating, like having a crew around me all the time. Your also exposed to so much cool stuff when you’re really involved in it; so much music, so many amazing films etc. its crazy how much stuff you find!

  • This brings us nicely to the main event of this interview: let’s talk Brainstorm!
  • Where/when did the idea for Brainstorm first come to you?

It was actually after the A Bird Flies Backwards show, I had sold quite a lot of books there, so I had some cash to my name haha. I remember coming back from London just after the show, I had this little VHS camera, and I was really hyped on the idea of making a small 10-minute skate video. It started with a conversation with Dan (Turvil) and I was like ‘Yo, lets make a vid with all the homies we skate with and you can have a full part at the end, it will be sick’. We lived together at the time and he was down for the idea, so we made a run of t shirts and just went out filming every day! Shortly after that I ended up meeting Yarris (Harrison Woolgar) at the Canna Kitchen and from then on it just kept growing! But yeah, it all began with me and Dan having the idea for a short video haha.

  • It definitely gives off a truly 90’s feel. The graphics, music, and general aesthetic is really reminiscent of that time in skateboarding, what are some of the inspirations behind the brand?

Ah yeah, big-time man! I prefer the skating from that time for sure, It feels more stripped back and a lot more relatable, some of the stuff out these days is just too nuts for me! The graphics and the clothes that people were making back then were so sick as well, people like Erik Brunetti who made FUCT, his graffiti and the graphics that FUCT put out were amazing and I was into that for a long time. I’ve also always found old workshop graphics and stuff like that really cool. A lot of album artwork from the bands back then has also been a big inspiration. They just did it better back then man!

  • In your opinion, what do you think is drawing people back to the simpler times of 90’s skateboarding and the whole aesthetic surrounding it?

It’s kind of like restorative nostalgia, people have this tendency to look back and think to themselves ‘is was so much better back then’ which I think happens with every generation. I’m the same man, all the music I listen to and all the skating I watch and get inspired by is from those times, I think its definitely just a nostalgia thing!

  • Any particular vids/parts that era get you hyped up?

I love Eastern Exposure, Ricky Oyola is the man.

  • Who designs your graphics? Is it all you or you got a little team working on it?

I’ve done the majority of the graphics and artwork myself. Dan (Turvil) has also been a helping hand and done one of the graphics for us. One of the earlier graphics was done by an artist called Leo Kember, so it’s really a mixture really of my work with the help of others. It’s always fun to get help from homies. 

  • It kinda seemed like you guys popped up out of nowhere. Where were you hiding all this time! It’s probably because you guys keep it 100% in the streets and avoid the vortex of the Level!

Haha yeah man, I have skated that place a couple times but it’s not really my idea of fun to be waiting around like 10 minutes at a time to try one trick. I’m not a mad technical skater either. All the skating I love to do is in the streets whether it’s just some crusty drop-in or some weird spot into a hill bomb. It’s the same for all the other Brainstorm heads really, we have been here skating ha! 

  •  How did you and all the OG Brainstorm heads meet? You all from Brighton?

We’ve all known each other since we were about 16 just skating around Brighton really. As I say, I met Dan at college and slowly got introduced to everyone through him! We used to make little Instagram vids together and shit, and it just grew from there! 

  • It was when Yarris (Harrison Woolgar) started getting involved that I first heard about the brand and what you guys were doing. It Seemed like this was around the same time that people like Archie (Hyde) Dan (Fisher) and Dougie (George) started getting involved. How did these connections all come about?

So Yarris and I obviously met when we were working together, and I had seen him in videos previous to that. I think it was around the same time that Zane,s Momento video Subliminal Sleep came out, so I was already hyped on all those people’s skating. I actually met Archie before anyone when I was working at Flowerpot Bakery. He came in one day and I think he knew my photography through his cousin or something, but yeah, we got talking about skating and that kicked off from there. Then ended up meeting people like Dougie and Fisher whilst filming with Yarris, and the video started growing from a little 10-minute project into the half an hour video it ended up being!

Dan Turvil: Wallride. Photo: Cole Flynn Quirke
  • Let’s talk about the video, seemed like a big project! Was this the first skate video you worked on? 

Yeah man, other than the little iPhone edits and things like that I have never put out a proper vid. Was really keen to show everyone just how good some if these guys are as well! People like Dan have been killing it for years and I thought it was time for them to be seen!

  • Is it true the whole idea of the Brainstorm vid died and then got resurrected a good few time’s? Glad it ended up happening man! But yeah, what happened there?

Haha! Naa, man the vid was always going to come out, the project itself just kept growing and changing as more people got involved. People felt like they wanted to get more footage. Jake (Taylor Doyle) had been in Australia for a lot of it, so we wanted to get him in the video too. There was no end goal in mind, so everyone always wanted to get more haha. The whole lockdown thing happened as well so there wasn’t really much filming going on during that first one, and I had just started my masters, so it got interrupted a good few times! 

  • You sure made the most of Brighton’s abundance of non-spots in that video haha, you guys skated everything! 

Yeah for sure, that’s my favourite kind of skating to do and to watch. You can only do that stuff in the streets!

  • I hear you got through your fair share of cameras whilst filming the vid haha, why so many camera casualties?

Yeah, there were four cameras in total haha. The first one was the result of some madness going down at the sugar rush gap. Someone pushed Joe (Dyson), so I ran over and this guy got me round the neck. He ended up swinging his arm around and punching the camera out of my hand. He completely smashed the front of it! The second camera mysteriously died whilst I was away in Palestine for a week, as these old cameras do sometimes. Camera number three was short lived, I think it was just a shitty old camera that we found that was never going to last that long. And then finally we got the VX and it was on from there!

  • I Was watching the vid again whist preparing for this interview and there is a particular clip I wanted to ask you about, what happened with that fight at sugar rush? I hear this was just one in a saga of fights at that spot haha. What went down?

It was mostly while Matty (Rovai) was trying to get a trick at that spot. Sadly he didn’t get it for that vid but we will be going back to sugar rush for the next one. It seems like that spot just attracts some nutty people man. Whether it’s people that work in that area or just pissed up people hating skaters, it’s definitely kicked off a few times! Every time we would go there, we would attract some crazy drunk people, they would get so angry with us! It was the middle of summer, so I  suppose it because the spot is on the beach and a lot of drinking goes down when the suns out! 

  • Another funny one I heard is involves the clip of you guys bowling, apparently you get chucked out after one game, how did you manage that? Haha!

Ah yeah haha, they shouldn’t sell beers at the bowling alley man! We were just getting so drunk and fucking around man, I remember Yarris was skating down the lane at some point and we definitely lost a bowling ball in the ceiling from a rogue throw. Someone might be getting a surprise ball falling from the ceiling at some point in the future. We also had a pretty heavy crew of us which I’m sure didn’t help either. I’m sorry! 

  • The soundtrack is amazing, who was in charge of picking the music?

Yeah man, I love my music I had a lot of fun with that part of the vid. I wanted to select a lot of artists that I either loved or thought should be heard by more people. My friend Mojo’s band Ezekiel Doo, which Dougie and Cal skate to in the video are one of my favourite Bands of all time! It was cool to be able to put their music in the video. Also got a chance to put my own music in there too haha.

  • Taking it back to your band Truckstar, Yarris skates to one of your songs right?

Yeah he skates to the song Wave Twisters, I wasn’t actually too sure about putting my own music in the video, but when Yarris heard the song he told me that was the song he wanted to skate to. It’s also cool to see him skate to something different as well, I think he could skate to anything and kill it man.

Matty in hospital. Photo: Cole Flynn Quirke
  • Okay, I’ve got one more story that needs some explaining because it sounds gnarly! What’s this I hear about someone’s lung collapsing whilst filming for the vid?

Damn, I actually heard about this whilst on the train home from London. I hit the boys up cos I was keen to go skate and they were like ”naa man, Matty is in intensive care his lung has collapsed!” It was gnarly! So basically, they had been out skating all day and Matty was complaining about chest pains. They ended up going to our homie Trevor’s to rest but the pain just kept getting worse and worse until they were forced to call an ambulance. They get to the hospital, and it turns out that his lung had collapsed. He was put into intensive care for a couple weeks! There is some footage of it in the video of him getting wheeled away in the hospital, it was a terrifying experience! Matty took some shit during that vid, he also got hit by a car while we were filming as well! Matty is a gnarly kid, takes it like a man though! 

  • Can we expect any new bits from Brainstorm in the near future? Got any plans to film another video?

Started filming the next video already man! Still gotta get through this dissertation but the second video is on! Not planning on making it quite as long as the first, but you never know haha. keen to get back out filming and having fun though! 

  • I think this is a good place to bring this interview to an end, it’s been a big one, thanks for answering my questions g!

Thanks for having me! It’s been fun man!

  • Any Final words of wisdom for the people?

Hmm, don’t get locked out in your pants! Always carry your keys!

  • Haha very wise words! 
  • We made it homie it’s time to skate yo! Keep killing it my G, peace!

Projects spoken about in the interview:

A Bird Flies Backwards

Even A Maniac Can Learn to Drive

Prodigal Whopperhead

Videos mentioned:

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