Zane Crowther

Title Photo: Henry Bailey
  • Yes Zane, it’s been a minute! How’s it going my man?

It has been good, it’s been good. Been missing all you homies a lot through these hard times!

We miss you too man, at all times!

  • So you just got done with uni right? How has it been?

Yeah man it’s been alright. It’s been good for doing personal work and stuff like that, obviously it’s all been online so that does make it hard to make the most of it at times. Overall, I think that I have personally had it pretty good as I’m living with a lot of people that are doing the same shit creatively, so we are still able to get on and do projects together, so that’s been good. 

  • What did you study?

Film making, but I’ve been specialising in doing sound design.

  • How was the lockdown for you?

I have had it quite good to be fair, having my girlfriend around has made it a whole lot better. I guess you could call us a bit of a lockdown couple haha, at the time it came around I really wasn’t enjoying the place where I was living, it just really wasn’t making me happy. A lot of my girlfriend’s family were abroad at the time so she was staying in Manchester, I ended going to hers and spending the lockdown together. It ended up being way better than it was. She lives quite central as well so I could get out for my hour exercise and skate the city which was real good ha. Financially it was pretty tough as I had recently left a job at a bar, so it was very badly timed, but we managed and got through it as you do! 

  • I feel for all you people doing creative courses at uni man, must have made it kinda tough! 

Yeah, I think for us it’s been a little easier than for others. For example, if you do something like sculpture at uni there is no way you can really get the facilities or the materials to do a large-scale project. With film making there is still limitations, but anyone can go out and make a film, literally anyone. iPhone’s have as good-if not better-cameras as a lot of industry standard stuff, so people can moan about it on my course, but you can still do a lot. just got to be more creative with how you do it.

  • Big ups on getting it done, you’re a free man now! It hard out here g!

Haha! Yeah, I have enjoyed having this time to grow and work out where I wanna go with all this. And as strange as my experience of uni has been I’m glad I came back to Manchester and went through all of this here. I think it would have been a lot harder for me somewhere else. 

Zane on set
  • You got any immediate plans now you’re finished with university?

Yeah man I’m hoping to just really hone down on putting out more projects. Me and my house mate Joe (Pilkington), who also does film making, have been collaborating on all sorts of projects. Recently we have done a few music videos on a kind of grassroots scale, and then we also recently did a commission for a Manchester based charity which does all sorts of music workshops for various groups of people. We did a short documentary for them which was part of a music and movement workshop at SEN. They are basically schools, which are basically schools for children with difficulties in different areas of life who need extra support when it comes to things like education. Doing that was a really informative experience for me, in terms of where I want to go with my creative work. I definitely want to do more things along those lines. Documentary film making is the most appealing route for me. At the end of the day that’s just what filming skating is really. 

  • You mentioned that you’re currently editing a short film that you’ve made, tell us a little bit about that.

My most recent project has been a collaboration with my housemate (Joe Pilkington). We’ve been working together for the past 2 years on a big range of stuff. We are both very similarly driven toward certain visual/artistic styles so we eventually got a chance to write a narrative short film together which is what we are finishing at the moment. The film is titled ‘Daisies’ and it is about life in ever atomised cities and the collective memory of the people who inhabit them. We have aimed to create an introspective look into what it means to call somewhere home. What happens when that place is constantly changing? What is life like in those cities without a support structure from the state or the people that populate them? We also have approached the film in a somewhat documentary realist style. This means creating a narrative that then has real people playing themselves within it. We have cast two real-life friends to play the two leads. This helps create a fictional narrative that is grounded with real-world elements. Blurring the lines between reality and fiction. Our 2 main actors are Artist/Skateboarders who are based in Manchester (Daryl Horner & Louis Butler), doing full promotion and release is a long process so it’s likely that the film won’t be available to watch online until spring 2022. However we are hoping that it will be streaming as part of a few festivals/student film showcases throughout later this year, so keep an eye out

  • Sounds sick, I Look forward to seeing the finished thing!

Thank you man, me too ha! 

  • Lets rewind a little. You’re a Manchester boy, right?

Yeah haha, Moss Side! 

  • Is this where you discovered skateboarding? I read in your NOTE interview that your mum and dad got you into it, what’s the story?

Yeah man ha, I actually can’t really remember a specific thing that made me want to get a skateboard, but my mum and my dad where equally encouraging on it. My mum kinda just got me a skateboard one day and she and my dad would both take to parks on the weekends! My earliest memories of skating are really is after my parents separated. I would get taken to all sorts of spots on the weekend. I remember going to Stockport where there was a big indoor park with lessons and stuff, so I would go there. I would also get taken to the pump cage a lot. Manchester had, and still has, quite a strong scene, so I was able to be around a lot of real good skaters from the start. I feel like if there is a strong scene you learn and get comfortable quickly, so it all started from there really. My sister also skated with me a lot at the time, she was good man!   

  • When and why did you make the move to Brighton?

We kind of moved around a lot when I was younger, the first time was right after my parents separated and I think my mum just really wanted a change. The area of Manchester that we were living in wasn’t extremely safe either. There were a few different events that had happened which I wasn’t there to see, but yeah it all ended up with my mum wanting to move away. We actually ended up back in Manchester for a short period of time in a similar area to the place that we left, but yeah me and my mum ended up getting fully beaten up in the street at night by a bunch of what I thought at the time where grown men, but looking back at it I think it was just a bunch of scallys on bikes. So yeah, that happened and then we went back to Brighton and kind of settled down. I had already made friends down there and I didn’t really have that in Manchester, so Brighton kind of just stuck and we stayed there! 

  • When was it that the idea for ‘Momento di dormire’ come to you?

It was a mixture of things really, I always drawing cartoony type things when I was younger. I really like a lot of abstract art and a lot of stuff which is more on the side of street are. A lot of classic people like Keith Haring and Banksy I remember standing out to me as a young kid, so I already drew a lot of stuff from a young age and I kind of just started from there with no plan for it to be anything ha.

Drawing by Zane Crowther
  • Have you always been into drawing?

Yeah, when I was a kid I always wanted to be an animator, so I have always been drawing. I would always try and draw really hard stuff, but I never really got very good at the realistic stuff haha. My girlfriend is so good at doing human form and all that, but I have never really had the patience for that. I’ve kinda just always done my best to draw what I can in the style that I can. All my shit is straight-up doodles haha. 

  • Before I even met you I rememeber seeing your drawings all over the place. I always loved those paper stickers man. Where did you come up with that?

When I was a lot younger, still up in Manchester, my mum knew that I really liked graffiti and street art and all these types of things. So one day she was like ‘right lets both make a tag and we will go out and do some stencils’ so we both made these tags up, hers was ‘Ponder’ and mine was ‘Guero’ haha which I think is a Mexican word. But yeah, we made these stencils out of old cereal boxes and then I made stickers too just because I was hyped and wanted to do more haha, so yeah, I kind of just thought back to that and started to do it again with the paper stickers! I was also working with Zak Gilbert at the time at a shoe shop in Worthing, so I was always drawing on receipts and had a good stock of paper stickers to steal! Also, I have so many designs I would want to put on a sticker and no money to get real stickers so they just worked man!

Drawing by Zane Crowther
  • What sort of people inspired you when it comes to drawing/street art?

Well as I say, Banksy and Keith Haring were very early people that I gravitated towards. As I got a bit older my mum introduced me to Jean-Michel Basquiat, so he became a bit of an obsession for a good few years. Going on from that I really liked a lot of Francis Bacons stuff. I seem to drift in and out of being into art, another thing is I get into an artist then I realise that I’m unconsciously copying them in the stuff I do so, I tend not to get too obsessed on anyone.

  • Have you ever done any other types of art? Like painting etc. 

I have tried it but it’s just not a thing haha. As I have gotten older, I have realised that I really like moving image and films. I think that stems from skate videos they, are a form of art in themselves. 

  • The name translates into ‘Time to sleep’ which explains the sleeping character that you draw, is there some sort of meaning to this? 

I named it that because I think sleep is a good metaphor for creativity. What I mean by this is that creativity, for me anyway, is venting and removing yourself from the hindrances of life. When you’re skating or applying yourself to anything creative it kind of cancels out whatever is going on in your life at the time, and that’s a really important thing to a lot of people to get through the day. So yeah, that’s the main idea behind ‘time to sleep’. the stuff that I wanted to document through it was just me and the people I hold close just doing our thing, it doesn’t even necessarily have to be skating, we just happen to skate a lot. It’s just a documentation of people doing what they do because it makes them happy, escaping reality with the people that they love through whatever they are doing creatively. 

Journal x Momento Drawing by Zane Crowther
  • When did the idea to start filming a video come about?

I kind of always wanted to film a video. I attempted a few times when I was a youngster, but they always fell though or turned into little two-minute edits at the park haha. There was definitely a point in time where the Level was rife with roadmen, fights and all sorts of bullshit happening every day. At that point we just weren’t having that much fun at Level, so that kind of motivated us all to get out and force ourselves to go skate elsewhere. Everyone was so keen to not be at Level at that time, you would have to keep a good few of the missions low key just so you could be sure you’re getting to film the person you had planned to film with. It was also a blessing and a curse as it’s that time period where the video really got going and started to form into something. 

Brighton is a funny one though because compared to other places Skate street in Brighton is truly a mission, and can be a bit of a ball ache at times. I was also still learning how to film at that point, so I find that video kind of hard to watch these days!

  • That summer holds some of my best memories in Brighton man, that’s when I really got to know you boys, thank you for those times!

Thank you also man!

A true creative disrupts boundaries, mapping their own unique and individual paths. They aren’t motivated by money or recognition, but by a true passion for what they do. Zane Crowther’s work - spanning multiple disciplines - is a true testament to this. Whether it be skateboarding, drawing, or filming, Zane’s ability to throw himself head-first into all projects is what inspired me to interview him. For this fifth instalment of journaled I had a catch up Zane to talk about his past and future projects, and all the crazy journeys in-between. Truly one of a kind, he’s a guy to keep on your radar.
Zane Filming for ‘Subliminal Sleep’. Photo: Henry Bailey
  • Your approach to spots was really cool, I think we covered the whole of Brighton right to the outskirts! Was this planned?

Yeah man, in those places there is way more than what meets the eye. We were skating around Hollingdean quite a lot at those times because there are hills everywhere, there are big spots dotted around that you kind of look at when your 15 and dream up tricks for them. A lot of them are located on people’s driveways and stuff and we were idolizing a lot of GX1000 videos at that time, so everyone was just down to skate these sorts of spots! Another thing is people were super nice round there, there was one line I was filming with Jake (Taylor-Doyle) which involved someone’s driveway and the guy actually came out, moved his car for us, and him and his kids were super hyped on it! 

  • It made for a lot of hill bombs too! I think I witnessed some of the gnarliest hill bombs I will ever see from Jake! Nutter! 

Haha the way Jake analyses a spot is crazy. For most people it takes a lot of time to build up the courage to do something scary, but Jakes just goes for it and doesn’t back out.  

  • Is there any particular skate videos/filmers that really inspire you? 

I always really liked the epicly later’d series, just for the reason that it was simply filming people be themselves I like to think you can almost look at skate videos as character studies, and this is a good example of that. I tried to implement that a lot in my video and tried to just film my friends being together as well as skating. Also, not too long before I started filming that spirit quest came out by Colin Reid and that blew my mind man. Also, honourable mention, Joe Gavin Workers and Lurkers.

  •  What cameras are you using these days? Still shooting stuff on the VX?

Yeah man haha, we have done two music videos that were all VX 2100 which is the same camera I used for subliminal sleep. We have also just brought a Panasonic DVX which is almost like an equivalent to the VX, maybe a little newer, but you have a lot more control over what you can do with the manual settings. We have also been using the Black Magic Pocket recently which is a pretty good entry level HD camera which can film 4K. I don’t think I would ever film skating on that but it’s great for the projects that we are up to at the moment.

  • Whilst on the topic of skating, you killed it in that recent NOTE video!

Safe man, broke myself off a little bit on that one haha. All the NOTE guys have been super welcoming since returning back to Manchester.

  • Best wallrides in the game for sure haha

Haha safe man! It’s all I got! 

  • How was it filming with all those guys? Manchester is home to some legends!

At first, I did feel a little nervous, coming from Brighton and just skating with the same bunch of people my age in a tight knit scene. The Manchester skate scene is a lot bigger and more varied so that took a little bit of getting used to. Socially I have my times where I find it a little hard and had a lot going on with uni, so yeah it took a little getting used to. But as I say, all the Manchester heads have shown so much love since moving back here. It’s been a great experience.

  • Let’s talk about some of your recent projects, looks like you been up to some cool stuff man! 

Thanks man! Before this short film started, we were just doing a lot of music videos which has been really fun. We plan on doing a lot more of that stuff. It’s also fun using the knowledge I have from making skating videos in other areas of my work with the VX.

  • That music video you worked on for Redrum was pretty insane man, how did that come about and what was your role in putting that together?

Me and Red (Redrum is his artist name) got put into a group together at uni, he was on my course. We both had quite similar ideas with doing a little animation type thing and we did a small plasticine animation for a project that we got set. His flat mate at the time, Sam Karsen, is a very good stop motion animator, so the uni project went well and we had such a good time. It kind of made sense to push the boat out a little bit and work on something a bit bigger together. That’s where the idea for the music video came about. So Red formulated this idea for a video and then me and him would work under Sam learning how to make it all come together. I was really keen to watch how he worked and kind of pick his brain. I was able to animate whole scenes with him helping me out and showing me the way. I also did set design and art direction; I love that shit man it’s the same as drawing you can just create whatever you want to see and have fun with it. We actually made it and edited the whole thing on a bed frame in a university halls bedroom. It was truly D.I.Y man and took a lot of work!  

  • It was shortlisted for an award wasn’t it? 

Yeah, so Reds dad has a job making adverts and he knows a load of people in the industry. He really liked it and suggested a few events that we should enter the video into, so we entered it into a few industry award festivals and also Crystal Palace film festival. It got nominated for a couple and it ended up winning a Shiny award, which is an industry event in London, so yeah that was a cool experience man. 

  • What does MDDPKT mean?

Haha it’s a bit of lazy one man, we kind of chose it as it looks quite nice on paper. Its just a mixture of my Momento stuff and his thing that is Pilkington. It’s just a sort of production tag for the work that we have been doing together.

  • What are your guys plans with that?

We want to be able to promote ourselves as an in-house production firm for the audio-visual work that we do. Me and Joe are both experienced in videography in our own areas and styles, we both also do a lot of music production. We have been making videos together as a two-man crew for over a year now already, so we want to start promoting ourselves as a production team and continue the kind of work charity work and music videos we have been doing.

  • It’s really cool man, what are some recent projects that you guys have worked on?

We have recently just worked on a music video for an up-and-coming artist named Nia Archives, it was for a song called ‘Sober Feels’. That was a really fun video to do. It was also the first project we have been asked to do where we haven’t known the person beforehand. We actually worked on it with my sister who did some of the art direction and costume bits. It was quite nerve racking at first, but Nia was sound and was really down for what we were doing. I also shot the whole thing on VX so that’s never a bad thing. 

  • Anything that we should be looking out for in the near future?  

Yeah man at the moment I’m just working on this short film really, we are planning on getting it out on the circuit for some film festivals in the next year or so and then get it out to the public. We will see! 

  • Any personal goals for the summertime?

Just looking forward to getting out of this covid mindset man. It hasn’t been a great time for being social or keeping in touch with friends and family, so I’m really just looking forward to a bit of normality. Really looking forward to seeing all the homies and getting out skating a lot more when this weather starts to improve! So yeah, skating and trying to get out with the homies again! Miss you all! 

  • I think we can start wrapping this interview up mate! It’s been so good to catch up with you homie, in honour of you being from Manchester and all that I have been researching some Manchester slang, maybe I can chuck and few your way and you can break them down for us?

I would probably argue that I am an incredibly un-northern mancunian due to how much I’ve moved around as a child/teenager so here’s some ones which are a bit more less specific to Manchester aha.

‘NOWT’

Means – Nothing

Example – ‘I’m doing nowt tomorrow, weather’s gonna be grim.’

‘DESP’

Means – short for desperate

Example – ‘That whole day was pretty desp.’

‘HAGGS’

Mean – short for haggard (rough, crusty, etc)

Example – ‘Never again, that spot is so haggs.’

Fuck yeah Zane, it’s been a pleasure, thank you for giving up the time to do this interview! Keep killing it G! Peace! 

Videos Mentioned:

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