Ulph Andersson “Never Too Late” Creature part + interview
Ulph is a full on dude. There is no moderation with this one. He might be out in the mountains camping, skating flat out from the morning, or binge drinking, or doing yoga in Aquajoc. Or maybe he is painting graffiti somewhere. Or recording a new song. I feel Ulph needs skateboarding for his mental wellbeing (especially managing his ADHD) more than anyone I know. He does his own things and don’t get hung into cliques or fit into boxes. Or maybe he has built his own box?
Ulph is a crusty punk in the best of ways. He’s a SMOD kid. And one of those you can’t quite define. I’m happy to have his crazy ass energy around. Although he can be hard to reach as he is flapping around with his countless projects that he always gets sucked into 100%. Most of all – Ulph cares. He is a sweet ass motherfucker. I’m so hyped the doors of the skate world are opening up to this crazy bull (or is he a lion) who is as much as a child at heart as a grown ass man.
It’s been a long road and long may he roam. Watch his part, read the interview, then go skate! -Sami Seppala
Photography by Fabien Ponsero
Interview by Willis Kimbel
Says here you were breaking the speed limit laws and vandalising surfaces of the city with a grin, is this report true?
Ulph: Haha what?!
That’s the opener to the interview. Kinda like I just pulled you over like a cop would if you were driving.
Goddamnit. I’m so stupid… Shoot away officer!
Where in the hell are ya and what did you have for breakfast?
I just got back to my place here in Barcelona! I actually had porridge with peanut butter and a lot of fruits. Best way to start the day! Or is it called oatmeal? What’s the difference?! Anyway that’s what I had and a lot of coffee.
I bet the porridge was too hot and ya still ate it. Barcelona sounds delicious. Where did you come from and when did you start living there?
Barcelona is so hot and humid now so everything is too hot! But oh my, it’s such a sick place to live in. I’m close to the mountains for camping and hiking, huge skate scene and I’m also close to the beach! All I need. I’m from Gothenburg, Sweden. I moved here for about four and a half years ago. It started like a 2-month vacation and then I just realised that I don’t have to live in a land of darkness and shitty weather. So yeah, I just went back almost straight after those two months and here I am.
Sounds like you follow your instincts. Refreshing way to live. Who you rolling with out there when ya go attacking?
At least I try! It’s hard to break yourself free from the chains you’ve made for and by yourself but it’s the best! It feels like Barcy is like the capital of skating in Europe so we always have so many teams coming in and out all the time so it really depends but I’m often out with Jack Thompson, Thomas Pfeiffer, Mark Frölich, Nisse Ingemarsson and those guys! I’m not sure how fun it is for people to read me name-dropping friends but skating with Josef Scott Jatta is always the best. I love that people just keep on visiting; it keeps the sessions fresh!
Hell yeah. Skateboarding with you friends makes ‘em family. Why’d you leave gothland?
True that! I felt more and more that my life was about fitting in and making money, buy myself a place and then just be miserable for the rest of my life. I was working a lot and probably skated like once a week, often in the warehouse where I was working since I didn’t have time to go anywhere else. But all my homies had been to Barcelona and I felt that I was missing out. I tried to plan a trip with some friends but they bailed on me so I just went by myself and barely knew anyone when I arrived. I stayed in a flat with a guy from Argentina that didn’t skate so I terrorised the Sour guys every morning trying to get them out of bed. I was used to getting up for work seven in the morning and they woke up around two so there was a bit of a struggle.
That fuckin’ rules. Striking when the iron’s hot. You been skating some places on that last Creature trip through Europe, how was that?!
Well, I gotta tell you it was like a dream coming true for me; that was my first proper tour ever in that manner and it was just fucking awesome. I’m just very thankful for the support and man when Noah asked me if I was down to go on that tour I’m sure he already knew that I was going to say yes. But seeing your name, Kevin and Chris on that flyer thing I got so nervous and just thought to myself, “What the flying fuck are you going to with them, carry their bags?!” But I had a blast, when I got home I had slept like two hours on the plane back, bought a bottle of gin and forced my homie to celebrate that I pulled it off. I went on that trip kinda injured and so I just hoped that I could skate and it all worked out way better than I ever could imagine I would say.
You got any fears like heights or certain foods or using abandoned buildings’ elevators?
I recently overcame my fear of using elevators in abandoned buildings actually! But food-wise I wouldn’t say fears; I’m trying to stay full of veggies and fruit mostly. But sometimes those nachos come sneaking up on me and then I just can’t say no. And regarding heights I feel like an idiot man, I love hiking and going high up in the mountains and when I’m there I usually get all dizzy for a bit until my eyes are used to the depths. But I love nature. If it wasn’t for skating I’d be in a tent right now.
If ya got to ask for a plane ticket with your bredren to somewhere you’d dream of skating where would it be?
Right now I would say it would be to go to California! Follow the footsteps of our ancient skate-fathers.
Damn maybe some Baldy pipe and skate the flat gap afterwards. Straight to the OG spot to the new age Ulphington levels. If an Ulph were a type of tool in the garage what would it do?
I wish I could say the hammer or the axe or something like that but I’m not sure that would fit, but I would say an adjustable wrench would suit me pretty well!
Oh fuck yeah! I can say you can definitely claim axe. Right next door to the hammer: Bækkel. Wrench comes through and save the day so it sure fits! If you caught a really big fish would it be bigger than Bækkel’s salmon?
Well I’m chopping boards like an axe, that’s for sure! I don’t think I ever would catch a fish; can’t barely catch a kickflip ho ho ho, but nah I’ll probably catch an old boot and wear it as a hat. I’m not very much of a fisherman.
Hahaaaa, I’m keeping my eyes peeled for that hat and I’ll know ya been fishin the deep waters. What kinda music would ya listen to at breakfast and while skating, which might be the same thing the way ya skate towards a cafe?
Oouuhh that’s a tough one…. Breakfast song would probably be ‘Living on the run’ with David Allan Coe, to get a cozy start of the day but still get some hype! Country works all the time for me. But then when I’m on the board thirsty for that coffee I would say I’d love to hear five seconds with Cortex. That song just gets me going!
Clean rips! Who is keeping ya supported to get to rub you writhing ya corpse pon’ crete?
Creature, Nike SB, FSWC, Desert Crew, Baron af Dallas, Mob grip, Independent and Forged ironware!
What is the word for in between the boondocks in the outskirts?
I would say “home”.
Wow, sickest answer. Have you ever wondered what your limits are?
Yeah, I guess I have on different levels, I think it’s pretty easy have a feeling about how much your body can endure in different ways but mentally it’s hard to say; I think it’s healthy to push yourself a bit. Don’t settle for shit you know… I enjoy learning new stuff and try new things and all that. I don’t like to think about limits because it feels like the more I imagine them the more real they become. I’d rather just go all in and then see ha ha!
We’d all be better off if was seen like that. Would you prefer skating without a front bushing or grip tape til’ your next birthday?
I do so many fingerflips so no grip ain’t no problem for me, that will just save me a lot of fingerprints.
Those fingerflips are fucking raw. I can’t comprehend. You ever huck one from the deck into a big transition? That would be fucked!
Not yet! It’s always a bit of a mind battle going for tricks you can’t catch ha ha. You just have to wait until the right moment and hope for the best he he! You got it for sure!
I bet. Gotta strike while the iron’s hot they say. Oof Ulph. I’d be really rolling the dice on that one. Any car in the world for free what would ya get?
Oh damn, I would say I’d go for Christine, the one from the Stephen King book you now? A red 1958 Plymouth Belvedere.
Oh yeah! Who is this Desert Crew we hear of?
Desert Crew is the weirdest mix of skaters from all over the place; I’m there because of Jack but they’ve done some sick videos that everyone should go peep!
How fucking great is it that skateboarding can bring so many people from such different walks of life into the same realm. Kinda like music. It sounds like you really get to be submerged in that part of skateboarding and I believe that’s one of the most important things about be a skateboarder. Relating instead of comparing with your peers.
No doubt about that, I’m so happy to have found myself in that kind of a lifestyle. Skateboarding has helped me become more open minded in so many different ways and I can’t be more than thankful for all the friends I’ve met through this. Wouldn’t wanna stop doing this for nothing!
Can we let the people know what “worm burner” means?
First we have to teach me what it means?! It sounds like a fleshlight (no product placement here, not sponsored by them yet) or a tubesock.
Ha ha ha! I’m confused too. Some mag mentions “nollie flip worm burners” while introducing one of your parts. A real head tilter…
Damn that’s true they do huh? I guess that calls for another investigation at another time, I can’t find my deerstalker at the moment so I can’t take the case at this point.
Anyone’s video part in particular that you saw when you first committed to the board that made you go: “I wanna do that!”
Pat Channita’s profile in 411VM 34 had a huge impact on me, he’s skates so incredible smooth, too bad I’m kinda the opposite. I skate more like a wacky waving inflatable tube man. Heath Kirchart in Sight Unseen is also like the best thing I’ve seen, legendary that one. So yeah, those two make me really wanna skate!
What your heaviest challenge in this part?
There was two really heavy battles, I do this fs 180 fakie 5-0 varial flip into a bank and I had to go back three times for that. First time it got dark while trying and second time we went there during summertime and like 35 degrees so I was just crawling around almost puking from exhaustion. But the third time went down like you want it to: you go there, feel confident and take care of business. Then there’s that line in Alicante (I think?!) when I do first bs flip down one double set and then fakie bigspin flip another double set. There is no room to push between them so I had to go really fast on the bs flip and I ate so much shit. But three boards in and at the verge of surrender I got it!
All those battles make it taste better in the end. Still got that massive hole in your hand?
They sure do! I love to not give up ha ha! I always feel bad for the guys filming though when shit takes time, but I always try to stay happy and have like a joyful session even if I’m dying and just want to scream and throw shit around. I don’t wanna be that guy that brings everyone down during the session just because I can’t handle my shit. Skating should be fun and yes, the hole is better, thank you! That was another session from hell, holy (no pun intended) shit I was bleeding a lot that day. It was the worst session ever and just a couple of days before that European tour. I fucked up my hand, my toes on the left foot and I got a heel bruise on my right foot. Lesson learned.
Handled them nicely through the Europe tour I must say – nothing like hitting a foreign pharmacy. Anything you saw on that trip that you saw that you’re eager to go back to?
I would love to go back to the van with you guys ha ha! We didn’t see too many spots did we? That last block set we skated before Chris blew up his pants was sick and I could pay a lot to go back to that huge backpack you were wearing. That was just brilliant.
You ever do contests?
I rarely do contests but if there are a lot of friends going etc. I usually enter to get all the benefits ha ha! I mean it’s all gotten so serious now; it’s not like back in the day when you were just a big group of friends drinking beer and skating. I’m not saying I dislike all the competition stuff but that type of thing just isn’t for me I would say. I did beat Wes (Kremer) once in a comp once though ha ha! That should count! And he did get all the chocolate I won since he’s sweet as chocolate that one. Wes is the best.
Wes for president ASAP. Realest G. All the mafia homies rule and kill it. What do you think about a creature air balloon tour and just kinda figure it out as we go?
That sounds like a brilliant idea until Chris or Kevin gets hammered. That thing will go down and not in a good way. But I still think we should try. Any of those balloons coming soon?
Haven’t heard any updates about that trip or the submarine trip.
Nose wheelie or regular wheelie?
Nose for sure!
If King of the Road happened again over here and you got invited would you do it?
No doubt! That looks like pure torture combined with awesome. Gravette is going gnarly on those things! But yeah absolutely I would jump into that van straight away!
Have you ever got to meet Al Partanen?
Yes! A couple of times now, he was with Creature here in Barcelona the first time I skated with the crew before I got picked up so to speak. He’s such a nice guy and what a legend! That trip I think he got locked out one night, slept at MACBA and woke up without his wallet and stuff and later he found out that a person within his close family had gotten into a traffic accident, I felt so bad for him then, what a fucking morning that must have been.
Fuck. Brutal… If you were Swedish Prime Minister what’s the first thing you’d do?
Educate extremist groups so they’ll understand that violence ain’t the right way. It’s a tricky question but it’s hard for me to think that violence is the answer… or maybe it is? They sure need education anyway. I would also like to stop all the exploitation of nature that’s going on. Humans are truly fucking things up. We have to play nice.
I’d vote for ya. You ever art anything before?
Yes! Ha ha I’ve always been drawing and I tried painting with acrylics but that takes so much time so I can’t stand it right now. Maybe another time… Then I found the spray paint and it’s the best! I love spending time with my homies under a bridge somewhere getting hammered painting stupid things ha ha. Love it. And I’m playing a lot of music yeah.
What instrument ya playin’ when you get to choose?
The acoustic guitar I would say! That combined with a harmonica is the best for sure.
What animal from the Amazon would you save in this fire?
If ocelots live there I would go for them! I think there are some of them there, but I gotta tell you I wish I could save them all. Maybe we should give Noah some extra cash to build us an ark stacked with animals for the next tour?
I gotta wrap this up now my friend, time to hit those streets!
Go out there and get some Ulph! Take everything, leave nothing and destroy it all!
I’ll do my best! Thank you so much for doing this, Willis, and to the rest of you, I just want to thank everyone, friends, family and all the support from my sponsors. Thank you.