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