Posted: September 2nd, 2009
"I don’t want to be on a team with a bunch of dudes who I don’t feel comfortable with again."
Interview by Halba | Photos by Zaslavsky
With some folks, skating translates differently. On video, they may be the second coming of Jesus, then they just blow in person. Others may never get the credit they deserve from video, but they make you feel bad about yourself when you see them skate in the flesh. Caswell is the latter of the two, and just about to wreck you with a spin of the first. With the Tiltmode Army’s Bonus Round just over the horizon, Caswell’s ability to crush whatever may lie in his path is apparent. His carefree attitude just sweetens the deal. Thrusting in deep after a bout with the unforeseen ailment of vertigo may demand your respect. Ladies and bitches, Mr. Caswell Berry.
Did you skate at Manny Mania?
Who, me? Shit, I ain’t Marc Johnson. I ain’t pulling shit.
That’s untrue. I’ve seen you pull all sorts of fucked up shit out of your ass. By the way, what’s your porn name?
I always had to make something up for my porn name because I don’t have a middle name, so I just jacked the name of my first pet. So…it’s Spike Curtner.
Inner-ear equilibrium or not, Caswell is a trick-getter for sure. Frontside nosegrind
That is wicked. You’re definitely pounding ass with a name like that. Over time, you’ve had a couple sponsors: Powell, Toy Machine, and finally Enjoi. Do you feel at home now, like you don’t care to ride for anyone else?
Pretty much. If all the dudes were to up and quit and go somewhere else… All the team riders would be like, “Wherever Matt goes, we’re going to go too.” I don’t want to be on a team with a bunch of dudes who I don’t feel comfortable with again.
Spinning a Cab gives even the best of 'em a touch of vertigo
When you rode for Powell or Toy Machine, was it a situation where you thought, “I’m just doing this for now,” or was it more like, “This is my ultimate goal”?
Not really. When I rode for Powell it was free boards, I was going on trips, we were out at contests and having a blast. When I got on Toy Machine I knew Enjoi was out, and I was completely happy with Toy Machine except for the fact that it was just me, Ed, and Austin Stephens. Then it started building and more dudes got on the team—which was good for them, but I wasn’t comfortable on there then. I always wanted to be on Enjoi.
With Matt Eversole at the helm on Enjoi, has it helped you cultivate a certain work ethic that you may not have had before?
Yeah, but it’s one of those things where you feel like it’s your dad coming down on you. But, you know in the back of your mind that he’s doing it because he cares.
Do you feel like he’s helped you become more proactive in your career?
For sure. It’s good, we need some sort of responsibility. I feel like it will also help us along the lines of dealing with the other companies we ride for.
This spot required a creative line and Caswell found it. Frontside lipslide transfer into bank
Do you ever feel the burn? Like, “I know I need to get something, but I don’t even want to skate.”
If it was just a photographer, a filmer, and me, I might feel that way. I try to make it less stressful and more fun with the homies. I just try to go out with my friends and leave it up to a bunch of different possibilities.
You’ve always come across to me as a skater’s skater—you’re always down to skate anything, and always super encouraging of the homies. Skating just seems to get you hyped. Speak on it.
I think that’s the way it should be. Why exclude yourself from skating one specific thing? If something is hard, I just look at it like a challenge. Shit that I can’t fathom or figure out, or if I couldn’t figure out a line at a park, it just motivates me.
Do you have a Kryptonite trick?
I wish I could do switch 360 flips. That trick is awesome. I can’t do that shit though.
You thought this well-worn San Jose ledge was ABD-ed to death? Smith kickflip
Let’s talk about vertigo.
What I have is Acute Neuronitis, which is related to vertigo. Vertigo’s the feeling of your environment moving around you. Like spinning. You know when you’re laying in bed after a night of partying and all you want to do is pass out, but you got the spins? It’s like that, but you don’t need to drink copious amounts of alcohol. It’ll make you feel sick and you’ll probably start barfing. The vestibular nerve in my inner ear or brain was attacked by a virus. It wasn’t able to work itself out of my body in a normal way; at least that’s what the inner ear specialist told me.
How’d you get rid of it?
I’m still not completely rid of it. There’s no medicine for it. I had to do a series of exercises while standing on a foam pad, with my feet in different positions with my eyes closed, and turn my head in every direction. I’d have to bend over and pick up objects off the ground and then stand up completely, 30 times or so. I’d also have to follow an object with my eyes and head in every direction. The exercises were to re-train my brain to pick up the slack of the damaged nerve. I’m still dealing with it. Some days are good and some are bad. When I say bad, I mean dizzy and off balance.
Will it ever go away completely?
It can last forever. Since I’m young I’m supposed to get better sooner than most.
Most people that get it are elderly. I think I’ll be bothered by it in times of sickness or when I’m stressed. I guess one day I should wake up and it’ll have vanished. If that’s the case I wish that day was tomorrow, but you can’t always get what you want.
Backside grab wall crawl facilitated by the asphalt gods
You’re about to have your third video part in three years. Are you satisfied?
I try not to think about it, but I remember how I felt when Man Down came out. That made me feel so good. The satisfaction of that was better than getting a trophy. It’s going to be just as good, if not better. I like where I’m at. Back then I was happy too, but I feel like this one’s something that’s going to be a permanent mark. Something I can look back on and think about that time, then pop in the DVD and just smile instantly.
What will the new Tiltmode video capture that other videos don’t?
It’s not just about going out with a filmer and stressing. You’re there with your friends skating anyways, you know? It’s the whole experience. They get a trick and it may get used, you get a trick that may get used. Not to say those other videos that are coming out around the same time won’t be sick, but no one was behind it forcing the issue; there wasn’t that kind of stress or pressure.
When Jose Rojo smells his upper lip, what do you think it smells like?
Like Menudo or something. I see him do it all the time.
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