Since we started posting his videos on Sex Life, Genesis Evans has gradually become one of our favorite NYC skateboarders. While affiliated with a handful of local crews and projects ranging from 917 to Letter Racer, Genesis is best known for his signature low key improvisational style that is wholly his own. Viewing all aspects of the cities as a potential site for a trick, Genesis Evans brings a refreshing level of innovation and sincerity to a deeply jaded industry that thinks it’s seen it all.
I like your name.
Thank you. It’s a biblical name. It means “beginning.”
How come your parents chose it?
Because my dad loves Sega. He just loved video games and stuff. If they didn’t name me Genesis then my dad would have named me Jubilee, from X-Men, who was a girl. That would’ve been very funny. I’m glad they named me Genesis.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in Flatbush, but when I turned 5 we moved to Crown Heights for ten years and then we moved back. I was kind of in the middle of the two. My mom was like super strict and I wasn’t able to always go around and hang outside. She didn’t want me being like the guys hanging around on the block, which is what she was, what her and my father grew up around. They just didn’t want me to go down that path. I’m glad that I didn’t go down that path, but it also makes you smarter being out in that environment
How did you get into skating?
My cousin got me into it. We would hang out at his house all the time, play video games and watch Anime and all that stuff. One time we went to a family barbecue and he brought a skateboard. The whole day I was on the board. All of my other cousins were excited about the skateboard, too, but it passed for them. They were skating 30 minutes, having a bunch of fun, and then they wanted to do other stuff. They left the board but i kept skating on my cousins board for the rest of that day. After that I was like, “Mom, you need to get me a skateboard.” It was all I thought about. I got one from Modells and that was it.
Where would you skate at first?
We’d skate in front of this cemetery. It was the only place where cars wouldn’t drive by- it was closed off and had a little driveway.
Was your cousin good at skating?
He was so sick. At the time he could only do heel flips, 180s, and tre flips. He couldn’t shoveit. He might’ve been able to pop shoveit… but he was the only skateboarder that I knew. He introduced me to Fuel TV. We would go back to his place watch Fuel TV, watch Optimum Skate School. We watched this one video on YouTube called called 221 skate tricks. It was this dude who set up the camera in the morning, and just kept on doing tricks until the night.
When was this?
This is like the beginning of YouTube.
Were you watching any DVDs?
My first real skate video, like putting the DVD in and watching a video, was Emerica Stay Gold. My cousin is really into Stevie Williams, so we’d watch that all the time. I’d watch Chris Haslam’s Almost Round 3. It was really random.
Where did you start skating after the cemetery?
I would skate at this park called MS51, on 5th Avenue and 5th Street in Park Slope. I didn’t really have friends in high school, so after school I would just go and skate with those guys, and then eventually started going to the city, where I met a lot of friends.
Were you looking up to anyone in terms of style?
Just my friends. All my friends that I had been skating with was the ones who were the best skateboarders to me. My inspirations come from everywhere, like just even friends who don’t even skate that I know are doing things inspire me.
Did you end up graduating high school?
No, I didn’t graduate. I liked all my teachers in high school, liked doing work in school and learning, but I never did homework. I probably did it two or three times. I had no friends in high school, and all I wanted to do was skate, so since I wouldn’t do homework, my grades were really low. I finished with 18 credits out of like 45. By my 12th grade year, I was like, “I’m not going to fucking pass”, so I just stopped going slowly.
Were you worried or anything?
I knew that something would come up. I knew that I’d be fine. I wasn’t worried about that. Some people said, “oh, you’re gonna be a bum, you’re gonna fail,” but I knew what happened when you graduated. I knew it didn’t matter. I knew something good will come up, and something did come up. I have a great job now. I can pay my own rent. I shared a bed with my mom until I was 16. Now I’m able to support them and stuff. I feel like if you’re just positive about that stuff, then everything will work out. So, I never worried.
What’s your job now?
I work at Supreme. It’s my first official job. I owe everything to them. I worked at a thrift store when I was younger for a while, but it wasn’t on the books. I would just come in, help them out, and they’d give me cash at the end of the day. That was my first time making money. Before that my mom would give me $3 and I’d have to live of that every day. I remember after the first day I worked I went to McDonald’s and bought a large of everything, and I was just so happy to buy my own food. It was so, so sick.
Did you ever get any injuries?
My first real injury happened four months ago. It was August 30th. I partially tore my MCL and sprained my ACL, so I still haven’t really been able to skate. It’s still pretty fucked up, but it’s gotten much better. I can skate, I can skate flat, but it’s not perfect. That’s been my first real, actual injury. I haven’t even been tripping on it because I’ve been trying to focus on some other things, but I do really want to skate.
How much of your skating is improvised?
I’ll be skating in the street in the middle of traffic and think of something cool, and will just try it without thinking about it first. Sometimes I would fall and hurt myself, sometimes I would land it. But that’s how I usually skate.
This reminds me of how in certain ways skating has gotten a little smaller. Like people aren’t like killing themselves jumping a zillion stairs. It’s not as dangerous.
It’s definitely not as dangerous for me, but I wish I could do that stuff. I would watch a Baker video and be like, fuck, I wish I could nollie back heel a ten-stair. I really want to film one of those- it’s like my dream trick.
But that’s not really your style right now.
I like the style of heavy skating, like technical tricks and big stairs but it feels out of reach for me. I also just like to take it easy. I guess it just comes from just me wanting to have simple fun without really trying too hard. I like the simpler things. When I watch skateboarding, I just like the simplest guys with the nicest style– it seems like you have no worries. It just looks really cool.
I kinda get that vibe from your videos too. Are you guys just handing each other your iphones?
When I make videos, I just film anything that I like. I’ve always just wanted to document anything I thought was cool that was going on, anything that made me happy. So much crazy stuff would go down, and I would just film it. If i wanted to film a trick of myself I’d just ask who ever I’m with if they could film me real quick, unless it’s Jesse or Jason cause they’re usually making their own videos. I usually don’t like to add much of myself in my videos though. I always thought it was cool that it’s just like on your iPhone… You could just make these easy videos. If you have a camera it’s so much more time. I would film it on my phone, edit it on my phone, because I didn’t have a computer. I just got a computer when I moved here. It was the only way I could do it, but I was just really happy with it.
It sounds really casual as opposed to being hell bent on making a shot or a trick.
I don’t think we look at it as trying to make parts or anything, Most of the things that I film is skateboarding, but if it wasn’t skateboarding I would’ve still made a video of something else. I just like making videos, and I think it’s so cool how easy it is to do now.
It’s kind of sick being filmed by a skater that you really admire too in a casual way.
Yeah, like Jesse could film a video and he’s so good, so it’s just weird… like “how do you film this video? You’re such a good skateboarder.” But anyone can really do it. Like Johnny Wilson, his videos are so good and he’s a pretty good skateboarder. Same with EJ who filmed DANY, he made that video so special- if it wasn’t for him, that video wouldn’t have been as good as it was.
Can you talk a little bit about the DANY project?
Yeah. I’m so happy that that video came out the way it was, and showed what it really is. I feel like that was the first New York video that I’ve seen in a while just with people from New York. It was really cool.
Where does the name come from?
DANY stands for Dead Ass New York, which is funny.. it’s like before those Dead Ass memes got big… I think it was a really good project. It shows Lower East Side, and Manhattan and Brooklyn, and the Super 8 shots are so good to me. And the music I skated to my homie Slicky’s music, and then Adam skated to Onyx Collective… The Babyfather track is tight. I don’t know, it’s a very special video. New York definitely needed that.
DANY seems almost video without a brand. Or the video is the brand.
DANY kind of is it’s own brand in a sense, more under hardbody entertainment, haha. It’s kind of just a platform for us to put out anything creative we are doing and our first project was DANY. It’s like I was saying about making the video on your Phone- now making a brand is so easily accessible. All you need is a Instagram, and a following, and like a little bit of money… It’s just all these super sick people from here, doing their own thing, and people like it. If they wanted to put out a shirt or anything they wanted to do, you can easily do that. I guess that’s because it’s just all young people doing it.
It seems like the lower expectations means that the brand can have a short life and stay fresh the entire time.
Yeah. I think about that with Humble, because I’m like, wow, we’re doing more stuff,. If we wanted to stop it we could just stop it. I’m thinking about these shirts we just made, I’m like, damn, I should probably keep a couple of those, because we probably won’t even make it again. I mean, that’s how everything is, too. Anything could just stop. You could lose anything…
You seem to be able to kind of hang with a lot of different crews.
I have a bunch of friends that are in different crews and I jump around. I hang out with some people who don’t hang out with other people I hung around with everyone, would skate with everyone which is why it would seem like I’m a part of all these different brands and stuff. I just love to support anything that someone that I know is doing.
All this seems like a big contrast to the big teams or whatever.
Yeah. The older generation who were around for the beginning of the companies like Girl Skateboards and Chocolate or Plan b or whatever, what they were seeing was probably the same thing, just these young crews of friends having fun skating around. Then they got bigger and grew. That was their era, and now it’s coming to end. Kind of like how these smaller brands are getting bigger. I feel like these are going to be the next companies when they get older that everyone looks up to. And then that’s going to come to an end, too But now we’re in this age where anyone can do anything they want. Anyone can make this video and sell anything they want, and it could get big or it can’t, or it won’t.
OK Last question: what’s your favorite thing about skateboarding?
I love how much differently you look at the world when you skateboard. Like me looking at this block right now, just right there, I’m like, “ooh, a Manny pad.” It’s just like fun. I remember one time with my girlfriend – I was skating, she was walking, we were with my friend Adam. I’d try a trick then I’d get off the board and continue talking to them. She was like – “It’s not fair. You guys get to have fun just going somewhere,” just going from point A to point B. I think that’s the coolest thing, is you see the world as a park. It’s so funny. Like people skate cars now and all this shit… Like a car is a skate spot. Anything could be a skate spot. I love that.