Originally seen in Hangup Zine 11
Interview and Photos: Alex Ramsell
Alex: Yo Mongo, how’s it going? Let’s start with some basics for people that don’t know, where are you from, where did you grow up and how old are you? Honesty please, I see you some days dressing like a 60 year old and others like a teen chav ha.
Mongo: Safe! I live in Kidderminster and I grew up in Wales. I’m 23.
Amie: Are you?
-Mongo and Amie then debate about his age-
Mongo: I’m 23 mate.
Alex: Amie you don’t even know how old he is! So shortly after first vaguely meeting you at the local skatepark I remember you getting announced as part of ‘Gnargore’ via Instagram. How did that come about?
Mongo: I met Denning (James Denning) and a few other boys at Unit (3Sixty…RIP), and they asked me to go filming one day.
Chris: And have a beer!
Mongo: I must have done some good skateboarding tricks though ‘cause they wanted me to hang about for a bit and film a part.
Alex: Nice, have you got an infamous Gnargore tattoo? I heard you only got on if you had a tat.
Mongo: I don’t have a tat…
Alex: You’re not on then!
After that I remember seeing you pop back up on my Instagram feed when you won that A Third Foot competition where you went to the factory and created your own board. I was actually super stoked that you of all people won that because you created this crazy shaped board with a real nice old graphic, which in my opinion was much better than someone just having Ken and Joel (A Third Foot) make a standard popsicle board. How was that experience?
Mongo: That banged! We made something pretty fruity!
Alex: It had like a 50pence…
Mongo: 50 Pence shaped Nose! Yeah then a square tail, which was literally a block, we didn’t even cut anything on it, we just sanded the sides down, and that was the first time I actually met Rob (Whiston) properly and filmed something with him as well, which was pretty rad! Yeah that was really cool. To see how everything works in there (ATF) was pretty sick as well.
Alex: Yeah, I got close to you while Rob was filming for the ‘Hate Vol.1’ video (we were both getting footage for the video). I clocked then that you were quite into clothing and fashion, I remember seeing you come skate in these wild red and white checkered chef pants. You still to this day wear some unique and interesting clothing, what’s the crack with all that? Amie still makes clothing right?
Mongo: I just like to do my own shit really. My girl does make a lot of real sick clothes, she makes me a lot of custom stuff as well so anything I kind of want I’ve got the hook up which is pretty sick.
Alex: Yeah Amie you’re killing it! We all used to joke that Amie was the ‘Female Mongo’ when we first met her, you two are so similar! You guys have just moved into your own house on the other side of Kidderminster, opposite to where your mum lives, how’s that treating you both?
Mongo: Real good!
Amie: Oh am I in this part?
Mongo: Yeah you’re in this.
Amie: Oh yeah it’s great!
Mongo: Adult life, we’ve got our own space and do our own shit.
Chris: And you’ve got the dog here!
Alex: Yeah Bean the dog? People that follow your Instagram will know about her, she is everywhere!
Mongo: Bean is the shit. She’s the best dog you could ever have, let’s face it.
Mongo and Amie: She’s the baby!
-Chris pipes in-
Chris: She’s the baby girl!
Alex: Haha! So outside of all that, any other interests outside of skateboarding and clothing? I remember a great double date we went on at the driving range, you’re quite the golfer.
Mongo: Ha! I don’t actually like golfing I just like smashing balls really hard. It gets a lot of frustration out though which is pretty rad.
Alex: Are you into anything else though? It’s crazy I don’t know Mongo outside of skateboarding.
Mongo: I don’t do anything outside of skateboarding!
Amie: What about the painting? That video…
-I believe Amie is hinting at Bob Ross. I remember on a recent skate trip with Mongo we watched Bob Ross every single night so it wouldn’t surprise me if he’s been watching it at home with Amie-
Amie: You like watching that!
Mongo: …I like watching TV.
Mongo: I’m not really interested in anything else, skateboarding and fashion haha.
Amie: You do have a lot of ideas in fashion though.
Mongo: Very fashion based still.
Alex: Tell me about Avenue Skateboards, they were hooking you up when you were in Manchester right?
Mongo: They’re the best dudes, Alex (owner of Avenue) is sick and the boards bang! I’ve just been a bit out of touch with them lately, obviously with working a lot more and stuff, it is kind of peak, but yeah, Avenue’s the best and Alex is the best dude ever.
Alex: Please tell me there’s a great story behind the nickname ‘Mongo’ or ‘Yung Mongo’?
Mongo: I used to push mongo… terribly! That is about it.
Alex: What, when you were learning to skate?
Mongo: Until like literally, maybe 2 years ago!
Alex: Even to do a trick or something? Just barging mongo?
Mongo: Yeah I cheated though! I’d push mongo but with my mongo foot at the front and then after I’d push to get back on my board I’d do like a little body varial/sex change.
Alex: You cheated mongo pushing?
Mongo: Yeah! Then I made it my Instagram name.
Alex: It stuck then. So you’re currently living a pretty good and independent life, you’ve come a long way since I first met you, any plans for the future?
-A pause as Mongo thinks about it-
Mongo: …Not get married and have no kids!
Alex: Amie is bummed you’re not getting married or having kids!
Amie: We are getting married! We’re planning it!
Mongo: Okay then I’ll get married in a full Gucci suit!
Alex: Ha, Nice.
Mongo: And then yeah move to France or somewhere else in Europe, hopefully in the next ten years. Just doing something fun, living the good life.
Alex: Rad, I hate the term ‘shout out’ so instead is there anyone you want to thank before we wrap this up?
Mongo: Amie for the clothes all the time, Mumsy, Papi. All the homies…oh and Gullymandem (Henry Fox), the true papi! Take away food for keeping me big, Ramsell, Rhino, my dog Bean and Hangup.
Interview and Photos: Alex Ramsell.
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