‘In general terms, year after year we see the same faces and when this happens it means that there is no space for some stories, since it does not sell it does not deserve to be told and that, as we see it, it is a form of censorship.’
How do you come up with the idea to start a printed skatemag?
Hi everyone! My name is Guillermo and I will tell you how it all began. At the end of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, with Catalina, my wife, we had covid and we were locked up at home for the holidays. This experience not only made us play Nintendo and watch almost the entire Netflix catalog, but also I felt the need to create something. So, I started taking advertising-style photos of the things I had within my reach. Later, that idea was transformed into offering some of my clients advertising photos from another type of approach. As time went by, I wanted to intertwine this idea with the passion that we have put on fire, basically to try to give something back to skateboarding, for all those days of joy, disappointment and teachings that this beautiful toy leaves us with. Days later, I arrived at the skatepark and I told Sergio the idea that had been germinating in my head for a few months now. I already had the name, the logo. In fact, I had printed some stickers and I had put together a sketch of what the magazine would be. He instantly let me know that he was 100% interested in being a part of this project and that’s how we founded Damn.
In your Vol1 editorial you mention that ‘you want to bring back a space free of censorship for everyone to express themselves’. Two questions for you. First one. Do you think the current skate publications do apply censorship? If yes, how much so?
Starting from the basis what skateboarding for us means freedom in all its aspects, because you can do what you want. There are no rules, although there are already developed techniques to perform certain tricks but you are free to follow the herd or not. We believe that skateboarding belongs to everyone, not just the skate star or the editor’s friends. In general terms, year after year we see the same faces and when this happens it means that there is no space for some stories, since it does not sell it does not deserve to be told and that, as we see it, it is a form of censorship.
Second question. Is there anything you would not print in a skatemag from a content or ad perspective?
Honestly no. We use the 85% of the material that we receive, only creative decisions, never to censor anything.
Tell us something about yourself. How did you get involved into the skateboard scene?
I’m Guillermo Fleitas, it was the year 2003 and my mother had a New Year’s Eve meeting, where I met Luciano, the son of one of her colleagues. We were the only two children in the meeting. Immediately after dinner while the adults chatted about irrelevant topics, we got up from the table and almost telepathically agreed to go to the couch, turn on the TV and watch MTV. In the middle of a commercial cut appeared a scene of a skateboard. Luciano asks me ‘Have you ever been on a skateboard?’ I replied no, that it had simply never occurred to me.
A month later, in January 2004 for my 13th birthday I asked for a skateboard, from there I exude skateboarding, breathe skateboarding and live skateboarding. I got some sponsors and it was in my mind to dedicate myself to it professionally. Due to a knee injury, I had no choice but to find a way around it to continue being linked to this passion. I still skate but just for fun, I think that was precisely something that forged the beginnings of Damn.
I am Sergio Laferrere, I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Now I’m in Brescia, Italy. When I was a kid, my brother Gus insisted on going skating together and from there I never stopped. I like to skate wherever and whenever, with friends or alone. I try to travel as much as possible to get to know different places and people with a different way of seeing skateboarding.
‘It is a beautiful place to which we feel proud to belong but unfortunately if you want to have a future you have to emigrate.’
Two Argentinians living in Italy and doing an international skatemag. What made you move to Italy in first place?
Honestly, there were some factors why we ended up making that decision. It is not easy to leave your land, friends and, fundamentally, family. Both in Argentina and in most Latin American countries the economic situation is very unfavorable, which generates a lot of crime, too many taxes that are not reflected in health, roads or education. It is a beautiful place to which we feel proud to belong but unfortunately, if you want to have a future you have to emigrate.
Where do you distribute those mags to?
The magazine is found on every continent of the known world, with quarterly editions.
Your mag is pretty young but any proud moments you experienced so far?
From the moment you can see your idea materialized, that is already something that blows your wig. Obviously seeing that people respond positively is something that also fills us up and gives us energy to move forward.
What are some of the other skatemags that inspire you?
Obviously a bit of the great classics like The Skateboard mag, Big Brother and Thrasher as well as the roots that we as Argentines had the pleasure of growing up with Gossip and Buenos Muchachos.
‘We believe that the current skateboarding scene is good, but it is also essential that the new generations know the roots in order to project into the future’
What else is on your wish list?
Just keep growing with this project and contributing to skateboarding. We believe that the current skateboarding scene is good, but it is also essential that the new generations know the roots in order to project into the future, which is why we usually encourage research on it, either by recommending videos, or by mentioning certain icons.
Talking about the skateboard scene. What are some of the differences between Argentina and Italy?
We believe that the most important and evident difference between the two scenes that we see is the hunger for glory, the passion with which we Argentines live, not only in skateboarding. Even in a card game, in Argentina everything is lived very intensely.
As for spots, both have all kinds of interesting proposals, the distances in Argentina are very long, not like in Italy, the distances are shorter and both economic and geographical possibilities open up a range of possibilities that you are in just 1 hour in a totally different environment.
Last question. If you could interview one person, who would it be and why?
We would love to interview Jay Adams but it is physically impossible. We love his freshness and everything he transmitted on the board.